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SLIM_STYLISH Posts: 62
7/19/09 12:30 A

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Hi
I've been commuting for many years. I LOVE Arkel panniers.
They have a locking mechanism, so they do not bomb off.
I use one bag, and do grocery shopping on the way home. One bag can hold a whole case of mangoes, other food items, and work clothes as well as tools etc. The one I use isn't made anymore but the closest one would be one namedJ "Utility Bag." I'm with you with not wanting bags on the back. Good luck and enjoy riding

 
WONGERCHI's Photo WONGERCHI Posts: 3,889
5/29/09 3:51 P

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UCSAE:
Cleats/shoes - you can't go wrong with a mountain bike shoe/cleat combo, e.g. Shimano SPD. There are many other brands but I use SPDs and like them a lot. I would steer well clear of a road shoe system for commuting, where you're in and out of the pedals often.

You can walk in the shoes, the pedals are double sided for easy entry and the cleats are easy to set up. Pedals have adjustable tension so you can set how easy it is to clip in and out of them - for commuting I'm at the easiest level as I never know when I'm going to need to clip out.



In God we trust, all others bring data.
- W. Edwards Demings

If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise.
-P.Z. Pearce

Specificity, specificity, specificity.
-Andy Coggan

The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
- Frank Kotsonis


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DRC2205's Photo DRC2205 Posts: 8,845
5/28/09 10:26 P

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Another suggestion--I bring my clothes for the day with me, but I left a pair of black shoes at the office so I don't have to pack shoes.

OUTOFCONTROL's Photo OUTOFCONTROL SparkPoints: (83,341)
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5/26/09 1:13 P

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I rode to work on Bike to Work day to test it out, but today is my first official commuting day. I bought a cheap backpack at Target that holds my work clothes, lunch, and misc. small items that I may need. My ride is only 7 miles, so my clothes aren't in bad shape in that amount of time. I try to wear light easy things to work, like knit dresses. I bring my bike into my office.

Michelle
Be as you wish to seem.


SLIM_STYLISH Posts: 62
5/25/09 6:37 P

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Hi 2_Journey,
Good to hear you want to start commuting.
Probably the most important thing is your route to work. Make sure you have a route that uses bike lanes when possible and try to stay off really busy streets. Use side streets when possible.

I use Arkel panniers from Canada. They have a locking mechanism that attaches to a rack. There is no way they can "bomb off" while riding. I've fit a case of mangos in it with work attire and other items. Dropped in a 12 pack yesterday with room to spare. Don't think the bongos would fit however. Sometimes you can find a used kid trailer on Craig's list or perhaps a swap meet or something.

Any bike in working order will work for a 10 mile ride. I found an old Diamond Back Serrento mountain bike in the trash and it works great. Don't have to worry about when when grocery shopping on the way home from work.

I sometimes ride three miles to pick up a bus and put it on the rack in the morning. A dollar fare spares me from a tight area on one of the few streets that goes over a freeway overpass to get to my job. Using a bike/bus method can get you further distances and give more choices.

See if your job will let you lock your bike up inside somewhere. Many times bosses can be helpful and supportive of bicyclists.

I try to wear clothes that roll up and don't take up too much space. For instance jeans are thicker than dress pants. A button down top is thinner than a sweater.

For safety a few things help: cell phone, small emergency kit with bandaids, alcohol wipes, tire levers, patch kit, spare tube, granola bar, cash, pen, paper, safety vest with reflective tape, spare batteries for headlights when the days are shorter.

Best of luck, stay safe, ask fellow cyclists if you need help with route planning.

Slim

 
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GIGEMAGS1155 Posts: 17
5/25/09 2:46 A

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That is exactly what I do. I take the clothes and vehicle to the job Monday and ride home and back everyday til I drive the vehicle home Friday afternoon. I am in sales so that is the easiest way to get the vehicle to the office and keep it there. Just take all your clothes and shoes so that you can have nicely ironed clothes at the office...

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UCSAE98's Photo UCSAE98 Posts: 11
5/23/09 2:31 A

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Thanks for all of the great ideas. I have heard of people bringing all their clothes for the week and getting them on Friday or Saturday. It's a possibility. It's so awesome to be able to get feedback from so many people around the world. I greatly appreciate all of the help.

On another note, any advice on how to select cleats/shoes? I ride a Specialized road bike, if it makes a difference. I almost killed myself using the shoe cages that came with it last week.

"The future belongs to those who prepare for it today." - Malcolm X


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GIANT-STEPS SparkPoints: (65,300)
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5/22/09 3:11 P

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I've never bicycle commuted to a job where I had to dress professionally but that won't stop me from pontificating on the subject ;)

One thing I learned from traveling is that rolling clothes results in few wrinkles than folding. I see adds for hand held fabric steamers that look promising. You could freshen up your clothes before putting them on.

WONGERCHI's Photo WONGERCHI Posts: 3,889
5/22/09 11:48 A

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UCSAE98:
If the slacks and a button down shirt is regular attire, then how about driving into work on, say, Monday and bring all the stuff that you need to wear for the week then? Then just lug it all home on Friday or whatever.



In God we trust, all others bring data.
- W. Edwards Demings

If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise.
-P.Z. Pearce

Specificity, specificity, specificity.
-Andy Coggan

The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
- Frank Kotsonis


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JOPAPGH's Photo JOPAPGH Posts: 4,063
5/21/09 7:23 P

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Before my virtual office days, I would take a clean ironed shirt and pants in a rectangular tupperware container in my backpack/briefcase or panniers. I just kept a pair of brown and black shoes at the office and rode in my clipless shoes.

Worked really well for me.

"John" or "JoPa" if John only makes things confusing.
Pittsburgh, PA

Personal Bests:
* 5K. May 31, 2014 - Stride for Pride 5K. 21:37
* 10 mi. June 16, 2012 - Baltimore 10 Miler. 1:23:12
* HM. June 7, 2014 - Deckers Creek. 1:41:05
* Marathon. May 5, 2013 - Pittsburgh Marathon. 3:53:43



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UCSAE98's Photo UCSAE98 Posts: 11
5/21/09 6:10 P

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Hey everyone! I have been thinking about commuting via bicycle for a while, but cannot figure out the logistics of it. Equipment is no problem, but I need to dress up for my job (slacks and a button-down shirt with dress shoes) and can't figure for the life of my how to do the commute without wrinkling my clothes. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

"The future belongs to those who prepare for it today." - Malcolm X


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NORMAVI's Photo NORMAVI Posts: 94
4/6/09 8:45 P

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I commute 3 to 5 days a week all year. Here's my gear:
* 12 year old steel frame Marin San Rafael hybrid. It's not the flat handlebars (bar ends provide a little more variety in hand position) I like but everything else
* fenders - FULL fenders
* lights - for night riding a turtle or two is not enough. I have two 5 LED red blinkies on the back, two 5 LED white blinkies on the front, one solid white on front plus blinkies on helmet. Extra batteries. I'll strip this down for summer riding but really need them in the winter
* rack and panniers - I have "conventional" touring bags, but I LOVE these dutch bags if you can find a dealer http://www.basil.nl/gb/assortment/
* multi-tool, patch kit and spare

Have fun, and don't get frustrated by motorists. Remember they're stuck in their cars while you're in the fresh air and getting exercise

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DREMARGRL's Photo DREMARGRL Posts: 11,544
4/6/09 4:08 P

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What's with all the thievery? You guys must live in the city! SORRY THAT HAPPENED TO YOU. XO Mary Ann emoticon

BAILEYS7OF9's Photo BAILEYS7OF9 SparkPoints: (120,198)
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4/6/09 3:59 P

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"came out one evening to find my bike seat stolen."

Oh that is just wrong!





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4/5/09 4:34 P

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I'm a big believer in having a beater bike for commuting. You can buy a great riding older bike for a song. It doesn't have to look good (probably less attractive to theives if it looks like junk) but it has to ride and work well. From a commuting point of view there has been little technology over the last few decades that make a bike more useful to commuters so an older bike is perfect. If it does get stolen you won't be out much money.

Of course you should be prepared for minor mechanical problems and flats but I'm a big believer in Mr Tuffy tire liners for commuting. When I use Mr. Tuffy's I go years between flats. They do make your bike slightly slower but they really aren't that bad and they will prevent most flats. I've actually pulled thumbtacks out of tires that didn't burrow in far enough to cause a flat.

Mr Tuffy's are good but don't bother with the solid tires. They are heavy, slow, and have a harsh uncomfortable ride. They are also a bear to install.

For me a rear rack and panniers allowed me to carry everything I needed. If you need more space than that front rack and panniers are an option.

2_JOURNEY's Photo 2_JOURNEY Posts: 92
4/5/09 2:25 P

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Hi WONGERCHI - I actually tried the CrossComp when I bought the Newest. My (now ex) boyfriend worked in a bikeshop at the time, and he must have had me try ten bikes at least. If there was a women's specific cyclocross bike I would be all over it, but I found that they all were just uncomfortable. I ended up with the Newest because it's geometry is almost identical to women's specific road frames by other companies (and the Fuji was less expensive!).

Thank you for all of the gear advice. I have built up quite a list of things I need to invest in. Hopefully I can park my bike in the back room at work, but when I'm taking classes, I think it'll just end up getting parked on the street (ugh). So, locking everything (skewers, steat stem, etc) seems like the way to go.

I was originally thinking of getting a hybrid because I like the idea of the flat handlebars for riding in busy traffic, etc, but I took my bike in traffic today and I was not as botherer by the road handlebars as I thought I would be. So I may end up sticking with the bike I have for a while and seeing what happens.

ETA: DRC2205, I must have posted at the same time as you! Interesting points about hybrids. I think you both may have effectively talked me out of buying one. Yay!

Edited by: 2_JOURNEY at: 4/5/2009 (15:00)
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DRC2205's Photo DRC2205 Posts: 8,845
4/5/09 2:08 P

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I think WONGERCHI put it pretty well--I think that hybrids are the worst of both worlds, without providing any benefit, except a low price point. They don't handle nearly as well on the road as the road bike you are used to, and they aren't nearly as manueverable on the trails as a mountain bike. You might be better off finding another road bike (with attachment points) and adapting it than if you get a hybrid. Besides, if you like the geometry of your road bike, you might not be very happy with the positioning of a hybrid.

Try some cyclocross bikes again. Ask about touring bikes (closer to a road bike geometry) too. And test ride a ton of stuff, even if you tried it before you started on the Newest (and even if it is a hybrid, LOL!).

EDITED TO ADD: I don't know how big your drum is, but you might be able to bungee it to the trunk rack, with panniers hanging on the sides?

Edited by: DRC2205 at: 4/5/2009 (14:09)
WONGERCHI's Photo WONGERCHI Posts: 3,889
4/5/09 11:36 A

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2_JOURNEY:
Some great great tips so far! Like DRC, I use my cyclocross bike as a commuter. Mine's a Fuji too (Cross Comp)! I'm surprised that a Fuji cyclocross bike didn't fit you - my roadbike is a Fuji Roubaix and I basically got the same size and made minor tweaks.

First off, gear. DEFINITELY a puncture repair kit, and the skills to use it. I got my first flat of the year yesterday (road wash/construction debris) and had it changed by the side of the road in 5 minutes. It was such a cold, wet, windy day that any longer than that and I would have frozen. Regular practise in the comfort of your own home is all you need.

Fenders - yeah they look uncool but believe me, when it's wet out they're worth their weight in gold. The front one keeps all the crud from the front wheel hitting your feet and your drivetrain, the rear stops wet stuff from going up your saddle and all over your back. Love mine. While we're on the subject, bike wash kit and the necessary skills are highly recommended - I like to keep my bikes clean and wash then both on average once/twice a week. Washing also alerts you to small problems that can be fixed easily and cheaply if you catch them early enough.

Lock too, U-locks are good but get the smallest lock you think you need. Too much space inside the lock and it's easy for someone to get the bolt cutters in. When I leave my bike I go U-lock and cable lock as additional insurance, but I'm kinda skeptical about the cable locks. If you're going to lock your bike up change your QR skewers (seat and wheels) to hex bolt locking skewers and carry the tool in your saddlebag. That way you don't have to carry the wheels/seat with you, unless the bike thief just happens to have a 6mm hex key handy... Don't forget to take your saddlebag off the bike though!

Lights - the more the merrier. You want to light up like an Xmas tree if you're commuting in the dusk/dark. I have those little "Turtle" lights that you can get from REI or whatever - two red ones in the back, two white ones in the front, and one each on the helmet. Pair that with a high-vis green rain jacket and tires with a reflective sidewall and I'm pretty visible.

I personally carry my stuff in a backpack but seeing as you can't do that, then panniers are the way to go. Check with the LBS to see if you have attachment points for a rear rack - I know my Cross Comp has (I've actually done it a couple of times) but I don't know about the Fuji roadbikes - my Roubaix most certainly doesn't! Then go that route. You will be slower but don't worry about it.

Final point, I promise... Build up the commute miles. Start say 2-3x a week, then add on days. I found when I was commuting regularly I'd get more and more tired and not hit my other workouts, and I only have a short commute (5 mile roundtrip)! Also check out places to stash your bike, shower/change facilities etc. I make it a point not to sweat during my commute, yes I go THAT easy.

Also obey all laws of the road. Don't ride on sidewalks or against the traffic flow. Be predictable when you ride. Stop at red lights and stop signs. Make sure you can look over your shoulder and still keep a straight line - same applies to hand signals too. You should be able to shoulder check, signal and check again all while keeping a straight line. It's harder than it looks...

Any other questions, ask away!




EDITED to add:
I also think hybrids are nasty. A good idea in theory, but the resulting bike somehow manages to incorporate the worst of both road and mountain biking. If you're gonna be on the road, get a roadbike.

Edited by: WONGERCHI at: 4/5/2009 (11:40)
In God we trust, all others bring data.
- W. Edwards Demings

If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise.
-P.Z. Pearce

Specificity, specificity, specificity.
-Andy Coggan

The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
- Frank Kotsonis


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DREMARGRL's Photo DREMARGRL Posts: 11,544
4/5/09 12:27 A

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I LOVE MY GIANT! Great bike at a reasonable price. Biking is beautiful! NItey nite.

2_JOURNEY's Photo 2_JOURNEY Posts: 92
4/4/09 10:38 P

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Woops! Forgot to mention: One of the reasons I was looking at the xtracycle is because I play the djembe drum, and the xtracycle looked like a good way to take my drum on my bike with me when I'm heading to class or to a drum circle instead of popping it in the car for a couple of mile drive. I can't think of another way I'd be able to fit something that big on a bike, but if anyone can think of a way that isn't so expensive or so involved I'm all ears!

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2_JOURNEY's Photo 2_JOURNEY Posts: 92
4/4/09 10:23 P

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MAGELLAN1 - Good suggestions! Unfortunately, I really can't carry weight on my back, period, so even sitting more upright wouldn't solve my backpack problem. I will need to put a rack on the back of my bike and paniers, I guess. You're right- the xtracycle is expensive and involved. I am still looking into a hybrid like the Giant FCR or the Fuji Absolute (or others, I just started looking into this), but I haven't gotten a chance to test ride them yet.

AGOODWIN21 - Good point! A guy I took a class with in college used to take his bike seat with him into the classes so it wouldn't get stolen. I prefer your idea of locking the seat onto the bike. Something else to look into. Thanks!

DRC2205 - I remember trying some cyclocross bikes when I bought my Newest. I couldn't find one with a geometry that felt comfortable. I ended up opting for a road bike with a fairly relaxed geometry (at least that's how the newest was described to me at the time). I like the idea of a trunk bag. I may try one of those and see where that takes me. I was thinking of buying a hybrid as my second (commuting) bike. Is there a reason I should stear clear of them?

Thank you all so much for your suggestions! I am making a list of things I need to buy or things I need to do before I start commuting. You guys are so helpful!

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MAGELLAN1's Photo MAGELLAN1 Posts: 550
4/4/09 9:18 P

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agoodwin-ha, i see bikes with no seats a lot. i never thought of someone taking a seat. i used to lock my bike to something and then my wheels to the bike. never thought of the seat. a seat post and seat can be pretty pricey once you get into it though. sad that everything needs to be locked down.





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DRC2205's Photo DRC2205 Posts: 8,845
4/4/09 9:10 P

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I started commuting in the fall for a few weeks, and then broke my foot. So once my work schedule get s back to normal, and my feet heel (from surgery--it's been a long winter) I'll try again.

I have two bikes--a high performance road bike and a cyclocross bike. I wouldn't even consider adding bags, etc to the road bike, but the cyclocross is very well suited.
* I added a small headlight and blinky red tail light (I don't ride before sunrise/after sunset, but wanted something to help me be seen). $25
* And I added a rack over the rear wheel for a trunk bag. $50 for the rack, $20 for the bag
* I also just got a small handlebar bag for my tools and lock, so I don't have roadside stuff mixed in with my work clothes. $3 at a swap meet
* I have pedals that have SPD cleats on on side and platforms on the other, so I can ride with cycle shoes or street shoes. (Don't remember price when I got them, but they are Performance Bike "Campus" pedals, currently on sale for $40)

If you are looking at a new bike specifically for commuting, also consider a touring bike. It'll have all your panniers and be ready to go. Those of you who know me, know that I don't love hybrids!

I love having two bikes--I can always lend the cyclocross to a friend to ride with me.

Other tips: Dress to be seen, follow the rules of the road, find a route that isn't too busy, even if it's slightly longer. (Rush hour traffic is different that leisure ride traffic!)

I am sure I missed lots of stuff...

AGOODWIN21's Photo AGOODWIN21 SparkPoints: (1,711)
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4/4/09 9:07 P

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Depending on where you plan on leaving your bike for the day, I'd also consider locking down your seat (or removing it from the bike). I use to commute to work while living in Chicago and came out one evening to find my bike seat stolen. It was a long 8 mile ride back home...standing up the entire way.

"Tell me and I'll forget; Show me and I may remember; Involve me and I'll understand."
- Native American/ Chinese Proverb


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MAGELLAN1's Photo MAGELLAN1 Posts: 550
4/4/09 8:45 P

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can you put a commuter rack or add a basket. add panniers? that xtracycle kit seems really expensive and involved.

can you try a bike that sits you more upright with your back pack? i think the newest is more like a road bike, maybe a hybrid would sit you up more, strain your back less. less wt on your back.

i was at performance today, they actually had a commuter bike all set up. if you live near a performance see what they have....

http://www.performancebike.com/shop/Prof
ile.cfm?SKU=24141&item=30-0156&slitrk=
search&slisearch=true

they have other commuters as well. and a bag that can go on the rack.
this whole bike is around the same price as the extracycle.
check you local shop, they may have something comparable

Edited by: MAGELLAN1 at: 4/4/2009 (20:57)


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2_JOURNEY's Photo 2_JOURNEY Posts: 92
4/4/09 8:02 P

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Hi everyone!

I'm looking to start bicycle commuting in the next couple of weeks, and I have a million questions. How many people here commute on their bicycles and what are your tricks of the trade?

So far, I think I'm looking at investing in front and rear lights, fenders (maybe), a blow out kit (which I need to learn how to use), a good lock, and something to carry my daybag in.

I tried bicycle commuting last year, and it lasted about a week and a half. What ended it for me was the messenger bag on my back. I don't have the best back (due to an old injury) so carrying weight on my back while biking turns out isn't the best option for me. Incidentally, the injury doesn't bother me *except* when carrying weight on my back. Keeping my dayback off my back is going to become more important later this summer when I start taking classes with heavy textbooks. I recently started looking into paniers, and someone in my neighborhood recommended the xtracycle although that looks pricey. He converted his bike with an xtracycle kit and loves it, though, and was very persuasive.

I have a 2008 Fuji Newest, but I'm wondering if I want to get that all tricked out for commuting or if I want to keep that bike for longer recreational rides and buy something like the Giant FCR or the Fuji Absolute for commuting. The longest I'd be commuting on most days is 10 miles.

Basically, I'm not sure exactly where to start. Any advice would be most welcome!

PS -- Sorry if this has been dealt with before! I did a search but couldn't find a thread on this.

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