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  1. #176
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    From today's New York Times:

    June 29, 2008
    As Gas Prices Rise, Teenagers’ Cruising Declines

    By KAREN ANN CULLOTTA
    SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — For car-loving American teenagers, this is turning out to be the summer the cruising died.

    Kevin Ballschmiede, 16, pined for his 1999 Dodge Ram — “my pride and joy” — the other night as he hung out in a parking lot in this town outside Chicago. Given that filling the 26-gallon tank can now cost more than $100, he had left it at home and caught a ride.

    From coast to coast, American teenagers appear to be driving less this summer. Police officers who keep watch on weekend cruising zones say fewer youths are spending their time driving around in circles, with more of them hanging out in parking lots, malls or movie theaters.

    The price spike in gasoline, to an average of $4.07 a gallon for regular unleaded, is so recent that government statistics do not yet capture the teenage-driving trend. But the figures show that overall demand for gasoline is dropping. In dozens of interviews, teenagers and their parents said the price of gasoline was forcing hard choices on them.

    To be sure, the number of teenage drivers nationwide was already on a downturn over the past decade, a trend fueled by tighter state laws governing the hours when teenagers can drive, higher insurance costs and a move away from school-sponsored driver’s education programs to more expensive private driving academies.

    These days, teenagers who do have licenses are not only driving less, but they are also having to come up with their own gasoline money. Any long trip involving a group of teenagers is likely to involve careful negotiation over who pays. And some teenagers are realizing that gasoline prices have put their dream of owning a car out of reach.

    Tim Chou, 19, an engineering student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, had to give up his gas-guzzling 1996 Nissan Quest.

    “My parents decided to donate my car to charity because they didn’t want to pay for the insurance and gas anymore,” Mr. Chou said. “I guess I’ll be doing a lot of car-pooling this summer.”

    He was hanging out on a recent Friday night at a Starbucks with a group of his friends, and all of them said the price of gasoline, made worse by difficulty in finding summer jobs, was cramping their style.

    “I used to drive around and hang out here with my friends five nights a week last summer, but I just can’t afford to buy gas anymore,” said Elliot Lee, 19, another engineering student. Mr. Lee said that since arriving home in East Dundee, Ill., for the summer, he had withdrawn $100 from his savings account to pay for gasoline.

    Perhaps the summer’s most visible change is occurring in the downtown strips of small towns where, for decades, cruising on Friday and Saturday nights has been a teenage rite of passage. It is a peculiarly American phenomenon — driving around in a big loop, listening to music, waving at one another and wasting gasoline.

    “We’re not cruising around anymore, with gas costing $4.50 a gallon,” said Ewelina Smosna, a recent graduate of Taft High School in Chicago, as she hung out the other night at the Streets of Woodfield, an outdoor mall in Schaumburg. “We just park the car and walk around.”

    According to police officers in towns like Elkhart, Ind.; Grand Haven, Mich.; and Mount Pleasant, S.C., traffic has dropped markedly on cruise nights.

    “Teen cruising is way down from 2005, when it used to be bumper to bumper downtown,” said David Scott, a senior officer in Grand Haven, a popular resort town hugging the Lake Michigan shoreline. “Traffic downtown used to be so bad in the summer, you couldn’t drive faster than 10 miles an hour. Last Friday night, I didn’t even have to wait in line to get through a light.”

    Summer cruising appears to be ailing even in Modesto, Calif., a town immortalized in the film “American Graffiti.”

    “I think it’s a pretty good observation that there is much less cruising in town this summer, and it has a lot to do with the gas prices,” said Sgt. Tom Blake of the Modesto police. “The kids are parking their cars near McHenry Avenue and congregating at the Sonic drive-in, the McDonald’s and the Starbucks.”

    Around the nation’s dinner tables, meanwhile, parents — many of them struggling to pay for their own gasoline — are having heart-to-heart talks with their teenagers.

    Lorraine Demuccio, an administrative assistant from Mount Pleasant, said gas prices prompted her to urge her 18-year-old daughter, Annalisa, to turn down a summer job as a nanny.

    The job “would have meant driving at least 20 minutes a day, each way, and then she’d be driving the kids to the pool and the beach,” Ms. Demuccio said. “She ended up taking a job at a day care center that she can walk to.”

    Margie Passias, a single mother from Palatine, Ill., said she was scrambling to find extra cash to hand over with the car keys when her two teenage daughters, Athina, 18, and Paulina, 16, clamor to drive her Chevy Tracker.

    “I sat the girls down on the living room couch one night and told them, ‘the only solution this summer is car-pooling,’ ” Ms. Passias recalled. “I told them not to drive on a regular basis, but I’m still giving them money for gas here and there. And with my financial situation, it is really hard.”

    Randy Ballschmiede, an airline mechanic from West Dundee, Ill., said that while he could empathize with the passion of his son, Kevin, for cruising with friends, he was not sure the teenager had fully come to grips with today’s financial realities.

    “We live a very cautious life financially, but Kevin seems to think there is no end to the money,” Mr. Ballschmiede said. “He tells me about his buddy, whose parents gave him a gas credit card, and I told him, ‘That is not going to happen at our house.’ ”

    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  2. #177
    Generic Title ProFail's Avatar
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    Well, I'm almost 100% sure I'm going to get my license but remain car free as long as possible. My family in general is in an incredible financial situation even with the economic downturn. I'm getting 25 grand for a "car" (), and my Dad describes that as "a conservative amount". Yeah right, in my (and most people's) book, that is an assload of cash, and there's no way I'm spending it on a metal cage with an engine. I think I can pay for my gas, so that's not a problem. Driving just sucks. I'm happiest sitting on my bike, whether I'm in the middle of a criterium or dirt jumping. I think I'll buy a few thousand dollars worth of bikes then sock away whatever is left over in the bank.

    I see a Surly BD, a Scott Addict and a Santca Cruz Bullit in my future.

    And the future is SAH-WEET.
    Generic Joke

  3. #178
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Don't forget to set aside some for an Xtracycle in case you want to have dates.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  4. #179
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    yeah for sure bikes are more efficient and fun, but sometimes a car is convenient or even necessary- if you live anywhere except for a real city, you'll probably want a car. I live in phx, and although i have a fleet of bikes to choose from including a road bike, fixie, and general beater, i still end up needing my car at times. No matter what shape your gf is in, she wont fit on a rear rack on a bicycle, and pegs just arent cool anymore

  5. #180
    Commuter, XC/Mountain elchoopanebre's Avatar
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    I am 18 (19 in less than a month).

    I bike to and from school every day (OP- I live in Baton Rouge and go to LSU- yay for Louisiana...I guess. lol).

    I also have a car, though. I've been wanting to sell it because the blue book value is $3500 and I could use that money for many things-I'm planning a trip to Italy since I've been learning Italian.

    I have a mountain bike as of yet and have been wanting a road bike as well to use for commuting. (Not that I don't like the bike I have- I LOVE my Trek 4500).

    People are pretty understanding about me riding to and from school and coffee shops and close apartments where friends happen to live.

    When I told my parents that I'm considering selling my car, however, they didn't understand. They said I need that car to get places where I can't bike. In some respects they are right. I give younger kids rides a lot (sort of a big brother mentor kind of thing) and if I didn't have a car this wouldn't be possible. In my head, however, the way around this is using my mom's car. When she comes home from work, she's home for the day. It'd be pretty easy to borrow her car.

    Another negative consequence is as follows: there are some trails that are pretty far away from my house but I LOVE THOSE TRAILS. There'd be no way to bike to them, however. I need a car to bring my bike there. I really wish I lived in SoCal or somewhere where trails were right in your back yard and the city was set up for cycling.

    Anyways, sorry for rambling but that's where I'm at right now insofar as biking and becoming car free.

  6. #181
    Senior Member MrCrassic's Avatar
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    So I should start the story by saying that I really wanted to learn how to drive. I wanted to be into the "performance tuning" scene, ricing out and spending an incredible amount of $$$ on parts...

    However, though I had the permit to drive, my family was not doing financially well enough to afford student driving services. Therefore, I got my license almost two years later (about the time I was due for college), and remained car-free for my entire high school career (though we had three cars to drive). By that time, my interest to drive died down drastically.

    College is in a tight city (Hoboken) and was close to home, so a car was not needed. When I moved to Brooklyn two and a half years later, a car was not needed. Also, by that time I was already heavily involved with cycling and didn't care that I had a car.

    Now, I try to avoid driving when I need to, and am holding off my first car purchase until I move into a suburb. My bike gets everything covered, and I enjoy it 100x more than driving.
    Ride more.

    Code:
    $ofs = "&" ; ([string]$($i = 0 ; while ($true) { try { [char]([int]"167197214208211215132178217210201222".substring($i,3) - 100) ; $i =
     $i+3 > catch { break >>)).replace('&','') ; $ofs=" " # Replace right angles with right curly braces

  7. #182
    NJS my life! roughrider504's Avatar
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    Today I went to Bayou Bicycles to look at the Breezers [thanks Donna!]. They had the Citizen in my size in stock and they even let me test ride it without any hesitation. The staff is very nice and knowledgeable, I got help about which lock I should use and the reliability of the Nexus hub. I tried out the tire dynamo in the test ride and I could barely feel it. This bicycle is perfect.

  8. #183
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughrider504 View Post
    Today I went to Bayou Bicycles to look at the Breezers [thanks Donna!]. They had the Citizen in my size in stock and they even let me test ride it without any hesitation. The staff is very nice and knowledgeable, I got help about which lock I should use and the reliability of the Nexus hub. I tried out the tire dynamo in the test ride and I could barely feel it. This bicycle is perfect.
    Sweet!

    Does the Citizen have the suspension seat post? If so, I would strongly recommend you ditch it and the saddle and replace with a B-66/67 & a straight seat post. Those suspension seat posts are murder on the knees...
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  9. #184
    NJS my life! roughrider504's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnamb View Post
    Sweet!

    Does the Citizen have the suspension seat post? If so, I would strongly recommend you ditch it and the saddle and replace with a B-66/67 & a straight seat post. Those suspension seat posts are murder on the knees...
    Yep, the things I want to change in order of importance is the seatpost, saddle and handlebar. For the saddle, I am considering the B67 or the Champion Flyer, both which I can pick up locally! I'm leaning towards the B67 because I want slightly longer handlebars with more backsweep to give me a more upright position. The fact that I am only changing three things on the bicycle is very good, I am picky about my setups obviously.

  10. #185
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnamb View Post
    Those suspension seat posts are murder on the knees...
    Might be less of a problem for a teen than for someone of (ahem) your age.



    "Think Outside the Cage"

  11. #186
    uke
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    it's easy if you let it. uke's Avatar
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    Didn't have a car in high school or in college. Then again, didn't have dates, either! I like to think that was more due to my lack of wooing skills than lack of auto.

  12. #187
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    I feel kind of like an outcast posting in this thread, since my parents just bought me a brand new 2008.5 Mazda3 Touring 5-door that cost $21,000 out the door and I don't pay for gas, insurance, or anything. However, I took all advanced or AP classes last year, hold a strong GPA, and keep up with all my other commitments, so in a way, I feel that I kind of deserved it.

    On another however, I hardly ever drive. Period. Partially because it's a brand new car, and partially because gas here is $4.79 a gallon. I did drive a '99 F-150 with a gas-sucking 5.4L V8 to school (about a few miles away) almost all last year, though, but I'm going to try to regain those green karma points I lost by riding my bike all of this school year.

    Plus, you don't have to have an expensive bike to enjoy riding, and I'm pretty good proof of that. I have the time of my life riding my $80 Target special that I got when I was 12. It has 200 miles on it now, 100 of those miles were in the last 10 months, and 59 of those miles were in the last five weeks. Now that I discovered (rediscovered?) cycling, I bike almost anywhere I can as long as whatever I'm buying (if anything at all) can fit in a backpack.

    Just a few hours ago, I came back from riding to the second city park. It was only an 8 mile round trip, but some of those hills were incredibly steep and I rode up them in granny gear at 2 1/2 miles an hour. I've driven on the same roads hundreds (if not thousands) of times, and I'll let you know that you notice a lot more things while riding a bike!

    Oh yeah, and a plus to going shopping for whatever on a bike...ya don't need to worry about finding a parking spot! So while all those yahoos are in their cars idling for the same parking spot, I ride up onto the sidewalk and lock up at the empty bike rack about 20 feet from the door!

    Here's a cell phone photo of my bike at the park

    Last edited by IBrakeForNobody; 07-15-08 at 05:48 PM.

  13. #188
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    In my town teenagers often don't get cars when they're 16. They don't usally want or need them.

    They get a golf cart instead (and they're allowed to drive them alone at 16 or with an adult at 12).

    Peachtree City, GA.

    Or as we like to say, The PTC.

  14. #189
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    I'm nineteen, and attending college in a small town. One day my car needed some gasoline, and at $4.20 a gallon, I opted to get a bicycle instead. I loved the feeling of it, I would wake up early just to go get some coffee before school, because it was nice to ride the bike. Unfortunetly, I bought the bicycle at Walmart, and it wasn't what I wanted, and I'm working all summer to get a nicer bike. It's rough living about 40 miles away from work and having to drive my car. I did buy a bicycle at a garage sale, and took it to a bike shop, but they refused to fix it. So meanwhile, I'm battling gas prices while working 60 hours a week, with no real bike. But I will get one soon enough...

  15. #190
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    as for the post a couple responses ago, no high schooler "deserves" a car just for ap/ honors courses and good grades: its nothing worth financial reward. That said i got a car from my parents, and though i pay gas, i still dont pay for most of the costs so i really cant be too critical. Ive found old road bikes switched to Single speed or fixed are really reliable inexpensive bikes. you can often keep everything from a garage sale road bike, and just throw 90 down on a fixed/ss wheelset and you have a bomb proof bike

  16. #191
    coOL gUy mkoj's Avatar
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    im 17 and turning 18 in december, and i dont even have my permit yet. never wanted a car, never really felt like i needed one. the public transportation in portland is the best :3

  17. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by elchoopanebre View Post
    I am 18 (19 in less than a month).

    I bike to and from school every day (OP- I live in Baton Rouge and go to LSU- yay for Louisiana...I guess. lol).

    I also have a car, though. I've been wanting to sell it because the blue book value is $3500 and I could use that money for many things-I'm planning a trip to Italy since I've been learning Italian.

    I have a mountain bike as of yet and have been wanting a road bike as well to use for commuting. (Not that I don't like the bike I have- I LOVE my Trek 4500).

    People are pretty understanding about me riding to and from school and coffee shops and close apartments where friends happen to live.

    When I told my parents that I'm considering selling my car, however, they didn't understand. They said I need that car to get places where I can't bike. In some respects they are right. I give younger kids rides a lot (sort of a big brother mentor kind of thing) and if I didn't have a car this wouldn't be possible. In my head, however, the way around this is using my mom's car. When she comes home from work, she's home for the day. It'd be pretty easy to borrow her car.

    Another negative consequence is as follows: there are some trails that are pretty far away from my house but I LOVE THOSE TRAILS. There'd be no way to bike to them, however. I need a car to bring my bike there. I really wish I lived in SoCal or somewhere where trails were right in your back yard and the city was set up for cycling.

    Anyways, sorry for rambling but that's where I'm at right now insofar as biking and becoming car free.
    I live in so-cal and the city IS NOT set up for cycling,i wish it was..I live in San Diego and some of the bike lanes have gutters in them,are way too small,or just impossible to use. A lot of people bike here but it think most people missunderstand and think it is easy. But anyways
    I am 18 and i live car free,anywhere my bike cant take me the bus can.And when im in a hurry or going somehwere really far my girlfriend takes me.

  18. #193
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    Sigh.

    I would like to announce that I fail. Going to tell a bit of my reasons, since I'm sure you all care. Hopefully, this will restart the whole car-free thing (and boy, how different that would be from my current lifestyle).

    About 9 months ago, I biked everywhere. Literally. I did own a car (age 16) and my family paid for all of my gas, but.... as I am sure you all understand, why drive?

    I also ran marathons. Twenty-six point two miles of running. Unfortunately, at my young age, I guess my body couldn't handle all the stress. I developed an extreme form of plantar fasciitis, a foot tissue condition that makes running difficult in normal cases. However, the pain for me was something worse--I couldn't walk for more than five minutes without crying maniacally. I obviously couldn't run anymore, and honestly, I loved running more than biking at that time. It was depressing for me as I seem to rely on exercise for mood control, etc. Biking, though not as painful, still hurt pretty badly surprisingly.

    Anyway, that was about that 6 months ago that I developed plantar fasciitis (PF). I became inactive obviously; after all, I couldn't even walk half a mile at age sixteen.... not because of fitness, but because of the pain. I tried all sorts of treatments for it and it got a little better in maybe five months. I can walk about fifteen or twenty minutes now without crying. Still can't run at all. However, I can bike about 8 miles without the pain being too terrible. I admit it though: I've become lazy. Cars are easier. I don't have to pay for gas. I can hop in the car any time I want because I'm spoiled like that.

    I want to revert to my old habits though. I need that. For my own sake of mind.

    Note to self: stop being lazy. You love biking. Cars suck.




    ....yep, my long-winded, melodramatic-sounding story has met its end. Shrug.

  19. #194
    NJS my life! roughrider504's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaverda View Post
    Sigh.

    I would like to announce that I fail. Going to tell a bit of my reasons, since I'm sure you all care. Hopefully, this will restart the whole car-free thing (and boy, how different that would be from my current lifestyle).

    About 9 months ago, I biked everywhere. Literally. I did own a car (age 16) and my family paid for all of my gas, but.... as I am sure you all understand, why drive?

    I also ran marathons. Twenty-six point two miles of running. Unfortunately, at my young age, I guess my body couldn't handle all the stress. I developed an extreme form of plantar fasciitis, a foot tissue condition that makes running difficult in normal cases. However, the pain for me was something worse--I couldn't walk for more than five minutes without crying maniacally. I obviously couldn't run anymore, and honestly, I loved running more than biking at that time. It was depressing for me as I seem to rely on exercise for mood control, etc. Biking, though not as painful, still hurt pretty badly surprisingly.

    Anyway, that was about that 6 months ago that I developed plantar fasciitis (PF). I became inactive obviously; after all, I couldn't even walk half a mile at age sixteen.... not because of fitness, but because of the pain. I tried all sorts of treatments for it and it got a little better in maybe five months. I can walk about fifteen or twenty minutes now without crying. Still can't run at all. However, I can bike about 8 miles without the pain being too terrible. I admit it though: I've become lazy. Cars are easier. I don't have to pay for gas. I can hop in the car any time I want because I'm spoiled like that.

    I want to revert to my old habits though. I need that. For my own sake of mind.

    Note to self: stop being lazy. You love biking. Cars suck.




    ....yep, my long-winded, melodramatic-sounding story has met its end. Shrug.
    Sorry to hear about your fasciitis. You don't fail, you have a really good reason to drive a car, don't take it hard at all. The people that are more than capable of riding bikes but choose not to are the ones who fail.

  20. #195
    Steel snob by accident iwegian's Avatar
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    i'm car free. i'm off to college so there's not much use for a car anyway. it's fixed gear converted schwinn so it's a tank. i'm doing it partly for fitness. other reason is that when i get the urge to modify, it's cheaper to do a bike.

  21. #196
    James L. jamanesii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua417 View Post
    What do you do when you have to tell your friend you can't drive him to the ER because he just ate some poison of some kind and you both are car free? (dont say call 911)
    Why don't I say call 911? Because that's the reasonable thing to do and that's the only thing you can't come back at. You're not going to get a speeding ticket in an ambulance. If you get pulled over for speeding, you're friend is gonna die. On an ambulance, the EMTs can deliver emergency assistance on the ambulance. You don't drive to the hospital in an emergency, you call 911.
    Quote Originally Posted by flats View Post
    "Not only do these people drive" , I would say to myself, "but they have no perception of the enjoyment I get from not driving." Didn't know what they were missing.

  22. #197
    Why not? EthanYQX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamanesii View Post
    Why don't I say call 911? Because that's the reasonable thing to do and that's the only thing you can't come back at. You're not going to get a speeding ticket in an ambulance. If you get pulled over for speeding, you're friend is gonna die. On an ambulance, the EMTs can deliver emergency assistance on the ambulance. You don't drive to the hospital in an emergency, you call 911.
    Not a chance I'd pull over in that situation. Keep it open, don't try and shake the cops, and explain at the hospital.

    Easy to say, I know, but I can only theorize, right?
    "It is not the critic who counts."

  23. #198
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    There obviously are a few solutions depending on the seriousness of the emergency:

    1. Call 911 if it's a real immediate or serious emergency. If my wife or children had a real life-threatening emergency, I don't think I would be fit to drive anyways.

    2. Call a medical referral service of some sort to know what to do. Here, it's "811" and it is especially good if there is something like poisoning and you want to know if it's emergency material, if there is some immediate action you may do at home, etc.

    3. Call a taxi cab.

    4. Get your neighbour to help. Bring him or her a good lunch some time later.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  24. #199
    Why not? EthanYQX's Avatar
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    No way in hell would I let a cab driver take control in that situation.
    "It is not the critic who counts."

  25. #200
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    Call 911. That's what taxes are for, aren't they?

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