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Old 03-23-05, 03:38 PM   #1
kid charlemagne
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What bike memories do you have from your childhood?

I just recently read somewhere how in one generation the number of kids that ride a bike or walk to school has dropped an enormous amount. I don't remember the exact number, but it was quite a drop. It got me thinking back to when I was a kid and how much my friends and I rode our bikes back then. My friends and I rode our bikes everywhere - school, each other's houses, trails in the woods, in town, out of town. We didn't have our parents shuttling us to 10 different activities like today, probably because most families, mine included, only had one car. Heck I can remember riding my bike to football practice in full gear - helmet included! One of my friends had an older brother with a '10 speed' and he would take us for a long ride in the outskirts of town. We didn't have helmets, energy gels, water bottles, gloves, or any of that other stuff we think is so essential these days. Just us boys riding shirtless in our fat-tired banana seat choppers. Man, what fun that was! I had an "Apollo 5 speed" or maybe it was a three speed, can't remember, bought used from the 'bicycle guy' in town. He had this huge pile of old bike frames and parts spilling out of his garage and he would put together bikes and sell them. I remember making ramps out of scrap pieces of plywood, and barreling down the highest hill in town, in complete disregard for the stop sign that was at the bottom!

What bikes and/or riding memories do you have from your childhood?
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Old 03-23-05, 04:47 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by kid charlemagne
What bikes and/or riding memories do you have from your childhood?
Metallic green Schwinn Sting Ray with glitter banana seat and sissy bar. At 10 years old, on a dare, I rode it up a loading ramp and off the 3 foot drop. Drop is the right word - I went down, front wheel first, like a sack of potatoes. I have a great many other scars from my juvenile bike adventures. Yup, we rode our bikes everywhere. Too bad kids today are so pampered.
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Old 03-23-05, 05:13 PM   #3
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Why back when I had an AMF bike with a banana seat. The thing had a 52 gear in the front of all things. At the age of 12 I took it for a 122 mile ride that got me in one heck of a mess with the my folks. I told them that is was going to the beach and I made it. My dad understood my need for the road. After 6 more trips like that I got my first 10 speed. My first trip was from Sunland to Biship California.
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Old 03-23-05, 05:22 PM   #4
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Learning to ride at the weekend at Aunt and Uncle's caravan (trailer to you lot) site in a farm field.

Bike? 28"wheels, sit-up-and-beg frame, rod brakes and 6" wooden blocks screwed to each side of each pedal so I could reach them. Alternative to learning to swing my leg over back wheel to mount/dismount was to fall off. Great incentive

Age? 6 3/4

Year? '47

Young folk nowadays don't know 'ow lucky they are. Why, when I were a lad...
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Old 03-23-05, 05:22 PM   #5
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I had so much fun making wooden jump ramps and getting together with the neighborhood kids,
- breaking bones and bikes... back in the early 80's, when we were too cool for helmets.
It was...

Last edited by * jack *; 03-23-05 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 03-23-05, 05:27 PM   #6
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I will never forget one day when I was about 10 years old and doing a 15km ride around a lake with my Dad. This was quite a ride for a 10 year old on a single speed but we did it semi-regularly. On the big last hill before home we were riding on the road. I was starting to drop behind my Dad on his 5 speed Apollo when the moment happened...

These two guys on road bikes rode up, wearing full kit, looking to my 10 year-old eyes like they were straight out of the Tour de France. One of them asked me if that guy ahead was my Dad, I said yes and he put his hand on my back and powered us up the hill, flying past my Dad. What a moment! It turned me in to a rider for life.

keep it in mind when you see kids out there...
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Old 03-23-05, 05:29 PM   #7
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... and by the way RAD was (and maybe is still) my favorite movie ever!! Filmed in and around my home town Calgary. Crue is rad!
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Old 03-23-05, 05:36 PM   #8
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I used to love going in a car park in Bendigo and seeing how far over I could lean my trusty Speargun Blue Malvern Start. The other thing I remember is riding home. Man I must have been fit as a child. Had this massive hill on the outskirts of town and each morning and afternoon we had to go over it. Very hard yakka indeed.
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Old 03-23-05, 05:40 PM   #9
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I walked over to my friends house where there was a crowd of kids. His older brother says they are jumping and asks me if I want to try. "Sure" I say. 60 pound me and a 40 pound cruiser head down the side yard of his house gaining speed but not too much as I am cautious. Kids yell "Faster!". I round the corner of the house and see the jump for the first time, "that's not too bad" I think. My front wheel climbs the jump, I notice that they have dug a wheel sized hole behind the jump to add to the thrill. Promptly the front tire rolls over the crest of the jump and down into the hole. The back tire is now airborn for some reason and I am looking up at the ground for a split second. My next memory is the pain of a bicycle seat with 40 pounds of bike on top of it hitting me squarely in the back and thinking how desperate I was for one breath of air. The air is filled with the laughter of children.
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Old 03-23-05, 05:41 PM   #10
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I still remember learing to ride my candy apple green sting-ray on the lawn in my back yard. It was so hard!

My friend Ken (he already knew how to ride and everything) took me to the school so I could ride on the asphalt. It was so much easier.

No fancy hemets or anything back in '64! And we lived!
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Old 03-23-05, 05:55 PM   #11
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My mother called and asked a local bike shop owner if he's able to rush to our home, ASAP. My younger brother, 6 at the time, we were tinkering with our bikes in the garage when he accidently jammed his index finger between the chain and the big ring. Bike shop owner rushed to our home within minutes was able to break the chain. That bike memory is still vivid in my mind. That was like 40 years ago...
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Old 03-23-05, 06:17 PM   #12
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Learning to ride! Man its funny I was a little late in my time But I remember two times, one was when i had training wheels and i was riding by my friends house who has this huge hill, and i remember laughing and just riding around and when i was going down this hill i was fine no problems and then when i got to the bottom everyone was like YOU RODE WITHOUT TRAINING WHEEL! And i lookerd down at my bike and saw that one of my training wheels was in the middle of the hill and i balanced with one the whole time! I freaked out at the bottom. Then my next stroy was when i just learned how to ride a bike, Just learned. And we were all happy and my dad put his hand out for me to slap it but when i rode by, I took my hand off the bar and BAM! right on the ground I was. Well at least i knew what falling was like.
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Old 03-23-05, 06:27 PM   #13
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hehehe I remember when my little girl was learning how to ride. Funny as ever it was. We took her to a park with a slight downhill run. This park has only one tree in and we point it out to Katie. "No don't it that tree". We must have ingrained that into her head. Off she trundles and because she's looking at the tree, guess where she heads right to. Bam!!!
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Old 03-23-05, 06:51 PM   #14
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The summer when I was 6 my parents shipped me off to my cousins in Wisconsin. I was following my older cousin, Dennis, around the neighborhood. I was riding his sister's bike and it was way too big for me but I didn't care and I didn't bother to notice that it had hand brakes. At the end of the day we rode back into the driveway which was at the bottom of a hill so we were going pretty good. Since I'd only ever ridden with coaster brakes I pedaled back. And back and back and back. Dennis is yelling, "Squeeze the brakes! Squeeze the brakes!" I was heading for the bumper of my Aunt Dorothy's gigantic Buick station wagon so I laid the bike down on the concrete.

Worst road rash I ever had. And still one of the best bike memories ever.
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Old 03-23-05, 07:08 PM   #15
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I remember plenty....

6 years old:Living out my Evel Kneivel fantasies by intentionally crashing my bike in my front yard. I was wearing a blue, plastic Tonka helmet.

10 years old: Getting an Itoh 10 speed with 24" wheels for my birthday. One day I left it on the front porch locked up. When my mom turned into my driveway, bringing me home from school, we caught a neighbor kid trying to steal it. He saw us and took off running. I chased him and brought him back to my mom. She gave him a few words and took him home so she could tell his mom what he did. I never saw that kid again.

13 years old: The weekend before I was to start high school, I crashed while riding my friend's bike. His stem wasn't tightened enough. As I pedaled down the road, the handlebars went left and the front wheel turned to the right. I landed face first on the road. Man, beginning high school is stressful enough. Imagine doing it with road rash, bandages and bruises on your face.

This thread made me realize for the first time, that most of my fondest memories of childhood were cycling related.

....and now back to your regular programming.

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Old 03-23-05, 07:09 PM   #16
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My Grandpa worked for The Chicago Nut and Bolt Co. before the crash. He was a tooling engineer. After he retired he moved to Menlo Park. He had more tools than god. I now have many of them in my collection. He passed when I was 13, up to that point his workshop was my favorite place in the entire world.

When I was about four or five he made a tricycle for me, I sat on his workbench and watched him design and build it with his own hands. My dad held a welding mask in front of my face while he welded. It had a small steel tractor seat and a chain drive to its 24” wheel. When I was Six my mother finally let me out of the yard with it.

When we moved from Palo Alto to Stockton the trike stayed, in my dads’ eyes a bike doesn’t have a sole, it is just a tool to get you there. It was three days until Christmas, I was ten years old, had been ripped from my friends and made a pedestrian. I wept silently in the back of our Chevy Nomad the whole way to our new home.

In the driveway, my dad opened the garage door at our new house. There in the middle of an empty garage was a brand new red over cream Schwinn excelsior. The door stayed open only long enough for him to be sure I saw it. He closed the door and said; “I think I’ll just leave the car parked here in the driveway, so the neighbors will know we are here.” He looked at me and smiled.

No amount of pleading on my part could convince him to re-open that garage door. It was mid morning and we unloaded the car into the empty house, a box into the kitchen and suitcases full of clothes into the bedrooms.

Mom said “Ok, let’s go get some lunch, the moving van will be here soon.” I offered to forgo lunch and stay and guard the garage. I was denied. “I need your help at the market, dad is going to stay and wait for the movers.” I was beside myself.

When we got back the huge truck that had swallowed all our possessions the afternoon before was backed into the drive and disgorging them into our new house and garage. The huge door stood wide open. I jumped from the car and ran, into the garage. I made running loops around the stacks of boxes and power tools searching, I looked in every cranny. To quote a phrase my Uncle used, no joy. For three days all acknowledgement that their had ever been a bike in that garage were smilingly denied.

In Stockton there was a huge field behind our house with a woods in one corner that is now a collage campus. It was my whole world, and I ruled it on two wheels. In my own mind I believe I invented off road riding on the trails I made in that field.

When we moved to Torrance, my bike came with us. Well most of it came, by then the grips with there streamers had been replaced with bar tape, the fenders with its light and reflectors had been removed as well as the tank pieces, the kickstand and the chain guard. Little did I know how much I would wish later that I had saved those pieces. But I was happy with my fat tire flyer and it served me well.

The summer before I went into high school I mowed lawns and hung out at the bike shop. I made friends with the pro and ran errands for the owner. By the end of that summer, along with some birthday money my dad kicked in, I had earned enough to buy my first real bike. Although it was used, and a few years old, at the time that Colnago was the most lusted after thing in my whole life. The day I rode it home I was on the top of the world. My best friend said to me when he saw it, “You paid that much, and it doesn’t even have fenders or a kickstand? You got gypped.”
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Old 03-23-05, 07:12 PM   #17
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nice story.
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Old 03-23-05, 07:26 PM   #18
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Think my Dad bought me an 10 speed English racer when I was like 10...Used to walk a lot before that to cousins...A bike made it lots easier to get over to their home to play baseball in the closest park...
But,other than the hurrendous numbers of times, my dad held the bike up while I slowly peddled trying to learn getting my balance..That is clear because my neighbor Sue Ellen was learnig along with me..
Don't recall training wheels or helmets..But the bike was a beutiful grey and I thought 10 speed was so advanced.
But, the next strongest memory...I got better and was riding several blocks away from home...There was a hill and at the base of the street a two way stop sign...Some how I failed to grab the brakes properly...I went through the stop sign...The car coming towards me had no stop sign...Some how I zoomed ahead of him and we avoided each other...And they say kids can kill themselves on the monkey bars !...Well , it turned out ok..And I have always appreciated the value of stop signs ever since..
THink I almost soiled my pants that day and to this day I am one to wear out brake pads at a rate far faster than the average cyclist...
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Old 03-23-05, 07:39 PM   #19
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My father was afraid one of his five kids would get killed on a bike--so when I was 11, he took all of our bikes away and gave them to the Salvation Army. I was devastated. The first thing I did when I earned a paycheck after leaving home was to buy a bike. And now I'm up to six bikes today. Guess it's never too late to have a happy childhood.
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Old 03-23-05, 07:40 PM   #20
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It was a cool dark June morning in our little town. My brother and I glided along on quiet streets as we headed to pick up our papers at the town library. Danny Tennis was out camping with the Boy Scouts and, since we had the evening paper, he trusted us to deliver his morning route when his family went of vacation.

The morning doves were just starting to coo the sun to rise when we finished rolling and banding the papers and putting them in the handle bar bags. Alec took half and I took the other half and, with the sun jsut starting to glow on the eastern horizon, we started towards the east side of town. Alec had a Schwinn stingray knockoff from the local hardware store while I had a sleek three speed English Racer from Montgomery Ward.

My bike was the envy of every kid in town. It had three speeds, a coaster brake in the back and a hand brake up front. But the best thing it had, the one item coveted by every kid around, was a generator! Yes, I could ride at night while all the other kids were stuck at home. Flick the switch and I could set back the night. I was cool. So was my bike.

We finished delivering the papers in town and we had the last paper to deliver. It was the scary one, the one at the bottom of the hill in the Arkansas River's flood plain. The only problem was "The Ditch"!

The Ditch was lined with cottonwoods and, in the day time, Alec and Danny and I would spend hours playing there. But at night, even in the early morning with the sun about to come up, the Ditch was dark. Dark enough to swallow the souls of two young boys. There were evil things in the dark there. But we had to deliver the papers!

The best way to ride the Ditch was to wind up at the top of the hill and start riding as fast as you could down the hill before you hit the line of dark trees. Alec would always try to get the jump on me but he only had one speed and I had 3 plus I had light. I was far less afraid of the Ditch then he was but then I had the light and he didn't. It also may have been because I was 2 years older and could tell scarier stories.

I passed him up with that glorious patch of light in front of me and headed into the darkest heart of the Ditch. I turned around in the saddle to warn him of the brain sucking zombies, when the last paper in my bag took a swing and went straight into the spokes. The wheel stopped but me, the bike, the papers and the light didn't. I ended up on the ground in the middle of the darkest part of the ditch sure that this was my last second on earth! I jumped back on the bike and flew down the hill breaking out onto the flats just as the sun burst above the horizon.

The light was smashed. Crushed beyond repair. It could no longer push back the night nor save me when we had to ride past the Ditch again. It couldn't be used to be cool or to make me better than all the other kids in town. I delivered my last paper and turn around to ride back to town as broken as the light.
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Old 03-23-05, 07:45 PM   #21
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I have hazy memories of my first two-wheeled bike, a red one from Toys-R-Us. I remember being in the car as the box was loaded in from the shipping dock, and I remember the first time I saw it fully assembled in the garage.

Come to think of it, I forget who actually put it together. It could have been my dad, but he's so mechanically inept (he uses MOTOR OIL to lube his chain!) that I think it could very well have been one of the neighbours.

I also remember my next bike, a blue BMX-style bike with a hard yellow plastic saddle and yellow tires. I should ask my parents what happened to that bike, and the red one, too.

Sometimes I wish my memory wasn't so shoddy...
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Old 03-23-05, 08:25 PM   #22
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My friends and I used to go everywhere and do everything on our 20" bikes. I had a Huffy that had durability issues but I can't blame them for that... Four memories that stick out are:

1) Riding our 20" bikes sitting on the handlebars. It seemed like a really neat idea at the time and we were rolling on the ground (literally) while doing it as we always turned the wrong way when trying to turn. We stopped upon almost mastered this feat after my one friend almost got run over by a semi.
2) Jumping hills at the local sand pit. We used to ride trails a lot and one of our favorites was through the local sand pit. There were always mounds of dirt to ride over (and jump). My friends would always remind me of the time that I botched a bunny hop over one of the dirt mounds. It was about 8' tall and the face was almost vertical - it threw you straight up in the air. Needless to say I bunny hopped it but I pulled up too late. I almost cleared it but only because I landed on the front wheel. I caught so much grief because my friends thought I broke my back upon seeing it and when they got to me I was in tears asking if I broke my bike (because my dad would have killed me...).
3. Biffing snow drifts. We used to ride all winter and when the snow drifts were high we would get going as fast as we could, aim toward the snow drift and then pull up our front wheel just prior to impact. We'd flip the handlebars and go flying but the snow was cushy (then again, maybe that's why I'm achy all of the time now).
4) I used to love to ride wheelies and was the best in the neighborhood. Unfortunately I bent my forks from all of the jumping and rough riding. Anyway, I went to jump on my bike one day and the fork broke. On my way down to the ground my chin connected with the broken top edge of the fork which left me with a nifty scar on my chin that I still have today.

Ah, what fond memories. As of this moment I've decided that my kids won't be able to ride their bikes anymore
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Old 03-23-05, 08:43 PM   #23
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I have lots of childhood cycling memories. I've been riding a bicycle since I was 6 years old ... I even remember what my first two-wheeler looked like ... it was a gold convertable bicycle!

I graduated from that to a red bicycle with a basket, and then to another red bicycle which was my father's from when he was a boy. From there it was into a series of ten-speeds which my father picked up from various places.

My father was (and still is) into bicycles. We always had a basement or garage full of them (still do). He repaired all the neighborhood kid's bicycles. He wore real cycling shorts, jersey, helmet, and gloves long before they were popular, and we always had the Bicycling Magazine sitting around. I grew up surrounded by cycling!!

Oh, here's me and my first human powered transportation, not a bicycle, but ....
http://ca.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/mac...e0.jpg&.src=ph
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Old 03-23-05, 09:14 PM   #24
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I've STILL got rocks in my knees from 17 years ago when I first learned to ride. Last year, I had a 2mm x 3mm stone removed from behind my knee, a little grey stone that came from where I used to live (no pavement where I grew up). It was cool because it apparently migrated from the front of my knee around to the backside. There are still at least a couple in there. I don't need memories, I've got souvenirs.
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Old 03-23-05, 09:30 PM   #25
ZackJones
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I have tons of memories from my youth:

- some how I got the bars on my bike switching back and forth like you see motorcycles do in a classic tank slapper. I was thrown to the ground but not too badly hurt. The worst part about the incident was the lady coming out of her house and asking if I was OK. I was totally embarassed.

- After watching that movie Death Race 2000 I delibertly rode up behind my neighbor, Herb Denny, and just before I hit him I yelled out "SCORE!" My yelling startled him enough that hitting with the bike didn't hurt him even though it threw him into the ditch. He got up laughing over the incident.

- Riding on ice covered streets and realizing that you could go faster by locking up the rear brake and skidding the rear tire then by pedaling.

- Riding faster than my older brother, Lew and having him call out to me to wait up saying he would ride with me the rest of the way home. Like an idiot I'd slow down and then he'd haul ass and leave me behind. I must have fallen for that on a hundred times or more.

- As a teenager riding my bicycle to the pool each morning for swim team practice and then hanging out at the pool for the majority of the day.

- The day I rode Suzie Rose whom I had the biggest crush on, home on my bike - a Schwinn Varsity 10 speed at that. She sat on the seat and I stood up and rode her home. The things we do for love

- Showing off my strength (or stupidity) by grinding up hills in the big chain ring while all of the other kids in the neighborhood rode up them in the small chain ring.

- Remembering my younger sister Kim, having to be taken to the doctor because she "racked" herself on her bike. I wasn't old enough to really understand what happened but when dad told me she racked herself I knew she was hurtin'

- Jumping off of ramps and my brother crashing and having to get stitches in his leg.

- Taking a sheet and string and making a parachute and attaching it to the sissy bar on the banana seat. We'd ride real fast and then release the parachute just like we were drag racers.

- Putting vasoline on my chain when I repainted my frame. I didn't have a chain break tool so I left the chain on the bike while I painted the frame. Carolina Blue because I was a big University of North Carolina fan.

Wow, I haven't thought about these moments from my past in years. Thanks for a great thread.
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