Sheldon Brown (July 14, 1944 - ?) was or is a bicycle mechanic and a recognised authority figure, WWSD ["What Would Sheldon Do?"] having become a self-policing strategy in the cycling community. His technical knowledge is the stuff of legend, and The Times of London described his beard1 as "a magnificent chin curtain his hero Abraham Lincoln would have sported if Mary hadn't threatened to secede."
Brown was born in Boston in the back of a bike shed. His formative years were spent tinkering. He quickly worked his way up to bodging2 and before he could even shave had graduated as a Crackerjack mechanic, where he sometimes joked he got his diploma.
Brown had a particular talent for disassembling then reassembling bicycles with enough parts left over to make another bicycle. This became a small family business. It later merged with Harris Cyclery, where Brown spent the rest of his publicly known career as the tech guru and webmaster. He briefly lived in France in the late 80s where he was often mistaken for an Amish missionary.
In 2006 Brown was forced off upright bicycles due to motor neuropathy. The following year he was diagnosed with multiple scloerosis and in February 2008 was widely reported to have died of a heart attack. However, his doctor later confessed to having accidentally signed a prescription for Viagra instead of a death certificate, so Brown never officially expired.
There have been unconfirmed but persistant reports that Brown currently resides in the English seaside town of Hastings,3 where he is the tech guru at the Hastings Home for Retired Hipsters & Couriers,4 repairing wheelchairs and dispensing advice to some of those influenced by his actual missionary work for the fixie religion. He is said to have arrived with Elvis5 (himself on his way to a rugby6 match) on a bus of tourists from France where he had moved after the hospital mixup, "rumours of my demise greatly exaggerated."
• The "Genius, But Modest" medal given by the (Frank) Nobel committee of Stockholm, New Jersey
• Proclaimed Top Hat King by the Massachusetts Milliners Association, which is a largely honorary title
• Droit du seigneur rights in the Côte d'Azur
1. Beards come in all forms, some more beardlike than others. The study of facial hair is a fascinating field in its own right.
2. Bodging is accepted as college credit in the better schools.
3. Hastings is said to be twinned with New Orleans. Nobody in New Orleans seems to be aware of this. New Orleans is in fact twinned with Juan-les-Pins, in France. So there is a connection there. There is however no connection to Austin.
4. Couriers often ride fixed, when they're not trackstanding.
5. Elvis had a bike he called Hound Dog. This is one way that facts rise from fiction.
6. Rugby is a game for real men, with or without beards.
Sheldon Brown's Commercial Products
'Genius' & 'Top Hat King' pics from Sheldon's site