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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 09-13-23, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by bharrisonb
I live on Cape Ann ... there are several great 25 to 40 miles loop rides from Gloucester. Today, I cycled from Good Harbor to Singing Beach and back ... along the coast (White/Black/Gray beach MBTS and Magnolia). I love these early morning rides. Soon, I'll be able to share URLs and photos ... will do so when I'm not longer a newbie.
Welcome to Bike Forums in general and this thread in particular.

When I lived on the North Shore, I would frequently ride from Dane Street Beach in Beverly to the fisherman's statue in Gloucester via 127. I think that's about a 26 mile roundtrip.

Looking forward to seeing your ride photos of Cape Ann (this thread is a bit metro-west heavy...)

Tom
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Old 09-13-23, 08:30 PM
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Cycling Cape Ann ...

Hi bike_tom ... Indeed ... check out my rides on Strava ... I ride to Dane Street (or sometimes Independence Park, a few blocks down) from Gloucester when I want a good 35 to 40 mile loop (depends if I also throw in Gloucester's Back Shore / Bass Rocks). Rt 127 is a fine road, especially the off shoots to Singing Beach , White Beach, and Magnolia.
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Old 09-20-23, 11:54 AM
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Wow, I've never seen this thread quiet for so long. You can hear the crickets...

Is no one riding?

Here's my excuse: travel followed by COVID (acquired while travelling). My wife tested positive first, then I did a few days after we returned home.
This was the first time for both of us. My symptoms were relatively mild, and after a course of paxlovid, I feel fine now

So, today I got out on a bike for the first time in almost three weeks. It felt so good to be out there, and the weather was fabulous.
I rode the Checkpoint out to Depot Park on the MM.

Waiting to cross Mystic St on the way out, I could see the steeple at the Unitarian Church is getting a little TLC:




Passed this wide load can man:



On my weekday MM rides I often see a large group ride that is skewed toward an older set of casual riders. I've wondered who the organizer is:




I think the bike was as happy as I was to be at Depot Park:



It was tempting to go further and check out the Reformatory Branch, but I decided it was best to ease back into it, so I headed back from there.

Spotted this neat old VW bug in Arlington Center on the way back:



It's got New Hampshire plates, so it's getting a fair amount of exercise.

Speaking of exercise: today's ride was just what my mind and body needed.

I hope the rest of you who typically post here are doing well.

Tom
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Old 09-20-23, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
Wow, I've never seen this thread quiet for so long. You can hear the crickets...

Is no one riding?

Here's my excuse: travel followed by COVID (acquired while travelling). My wife tested positive first, then I did a few days after we returned home.
This was the first time for both of us. My symptoms were relatively mild, and after a course of paxlovid, I feel fine now
Originally Posted by bike_tom
I hope the rest of you who typically post here are doing well.
I am, and glad to hear you are on the mend. My wife has caught some kind of bug (not that one, we tested) that's been making her feverish and miserable since last night.

I haven't been riding much but yesterday I actually got the urge to see something other than the BFRT, tossed the Dawes in the trunk, and headed to Bedford for the Narrow Gauge trail. I parked at Fawn Lake and headed south, and when I got to Depot Park, decided to finally explore the MM. Not sure how far I got, somewhere just past Route 4 in Lexington, I think. It was late afternoon and I was taking it easy on the unfamiliar (to me) trail, so there were plenty of commuters passing me. I was actually glad to leave both the speeding crowds and the root damage behind when I got back to the depot.

Of course, the NGRT had its own share of issues from this rainy summer. Not a lot of actual washed-outs ruts but it felt very loose, particularly near the VA facility. Standing and seeping water there, too.

I got back to my car with plenty of time to spare and so decided to keep rolling into Billerica. Some more wet trail, and a deep, muddy, unavoidable puddle of maybe 60 feet near the gate, but most of it was fine, and of course I encountered just a few other users.




Packed up the bike and decided to stroll to the water's edge. Moments later, a heron landed on the opposite shore, too far off for a picture.



Altogether only about 13 easy miles, but a welcome workout for my reflexes and sense of balance on the loose stuff.
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Old 09-22-23, 03:20 PM
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I was feeling a bit of post-covid fatigue this morning, but after lunch I had more energy so I decided to venture out on the bike and see how far I got.

My initial goal was to ride the MM at least to Lexington. I ended up blowing past that, riding the MM to the Bedford Depot, then out the Reformatory Branch Trail to Concord Center.

The last time I rode the RBT was exactly three weeks ago. Today the surface was pretty good, the benefit of not having any rain since Monday. In several places it appeared that a definite effort had been made to improved drainage by channeling water off to the side of the trail.


Most of the RBT looked like this:




You can see in the next photo that the swale has been deepened on the right side of the trail. This is the western quagmire, approaching Monument St:




Looking across Lowell Rd at Nosh Café:




Another example of improved drainage was near the optional dirt jump approaching Great Meadows Rd. That deep drainage cut along the left side of the trail (facing east now) is new:



That section is still pretty rutted, but much better than it was three weeks ago.

Great Meadows, while still green, is showing signs of impending autumn:




From there I headed back to Depot Park and then to Lexington via the MM. Along the way I passed an older rider on a recumbent trike who caught up with me later at the Lexington Visitor's Center. Its a neat looking machine:



It appears to have electric assist. I can see a 'bent like that being appropriate at some point in life. Maybe in 2043 I'll be posting one of those for a New Bike Day...

There was a crew finishing up the road work adjacent to the Visitor's Center. I believe this is related to the curb changes made over the summer to provide tour bus parking:




Back home to Arlington was fast and uneventful. The overall journey was the usual 27 miles and change. So far I am feeling pretty good. Hopefully I didn't overdue it. My biggest issue the past few days has been getting a good night's sleep. Hopefully the fresh air and exercise will make that more likely.

Tom
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Old 09-26-23, 05:11 PM
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I managed to get a ride in on Saturday morning, before the weekend turned rainy once again. Got to the cranberry bog and even played around in there a bit, which given the day, and the forecast, meant making slow progress but meeting several good dogs airing out their human companions. A nice distraction on what was otherwise a pretty lost weekend, as my wife was still feeling miserable.

By now, she is much better, and I had some time in the afternoon to celebrate the return of the sunshine. I headed south on the Dawes for the now-customary 8 miles to NARA Park, mostly on the BFRT, followed by pushing the bike around the pond and then returning by a slightly different route. I set out in convertible long pants and did indeed unzip the long pant legs once in the sunshine at NARA. The garden beds and wildflowers near the pavilion were still beautiful and hosting all kinds of winged visitors.



I was glad I spotted this bug just in time as I was leaning the bike against a bench. A differential grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis), my app tells me. Bad news, in numbers, for farm crops.



I left the trail at Heart Pond and soaked up some more sun next to the lifeguard seat, which was doing the same. Another summer sight soon to disappear.



15.9 miles and 540 vertical feet.
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Old 09-27-23, 04:26 PM
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This afternoon I hopped on the Fuji for a ride out to the Bedford Depot. Beautiful weather.

Lexington was using a self-propelled blower to clear off the Minuteman. I hadn't seen this particular machine before. While I appreciated the end result, passing it was like riding through a dirty hurricane, as it was blowing across the trail from right to left:



On a ride to Depot Park last week, I encountered a rider who had his bike up on one of the benches as if it were a bike rack. I had never seen anyone do that before, so I struck up a conversation. He said he got the idea from another rider just a few weeks earlier. Well, today, I met a guy who said he had been doing it for 20 years. Maybe he's the one spreading the idea.
This is what I mean:



Once you see it done, it's like "of course!" When you think about it, the bench is built just like some bike racks.
No part of the bike touches the bench except the tire, as least on my bike. And the seating area does not get dirty. It will probably work with up to 32mm tires.

Back at Lexington, this little four legged guy was checking out the two wheeled conveyance:



After consuming a Clif bar while the pooch waited for crumbs, I continued homeward on the MM.

A pleasant 19 miles.

Tom
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Old 09-28-23, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
Love the Fuji! I was just going through part of the sport touring thread over in C&V the other day and saw it there. I missed out on a slightly older S12-S LTD over the weekend that somebody put on FB Marketplace for $20. I'm sure they had plenty of interest!

I think I'll go in that direction with the Lotus but I want to mount fenders, too. This was on a quick 5 mile loop today, just to remind myself what needs sorting. Strictly a photo op, the trail there (Crooked Spring in Chelmsford) is not really rideable, but I walked it many times when we had a dog. The bridge is a welcome recent improvement that saves having to step into the road for 50 feet.

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Old 09-28-23, 06:24 PM
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This morning's ride ... Gloucester, Essex, Ipswich, Essex, MBTS, back to Gloucester




At Crane Beach with my Specialized Sequoia (2008 version).

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Old 09-28-23, 08:50 PM
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Just got back from Italy, a walking tour of Cinque Terre. My other bike is a pair of hiking boots.


Took the opportunity to change up the bike rotation yet again. I took the 1982 Specialized Sequoia, extensively modified as a go-fast by a previous owner, out for a spin this afternoon. I pretty much decided on the spot to raise the handlebar. I stopped in at Battle Road Bikes to see if we had reached the bike-tinkering-projects time of year. It appears that if we're not there yet, we're getting close.


The Mile 4.0 Cairn Builders have stood up a chthonian court tableau. I didn't linger, in case one of them might want me to pay taxes to the underworld. It could happen.


rod
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Old 09-29-23, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
Just got back from Italy, a walking tour of Cinque Terre. My other bike is a pair of hiking boots.

rod
Welcome back. I'm glad you were absent for something fun.

That photo in Italy is amazing.

Tom
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Old 09-29-23, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
Welcome back. I'm glad you were absent for something fun.

That photo in Italy is amazing.

Tom
Amen to that. I've already tested negatve once since returning, in spite of the coughers and sneezers in my end of the plane. Suspect masking helped. Will test again, and am scheduled for the new-and-improved Cootie Shot. So it goes ...

rod
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Old 09-29-23, 06:27 PM
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Today was one of those days when it seemed absurd not to take the bike out. It was also one of those days when the Pocket Devil was predicting rain in the afternoon, and more of it than it had been predicting 24 hours previous. What to do? I took the Rivendell Atlantis out on the Minuteman, as the sky delivered an honest rain shower, neither drizzle nor downpour. The Atlantis, with its long wheelbase and 55mm Antelope Hill Extralight tires, rolled smoothly along.


The rain fell smoothly as well, each drop seeming to be an utterance of sorts, a discussion in a notional zoom meeting, with a consensus reached: Roof the Minuteman! Meanwhile, shoes were soaked, pants were soaked, gloves were soaked. The shell did what it could, which was pretty good, as far as it went, but I was pretty well wet. A few other riders were sheltering under bridges. Been a while since I've turned out for a rainy day ride. Good way to pass the time.

rod
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Old 10-01-23, 06:54 AM
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Saturday, the rain had ended and I took the Sam Hillborne and rode East.


As I cranked up the first big hill, climbing out of West Medford on the aptly-named High Street, I reflected that these hills-and-traffic drills had a lot to do with my relative preparedness for the recent Cinque Terre walking tour. Don't know whether that's true, but it felt true. And rolling down the hills again is simply fun; the long descent down Fellsway East, ending at Fellsmere Pond, is a favorite example..


Rolling back into East Arlington towards the end of the ride, I encountered a large flock of Canada geese. Seconds before I was able to get the Devil out of the Pocket, a squad of them elicited a prolonged fanfare from an SUV driver who was asserting right-of-way. I had mixed sympathies in that situation.


rod
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Old 10-02-23, 12:52 PM
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Two shots from a quick late Sunday afternoon ride on the Zizzo. I had been out for a pretty fast 25 miles (West Concord and back on the BFRT) on Saturday and wanted to force myself to take it easy, hence the folding bike. I also drove to the BFRT in Chelmsford Center. Which I promptly forgot on the return leg until I was already halfway up the hill

Even so, not even 11 miles.

I had a pump with me but thought it would be easier to use the stationary pump at the Brickhouse restaurant. It turned out the pump head there is pretty much shot. A mom and kid arrived moments after me, newbies as it turned out, so I let them use it first and helped. Even with extra hands to hold the pump head down, we only got to 40 psi or so.

Not a lot of users on the trail (Patriots game?) but I was more in the mood for side roads and the cranberry bog:


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Old 10-02-23, 07:02 PM
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Monday, towards the end of the afternoon, I continued to thrash the order of the rotation by taking the Rivendell Appaloosa up the Mystic Valley Parkway and along the Mystic Lakes. I hadn't had it out since June of 2022; time flies when you're having fun with other bicycles. The Appaloosa, with its current build, is not like the other children. While it has fat, supple Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge tires and a long-wheelbase Rivendell touring frame, its V (for Violent) brakes, lack of fenders, trigger shifters, 1x10 drivetrain, and swept back Nitto Billie bars (that elicit nostalgia from men of a certain age) distinguish it from the run of the mill 3x9, bar end shifted, cantilever-or-caliper-brake-equiped, Noodle steered bikes that it shares parking space with. I spent most of the ride adjusting the saddle height, and believe I finally got that right (until the next ride, of course). I also verified that I still believe that I need to adjust the angle on the Billie bars, from its current rise of ~3° to a dip of perhaps 5°. Grasping the handlebars with the rise leads to sore forearms (last year's experimental result). I'll play around with the bike in its present configuration over the next month or two, perhaps that will open my eyes, but come Winter Bike Tinkering Season, this Rivendell Web Special one-off prototype cruiser is most likely going to be converted into an honest touring bike, or something like one. The frame is too good to waste on silliness, I think.

But that's then. For today, I rolled into a scene out of a Bergman film, in which a solemn boatman in an outrigger canoe, evoking Charon, slowly advances on a soul. The Mystic Lakes are like that.


rod

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Old 10-04-23, 04:45 PM
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I took a quick ride on the Dawes in what was left of the daylight. My wife only had time for a brief walk together, and it felt like that wasn't doing justice to this amazing weather. A simple 9.2 mile loop into Westford with not much to show. I never even sipped from my bottle, and stopped only once, for this:




255 Graniteville Road in Chelmsford, if anyone is interested.
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Old 10-04-23, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by EVlove
I took a quick ride on the Dawes in what was left of the daylight. My wife only had time for a brief walk together, and it felt like that wasn't doing justice to this amazing weather. A simple 9.2 mile loop into Westford with not much to show. I never even sipped from my bottle, and stopped only once, for this:




255 Graniteville Road in Chelmsford, if anyone is interested.
Cool! A Time Machine for sale!

rod
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Old 10-04-23, 10:03 PM
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Took the Sam Hillborne out for a late-afternoon ride on the Minuteman that developed into a sunset ride.


Sometimes a meditative solitude prevailed.


Sometimes devilish population density carried the day, through one encounter after another. At times, that felt dangerous. No pictures of the really hairy episodes, but there were times the dominant mood was misanthropic. Perhaps I was confusing conditions on the Minuteman with zoning bylaws currently under discussion.


Oddly enough, once I got back on the street to ride the last few blocks home, a spirit of calm descended. Perhaps that was a route-planning tip from the bicycle gods.

rod
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Old 10-05-23, 05:49 PM
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I had a busy morning and early afternoon today, but I managed to get out for a ride at 3pm. I hadn't been on the Narrow Gauge Rail Trail in a while, so I made that my goal. Since I also hadn't been on the Cannondale hardtail in awhile, I chose it as my companion.

I began the trip by riding the Minuteman out to Depot Park, from which I picked up the Narrow Gauge. The NGRT was in pretty good shape - mostly dry as seen here passing the "JOY" display:



Suitably equipped with 29 x 2.0 rubber, I ventured onto the rough and loose segment beyond the gates at the Billerica line. It was somewhat quicksand like, but not nearly as bad as back in August, when the wet sand stuck to my tires like glue. Here's the current trail endpoint at Springs Rd and Astrig way:



I say current endpoint because Billerica has a plan in the works to build a trail beyond this to be known as the Yankee Doodle Bikeway.

Here's some info on that: https://www.town.billerica.ma.us/831...odle-Bike-Path

Stopped at Fawn Lake on the way back:



The obligatory pose at Bedford Depot:



Passing through Lexington on the way back I stopped to observe the road work where Bedford St, Hancock St, and Harrington Rd meet:



This has been chewed up for awhile. Apparently the previous configuration is being replaced with a roundabout: https://www.lexingtonma.gov/235/Batt...tscape-Project

Approaching Mystic St Arlington I couldn't help but think "you're gonna need a bigger bike path":



A nice ~26 mile ride. Speaking of which, I finally signed up for Strava. This was the first ride where I used it - I am still learning the features.

Tom

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Old 10-06-23, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
I say current endpoint because Billerica has a plan in the works to build a trail beyond this to be known as the Yankee Doodle Bikeway.

Here's some info on that: https://www.town.billerica.ma.us/831...odle-Bike-Path
Thanks, I wasn't aware of that project. $19 million, ouch. I don't suppose it's going to happen anytime soon then.
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Old 10-06-23, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by EVlove
Thanks, I wasn't aware of that project. $19 million, ouch. I don't suppose it's going to happen anytime soon then.
Believe it or not, MA DOT has it scheduled to start during Winter 2024/2025: https://hwy.massdot.state.ma.us/Proj...JECT_NO=608227

On a side note, the Minuteman Bikeway Extension, aka paving the Reformatory Branch, isn't dead, its just rescheduled to 2050!

https://hwy.massdot.state.ma.us/Proj...JECT_NO=607738



Tom
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Old 10-06-23, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
Approaching Mystic St Arlington I couldn't help but think "you're gonna need a bigger bike path":

Good grief. This is why I'm glad to be out here! And trending even further out on my rides. I'm hoping to check out a trail or two in southern N.H. this weekend. Sunday looks like the better bet.
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Old 10-06-23, 04:44 PM
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On what might just be the last day for riding in shorts this season, first I did a rare grocery run on the Dawes (4.6 miles) and then I headed out on the BFRT once again. All the way to the Donelan's supermarket in Acton, although not for groceries. The squirrels and chipmunks are absolutely frantic right now, I had some very close calls. On the return leg, leaving the trail at Heart Pond, I encountered a much more alert and cautious animal, a single turkey hen. Almost certainly the same one I've seen there before. I assured her that I was friendly but that those were good instincts to have for a bird like her, at a time like this.

19.3 miles and 609 vertical feet.



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Old 10-09-23, 04:57 PM
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My wife and I went for a ride on the Bruce Freeman today. It seemed like a good opportunity to get out there, and also avoid the possible holiday throngs on the Minuteman. We drove out from Arlington and parked at the West Concord BFRT lot. Like last time, we agreed on a 20 mile roundtrip. This time we just headed north (as opposed to doing the short trip south to the Sudbury line), which took us a mile or so beyond Hart Pond.

The weather was great and the trail was pretty quiet in most places. There autumn colors were breaking out all over.
You can see here that we had this stretch to ourselves:



We stopped to use the restrooms at Nara Park, but they are closed for the season. No problem - we used the porta-potty at the next parking area.

Hart Pond was peaceful:



This camera didn't capture the full text of this sign, which actually says "Beach closed due to high levels of algae":



I suppose, besides the chilly weather, that also explains the sparse crowds at the pond.

Continuing the journey, I hadn't previously noticed the dragonfly motif on the wayfinding posts:



Completing the ride, we stowed the bikes in the car. As has become our habit when we visit the BFRT, we had lunch at Nashoba Brook Bakery afterward.
It was pretty busy, even at 2pm:



We sat outside to enjoy our meal, as did many other cyclists:



A great early fall day.

Tom
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