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Riding in Georgia in August - What's it like?

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Riding in Georgia in August - What's it like?

Old 03-10-08, 05:51 PM
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Cycling in Atlanta

Hi Cylowe;

I am a fellow Northerner, Originally from the Cleveland Area and have been here in Northeast Atlanta for almost 30 years. I personally love the heat, but do know that in mid-August, the heat can be stifling, especially in midday. I came home one day last year, redfaced and dizzy, after about 35-40 miles and it was all I could do not to pass out. I was riding mid-afternoon because that was the only time I got to play.

If you ride in the morning or evening, especially up towards the mountains, it won't be as bad. Just plan to hydrate a ton and drink lots of beer in the evenings to replenish your energy.

You can find tons of great rides within 1-1.5 hours of Atlanta, let me know what you are looking for. If you want not too steep and controlled access, we have a rails to trails paved trail called the Silver Comet. As of now you can hit 84+ miles without having to ride on a public road. The rest of North Atlanta will surprise you, there aren't too many flat spots. I live within 20-30 minutes of the foothills. I have a 12-15 percent grade just to get out of my subdivision.

If you want to ride Three Gap, Six Gap, Brasstown, or any other of these, let me know. I would be glad to help set you up with specifics. Let me know how fit you are and how much you want. That area is a real ball-buster. You will need to be in good shape and have good climbing gears. There are hills that last 45 minutes to an hour on that ride.
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Old 03-10-08, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Donegal View Post
Just plan to hydrate a ton and drink lots of beer in the evenings to replenish your energy.
^^ That I can do ^^

I'm actually really looking forward to heading down to Georgia, even though it means missing one of my favorite ball-busting rides in Wisconsin: The Dairyland Dare. I will be getting as many rides in up to the west of Madison, WI, this summer as I can. There are some serious steep hills in that area and are a challenge thrill to ride for a native flatlander like me. The closest thing I may have for training will be a few climbs up Blue Mound, which is about three miles of pretty steep stuff (a few sections that I think hit 15% or more, I think) and the home of the Horribly Hilly Hundreds ride.

I'm pretty sure I want to do a few 50-60 mile rides over the weekend I'm in Atlanta, including at least one in the north part of the state. My fitness by that point will dictate what I'll end up riding, but I think I'll be in good shape for rolling out at dawn and finishing up before noon each day.

I found this link to some cue sheets for the Three Gap, Six Gap, and a few other rides. Can someone take a gander and see how accurate they look? They didn't have corresponding maps, but I think I could use mapmyride or something like that. I also looked at the atlbike.org link below and that looks promising.

If anyone is interested, the dates I'm looking to ride are Friday August 15th, Saturday August 16th and Sunday August 17th. I can easily get up north, which is what I really want to do and will be back in Atlanta each night with my family.

Keep the great ideas coming!

Last edited by CyLowe97; 03-10-08 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 03-11-08, 05:03 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by CyLowe97 View Post
I found this link to some cue sheets for the Three Gap, Six Gap, and a few other rides. Can someone take a gander and see how accurate they look? They didn't have corresponding maps, but I think I could use mapmyride or something like that. I also looked at the atlbike.org link below and that looks promising.
Cyclowe --
Some of those routes, like the Kennesaw, is the old Coffee n' Bagel route. The ride has dis-banded, mainly due to to traffic. Similar situation for the Cartersville. As for the some of the others, ie Hill City, I won't ride that road either. Also, my suggestion is to be careful about cue sheets, use them only when you have maps to get you back on course. My friend Tim has done a lot of cue sheets, which I'll have to get that link for you. On atlbike.org, in the reviews menu, top left, try the Rides:WebSources option. I'll add Tim's site to that list later. SouthEasternCycling.com (my friend Trish) has assembled a large collection of routes.

IMO - I'm a real twit about the quality of routes, traffic etc. and always prefer maps as too often roads can change or signs can be down, construction and various other reasons.
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Old 03-11-08, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by CyLowe97 View Post
^^ That I can do ^^

I'm actually really looking forward to heading down to Georgia, even though it means missing one of my favorite ball-busting rides in Wisconsin: The Dairyland Dare. I will be getting as many rides in up to the west of Madison, WI, this summer as I can. There are some serious steep hills in that area and are a challenge thrill to ride for a native flatlander like me. The closest thing I may have for training will be a few climbs up Blue Mound, which is about three miles of pretty steep stuff (a few sections that I think hit 15% or more, I think) and the home of the Horribly Hilly Hundreds ride.

I'm pretty sure I want to do a few 50-60 mile rides over the weekend I'm in Atlanta, including at least one in the north part of the state. My fitness by that point will dictate what I'll end up riding, but I think I'll be in good shape for rolling out at dawn and finishing up before noon each day.

I found this link to some cue sheets for the Three Gap, Six Gap, and a few other rides. Can someone take a gander and see how accurate they look? They didn't have corresponding maps, but I think I could use mapmyride or something like that. I also looked at the atlbike.org link below and that looks promising.

If anyone is interested, the dates I'm looking to ride are Friday August 15th, Saturday August 16th and Sunday August 17th. I can easily get up north, which is what I really want to do and will be back in Atlanta each night with my family.

Keep the great ideas coming!
Also go to this site for more details on three/six gap. https://www.dahlonega.org/festivals/s...bike-ride.html The three gap ride is doable as the first gap is a 35-40 minute climb for us old guys, the second, much shorter but steeper, the third is negligible. The downhill in the end is awesome, just beware when the signs talk about the turns tightening up. There is one 180 degree turn at the end that can be dangerous if you are crushing it. The maps are great here and you can also do the rear three gaps by parking at Vogel State Park and going out from there. Just remember, the last gap that way is Hogpen, pure torture and Brasstown Bald is accessible that way if you want more.

Go to MapmyRide.com and put in the areas you will ride in. Many of us have put our rides in there so they can be accessed. Many of the more popular routes are in there with cue sheets, elevations and maps.

Don't forget, even though each hill is not rated, you will be constantly climbing and descending because there are almost no flat spots. Just rolling down the road is and adventure, especially for a flatlander. I love it when Floridian riders who are 1/2 my age and in better shape disappear in the rear view mirror because they underestimated the terrain. On Brasstown, Even some of the pros rode with a triple. My friends have climbed it with a 39/27 and they are avid cyclists. Bring a climbing cassette if you are going north. I ride them now with a Compact Crankset. It suits me better.

Good Luck

Last edited by Donegal; 03-11-08 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 08-01-08, 03:30 PM
  #30  
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Hi again. Bumping this thread as it's getting near time for my trip down to Georgia.

I think I'm going to give the 3 Gap 50 mile route a go, as shown on the organized ride map. I've got a few questions.
  • Where is the best place to park in Dahlonega to start the route where my car won't look too out of place?
  • Are there any places (shops, gas stations, water fountains) along the route, or am I on my own? I'll have at least 4 bottles with me, but it would be good to know there is a stopping point out there with fuel.
  • How is cell coverage out along the roads? I can take care of minor roadside repairs, but it's always good to know I can contact someone if need be.
If anyone is up for riding this route and wants to watch a northern guy suffer, send me a PM. I'd love to meet some folks from the area. I'll be in the area early as I can on Friday 8/15.

Also, I think I'm going to try to ride somewhere in/around Atlanta on Saturday 8/16 in the morning. We're staying with a friend in the Piedmont Park area of Atlanta. Any good road rides that are convenient from there?

Thanks!
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Old 08-01-08, 03:56 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by CyLowe97 View Post
Hi again. Bumping this thread as it's getting near time for my trip down to Georgia.

I think I'm going to give the 3 Gap 50 mile route a go, as shown on the organized ride map. I've got a few questions.
  • Where is the best place to park in Dahlonega to start the route where my car won't look too out of place?
  • Are there any places (shops, gas stations, water fountains) along the route, or am I on my own? I'll have at least 4 bottles with me, but it would be good to know there is a stopping point out there with fuel.
  • How is cell coverage out along the roads? I can take care of minor roadside repairs, but it's always good to know I can contact someone if need be.
If anyone is up for riding this route and wants to watch a northern guy suffer, send me a PM. I'd love to meet some folks from the area. I'll be in the area early as I can on Friday 8/15.

Also, I think I'm going to try to ride somewhere in/around Atlanta on Saturday 8/16 in the morning. We're staying with a friend in the Piedmont Park area of Atlanta. Any good road rides that are convenient from there?

Thanks!
Transit and Parking: It takes me about an hour to get to Dahlonega from in-town Atlanta. Dahlonega is more like Mayberry than Detroit – just park legally and your car should be fine.

Cell overage: Check with your carrier’s website – they will have a coverage map. If it shows any coverage in the area, then at the minimum, you should have coverage on the hilltops.

Water: That’s a really important issue in Georgia in August – I can’t give you a good answer (other than pointing out that the town of Suches is on the route and I think there are a couple of stores) but you need to resolve that before heading out to the gaps.

Stone Mountain Park is about 16 miles from Midtown (via the “PATH”) and, while the trip to and from the park has lots of stop and go, Stone Mountain Park itself is a great place for a training ride – some good hills, plenty of water fountains and you never have to stop.
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Old 08-01-08, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by FastFreddy View Post
Stone Mountain Park is about 16 miles from Midtown (via the “PATH”) and, while the trip to and from the park has lots of stop and go, Stone Mountain Park itself is a great place for a training ride – some good hills, plenty of water fountains and you never have to stop.
Ahh. Thanks for this. The PATH site has some maps that look to be excellent for getting from Atlanta to Stone Mountain. Maybe I'll ride out there and have the family meet me there to explore a bit.
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Old 08-01-08, 07:31 PM
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You're just in time for the hottest week of the summer yet !!!
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Old 08-01-08, 08:10 PM
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Hi Cylowe, I will be sending you a more detailed update Sunday or Monday. I am planning to ride the 3 gaps Sunday Morning, and will check on weather and conditions. We usually park at Turner's Corner, and begin our ride up Neel's, 45 minutes of climbing right out of the car. The grade isn't too bad, it's just long.
There is a country store on top of the hill that you can refill your water bottles at. I will drink Accelerade that first hour and refill with plain water. Take along something to eat on the bike, usually some type of power bars, gel, etc.

The descent from Neal's is short and sweet, you make a left right after Vogel State Park and hit Wolfpen, it is a steep mofo. It is entirely shaded and is a quiet bunch of switchbacks, straight up. The descent is really cool, lots of bike handling. After Wolfpen, you get a few miles of rollers and hit Suches. There is a convenience store to stock up at the corner that you turn. Stop and load up on supplies. There is only one more small hill, Woody's gap not too bad at all.

Then the fun begins, a major league long run downhill. Watch the warning signs, one or two of the curves tighten up pretty quick and you will be flying, especially watch the last big one that calls for 20 mph. It keeps getting tighter until you go 180 degrees and back. Most of the hill you will be spun out of your highest gear and enjoying life.

I haven't been training much as of late and I will let you know how it goes.
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Old 08-02-08, 02:41 PM
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Excellent details. Thanks, Donegal!

I was up west of Madison, WI, today slogging up the longest hills to be found anywhere within 100 miles of my place, so I'm ready for something even longer.

The weather didn't cooperate for my preparation, though. It was sunny, 80's and low humidity. A picture perfect day, but I needed something a bit more humid to get ready.
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Old 08-02-08, 05:51 PM
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If you go up to the 6 Gap area you will have a better time on a weekday. There will be a lot few motorcycles then.

Of the 6 gaps Hogpen is by far the hardest. If you find that one to be easy, then do Brasstown Bald (make the turn at the top of Jacks Gap). If you find that one to be easy, then find a pro team.
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Old 08-03-08, 01:36 PM
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There's a Saturday group ride that leaves from Dunwoody High School, about 15 miles north or so of Midtown.
Its about 35 miles with some good climbs and fast flats along the 'Hootch, as we ride the river basin for a good ways, then hit one climb in the national forest before we head back.

If you're interested in that for Saturday, PM me and I can send you more info.
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Old 08-03-08, 01:51 PM
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Just went out this PM. Temp is 97 and humidity is way up there. The ice cold drink I had with me in the garage left a huge puddle of water on the table.

Secret to success in these temps is lots of liquid, both before and during your ride. I always drink Propel/Gatoraide/etc prior to ride and take 100oz Camelbak with me on the ride.

The climbs you are looking at will be brutal in August. The Brasstown Bald climb would slam Lance, so I hope you are in good shape.

Remember your sunscreen too.

Cheers
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Old 08-03-08, 02:39 PM
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I'm old -- 54 -- and fat and i always manage to leave home around 1:00 PM. I'm also a moron, I guess.

I sometimes drink a gallon and a half on a 3-4 hour ride.

But you know, I make it. I get home and yeah I'm tired, and yes the ride can be miserable at times, but I'm always glad I did it. Just be careful. Maybe I'm lucky because I've lived here most of my life and played football in high school and college and it was just as hot, but I was wearing pads which made it hotter, though I doubt it. It's hot for everyone. But if you're careful and not crazy you'll be fine.

Have fun.
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Old 08-03-08, 06:20 PM
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Hogpen is the hardest. I am in Alabama , but ride over into Georgia alot. If you have never ridden in this humidity, you are in for a treat. I ride at all times of the day, but I have lived here all my life. Have fun.
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Old 08-04-08, 08:58 AM
  #41  
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May want to check out this book:
https://www.trails.com/catalog_produc...FamilyID=10211

I'd like to mention that August last year we had a week of super high temps (100F+) and, in the city at least, it didn't cool off at night. Very unnatural feeling to walk out onto the porch into midday-type heat at 10 pm. It was REALLY like walking into an oven. Hooray for climate change!

I'd recommend the big, insulated-type water bottles. fill with water and freeze overnight and they will melt slowly through the ride.

I commuted to work at 3pm last Saturday, only 3 miles, and just about got heat stroke. I guess I'm a wuss. :-)
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Old 08-04-08, 09:03 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Donegal View Post
Hi Cylowe, I will be sending you a more detailed update Sunday or Monday. I am planning to ride the 3 gaps Sunday Morning, and will check on weather and conditions. We usually park at Turner's Corner, and begin our ride up Neel's, 45 minutes of climbing right out of the car. The grade isn't too bad, it's just long.
There is a country store on top of the hill that you can refill your water bottles at. I will drink Accelerade that first hour and refill with plain water. Take along something to eat on the bike, usually some type of power bars, gel, etc.

The descent from Neal's is short and sweet, you make a left right after Vogel State Park and hit Wolfpen, it is a steep mofo. It is entirely shaded and is a quiet bunch of switchbacks, straight up. The descent is really cool, lots of bike handling. After Wolfpen, you get a few miles of rollers and hit Suches. There is a convenience store to stock up at the corner that you turn. Stop and load up on supplies. There is only one more small hill, Woody's gap not too bad at all.

Then the fun begins, a major league long run downhill. Watch the warning signs, one or two of the curves tighten up pretty quick and you will be flying, especially watch the last big one that calls for 20 mph. It keeps getting tighter until you go 180 degrees and back. Most of the hill you will be spun out of your highest gear and enjoying life.

I haven't been training much as of late and I will let you know how it goes.
Just to add a few things to this.

It is easy to miss the left turn to go up Wolfpen when descending Neel's Gap if you don't know where it is. Keep your eyes open for it.

If you do the three gaps from Turner's Corner and don't start/stop in Dahlonega you get to ride on recently resurfaced US 19.

There will be fewer motorcycles zooming around on Friday and few motorhomes, too.
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Old 08-04-08, 01:17 PM
  #43  
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Normal gear is a 100 Oz camelback filled with either a propel/water or gatoraide/water mix and a pair of 1.5 liter bottles of water for when that runs dry. Stay hydrated and if you're legs are good enough you'll have fun on Brasstown Bald.
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Old 08-04-08, 01:21 PM
  #44  
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I don't think I'm going to have it to give a realistic shot at Brasstown.

The current plan is to ride Neels, Wolfpen, and Woody Gaps early morning Friday the 15th. Enjoy/survive those first and we'll see what happens from there.
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Old 08-04-08, 05:22 PM
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You guys are intense riders. That's cool.

I live in Peachtree City, about 35 miles south of Atlanta. Great place to ride recreationally, but probably not for what you have in mind. I will say this, however: Once you get an hour's drive south of Atlanta the terrain gets significantly flatter. The bottom third of the state is dead flat, especially at the coast.

Look into Callaway Gardens, about 1.5 hours south of Atlanta on I-85. There should be some good riding there with moderate hills.


Here's how the weather usually works in August:

Overnight the temperature will drop to about 70, give or take a couple degrees.

So, at about 6:00am you'll have a nice, cool morning with low humidity. Then, around 9:00 it will start to humidify and heat up rapidly, VERY rapidly. By 11:00am it will be about 85 and humid as all get out. By noon it's over. 90 degrees and humid. It will stay that way until about 30 minutes before dark.

To put it into perspective, it is currently 7:20 pm and the temperature is 90 degrees. It won't start dropping for another half hour or so.

Definitely wake up very early. If you are out by 6:00 am you should easily have two hours of comfort, maybe three.



This is for the Atlanta area and surrounding. I can't speak for the mountains as I've only been there a handful of times, and usually go in the fall for the various festivals.
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Old 08-05-08, 03:46 PM
  #46  
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Compared to last summer, this summer has been down right temperate. I dont think its hit 100 yet, but it is hot and humid, my advice is to get out with the sun or go up into the mountains and get some relief from the elevation. That being said, I like to go out in late afternoon (Im on my way out the door right now) and just do a quick 15 miles. But there is little shade in most places and I have hurled from the heat/over working before and one time I walked into a convience store, slammed a 5 on the counter, grabbed a 32 oz. Gatorade and literally drank it while lying under the guy's ac for about a half hour. After your ride enjoy a nice cool iced SWEET tea, sit on a rocking chair on your friends' poarch and complain about how hot it is.
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Old 08-05-08, 07:07 PM
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Right now it's 9:05 pm and weather.com says it's 86, but feels like 95.

Morning is the only time you can ride without heat (or after midnight) in August.

Or, do what I did today: Ride anyway. My wife called me at work this afternoon and said, "It's 94 degrees. Do you want me to pick you up?"

I said, "Nah, I'll drink extra water and ride slower."

Granted, my commute is only a little over four miles, but still it was hot. I rode in mostly shade.

Tomorrow's high is supposed to be 98. Since my toughest riding is on the way to work, I don't worry about it too much. On the way home it's HOT, but like I said, I just take it easy on the way home and it's mostly downhill.

Today I found a way to get home that involves a lot less climbing. It's funny, because when I try a new way, and start going down hill for awhile, I begin to think, "this isn't good. What goes down must go up."

Technically, my ride to work should only involve one small hill, but because of the woods, there really isn't an easy way to get straight to work, so I have to go a longer route that adds a couple miles. Those two extra miles are where the hills are.

In the future (already planned in the city), they'll have newer roads that cut through the woods. Now, I'm an environmentalist to a certain degree, but I'm actually looking forward to those new roads. They'll cut my commute time dramatically.

Last edited by Fairmont; 08-05-08 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 08-05-08, 07:36 PM
  #48  
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We have a Tues-Thurs ride on the SCT (Silver Comet Trail) leaves Florence Rd at 5pm.

Today Butch and I left early to avoid the fast guys as I had trouble breathing earlier, but I think the breeze picked up and cleared out the badness (Georgia Power coal fired power plants). We rode to the tunnel, hitting the cool air coming out of the tunnel is really nice on days like today. We picked up two of the regular riders on the return trip, Marianne and Glenn, but never saw the "fast guys" as they had already hit their normal turn around at McPherson Ch.

It was hot but a fun 39 miles. I'm tired.
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Old 08-05-08, 07:50 PM
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Three gap is usually ridden anti-clockwise.
Riding the Gaps you can get free well water at Vogel State Park too, at the base of Neels Gap, don't miss the turn. No need to ride back out the drive entrance. Skirt the lake to the north, the road ends with a short gravel section and you are on Wolfpen Gap, turn left and climb, it's beautiful. Vogel is a great place to camp, I love riding Wolfpen Gap in the evening.
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Old 08-05-08, 07:53 PM
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Another idea is to light yourself up like a Christmas tree and ride at night. It's fun, there's less goofballs on the road.
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