Profile: Jeff Sheldon
Editor's note: Jeff and I met in 2002 when he accompanied me on the last leg of my North Carolina to Texas bike ride. After that, for three more years, I hung out with him during the Lance Armstrong Foundation weekend festivities in Austin.
Jeff Sheldon: 47
Residence (town): Austin, Texas
Current occupation: General manager of Tacodeli
Why do you ride a bike?
Ride to live, live to ride. I think (late comedian/actor) Robin Williams said it best about riding a bicycle so much. I'll always remember his answer, because it was wonderful and true. He said it was the closest you can get to flying. Being outside is one of the best things, just soaking in the countryside! And, of course, the positive health benefits.
Years ago, you were a bicycle messenger in Austin, Texas. Please reflect on the joys and challenges of that job. Do you miss it?
No, I don’t miss it. Austin was smaller then, but still challenging. Sharing the roads in the 1990s and early 2000s was a little tougher, as motorists were less aware of cyclists. But every day there was the joy of working on the bike on a lovely Austin day — it outweighed all the challenges.
You and I met in 2002 through the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s Peloton Project. I know it was a thrill for both of us when we had the opportunity to meet Lance back then, but how do you feel now about your fellow Texan in the years since he came clean about doping?
I recall meeting you on the side of the road just east of Austin after your last leg from Boone, North Carolina (See: Where's Patrick?). Tough one (about Lance), but I think he is still one of the greatest cyclists in my opinion. You cannot undo all the good that came from LAF!
I know you have always been a Cannondale worshipper. What is it you like about these bad boys?
Made in America (until 2010). I like the classic design and they always stood behind the product.
Can you recall for us your first bike growing up?
It was a 1980 "Super Goose" Mongoose with blue mags.
You ride thousands of miles each season, especially around the Hill Country of Austin. Is Texas a bike-friendly state in your opinion?
Yes, Texas is great all over, with so many opportunities for great safe rides.
Do you have any tips on bike safety and maintenance you would like to share?
Take it the shop if you think something isn’t right. And always check your tire pressure.
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