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John -- AMEN!  I ALWAYS ride with front and rear flashers, day and night.  The only exception is a group evening ride, when I ride with the lights solid to keep from making my riding partners crazy.

AND while we're on the subject of visibility, BLOODY is the new Black.  Once again, riders are heading out into the gloom of the lower-light time of year dressed in Black (a color that makes them essentially invisible).

The current issue of Bicycling Mag has no fewer than 33 riders pictured in jerseys that are either totally black, primarily black or in a dark enough color that they might as well be black.  It's by far and away the most dominate color jersey, whether in articles or in ads.

I've written to both Bicycling and the manufacturers of these products noting that black is essentailly road camo, but I get no response.  You're right that a flashing light beats almost any color outfit, but dressing like a Navy Seal on a night combat mission is still STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!


Rear view mirror

Sooooo, what's the (vanity) problem with wearing a helmet attached rear view mirror to REALLY let you know who's following too closely and/or over in your lane/shoulder to proactively avoid a potential 'confrontation?'  I've been wearing said rear view mirror for a number of years now and it's the "price I pay for piece of mind," knowing what's coming up on me and to act accordingly . . . !


On group rides I find other riders' lights rather distracting (they do their job very well!) and I don't want to be "that guy", so I use a rear-only flasher/strobe when I'm solo. Group rides seem much safer vis-a-vis visibility and I am not too worried about cars; other bikes are the hazard instead.

Should stops count in riding time?

First, I coach all my clients by time and intensity (RPE, HR or watts), not miles. Distance varies depending on climbing, wind, drafting, etc.

I also use time because I can add up the total time training including core, stretching, cross-training, etc. - the total impact on the client AND on the rider's life and family.

My clients are all endurance cyclists. I tell them to give me total time including short stops (but not if they stop for lunch!) I don't ask them for precision - rounding to the nearest 15 minutes is fine. 

If someone is training for a timed event (brevet, etc) when time off the bike also is included I ask them to report both actual riding time and time off the bike. My rule of thumb is a rider should spend no more than 5" off the bike for every hour of riding. If riding time is 6:00 then the rider should spend no more than 30 minutes off the bike during the ride.

IMHO people get too hung up on data. As a coach I'm after information, not numbers, and often the comments are more useful than the actual ride data.  For example: A client rode for 5:30 with 3250 ft of climbing averaging 14.2 mph with an average HR of 132. Somewhat informative. The note says "I had trouble getting going and felt slow all day" - that's much more useful info than the numbers. There's a potential risk of overtraining!

Checking for rim wear

It never ceases to amaze me that so many are intent on riding their tires, rims, components and/or frames to the point of failure.  And, not just around the neighborhood!


Until reading your comments, I was a part-time lights user in rural Tennessee.  (Will reconsider that now.)   I have front (white) and rear (red) lights mounted on my two bikes, both used in the flashing mode.  I use the front for "trouble spots" - places on my normal rides where I know I may be at risk.  One is a sweeping curvy downhill with lots of trees, and a couple of side roads where people pull out.  (This actually goes through a State Park, and the side roads go to the pool and to the campground.)  The other is a long straight downhill where oncoming traffic has an option for a left "veer" at a speed limit of 55 mph.  I use the front light to enhance visibility.  The rear light is reserved for reduced visibility conditions (rarely used). 

If I'm going to have the lights installed, why not use them full time?  (I know what my wife will say if I ask her...) 

Why not lights


Just had a friend go over a car..broke his back. L2 vertebrae, luckily with 2 months of carefull, NO activity he should recover. Top pinarello Paris is written off.

He is going to buy a flouro kit and lots of flashers for Daytime use. 

I run night rides and my nickname is "sirlightalot" becuase of all my lights, I don't care that I look ridiculous..i am still riding in one piece..


Why not lights


Just had a friend go over a car..broke his back. L2 vertebrae, luckily with 2 months of carefull, NO activity he should recover. Top pinarello Paris is written off.

He is going to buy a flouro kit and lots of flashers for Daytime use. 

I run night rides and my nickname is "sirlightalot" becuase of all my lights, I don't care that I look ridiculous..i am still riding in one piece..



John, I have inexpensive front and rear lights on my bike but have never used them.  They were there in case I got stuck riding at night.  You've convinced me, they will be on every ride.  Thanks.

Lights and tucks

Agree wholeheartedly with everything you wrote on lights and use them almost always when riding solo. But not in a group since I feel its too distractive to other riders, and collectively we have safety in numbers by the size of our pelaton. 

Disagree with Matheny's comments on Super Tuck, other than they are only for highly experienced and competent bike handlers. I use it effectively and safely when I have space to let it go. It has been my 'secret weapon' in race attacks and has allowed me to build substantial gaps over riders half my age. I have been using it since the '70s and have observed many riders on TV using the technique since then, even Grewal and Bauer in the 1984 Olympic road race (not 100% sure on the riders and event, but the image is clear in my mind). I am not surprised riders continue to use it and were so prominent in this year's TdF where descents were critical to rider success, and made for very exciting and competitive stages.

Lights Flare R

I have been using the 'new' Bontrager Flare R, all the and evening.  It's the brightest I have used, 60 lums for a rear light.  Great product, and I feel much more confident riding in traffic with this light on my tail.

Checking for rim wear

I pump the tires up about 30-50% more than I normally ride when putting a new tire on. If the rim doesn't fail at that pressure it is unlikely to fail at the riding pressure. That way you see if the tire will bubble too which most often happens while the tire is still new.

why not lights?

I was hit by a car about 1 1/2 years ago from the front, the car was coming towards me and turned into me.  I am convinced that if I had a front light, it would not have happened.  My lawyer in the case specializes in car/bike wrecks, he checked his files and found that 17 out of 21 pending cases were exactly like mine.  While in the hospital, I decided if I was awarded any extra funds above loss recovery, I'd buy some lights to give away.  Ended up giving away 10 Urban 650's.  Hope those folks buy lights for others and spread the word.  I always run with front and rear flashers now.

Daytime running lights recommendation

I got reelights ( - no connection, just a happy customer) a few years ago and now leave them on my bike at all times. They have two great features I love. First, they have no battery; a magnet on the wheel is sufficient to power them, so you never have to worry about getting caught with a dead battery. Second, they are mounted on the axle, so they don't get in the eyes of oncoming riders, but are sufficiently eye catching to make you visible to cars. They aren't bright enough to see the road in the pitch black, but where I ride (mostly commuting in the city and suburbs) I have sufficient light to see by, I just need to make sure cars see me. I commute all year round, which means riding home in the dark half the year, and reelights are great as "be seen" lights.



why not lights?

Strobing front and back lights are not only too bright for the cars; they are too bright for the other riders in the group. I regularly ride with a friend who lights up front and back with strobes. I can't ride in front of her because of the 1,000 watt white strobe but there's no respite in the back either due to the strobe red. Day or night, out come her lights. I swear I'm going to have a seizure one day due to the dang strobes!

Why not lights?

Personally, I will NOT ride without my lights, both front and rear!  I have been complimented many, many times by drivers and other rides alike concerning how visible those lights make me to both oncoming and following traffic.  I have also had Sheriffs and police officers comment that "every cyclist should have those lights" it really makes you visible and stands out.
As far as brightness goes...the ones I have are adjustable in brightness and also, the angle at which you set them is adjustable so as not to blind the fellow riders behind you.

Better visible and somewhat safer than whining and complaining about the lights being bright while riding in a


tire cement -amazon has pint cans of the stuff for about $10

amazon has pint cans of the stuff for about $10

it;s car tire cement actually

would be hard to get in the little tubes but for home repair you will  NEVER run out

plus it is not in the annoying tubes that go bad in 6 months no matter what

{ also, i didn;t think ''rubber cement'' worked... at least not the school supply kind }





I haven't seen the Niterider Sentinel yet, but I did see a laser light last year at night that projected lines on the pavement, those lines were barely visible, and then I could only make out the faint lines when I was right on his rear tire, and then became completely non noticable altogether when passing under street lights or store lights or even car head lights.  but you could see the tail light but even that wasn't close to the brighter tail lights on the market.  Most you know from playing with laser pointers that you can't leave those on for 2 hours because the battery dies pretty fast, now you're asking for a light to project even more power than a pinpoint of light to form two lines and be highly visible at the same time, I can't see that happening from what I observed.  I've seen advertisement videos of these lights and with camera tricks and computer editing they make those laser lights look fantastic, but in real life they fail miserably.  

Niterider makes good products but unless they came up with something that surpasses all known technology their light will be just another toy.  It will be interesting to read RBR's review on the laser aspect of this light when they test it.  The Sentinel will probably get decent reviews as a standard tail light since it's going to be using a 2 watt led, but it's the laser aspect that I'm waiting to read about.

Why not Lights

I agree, I always have a strong LED rear flasher and will now remember to put my front flasher on and use it all the time

Why Not Lights

I agree with another commentor, in that very bright LED flashing headlights are BLINDING to on-coming traffic, and are extremely visually distressing to both oncoming cyclists and drivers. 
  As a cyclist/bike commuter, I recommend riding with a steady headlight and flashing taillight.  I've got a SON dyno front hub and wired-in lights, and cycling with lights on in traffic areas adds little drag.  Night riding, I don't run a flashing rear, but rather a very bright steady red taillight.  Throw in high-visibility reflective vest and ankle bands, and I'm covered.

I Should Have Clarified...

Most of my riding, and thus the time of day about which I was focusing on in the article, is in the daylight. It's very hard for a light in the daylight to be so bright as to blind anyone. And if it's not flashing, it's not very worthwhile during the day. (I've never been blinded or affected by any oncoming cyclist with a daytime running light, either driving a car or riding my bike.)

Also, the vast majority of my riding is in heavily trafficked suburban areas in a city of 5 million with nearly as many cars. I feel I need every safety advantage I can get. If I thought my lights were blinding motorists, that would not be an advantage to me.

To your point, though, I realize I should have clarified these things. And I agree with you that steady lights are more appropriate for some types of riding. (I also recognize that flashing front lights are illegal in some European countries.)

-- John

Re: Why Not Lights?

Why Not Lights?  In the case of headlights, it's because they BLIND ONCOMING TRAFFIC! Perhaps with low powered headlights in flashing mode there is less distraction, but I seem to see riders with high powered LED lights (say 1200 lumens or more!) running them in flashing mode.  It's a huge distraction for any oncoming traffic (bikes or cars) to the point where it becomes a safety issue.

Why Not Lights

Older rider here (73). I've been riding most of my adult life. I got stuck in the fog last winter and started thinking about a rear light, just in case I encountered that situation again. I purchased one shortly after and have been using it daily for every ride. I know I am more visible. Howver I get two types of drivers. One which will see a nice target and see how fast and how close they can pass me without actually hitting me (is is becoming more common). The second type is the drivers that are afraid to pass me and will hang back causing motorist behind them to back up and become frustrated. I had a flat the other day and turned off my rear light while swapping out tubes. I forgot to turn it back on when I got back on my bike. I noticed no difference in drivers behavior. I think the problem is that drivers see us, they just don't like us sharing the road with them. I will still ride with my rear light, but don't get a false sense of security. I don't have an answer here. 

MIPS helmet "save"

While the MIPS helmet may have helped over and above what a regular helmet would have done, it is neither proven nor disproven by this anecdote.  A sample size of one always has perfect correlation. This was not a controlled and repeatable experiment.  That aside, I'm glad more serious injuries were not incurred.

Riding Partners

I noticed the high percentage of "Something Completely Different" responses, and being one of them, I thought it might be helpful to explain that something different.  My husband and I met in part because of our riding.  He is much stronger and faster than me.  We start out most of our rides together, and after a short distance, I send him on his way.  He would be miserable riding at my turtle pace.  He always asks, always, "Are you sure you don't mind?"  After assuring him (sometimes repeatedly) I'll be fine, he speeds off alone.  If we're climbing a mountain pass, he often will come back down and ride the rest of the way again with me at my pace, encouraging me and telling me how much stronger I am than the last ride.  If we're on a weeklong tour, he is one of the first riders into the next town, and he sets up the tent so all I have to do is check my bike, shower, eat and sleep.  If it's a long day for me, he often will pick up some food for me before the vendors close up shop or run out so I don't have to go looking for food.  So although we don't spend all the ride together, he is the best riding partner ever.


This story has not any evedence or even remote hint how MIPS technology influenced results.

Moreover, from the description is looks that the situation was one in which MIPS does not matter at all.


MIPS and evidence of added safety

First, and by far the most important, I'd like to echo the prior comments about being glad that you're okay, Seth. Cycling crashes are no joke, and often completely outside the control of the rider.

I'd also like to echo the prior points about there being no evidence to support MIPS as a safer helmet. I'm by no means an expert, but I do find this treatment of the subject to be compelling:

As I understand it, the theory behind MIPS is to create a slip plane between two layers of the helmet. However, this slip plane is far less than the "natural" slip plane between helmet and head. Wearing your helmet, try twisting it from the top to see how much it moves. The answer is: a fair amount, far more than the 0.5 cm (?--I can't seem to find the actual MIPS number) of MIPS.

If a MIPS helmet were the same price as a standard helmet, I wouldn't have any objection. But MIPS helmets are at least 3x the price (and sometimes 5x+ the price) of a helmet that meets current standards.

To pay that kind of difference, I'd like a little more than marketing (and I'm in marketing, so I know what marketing means) telling me that it's worth the difference. Let's have some independent study before we drink the MIPS-AID.

Just to Be Clear....

If you re-read our MIPS roundup review,, you'll see that we take a fairly neutral stance on the technology. We're certainly not pushing MIPS and are eager to see what else is coming along in similar helmet tech. (We'll keep you posted on that.)

However, there are a number of helmets on the market today that are actually quite a bit less expensive than many non-MIPS helmets. (See the Giro Savant and Sonnet, and Scott ARX in the review.)

So if you take the position that it can't do any harm to buy MIPS in your next helmet, there are some reasonably-priced alternatives.

-- John

MIPS helmets

Thanks for your note. My comment wasn't on your review, but rather, on Seth's MIPS story, which comes across as a (single anecdotal) endorsement of MIPS.
I did a bit of research into MIPS pricing a month or two back and found this.
Scott ARX PLUS HELMET appears to list for $150
Lazer Helium MIPS appears to list for $230
POC Octal AVIP MIPS appears to list for $320

I just looked on REI's site and found this for $45.

Is there a MIPS helmet less than $45?
While it may be true that you CAN pay more than $150 for a non-MIPS helmet, I think that it makes more sense to focus on the helmets that the majority of cyclists (not just racers/hard-core roadies) are LIKELY to buy.

Typically, expensive road helmets offer weight savings and/or aerodynamics, not safety, compared with entry-level helmets.

Gear inch calculation

Good article on the quick calculation for comparison of gear combinations to determine gear inches, but the tire sizes should be the same on each bike for an accurate comparison. I've downloaded Sheldon Brown's calculator, and there's a difference between my regular road bike's 700 x 25mm and my touring bike's 700 x 32mm.

Sheldon Browns

you can also go to shelon browns bicycle gear calc.  and get the gearing ratios there.  Some one has been updating the site so even the 11 speed cassettes are available.


In my much younger days I used to ride dirt bikes. When looking for a helmet I couldn't decide if i wanted a full coverage or cheaper one that wasn't.  The shop owner said " well if you have a 10 dollar head get the 10 dollar helmet.  I have kept that in mind whenever i buy someting like that and bought a MIPS helmet about a year ago.  There is just no reason to take an unnecessary risk next time your are in the market for a helmet especially since the cost is about the same.  

Consumer's Report did an article on helmet safetylast year and highlighted how out of date the government testing required for helmet safety is.  The standards have been around forever and have never been updated to reflect the real world conditions that most crashes happen under.  



glad you are ok

no way to know what the MIPS part did though, or what would have happened with regular helmet..

right?[sorry for repeat, cannot delete, captcha is buggy]



Carbon, anyone?

WOW!!  Never trusted the stuff, even went with a steel fork on my custom Ti bike.  After reading that article, for sure I'm never going ride carbon (bikes or forks)!

Tales of Carbon

This should have been titled Perials of Carbon, but I digress.  I've seen some strange things too that damaged carbon, things that would have never bothered any kind of steel, ti or al bike except for maybe the paint and possibly a scratch in the metal.  My newest bike is TI but the fork is carbon, I did get the ENVE 2.0 rated for more weight than the 1.0 even though I was well within the safety limits of the 1.0, I did that in hopes that it would last longer.  So am I bothered by having that CF fork on the bike?  not really, I don't descend down mountains fast anymore, in fact where I live now it's almost as flat as a pancake for miles around.  

Any frame material can break given the right set of circumstances.  There are some things that CF can do better than metals but in the world of cycling where things can happen longevity is cut shorter than metal bikes.  My LBS mechanic won't own a CF bike even though he sells them, when I asked why he said he seen too much happen to them, and there is now evidence appearing that CF does in fact fatigue.


Forget the seat tube size

When trying to determine whether a frame will fit me or not, I don't even look at the seat tube size and particularly not at what "frame size" the manufacturer deems it to be. I have standard diamond frames that are nearly identical in size, but they're designated by their manufacturers as being anywhere from 56cm to 60cm. One of the manufacturers dubs their "58 cm" frame a size "L", while another calls their "57 cm" frame an "XL". Go figure...

It all depends on how the frame is measured and there is no industry standard. Typical measurements can be from the center of the bottom bracket to the center of the top tube, to the top of the top tube, or to the top of the seat tube. This can easily result in a difference of 3 cm or more for the same frame.

When it comes to sloping top-tube frames, all bets are off. The only reason to look at the seat tube length is for figuring out how long your seatpost needs to be!

What's important to know is the "effective top tube length" (the length the top tube would be if it was horizontal and the seat tube extended up to it) and the seat tube angle. The angle is important, because it changes the effective top tube length. In my own case, I need a seat tube angle of 72.5 degrees if I want to use a seatpost with no setback and the saddle mounted near the center of the rails. If the seat tube angle is steeper, I need to use a seatpost with rearward offset (and/or push the saddle back), which effectively increases the top tube length. A shallower seat tube angle would require me to push the saddle forward, effectively shortening the top tube. As long as I take this into account, I can tell if any given frame will fit me properly.

Recently, some manufacturers have started specifying "stack" and "reach" measurements, which are consistent between brands because they're an industry standard that's measured from the bottom bracket. Unfortunately, many manufacturers are still using older, inconsistent measurement systems.

Irregular Heartbeats in Senior Athletes and Exercisers

A timely article, or weird coincidence;

I am 66 y/o, ride road and mountain bikes, occasionally enter long events. Was in Crested Butte 8.5.2015 training at altitude getting ready for the Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike event of 8.15.2015.

Had already done a couple of modest rides at 9,000-11,000'. Was a passenger in a car when I apparently experienced a TIA, like a mini stroke, which lasted 2-3 minutes. Numb r. arm, inability to speak. Pretty weird, bizarre. Went to 2 ER's, CB and Gunnison. CT scan, angiogram, contrast scan showing nothing abnormal. Now back in San Diego going through further tests. Brain/neck MRI, artery ultrasound, echo cardiogram, harness to record heart beats, hopefully test for Atrial Fibrillation and coronary artery score.
Am now on baby aspirin and Atorvastatin (Lipitor). Not taking any other meds or supplements.

From this article, it might be concluded that I fit into the rare instance of getting a stroke.
Am rather fit, no diabetes, don't smoke, not overweight, BP good, cholesterol good, do drink alcohol, resting hr usually low 40's.

Would be interesting to hear from others. I'm learning quite a bit all of a sudden.

Irregular heart beats

Gabe: "I do not ever plan to do slow junk miles..."

Gabe, not every ride needs to be a training ride! Just ride around the neighborhood some evening enjoying the sunset, or ride to the ice cream shop. Just ride with friends and chat, not hammer out intervals.

Eating and Drinking to Improve Endurance Performance, Part 2

I was surprised to see Dr. Mirkin state that the only mineral needed during endurance exercise is salt.  Each individual is unique and has unique nutrition needs.  For years, I had suffered from cramps when I would ride centuries in hot weather.  In the last 2 years, I have started adding magnesium to my drink bottles and have not had a cramp during a ride since.  As far as I know, I haven't made any other dietary changes. 

Dealing with Hot Foot

5K miles a year and rarely have hot foot, most likely because i've been wearing cycling sandals year round since well before 2000.


  How we Change Through the Years

I'd Recommend reading Grant Petersen's 

"Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike" 

you won't agree with everthing, yet, but you are (re)discovering a few of the things that just aren't necessary to enjoy cycling.  This book may help you rething a few of the other things you mentioned too.



I have the misfortune of having a hereditary (since my father has it, I'm assuming as much) form of Afib. It seems to be aggravated by long stretches of having my heart at or near 100% of max, such as when I either run (which I don't much do) or when I started racing again last fall in our local CX series. My cardiologist said I can go as hard as I want (after a month of wearing a afib monitor at which time I rode a metric century earli in the year) but I've decided to ease back. I do a little bit of hill interval training because I'm 57, 6'2" and weigh near 200, so I'm not much of a climber. But I've decided that getting back to racing is just too much stress. Spirited shop rides and Fondos are it in terms of somewhat extended high levels of exertion. But I'm fine with that. I'll log close to 4500 miles this year between commuting and riding, and I'm good with that. 

Cutting carbon steerer

Hey Jim..

You said that you "cut the carbon steerer inside while inserting and adjusting the expander". Can you, um, expand on that? I must say I feel some uncertainty about how tight I can make the expander, and I would have thought that if you took it too far it would cause the steerer to split. But I cannot see how the expander could 'cut' the steerer.

Cutting into the carbon steerer

Thanks for asking, Velocite. It was not easy to figure out what happened for certain after I broke and crashed on that carbon fork because I was looking at a fork with a steerer in two pieces. So, what I did is box the fork up and sent it back to the maker so that they could investigate. I wasn't sure if it might have been some type of steerer defect and that they would want to know about it.

What they said was that something metal inside had cut into the carbon and caused it to break and that the likely thing was a metal piece on the bottom of the expander. This was before we had so many nicely designed, safe ones. I didn't get the fork back. For my next carbon fork, I didn't use an expander. That fork came with a sleeve to epoxy inside the fork. In the center of the sleeve was the threaded portion to receive the headset adjusting bolt.

Hope that explains better,



Irregular Heartbeats in Senior Athletes and Exercisers

Thanks again Dr. Mirkin for another helpful and topical article. I experienced the symptoms you describe for the first time this year, noticing high rates on my chest strap heart rate monitor while riding a hard ride. At first I thought the problem was the monitor (battery? poor contact?), but later I lost leg power and had to slow waaaay down to finish the ride. My quads were very worn out and I was lethargic. One of the guys stayed with me to make sure everything was okay.

The big thing here is that one of my fellow riders told me to watch out for ED medicines as he'd experienced the same thing as I while on Viagra (maybe it was Levitra?). And when he quit the ED med, no more problems.

Well, I was using Cialis at the time and when I stopped, the problem seen on my HRM went away, too. Any chance you chould write an article ED meds and effect on high effort cycling?

Thank you very much!

Bob Floyd

Carrying Extras

Good ideas, Rick B.  Add socks, t-shirt, do-rag, and maybe an older jersey.  I take a fairly sizable gym bag that stores all that stuff nicely when driving to my starting point.  I have never forgotten my helmet but I õn occasion I have left ID, money or cell phone at home. Once I forgot my bike! I got the to trailhead and, D'oh! Luckily home was only five miles back.       

How to deal with HOT FOOT

Here's the most important one - GET A BIKE FIT!

Like this - 

Use of Power Grips to Solve Hotfoot

Although I can't find the previous comment I'd placed on the site through the search function, let me briefly repeat this approach to solving hot-foot for those who have it chronically. It should have been in this newsletter's summary of approaches to deal with hot-foot issues, especially when it's a chronic issue.

Instead of having the balls of your feet in contact with the pedal, use the middle. No cleat will work (unless you re-drill and most of us are not so handy). Instead, use the extra-large sized Power Grips available at the following site:

In this way, you can set the grip strap length so your foot gets far enough in so that the middle of your foot is comfortably on the pedal. I've been using these for some years and it's been a god-send.


A New Action Camera, Born From a Cycling Crash


Graava, a new start-up, plans to announce a new action camera that works with an online service to automatically edit any footage a user captures into good-looking videos.

riding alone

It's great.  I was riding on a really hot day in March having ridden west out of Disney world and heading north towards Lake Apopka.  When you're finally out of the hideous D-World area you can see, albeit briefly what Florida used to look like in between new developments that are being built.  There are hawks trees and above all, it is actually rather quiet.  Such a nice change from where I was while the rest of the family was standing on line to get the latest 15 minutes of joy riding.

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