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Ortlieb Classic vs Plus fabric

Old 01-24-08, 04:49 PM
  #26  
NeilGunton
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Flowerblossom,

It's not a straightforward choice. If the two products (PVC and non-PVC) were equivalent in every way, then it would be easy, of course. But the whole point of this thread was that it looks like the PVC version is actually better, in that it is tougher and will last longer. True, both products are 100% waterproof when new. But the big question for me was how waterproof they would remain after heavy extended use on tour. As far as I can tell, the Classic material is quite a bit tougher in that respect than the Plus. So then it becomes a question of, What are you willing to put up with? What tradeoffs are you willing to make? Do you see it as being a big issue to buy a pair of these panniers every ten years or so? Who knows, maybe the environmental impact of two pairs of the Plus panniers exceeds the environmental impact of one pair of the Classic. I have no idea. But I am buying these bags maybe once in a decade. To be truthful, I don't really see the PVC issue in bicycle panniers as looming large in my life. I know it's an indefensible position, because no doubt you can point to lots of studies that prove just how bad PVC is. The simple truth is that I guess I don't care enough about one set of bags in 10 years. If it was something I was buying every week and discarding similarly frequently, then I'd probably pay more attention. But not once in ten years. Sorry. Just being honest.

People can feel free to beat me up about this, really. It's your right. But don't forget that there are 1001 other toxic products in your life which, let's face it, you could probably give up if you really wanted to. But you don't, because it's convenient to keep them around and keep using them. If anybody denies this, and tries to pretend that they are some kind of super righteous uber being who always does what's right and has zero environmental impact, then fine, good for you. If you have any children, that's probably the biggest single negative environmental action you will ever take in your life, propagating the human species. Over that child's lifetime, they will produce yet more pollution and consume yet more resources. If we were all totally honest about it, then the best thing we could all do is just leave. I mean it. We're bad for the place, it's better off without us.

Sorry if there's no snappy ending to this, I'm not really in the mood and anyway, it just seems like one of those things where there's no good answer. I'm tired of caring about every damn thing in my life and having zero impact on the world as a result. It seems like we can all use organic food and long life lightbulbs but it doesn't seem to be doing one whit of good - the rainforests continue to be cut down, the oceans continue to be fished to extinction, and the air continues to be filled with toxins. I'm tired of caring.

Neil

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Old 01-24-08, 07:55 PM
  #27  
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A few years ago I stumbled upon the journal of a couple who had ridden from Singapore to China and read it with great interest. Weeks later, in a chance encounter, I had the pleasure of meeting the same couple.

That journal and chance meeting changed my life forever.

I'm tired of caring about every damn thing in my life and having zero impact on the world as a result.
Your impact is far from zero.
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Old 01-24-08, 08:03 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by FlowerBlossom View Post
umm, I think dioxins are actually worse than traveling in an RV--unless there's more PVC in an RV than the PVC bags.
If I remember correctly, the insulation for a lot of electronic wires is made of PVC. RVs have miles of wiring and dozens of electronic devices. The amount of PVC in an RV could easily be comparable to that of a set of panniers.
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Old 01-24-08, 08:07 PM
  #29  
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It's easy to get disillusioned. But I think your heart is in the right place. Why would you tour by bicycle if you weren't compassionate about environmental impacts? I don't think most people are doing this for the sore ass.
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Old 01-24-08, 08:25 PM
  #30  
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If this discussion doesn't bum you out about the unintended consequences of how we live, you might try reading The World Without Us. This is a very well written book about the impacts that humans have had on the world and how long some of them will be around. Incidentally, it is on CD if you want to listen to it while you ride with your MP3 player.

One of the things I didn't know was that there are places in the oceans (I think 5 in total) where there is a permanent high pressure and the wind only blows into them, not out (the Doldrums). All the trash that enters the oceans (most of what is thrown away?) eventually ends up in one of these 5 places, breaking down as much as it can in water along the way. The description of what is there and how much of it there is was truly eye opening and has made me even more aware of how much plastic there is and how much ends up in my own trashcans. I am even more vigilant about reusing plastic food bags (or not taking them in the first place) since I read the book.

I don't mean to hijack the thread (any more than it already has been) but PVC is one thing to be aware of among hundreds of others. If we are going to pay attention to PVC, then we should also be aware of what other things (we use everyday) we might watch out for.

Ray
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Old 01-24-08, 08:37 PM
  #31  
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I've been wanting to read that book for a while now. It seems that the discovery and history channels have developed shows that seem to be inspired by that book. Too bad I don't have a television, as they might be pretty good.
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Old 01-25-08, 03:25 AM
  #32  
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My wife and I will be getting two new sets of Ortlieb roller classics.
I do not know the policy of Ortlieb but for many products sold in Europe there is a special "tax" that everyone pays for products that contain dangerous chemicals. This "tax" is payed for the safe disposal and/or recycle of these items, tv sets, computers, air conditioners, refrigerators, etc...
I don't know about other places but I believe there is enough being done (here) for the enviroment so we will not be losing any sleep for purchasing a few bicycle panniers.

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Old 01-27-08, 12:50 PM
  #33  
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I need to bump this. It is a straight-forward choice. Making a pros-cons list doesn't work with dioxins. Dioxin is the single-most deadliest chemical ever known to humans. And we are producing tons of it each year.

Apologies I didn't state this more clearly sooner.

While PVC might last longer, it truly lasts longer in ways we don't want it to last, amongst other issues. Buying PVC once is waaaaaay too much.

For a simple but elegant explanation (watch the whole thing, it's worth it):

https://www.storyofstuff.com/

Or Google "dioxins".

YOU might not see the effects, yet, or know that the effects of PVC/dioxins are occurring, but it's out there. As I stated earlier, there is no pro/cons argument or rationale that can make PVC a more-reasonable choice. It's insanely horrible stuff.

Don't get me wrong; I have a feeling more people will be compelled to buy PVC by my constant arguments against it than dissuaded. But, I had to say it. It's the truth, and someone's gotta say it.
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Old 01-27-08, 03:23 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by FlowerBlossom View Post
Don't get me wrong; I have a feeling more people will be compelled to buy PVC by my constant arguments against it than dissuaded. But, I had to say it. It's the truth, and someone's gotta say it.
If that's your logic than you are saying making yourself feel good by posting about PVC is more important to you than the negative impacts of PVC on the environment. That's some twisted logic....

The problem with jumping on one aspect of a product like this is that you are not assessing the whole life cycle impact and you are not assessing the performance of the product. You also have no idea where Ortlieb in particular gets the Classic fabric for its bags and what the environmental impacts of that source are. If you want to do the necessary research than you could come up with some useful information to base a decision on.

Here is an excerpt from this website. I don't provide it to prove anything other than it is a complex issue that is not easily resolved in a cycling forum.

"Are products containing vinyl or PVC safe for the environment?

Yes. Recent studies have shown that vinyl products are as safe and environmentally acceptable throughout their life (from extraction of materials to recycling/disposal) as other commonly used materials and, in fact, can be better than some alternatives. Most recently, the European Commission concluded a comprehensive review of 250 life-cycle assessments of PVC and competing materials. The Commission found that vinyl products offer environmental benefits equal to or better than those of other materials.

The manufacture of vinyl uses as little as one-third the energy of alternative materials. In packaging alone, vinyl saves the equivalent of 2 million barrels of oil per year compared to a common, competing material. Its manufacture also releases less carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) than many competing materials. Almost all the scrap generated in the manufacture of vinyl products is recycled back into the next production run."
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Old 01-27-08, 05:05 PM
  #35  
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That web site belongs to a PVC manufacturer. As I recall, makers of asbestos, and tobacco, to name only a few, made similar safety claims regarding their products.

The arguments for the Classic bags that I've read in this thread seem to summarize to:

1. I want Classics.

2. I know PVCs are bad but, gosh, something else might be worse.

Do what you will, buy what you want. I sure can't stop you. But don't try and rationalize your decisions and convince yourself that PVCs are a better choice.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyvinyl_chloride
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Old 01-27-08, 09:39 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by kdiehl View Post
That web site belongs to a PVC manufacturer. As I recall, makers of asbestos, and tobacco, to name only a few, made similar safety claims regarding their products.

The arguments for the Classic bags that I've read in this thread seem to summarize to:

1. I want Classics.

2. I know PVCs are bad but, gosh, something else might be worse.

Do what you will, buy what you want. I sure can't stop you. But don't try and rationalize your decisions and convince yourself that PVCs are a better choice.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyvinyl_chloride
I read the Wikki link before posting as well as quite a few other sites from both perspectives. Unless you have determined where Ortlieb gets its PVC from how in the world can you tell me that the PVC impact from that source is worse than the life cycle impact of the Plus fabric panniers? I'd say you are rationalizing the choice not to buy Classic panniers because you clearly aren't basing it on any actual knowledge of the manufacturing impacts and life cycle consequences of the specific material at hand.

The fact is PVC is ubiquitous in a huge number of products we all use and are used to support our societies. The only solution to mitigating environmental impacts is not to do away with the product. You can mitigate the impacts by addressing them at the various stages they occur.

It always sounds really noble to back up your own rationalization with "...I'm saving the environment!...", but the fact is nobody in this thread who is anti-PVC has come up with any specific information about the fabric Ortlieb is using or what the life cycle of that fabric is vs. the Plus material. If you have no specific information applicable to the decision then how can you jump to such a certain conclusion?

From the limited research I have done the dioxin problem with PVC is at the production and disposal stage. Both of which have solutions. So assuming the manufacturer Ortlieb sources their PVC from uses state of the art processes/equipment to avoid dioxin contamination and you dispose of the classic panniers in a way that doesn't release dioxins [avoid low temp incineration] what is the problem????

I'm simply pointing out that nobody in this thread has demonstrated any significant understanding of the specific life cycle environmental impacts of either choice and therefore any conclusion based on it is meaningless. You have no idea if the buying/using a set of Classic panniers has more or less environmental impact than a pair of plus panniers.
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Old 01-28-08, 01:33 PM
  #37  
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If someone really wants the classics, but is being held back by some aspect(s) of the environmental issues, there are some other options that might potentially resolve the dilemma.

One option is to do some kind of compensatory work, or take some actions that will make up for (or more than make up for) the environmental impacts that are of concern.
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Old 01-28-08, 04:40 PM
  #38  
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Neil, I defer to your greater experience, but if the only issue with the cordura bags is durability could you reinforce the corners - eg. use fabric glue or urethane glue/sealant to glue corner protectors made of a layer or two of nylon cloth or even hard plastic. The corners and bottom edge of a pannier are the only places I've seen significant wear.

If you really want the PVC, just get the PVC. Yes there are issues, yes commercial pressure will help dissuade the manufacturers from using it - but if you really want the PVC, just get the PVC.
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Old 01-28-08, 04:40 PM
  #39  
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Or, like I said earlier, buy a pair of used Classics. Re-using these panniers doesn't damage the environment. When you're done using them, and if they're still in good condition, sell them to somebody else. If they're in bad shape and unrepairable, consider using them for something else.
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Old 02-09-08, 07:26 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by NeilGunton View Post
If you have any children, that's probably the biggest single negative environmental action you will ever take in your life, propagating the human species. Over that child's lifetime, they will produce yet more pollution and consume yet more resources. If we were all totally honest about it, then the best thing we could all do is just leave. I mean it. We're bad for the place, it's better off without us.
Neil
Most radical post, eV-AR.


The world was created for our use (not abuse, though). The answer is to stop being so wasteful, not stop having children..... We're supposed to propagate the species.

My vote goes for the classic style panniers. Cordura isn't so easy to clean. The PVC in these panniers isn't a drop in the bucket compared to what is used in the construction industry (PVC pipe for example). The environmental impact question is really a moot point in this case. The Cordura panniers are just Ortlieb's answer to the euro-hippie boycott.
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Old 02-09-08, 09:43 AM
  #41  
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Just buy one of them and forget about it.
No damn difference that you'll notice.
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Old 02-09-08, 04:51 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by jo8243 View Post
The world was created for our use (not abuse, though).
Most anthropocentric post EVER!

What a ridiculous idea, that the world was created for us. The world existed long before humans got here, and it will be here long after we are gone.

I don't think there is any call for the elimination of the human species, but reducing our global population would probably be a smart move, in addition to reducing the per capita consumption and impact on the planet.

Perhaps we could all try to eliminate our own personal consumption of pvc. If you build a house or replace existing plumbing you could choose to use good old copper, instead of using more pvc. You can't control other people's behavior, but that doesn't mean that you have to make the same bad choices that they do, and that includes bicycle panniers. If you know what you're doing is bad, and you know that there are reasonable alternatives that are less bad, there is no excuse to not make the right consumption decisions. Now if you think that pvc panniers are so superior to cordura that you don't even consider cordura to be a viable option, that's one thing. But if you base your decision solely on which material is easier to clean, regardless of environmental impacts, well that's a pretty lazy way of thinking.
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Old 02-09-08, 04:52 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by awc380 View Post
Just buy one of them and forget about it.
No damn difference that you'll notice.
Assuming that you don't live downstream from a PVC factory, you'll never notice the difference.
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Old 02-09-08, 05:11 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by vik View Post
The fact is PVC is ubiquitous in a huge number of products we all use and are used to support our societies. The only solution to mitigating environmental impacts is not to do away with the product. You can mitigate the impacts by addressing them at the various stages they occur.

From the limited research I have done the dioxin problem with PVC is at the production and disposal stage. Both of which have solutions. So assuming the manufacturer Ortlieb sources their PVC from uses state of the art processes/equipment to avoid dioxin contamination and you dispose of the classic panniers in a way that doesn't release dioxins [avoid low temp incineration] what is the problem????
The problem is that those are some huge assumptions to make. Depending on where you dispose of your trash, you have no idea what the ultimate destination of your panniers will be after they are thrown away. Unless you plan on burying your panniers in your own back yard when you are done with them, you can't be sure that they won't be incinerated. And seeing as Ortlieb hasn't bothered to certify the environmental credentials of their PVC manufacturers, I'd have to assume that they are not using PVC that comes from state of the art manufacturers. If they were, which would mean they would probably be paying a great deal more for it, I'm pretty sure that they would be trumpeting that fact on their website.

Yes, no one has presented any solutions for completely eliminating PVC from the market, but that doesn't mean that making MORE of it than is absolutely necessary is a good thing. Especially because there are perfectly reasonable non-PVC products that can replace all of the uses of PVC that I know of. PVC is just used because it is cheap and easy to work with. Curbing PVC consumption can be looked at in a similar fashion to curbing CO2 emissions. Nobody has come up with a way to completely eliminate anthropogenic sources of CO2, but that doesn't mean that it's alright to crank up your air conditioning or drive (or fly) around in a gas guzzling vehicle.
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Old 02-10-08, 12:01 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by brotherdan View Post
Most anthropocentric post EVER!

What a ridiculous idea, that the world was created for us. The world existed long before humans got here, and it will be here long after we are gone.
{thread hijack mode fully engaged}

It is actually not ridiculous. See Genesis. The earth was in fact, made for us only days before the first man was created. This earth is not some accident of evolution or whatever other convoluted theory modern science is pushing these days. I am in in fact a scientist myself and used to buy into the whole evolution thing until I did some research. There are so many holes in the whole "big bang" theory. I could spend 2 hours talking about them all.


Originally Posted by brotherdan View Post
If you build a house or replace existing plumbing you could choose to use good old copper, instead of using more pvc.
Wrong. Copper and PVC are not interchangeable in plumbing applications. Each has their specific use. I want to see you use copper for your drain lines and vents.

CPVC is the only PVC that can handle hot water in supply lines and it is rarely used anymore. Regular PVC cannot be used for hot water supply. Copper and PEX (polyethelyne) are the most common supply lines used nowdays.

PVC is used in DWV applications (drain and waste vent (sewer lines and vent lines)). There is (to my knowledge) NO suitable alternative to PVC in this application. Before PVC, iron was used for vent stacks and drain lines. It can be argued that using iron is more damaging to the environment b/c of the huge increase in transportation costs/fuel not to mention the shorter lifespan.

So there really is no choice here. Not saying they couldn't come up with something different.. just that nothing exists today.
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Old 02-10-08, 12:37 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by jo8243 View Post

It is actually not ridiculous. See Genesis. The earth was in fact, made for us only days before the first man was created. This earth is not some accident of evolution or whatever other convoluted theory modern science is pushing these days. I am in in fact a scientist myself and used to buy into the whole evolution thing until I did some research. There are so many holes in the whole "big bang" theory. I could spend 2 hours talking about them all.
There are no holes in the big bang theory.
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Old 02-10-08, 01:06 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by brotherdan View Post
There are no holes in the big bang theory.
Hole #1: Life cannot "evolve" from non-living matter. If you agree with this, the debate is over.


.
.
.
.

Hole #9,999,999: Where did the first matter come from?

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Old 02-10-08, 01:39 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by jo8243 View Post
Hole #1: Life cannot "evolve" from non-living matter. If you agree with this, the debate is over.

Hole #2: An "explosion" cannot create ordered complex things. It creates disorder. You don't explode a stick of dynamite and expect to get a BMW.

.
.
.
.

Hole #9,999,999: Where did the first matter come from?
What is life? It is a complex series of chemical interactions. No mystery there. You take an aqueous solution of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, etc, and add energy, you get complex chemistry. Given a lot of time, say hundreds of millions of years, and trillions of chemical interactions, it isn't surprising that life results.

You don't go from an explosion immediately to a BMW, or to a simple bacteria, for that matter. First you get energy, which was present at the time of the big bang. Energy and matter are pretty much the same thing (E=MC^2). Quantum theory predicts that there will be inherent irregularities in the distribution of matter, even if it is distributed evenly at the time of the big bang, which isn't necessarily a correct assumption to begin with. Irregularities lead to variations in the distribution of matter, so that some areas will be more dense than others. Gravitation will lead to magnifications of minor variations in the distribution of matter, so that dense areas will become extremely dense, and less dense areas will become much less dense. The very dense areas become stars. Small stars produce light elements, large stars also produce light elements, but also some heavier elements. Those heavy elements get distributed when stars die out. Those heavy elements get incorporated into planets. On planets, chemistry leads to simple life. Simple life becomes more complex through the process of evolution. Complex life builds BMWs.

Matter comes from energy (E=MC^2). Where does the energy come from? Well that is a hole. Nobody knows why the big bang happened, or why it was so energetic. But creationists can't explain the origin of a supernatural all-powerful deity. And any explanation of such a deity would inherently be more complex than explaining the origin of the energy that is contained in the universe, and no religion offers any reasonable explanation for the ultimate origin of any deity in the first place. Thus Genesis offers an inferior hypothesis to the big bang theory.
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Old 02-10-08, 09:35 AM
  #49  
jo8243
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Originally Posted by brotherdan View Post
Matter comes from energy (E=MC^2). Where does the energy come from? Well that is a hole. Nobody knows why the big bang happened, or why it was so energetic. But creationists can't explain the origin of a supernatural all-powerful deity. And any explanation of such a deity would inherently be more complex than explaining the origin of the energy that is contained in the universe, and no religion offers any reasonable explanation for the ultimate origin of any deity in the first place. Thus Genesis offers an inferior hypothesis to the big bang theory.
I suppose we've really hijacked the thead big time at this point.... but....

All energy came from God. There is no origin. He always was. He is outside of time. This is not a concept that can be understood totally from a human's point of view. This is where faith comes in. You trust the Word because it came from God.

Have you considered that the "big bang" "explosion" that scientists believe they have detected could have been simply when God created everything? And that it wasn't billions of years ago (google the fallacy of carbon dating)?

If you accept that you can't explain the origin of energy or the reason for the "explosion" from science, you by default have accepted that there is a supernatural being. You have confirmed that God exists.

BTW.... you have more to lose here. If I'm wrong, I've lost nothing. If you're wrong, you go to hell.
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Old 02-10-08, 09:36 AM
  #50  
NeilGunton
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Wow, whodathunk that we could get from "What's the best Ortlieb pannier" to arguing over the Big Bang, evolution, how life started, and God?

Hooboy.

(backs away slowly)
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