Archive for the ‘Sheldon Brown’ Category

Be Part of Cycling History for £25

Posted by chdot on January 10, 2010

Edinburgh born cycling historian and writer, Andrew Ritchie, is planning to self-publish his next book.

And he’s looking for 100 people to pledge to buy it.

Of course the book’s subtitle may put people off – “Bicycle Racing: Sport, Technology and Modernity, 1867 – 1903”

The title may not appeal either “Quest for Speed“. The knowledge that it is a “substantially revised version of my doctoral dissertation, ‘Bicycle Racing and Recreation: Sport, Technology and Modernity, 1867 – 1903′”, may convince you to keep your pledge in your pocket.

But wait: This is an extract from the abstract (FULL version and details of all chapters) –

Quest for Speed provides a chronological, developmental, historical account of the emergence of bicycle racing and bicycle technology between 1867 and 1903, focusing to a large extent on Britain, but also investigating France and the United States as the two other major players. As a social and cultural history, it gives an outline of the social and institutional organization of cycling and the wider cultural, economic and technological context of the sport. In doing so, it tackles themes of class, nationality, industry and commerce, the press, speed, and the physical capacities of the human body, and also the nature and definition of ‘modernity’.

Even that might sound a bit dry, but the book will be well illustrated – Andrew is an accomplished cycling image researcher. (He fell out with a prospective publisher who balked at the number of proposed illustrations.)

His first book King of the Road has the following on the back cover –

“Andrew Ritchie, himself a passionate cyclist, has widely researched little know collections of pictures, and has found many fascinating books, articles and documents on the early days of the bicycle and its changing design and social importance. Ultimately, he argues, the history of the bicycle has only just begun and it could provide an answer to many of today’s crucial transportation problems.”

That was written 35 years ago.

Maybe it’s beginning to come true…

You can be part of cycling history by promising to buy this book – the first 100 people will have their names in the first (limited edition) print run.

Send an e-mail to and contain your excitement for a few months. Your coffee table will have to wait too.

Posted in Books, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, critical mass, CTC, cycle racing, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Glasgow, History, Physical Activity and Health, Sheldon Brown, technology | Leave a Comment »

Celebrate Sheldon and Save a Toad

Posted by chdot on April 1, 2008

sbs.jpg Photo

The two are not directly related – apart from the fact that they both take place in Holyrood Park this Sunday.

It’s almost two months since the internet’s best know (and best loved) ‘bicycle guru’ died. Since then various events have been held to celebrate his personal generosity to thousands (probably millions) of cyclists world wide.

The event on Sunday will be simple – just one minute’s silence near the swan pond (St. Margaret’s Loch) at 1.00. From 12.00 anyone with a bicycle is invited to ride along the (closed on Sundays) section from Holyrood Palace.

One thing about Sheldon is that he liked all types of bikes – and cycling. He had a hand in the boom/fad of fixed/singlespeed bikes. He also had a fondness for “English 3 speeds“. When MS meant he could no longer balance a two-wheeler he still rode his recumbent trike.

At one minute past one, some people will head for Dunsapie Loch in search of a personal best on the unofficial Arthur’s Seat Challenge. Some will carry on down to Duddingston Loch (on another Sunday shut section of road) and even on to Musselburgh for an ice cream at Luca’s. Others will head for Redbraes Park to see the first Edinburgh Falcons cycle speedway fixture of the year – against Hull, start 2.00.

Saving the toads starts at 8.30.

Holyrood Park’s Ranger Team is “looking for volunteers to help scour the hill, record any toads they find and deliver them safely to the loch”.

“Every year the toads migrate to Dunsapie Loch, and the last few metres of their trek are dangerous as they must leave the grassy hillside and cross the road.” Nick Pettigrew, Holyrood Park Ranger, says: “The toad patrol is a great event for children and adults alike, with lots of fun to be had. It’s a great learning experience as anyone can investigate the environment for themselves in a hands-on situation. Each morning during the spawning season the Rangers look out for toads. We can find up to 30 a day that need help.”

Meet at the entrance to the High Road near St Margaret’s Loch. Sturdy footwear and waterproofs are recommended. (Booking is essential for this event – call 0131 652 8150.)

Following the toad rescue activity there will be “more toady fun and games” at the Holyrood Park Education Centre from 10.00 to 14.00. There will be the “Toad Detective Challenge” – follow the clues, manoeuvre around the assault course and “save the missing, celebrity-toad”!

So come along for a spin in the Park on Sunday with your favouritest/fastest/funest cycle and take part in two events. Adorned helmets optional.

Posted in Active Travel, citycycling, Climate Change, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, ride, Sheldon Brown, TryCycling | 3 Comments »

Sheldon Brown 1944 – 2008

Posted by chdot on February 4, 2008


Sheldon Brown was best known, throughout the world, for his web site – Sheldon Brown’s Bicycle Technical Info. Or just Sheldon Brown.

On this he shared his genuinely encyclopedic knowledge of cycling, bikes, components – and their use.

Facts and considered (and valuable) opinions were conveyed with wit and style. For instance – “Everything You Wanted to Know About Shifting Your Bicycle’s Gears, But Were Afraid to Ask…” under the heading Articles For New Cyclists by Sheldon “Been There” Brown.

However much (or little) you think you know about bikes you will be educated and entertained by his site. But it’s not just bikes, he was writing about his life on-line (my journal), long before the word blog was invented. “While I’m mainly writing this for the benefit of my kids, I’m leaving it public for anybody who cares.” Unlike many bloggers, what he has to say is worth reading.

His last entry was yesterday. It began: “I’ve finally made up my mind, I’ll be voting for Obama in the primary on Tuesday.”

MANY more tributes here | Wikipedia entry | HarrisCyclery guestbook

Posted in bike shops, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Sheldon Brown, technology | 10 Comments »