BSNYC Friday Mildly-Invasive Physical Exam!

As I mentioned yesterday, that day marked the end of my testing period for the Base Urban Belt-Drive Freakout bike, which meant it was time to return it to the company. New York City bike shop Toga Bikes was kind enough to handle the actual shipping of the bicycle, and so yesterday afternoon I set off to their downtown location, Gotham Bikes, to place it in the expert care of their staff. So I headed through Prospect Park on my last belt-driven ride, when I looked down and noticed that the belt was out of alignment:

Looking closer, I saw that the belt was at least a few millimeters off the cog, even though the wheel was (to my eyes anyway) centered in the dropouts:

I had agreed to test this bike because I was curious about belt drives for bicycles, and it was at this moment that my curiosity was satisfied and that I decided I was more than happy to stick with the humble chain--which, for all of its greasiness, is simple to maintain can easily tolerate minor alignment issues. If your chain is making noise, squirt some lube on it. If you don't want to get that lube on your pants, put a chainguard over it. Meanwhile, if your belt drive is making noise or divorcing itself from the cog, it's time to break out the micrometer and start looking for "problems" not visible with the naked eye.

Anyway, Gotham Bikes is in downtown Manhattan, and as it happens, subsequent to Tuesday's post about the Occupy Wall Street protest, one of the actual protesters emailed me and invited to show me around and give me a greater understanding of what was going on down there. So I figured I'd stop by on my way to the shop. As I rode, it began raining heavily, and I joined some fellow cyclists with equal amounts of leisure time and waited it out under the Manhattan Bridge:

Once the rain let up a bit I was back on my way, and it's a good thing that, in addition to having a fussy drivetrain, the Base Urban cannot accept proper fenders or else I might have retained a small amount of dryness.

Arriving at the protest, I locked the Base Urban to a railing, at which point a woman with a bicycle approached me. It seemed that her rear tire's sidewall had failed, and apart from directing her to a bike shop there wasn't much else I could do for her--though I suppose I could have "booted" it with a section of tarp:

I was wondering how the protesters would fare in the rain, and here was my answer. However, there was no answer from my liaison when I phoned--though I couldn't blame him, since I was dropping in rather unexpectedly, and clearly he and his fellow protesters had more pressing concerns, such as not being swept away into the Hudson. They were probably also still busy seeing to their chore list:

Yes, since my visit on Monday there were a lot more ponchos and a lot fewer shoes:

Don't feel too bad for them, though, since they get to sleep on waterbeds:

As I wandered I eavesdropped on little meetings:

And watched little DIY "media" broadcasts:

And then suddenly something hit me: Why hadn't I just given that woman one of my tires? Here it was, miserably rainy, and she presumably needed that bike to go about the rest of her day. I, on the other hand, was simply dropping my bike off nearby, after which I would never see it again and would vanish with the swipe of a MetroCard. So I went to look for her, at which point I heard the sound of drums in the canyons of Wall Street. (There also may have been a faint whiff of wet dog, but I might have imagined that.) Then a wave of marching protesters arrived:

Some shirtless:

And others be-ponchoed:

And some in period-correct 1960s attire:

They came in waves:

And soon I was engulfed:

And so was the Base Urban:

I was reasonably sure at this point that the protesters would identify it as an ostentatious symbol of corporate greed and smash it to bits, and I was also reasonably sure I would have joined them. Meanwhile, I had no idea where that woman with the ruined tire was, but I did know where she had left her bike--it was right next to the garbage can one of the protesters was using as a drum:

Eventually I was able to fish the Base Urban from the sea of wet protesters, at which point I removed the front tire and tube:

And left them on the woman's bike:

For all I knew she'd already gone off in search of a replacement, but if she hadn't I hoped she'd appreciate the gesture. I also hoped the tire wouldn't get stolen, but given the fact that this was a protest I figured only a total negative vibe merchant would tempt the ensuing bad karma, which would probably strike the thief in the form of dysentery from drinking rainwater out of the folds of a moldy tarp. Finally, I took the hobbled Base Urban:

And walked it the rest of the way to the shop:

Ironically, this was the most I enjoyed piloting it.

And now, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz. As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer. If you're right you'll feel all funny inside but in a good way, and if you're wrong you'll see bike dancing.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and stay dry. Unless you enjoy being wet, in which case stay wet.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

1) The Mavic Ksyrium SLR Exalith is a great everyday wheelset because:

2) Also, "Exalith would be fantastic for cyclocross."

3) What is this?

4) This man may be the world's deadliest Fred.

5) This rider is demonstrating:

--"Back-Up Barz"
--How to see over traffic
--Proper charity ride time trial technique

6) Americans typically regard bicycles with:

7) Fill in the blank:

I was stopped at a red-light and you took a picture of me on my bike. I'd love to see it, send me an email.

Oh, I was wearing a blue shirt, brown hat and I have a huge _____. ;)


***Special America Is Doomed-Themed Bonus Challenge! (for Americans only)***

Watch this without packing a small bag and fleeing the United States forever:

automotive ,automotive news ,automotive magazine,automotive industry outlook 2012,automotif,automotive magazine automotive ,automotive news ,automotive magazine,automotive industry outlook 2012,automotif,automotive magazine