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I知 a non-camper considering a 425 mile credit card tour. Please critique.

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I知 a non-camper considering a 425 mile credit card tour. Please critique.

Old 11-26-10, 10:50 AM
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I知 a non-camper considering a 425 mile credit card tour. Please critique.

I enjoy cycling and have been focused on Century and 200k events for the last two years. I’ve ridden about 7500 miles in that time. I have a Soma Double Cross bike, which is a steel frame bike with the ability to accept a rack and fenders. It has a 50, 39, 26t triple with a 12-27 ten speed cassette. This bike is very comfortable even after 8 hours in the saddle.

I’d like to tour without the equipment required for camping. I really don’t enjoy camping in a tent anyway. I am capable of day-after-day riding in bad weather as long as I have a warm place to clean-up and sleep. So, I’m only interested in touring if I can stay in hotels. I'll also limit my self to whatever I can pack on the rear rack and a frame bag. I'll avoid fork mounted bags.

I’ll start the day with a good meal. I should only need to pack energy & snack food for when I’m riding, water mixed with HEED, and a range of clothing, including street cloths for dinner at a restaurant. I’ve placed urban areas along the route every 30 to 40 miles so that I can replenish water bottles as needed.

I’ve put together a route and timeline. The plan is to travel Northwest from Chicago to Madison, Wisconsin. From Madison, I will travel west to Dodgeville and Prairie Du Chien, which is on the Mississippi River. I’ll follow the Mississippi south to Galena, Illinois. I’ll then travel east to return to Chicago. The route should be scenic and provide some fun cycling;

Day 1 - Fox Lake, Illinois to Cottage Grove, Wisconsin: 100 miles
https://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...29072131596729

Day 2 - Cottage Grove to Dodgeville, Wisconsin: 75 miles
https://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...29072411757097

Day 3 - rest & telecommute work day

Day 4 - Dodgeville to Prairie Du Chien , Wisconsin: 75 miles
https://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...29073079214342

Day 5 - Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin to Galena, Illinois: 85 miles
https://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...29073470683069

Day 6 - rest & telecommute work day

Day 7 - Galena to Rockford, Illinois: 90 miles
https://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...29078496361052

Day 8 - Rockford to Chicago, Illinois: 100 miles
https://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...29078723624258

Is this a reasonable plan? I’m considering May, 2011.

Last edited by Barrettscv; 11-26-10 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 11-26-10, 11:30 AM
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How tight are your time constraints? Should something stop you from meeting your day's mileage, do you have to make it up the next day so that you arrive back in Chicago no later than day 8?

If you time constraints are tight, you might plan two routes. One with a shorter daily mileage that can be extended if you feel like it. That way, you can decide how much farther to go each day instead of having to continue no matter what.

I am assuming that riding 100 miles followed by 75 miles is something you've done before. If so, I'd suggest you add some weight to your bike and try it again, just to make sure you still think it is a good idea.

While you mention clothes and snacks, what else are you planning on carrying? Specifically, what bike repairs will you be able to handle on the road?

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Old 11-26-10, 11:36 AM
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Absolutely. If you are capable of handling those mileages, you are good to go. Just make sure there really are hotels in all those cities- don't want to arrive and find out the only hotel in town closed down a year ago!
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Old 11-26-10, 11:51 AM
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Like Raybo says, you need to consider what repairs you can handle, but anything worse than a broken chain or a couple of busted spokes is relatively uncommon. I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to do this, it's the sort of schedule I'd expect to be able to keep myself when lightly loaded, and I'm no longer as young as I'd like to pretend...

Just one thing. Eat lunch.
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Old 11-26-10, 12:10 PM
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What you are describing is a credit card tour. Works fine. Some suggestions I make from my own credit card tours:
1) Create a list of all towns along the way that have motels, particularly if the towns are small. This way if you are making good time and perhaps want to jump ahead to next town, you know the options. Similarly, if there is some reason you won't make the distance a particular day, you'll know the earlier alternatives.
2) Starting earlier gives you some alternatives with extra daylight later in the day. I've had days where my 80 mile alternative wasn't good for some reason and I continued another 48 miles that day (and had a shorter day the next).

As far as mileages themselves go, you're in better position to know what is reasonable for you given terrain, distance, etc. That will vary from person to person.
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Old 11-26-10, 12:25 PM
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Thanks for the encouragement.

I would have 9 days to complete the mileage, and would like to just rest (and catch-up w/emails) on the 3rd & 6th days and after returning home. I think I'll only need about 7 hours of riding each day, even for 100 miles.

The first 175 miles have many hotels along the route. I could redistribute my miles along the first three days if needed. The same is true for the last three days. Hotels will be scarce between Dodgeville & Prarie Du Cien and between Prarie Du Chien & Galena.

I often carry the following as supplies when completing a solo & unsupported 200k, I would take these items as spares;

I'll bring my own trail mix, one or two bananas, an energy bar, maybe a sandwich, I also carry Hammer HEED and SE in small Ziploc bags.

• three water bottles
• two tubes and a patch kit
• three tire irons
• CO2 air gun & a pump
• folding tool kit
• folding spare tire
• about 1200 calories of food, and I will consume about 200 calories every hour.

I'll also bring a spare new chain & spokes with me on this trip.

Last edited by Barrettscv; 11-26-10 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 11-26-10, 12:30 PM
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Looks good to me. You're an experienced rider w/lots of miles in your legs.

One thing you will realize when you are in a credit card tour is that you really don't have much to do each day but ride your bike. If you get up early, don't dawdle getting on the bike, and get on the road and ride, you'll have done a big chunk of your daily "goal" by lunch. Have lunch, ride a couple more hours, and you're done for the day.


[Note: these kinds of miles are unrealistic for a newbie, with a full camping load, riding in mountainous terrain, who is hoping to "get into shape" during the first couple of weeks of a longer tour]

Last edited by BengeBoy; 11-26-10 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 11-26-10, 12:34 PM
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sounds like you are very familiar with doing the distances you plan (a very common first tourer error is to overestimate teh distances that "will be fine to do each day")
with proper planning, you can easily plan for hotels motels (ie being there or not, open etc) so thats not an issue.
mechanicals, youve got that covered (plus again, experience riding distance, and I assume proper bike condition etc maintenance)

I guess teh only thing would be weather, here in May it can be hot or cold, so thats a variable that is iffy, and "clothes" important vis a vis what the heck could be thrown at you.

also, is your route going to be "bike friendly" not too yucky as in a truck common road, crappy road surface, mile after mile of busy traffic?? I mean by this, will it be enjoyable for you as a bike experience, and not just looking alright on a map (with car travel in mind)

will be fun to plan it all out more and to investigate routes, or stick with what you have already if a good one.

as you say, crappy weather is one thing, but having a hot shower, bath and bed makes a big diff. The main thing is to enjoy it.
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Old 11-26-10, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by BengeBoy
Looks good to me. You're an experienced rider w/lots of miles in your legs.

One thing you will realize when you are in a credit card tour is that you really don't have much to do each day but ride your bike. If you get up early, don't dawdle getting on the bike, and get on the road and ride, you'll have done a big chunk of your daily "goal" by lunch. Have lunch, ride a couple more hours, and you're done for the day.
Hi Bengle boy

This plan could provide three benefits, so it could be said that I’m multi-tasking ;-).

I would like to take a tour within SAG distance of home before doing anything more remote. I also have friends near Dodgeville who could provide support if needed.

It will help me build a base for next years Century rides, most of which are between Madison and Dodgeville in Wisconsin. I’d like to do a hilly 300km in August.

I’d like to see if I enjoy multi-day long distance rides. If I do, I’ll try a Brevet Series in 2012.

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Old 11-26-10, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv
Hi Bengle boy

This plan could provide three benefits, so it could be said that I’m multi-tasking ;-).

I would like to take a tour within SAG distance of home before doing anything more remote. I also have friends near Dodgeville who could provide support if needed.

It will help me build a base for next years Century rides, most of which are between Madison and Dodgeville in Wisconsin. I’d like to do a hilly 300km in August.

I’d like to see if I enjoy multi-day long distance rides. If I do, I’ll try a Brevet Series in 2012.
Thanks for clarifying. BTW, on re-reading my comments, I realize they could have been read as a negative comment about credit card touring. I didn't mean that at all. I *meant* to communicate that for an experienced rider (like you), one can cover a surprising number of miles if *all* you are doing is credit card touring. It's not like fully supported touring (when you have to set up and tear down camp each day) or even being at home (where you get distracted by your daily activities). You just get up, ride your bike, and go. I only meant to convey that if you're already used to riding long distances you can rack up a lot of miles if you are credit card touring.

Sorry for the lack of clarity in my original post.

At the same time -- your kind of planned mileage wouldn't be realistic for an inexperienced tourist who is camping and riding in mountainous terrain.
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Old 11-26-10, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by BengeBoy
Sorry for the lack of clarity in my original post.

At the same time -- your kind of planned mileage wouldn't be realistic for an inexperienced tourist who is camping and riding in mountainous terrain.
No issue, I found nothing negitive in your comments at all. And since you see my posts in the Long Distance forums, I knew you understood my goals.

BTW, I included a few 15 to 22 degree climbs and some gravel roads & paths in the route, just for the hell of it!

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Old 11-26-10, 04:57 PM
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I think your plan is reasonable. I think that the one constraint you've got on credit-card touring (compared to touring where you camp) is having a Plan B for every day in case you can't make your intended destination, and it seems clear you've got that covered.

When I was on tour, I rinsed out my jersey and shorts every day at the end of my ride. While they were generally dry or dry-ish by the next morning, I did have a second set. Something you might want to consider.
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Old 11-26-10, 05:09 PM
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It looks as if you're going to be traveling in a rather populated part of the United States. No matter what happens, you won't be too far from accommodations or food or help.

For an experienced rider doing a credit card tour, it looks like a decent plan.
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Old 11-26-10, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by adamrice
When I was on tour, I rinsed out my jersey and shorts every day at the end of my ride. While they were generally dry or dry-ish by the next morning, I did have a second set. Something you might want to consider.
I took a spare pair of shorts, but only one jersey. Figured if the jersey wasn't dry by morning, I could always wear a regular T-shirt for a couple of hours. Didn't want to ride in damp shorts, which is why I took a spare pair.
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Old 11-26-10, 05:53 PM
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You're good to go . . .
Would make the following suggestion:
Do not take a whole new chain with you on tour. A couple spare chainlinks + quicklink + mini-chaintool. Likely there will be a bike shop somehwere along the route each day if you need other bike stuff.
We have traveled in remote areas where nearest shop was minimum of 200 miles away (north rim of the Grand Canyon). Had twisted chain issue and was able to fix it with mini-pliers/screwdriver. Did not have spare links or chaintool. Improvise with what you've got.
Credit card touring we are able to carry 22 lbs total for the 2-of-us on our tandem.
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Old 11-26-10, 09:13 PM
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a sugestion I would make is to not go credit card touring.
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Old 11-26-10, 11:48 PM
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how about good 'ol cash touring? Would that be ok?
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Old 11-27-10, 09:19 AM
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How about some cash and a debit card with a credit card for back-up?

I'm planning this trip as an alternative to my annual alpine ski vacation. I usually fly to Utah or some other ski state, rent a car, stay at hotels, buy a lift ticket @$70 a day or more and spend $7 for a hamburger at the cafeteria. That kind of trip can cost $200 - 300 a day once airfare is factored in.

This will be better on all accounts. It should cost less than a third, it will be great for fitness, and the route is splendid with rolling hills, dairy-farms and both the Wisconsin and Mississippi river valley views.

I might, in a few years, save enough money for this: https://salsacycles.com/bikes/vaya_ti/

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Old 11-27-10, 10:00 AM
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Ha, Bengle Boy. Remember the Beagle Boys from Uncle Scrooge comics? Maybe the Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B.

Anyway, it sounds like a very do-able plan. If it was me, I'd cut down on the daily mileages, but I tend to acquiesce to my inner wimpiness. I can ride 100 miles in a day if I work up to it, but then I'm usually whipped for a couple of days afterward. The only time I did something like this was on the RAGBRAI. I averaged 88 miles a day, and that included a 109-mile "century" on Wednesday. But you're not me. When I run into other tourers on the road I tend to be the one doing the lowest daily mileages. I like to stop early, relax, and read.

I would advise trying really long rides on 4 successive days, prior to the trip. I've you wake up on the 5th day willing to ride, I'd say your ready. (I"d also say, "You da man!")

I wouldn't carry a spare chain. I've never had chain issues. The one time a friend had a chain issue, it was fixed with a chain tool, sufficiently to be ridden to the next bike shop. I'd carry a multitool with a chain tool on it.

Why are you carrying CO2 as well as a pump? (I've never used CO2 so I have no idea in these matters.)

Remember to budget enough for food - especially pie. It looks like you'll be going through lots of towns - probably with lots of restaurants.

Have fun! Consider doing a CrazyGuy journal. I'd like to know more about touring in that part of the country. I"ve only toured out west.
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Old 11-27-10, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by BigBlueToe
I would advise trying really long rides on 4 successive days, prior to the trip. I've you wake up on the 5th day willing to ride, I'd say your ready. (I"d also say, "You da man!")

Why are you carrying CO2 as well as a pump? (I've never used CO2 so I have no idea in these matters.)

Remember to budget enough for food - especially pie. It looks like you'll be going through lots of towns - probably with lots of restaurants.

Have fun! Consider doing a CrazyGuy journal. I'd like to know more about touring in that part of the country. I"ve only toured out west.
A series of four centuries from home might be overkill and would require time off from work, but it would certainly be a solid test. My plan is to ride 1000 miles in the 8 weeks leading up to the tour. I would also taper down the training miles the week before. I usually ride 350 to 700 miles a month from April to August, so I'm comfortable with the amount of prep needed.

The CO2 gun is just back-up. Pumps break.

I'll eat enough, I use both snack food and supplements like Hammer SE to get enough calories. I'll have some pie, too!

I would like to take pictures and write a journal. There are several 60 mile vistas, 20 degree hills, dirt trails, and other features along the way. The river valleys are majestic.

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Old 11-27-10, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by BigBlueToe
I wouldn't carry a spare chain. I've never had chain issues. The one time a friend had a chain issue, it was fixed with a chain tool, sufficiently to be ridden to the next bike shop. I'd carry a multitool with a chain tool on it.
I had a chain snap on the first day of my credit card tour down the Pacific Coast!

I tend to pack tons of tools and spares, but even I wouldn't take a spare chain. I bring the spare links removed from the chain when fitting it to the bike, a couple of master links (e.g. SRAM PoweLock), and a Park CT-5 chain tool. I find the CT-5 works much better than any of the multi-tool alternatives and it weighs next to nothing.

On a geared bike, the worst case is that you have to shorten the chain a bit and avoid certain gear combos until you can get a replacement chain.
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Old 11-27-10, 12:23 PM
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It's real easy to get caught up in the mileage per day type of goals and forget that not all miles are created equally. One thing I would do is figure out how much climbing you usually do at home and how much climbing there will be on this trip, especially if some days are significantly more intensive than others. Not sure if mapmyride.com shows elevation profiles, but ridewithgps.com does. You can figure out how much elevation gain per mile you do on certain rides and how that makes you feel, and then compare it with your expected routes. I have done this for my upcoming 3 week credit card tour from Amsterdam to Rome (next July or August) and I have plotted out what I think each leg will be so that I know both distance and elevation gains and have tried to plan my days accordingly.

Also, I agree that an extra chain is overkill. For tools, as long as you can deal with your wheels (extra spokes, tube, perhaps a foldable tire, and the appropriate tools and patch kit, pump/CO2), along with a few allen wrenches, you should be fine. I would also bring some chain lube and a rag so you can keep your chain clean (don't do it in the hotel room).

FWIW, I'm planning to wear the same cycling clothes everyday and expect to wash them in the hotel after each ride and let them air dry all evening. Seems like most hotels have hair dryers now days, so that will help dry up any residual dampness if necessary.
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Old 11-27-10, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by BigBlueToe
If it was me, I'd cut down on the daily mileages, but I tend to acquiesce to my inner wimpiness.
a man after my own heart.

this goes back to my take on enjoying yourself, and not being too concerned with doing a set amount of miles...but then if you have a good time doing a set amount of miles or goal per day, then of course you will do what is right for you.

I second the not bringing a chain, I also have never had a chain issue (now because I just wrote that, immediately after typing this sentence I shall soundly rap some wood numerous times!!!!!!!!!)

River valleys and climbs sound like it will be a very pretty route, that is my type of riding route. Vermont nearby us in Montreal is really pretty for that sort of thing.

as for clothes, its great how lightweight, quick dry outdoor stuff nowadays can look fine for walking around and still be tightly packable etc for a small load.

As I mentioned before, it will be interesting to see how next May is for temps and such. Always a big crapshoot that side of things.

Oh, I took a peek at that ti bike, nice looking. Was curious to see that in the "fitting" chart, for my height, a larger frame was recommended than what I actually find comfortable. I fit really well on a 54cm, it recommended a 56 (which I had been recommended for in the past, and I still have a 56 bike). I guess its my torso or flexibility, but a smaller frame is much better for me for overall comfort.

cheers
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Old 11-27-10, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by SBRDude
It's real easy to get caught up in the mileage per day type of goals and forget that not all miles are created equally. One thing I would do is figure out how much climbing you usually do at home and how much climbing there will be on this trip, especially if some days are significantly more intensive than others. Not sure if mapmyride.com shows elevation profiles, but ridewithgps.com does. You can figure out how much elevation gain per mile you do on certain rides and how that makes you feel, and then compare it with your expected routes. I have done this for my upcoming 3 week credit card tour from Amsterdam to Rome (next July or August) and I have plotted out what I think each leg will be so that I know both distance and elevation gains and have tried to plan my days accordingly.

Also, I agree that an extra chain is overkill. For tools, as long as you can deal with your wheels (extra spokes, tube, perhaps a foldable tire, and the appropriate tools and patch kit, pump/CO2), along with a few allen wrenches, you should be fine. I would also bring some chain lube and a rag so you can keep your chain clean (don't do it in the hotel room).

FWIW, I'm planning to wear the same cycling clothes everyday and expect to wash them in the hotel after each ride and let them air dry all evening. Seems like most hotels have hair dryers now days, so that will help dry up any residual dampness if necessary.
Lots of good tips here, and yes, I skip on the extra chain.

Day two, between Verona and Dodgeville, Wisconsin will be the day with the most climbing. I'm estimating that I'll climb 5000 ft in about 35 miles of riding that day. I know the area well, I've completed the Horribly Hilly Hundred 100k and the Dairyland Dare 150k (w/ 10,000 of climbing) in that area. I added two 15 to 20 degree climbs to the route just for fun!

The ride east from Galena is also a good climb, that one will be new to me.
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Old 11-27-10, 12:51 PM
  #25  
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Great plan. If you look at crazyguyonabike, you'll see it's very, very common. I would make one suggestion, just for funnsies, to increase the uncertainty. You have this entirely too nailed. I suggest experimenting by bringing no food with you, nada, except maybe a couple of energy bars from home. Scavenge all your food. We did that, and thought it increased the fun, because you have to interact more and be more flexible with your food. Flexibility can come in handy. We discovered several foods that we would not have expected we would be able to eat on the bike. I'm thinking this is a comfortable practice run for you for something more interesting. Don't worry, you're going to like it a lot.

Fiberfix spoke - can replace the drive side without taking the wheel apart, one size fits all. No point at all in taking ordinary spokes IME. Definitely a tire and chain fix stuff, and the ordinary dayride stuff.
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