My beloved puppy Cooper bit my hand by accident this morning. His infant fang sunk into my index finger, and the sensation felt like sandwiching my digit between a derailed chain and a gear cog.

Rusty brittle chains. Greasy, sludgy cog fangs. External danger zones for dresses, big calves, nice pants and innocent index fingers.

I’m all about the sensorial experience that comes with biking: the fetish of being one with the elements, feeling your body rhythmically sync with machine,  making it up a massively steep hill and being rewarded by a down hill coast. Ah the liberation!

I love puppies, too, but could do with out the bites.

So, I am intrigued with the potential commuters that don’t ‘fetishize’ the bicycle. What types of component sets may cater to them?

Some people view a bike in a more desensitized manner; more of a work tool rather than a companion.

I like the idea of simple, concealed, maintenance-free components; especially in the context of the white collar commuter.

My current interest: shaft drive systems, and the commuters that they attract.

Marginally heavier than a chain mechanism, (about a 1lb), yet self-insulated, and practically maintenance free.

Many a bike mechanic I’ve talked to refers to shaft drive as a solution to a problem that they never believed to have existed- that chain drive ain’t broke, so there’s no use in fixing it- although I disagree.

Urban bikes, in my opinion, must be as hassle-free as possible. When a chain gets derailed, it’s a messy, slightly stressful affair to correct: especially when you’re in work clothes, heading into a day of office meetings.

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