Category Archives: accessories
I have written articles about bicycle lights before. Here goes another posting about them. With the invention of LED lights and the development of various lights over the years I think it is safe to say “we’ve come a long way”. It is my understanding that a standard automotive headlight is about 1200 lumens. A lumen is a measurement of brightness a light produces. I won’t bother giving the exact definition here as it is too technical for most of us to grasp much about what they say. HERE is a pretty good explanation of the whole enchilada which is easier to understand.
There are bicycle lights available that are way over the 1200 lumens of a car headlight. The NightRider 3600 Pro is claimed (by NightRider) to be the brightest headlight available currently (at the time I am writing this). 3600 lumens! Wow! That’s more than twice as bright as an automotive headlight. With that kind of brightness one could certainly OWN THE NIGHT.
If one is riding somewhere all by their lonesome away from others out in front of them having that kind of brightness is fabulous, especially at night time in the dark. However, if others are involved out in front of that bright light … well, first of all I pity them … and secondly shame on the one who would expose them to such brightness which most definitely is blinding. To make matters worse for some reason unknown to me most manufacturers of bicycle lights sold here in the United States shine up high rather than have a built in diffuser lens to prevent the light from doing so. It makes absolutely no sense to me. I seldom ride at night but when I do I am not looking for owls up in the trees so I sure don’t need my headlight to shine up high illuminating the trees. Even in the daytime bicycle headlights can be a problem for some folks who are out in front of these bright headlights that shine up way too high.
And the brighter the headlight the more of a problem they cause others. In flash mode in the daytime they could trigger seizures in some people. I think it high time that we cyclists unify and let the bicycle light manufacturers known that they need to do something about this matter. Our lights should be like the bottom illustration above.
Below is a picture of a bicycle headlight that is definitely blinding to anyone out in front of it. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THIS! This person should receive a ticket from a police officer. Such a cyclist is a menace!
Here is a picture of my own trike with my lighting all turned on in the daytime. As you can see it is blinding and I don’t even have any of these powerful lights I am writing about here. My brightest headlight in this picture is only 350 lumens. And I might add that the camera doesn’t really capture this like looking at it with one’s eyes. It is truly annoying, obnoxious and offensive. I have many times come upon bicyclists who have blinding lights on and it is really hard to see the pathway ahead because of it. One can try not to look at such lights but they still cause serious problems.
I don’t have a problem with these extremely bright lights so long as they are not shining up into my face. I am all for them as long as they are being used properly. What little night riding I have done on my trike most definitely I have experienced poor lighting vs. good lighting. I will take good lighting over poor lighting every time I am out there riding at night by myself in total darkness. Crashing into trees, riding over a cliff, etc. is not my favorite activity. BTW, I have written about blinding headlights before.
As I said, I don’t have extremely bright lights on my trike as I really don’t have need of them since most all of my riding is in the daytime. Here is the lighting I used to have … with the brightest headlight being 350 lumens. I had three headlights at the time this picture was taken. They were the same three that were in the picture above.
Actually I don’t even have any of these lights on my trike anymore as I have bought new lights since this picture was taken. My brightest headlight I have is 450 lumens with a diffuser lens but I seldom use it. I usually just use a 350 lumen headlight and it doesn’t have a diffuser lens. And I usually only have one headlight mounted at a time although I have others I could quickly add if I needed them. I would do so if I were to ride at night. I like the idea of owning the night and being able to see quite well where I am going.
Here are two 450 lumen headlights on my trike. They have a built in diffuser lens which keeps the light beam from shining up high blinding others. The red arrows point to the two headlights. The fence in the background is about 130 feet away.
One of my very favorite websites for viewing and comparing various headlights is HERE. You can select from a drop down list a headlight and then select another one from the other side. They will display side by side. Just use your cursor to move the blue divider from side to side to view the other light. And HERE is a similar website.
So by all means if you are riding at night by yourself you can OWN THE NIGHT too. But please don’t blind others … daytime or nighttime. We all want to and need to be safe out there and courteous to others. It can be done amigo. Does that sound like a spaghetti western? Oh never mind!
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
A FREE GIFT awaits you!
I have had several different headlights and taillights over the years. I have liked all of them except one. I have always had what I considered bright and effective lights as far as “being seen” … which, of course, is what it is all about. This year I have had a new friend who bought a tadpole trike and we ride together sometimes. I could not help but notice his lights as they are quite bright … brighter than mine and I always thought my headlight was pretty bright and attention getting on flash mode. When I asked him about them he told me how cheap they are. I have been using lights which take AAA batteries. They are excellent lights and I am continuing to use them as back up. These lights my friend have are USB rechargeable. The light I had which I didn’t like was USB rechargeable and the battery didn’t last nearly long enough for my daily rides so I stopped using it. It was super bright for riding at night but it had a pulse mode instead of a flash mode. The pulse mode was about worthless. I ended up throwing the light away recently as it stopped working … would no longer turn on at all. It was the most expensive headlight I have ever bought so I was not a happy camper nor was I impressed with its failure which happened all too soon. Anyway that is past history now. I bought two sets of these lights like my friend has. They are amazingly cheap … only $12.99 for the set on Amazon. They have a one year warranty which the company is quick to honor.
As you can see the taillight is rather small but don’t let that fool you. That thing is very bright. The headlight is 300 lumen which is not an extremely powerful light for night riding but in my opinion one doesn’t need anything more than this in the daytime. It has excellent lens optics so it is super bright. I have found that the lens optics in lights make all the difference. One can have more light from 300 lumens with high quality lens optics than another light with 1000 lumens has with poor quality lens optics. I wish I could demonstrate this light set to you as I am sure you would agree and be very impressed.
It is said to last about 7.5 hours on flash mode and that is what I have been experiencing. Amazon shows 12 plus hours but the manufacturer’s website has 7.5 hours. The taillights are suppose to last about 5 hours on flash mode which is what I have been experiencing. My friend says that his last about 7 hours but I am skeptical of that.
For those in need of lights I recommend these. They get the job done and one certainly can’t complain about the price. For daytime riding they are superb … like I said … they are all that is needed. I don’t ride at night normally so I can’t comment about how well the headlight is for night time riding. Certainly with only 1.5 hours battery life on full steady on power mode it isn’t going to be a very long ride. Hey, at only $12.99 get at least two sets and have twice the brightness out there for night riding.
Here is what is shown on Amazon about this light set:
- Micro USB rechargeable bike front light & tail light set – USB cord and a power source to recharge (computer, laptop or a cellphone Charger)
- 300 Lumen headlight with 3 light modes: Run time steady (1.6 hrs) – 1/2 steady (3+ hrs.)- flash (12+ hrs.). compact rear taillight with 3 modes – Run time steady (1.5 hrs.) – 1/2 steady (2+ hrs.)- flash (5+ hrs.), with side visibility
- Quick release – taillights: rubber straps attach and detach from bike easily without tools. Headlights: quick release mount allows headlight to removed from mount and used as a flashlight/ safety lights or for emergencies
- Durable & water resistant – solid construction and water resistant IP44 rating ensures the light will stand up to the elements
- 100% SATISFACTION : This product is covered by BV USA . We are so confident you will love this product that we offer 30 days money back with 1 year free replacement
A FREE GIFT awaits you!
Note … since I wrote this article I bought another USB rechargable headlight which was suppose to 1000 lumen and also a free taillight. The price was just slightly more than these others I wrote about above. When I received it the literature which came with it said that the light was only 450 lumen and there was no taillight shipped along with it. So now I am waiting for the seller to do whatever he is going to do. So far he hasn’t done much of anything. I ordered this new light because it has a diffuser lens which helps keep the light from shining up high and blinding people. It appears to be a well made headlight. I just hope they get this all straightened out. I am happy enough with the 450 lumen but if that is what they are sending out they need to change the ad since it clearly states 1000 lumen.
I have written about this before but I did not have the personal experience then. It has turned hot here in northern Indiana recently. I am not a fan of hot weather. I hate it. In the past when it got hot outside I would start my rides earlier in the mornings so I could end by 11 AM or so … before the heat of the day really came on. As many of you know I installed a canopy on my trike just under 3 weeks ago. I have really been enjoying it. Today I got to try it out dealing with the summer heat. It is 87 right now (and climbing). I just got back home from a 43 mile ride where I remained out riding in the heat. Thanks to my canopy I remained fairly comfortable. Of course, I was riding 15 to 20 mph in order to create the breeze that helped keep me comfortable but the portable shade I had with me made a world of difference. There is no doubt about it. Mind you it is not the same as riding thru a well shaded area such as this …
ENJOY THE RIDE!
A FREE GIFT awaits you!
What do you think? How much protection from the rain can one expect from a canopy on a trike? I had always heard/read that canopies don’t offer much protection from the rain.
Personally I have only been out riding in the rain twice since I installed a canopy on my trike. The first time was in a light rain with very little wind. The rain was coming down relatively straight. I stayed pretty dry and was impressed and hopeful. However the next time it was raining harder and the wind was blowing quite a bit. I was hoping that at least my face would remain dry but I was drenched like a drowned rat. The canopy did absolutely no good whatsoever. So there is the answer … IT ALL DEPENDS!
Hey, even though a canopy doesn’t offer the protection from rain we would like it to it is still better than what this poor guy is dealing with …
Of course, there are things which can help. Some people mount their canopies up quite high. I don’t understand that as the higher the canopy is the less protection it offers the rider … even from the sun. When I installed my canopy I knew it needed to be lowered so I cut 4.5 inches off of the aluminum poles used in the frame. I am talking about cutting the vertical pieces, of course. That helped but it still wasn’t enough so I cut another 3 inches off. The canopy still is about 3 inches above the top of my head so it could have gone even lower. Every bit helps in the protection available. Certainly the physical size of the canopy comes into play. Obviously the larger the canopy the more protection it offers. The shape of the canopy also makes a difference. Some are quite flat while others are domed. Some are even concave on the top. Most are pretty much open in the back. A few are closed such as is mine pictured below. I have to admit that I really like having the canopy come down in back of me. It not only keeps the sun off of me but it definitely keeps the rain off as well..
One can add some sort of side pieces onto the canopy to offer further protection from both the sun and rain. And even a “windshield” could be placed on the front to help keep rain, bugs, and other foreign matter from coming upon the rider. I don’t think I would ever do that as I like having air hitting my face and body. I also would be concerned about the vision thru the windshield deteriorating over time.
Veltop offers considerable protection … at a price …
I can’t say I am disappointed with my canopy as I didn’t have my hopes very high in regards to rain protection. It works pretty good when it comes to sun protection and that is why I installed it. It definitely helps me to …
ENJOY THE RIDE!
A FREE GIFT awaits you!
(in case you haven’t figured it out that is suppose to be a shade tree mounted on the trike)
As much as we may like the idea of having shade trees to ride under when it is hot and the sun is beating down on us I am pretty sure it is not likely it is going to happen. A portable shade tree is just not too practical. Many of us would like to have a canopy on our trike providing portable shade that goes with us, but we find the cost prohibitive. Some riders have made their own and have done so saving a bunch of money. Not everybody is gifted so that they could do so or for whatever reason they just don’t want to mess with it. (I haven’t because I lack the sewing skills as well as the sewing equipment. I recently ordered the $56 kayak canopy shown below. I expect it may prove to be a bit challenging to mount, but I am confident I can succeed at it.)
There are a few low cost alternatives to the DIY route. That being said be aware that there may still be some DIY work involved to get them mounted and functional. As one might expect “made in China” comes into play. I looked at two recently … both are made for recumbent tadpole trikes.
As I write this the $114 one is nearly out of stock (only 1 black color remains) and the $150 one is completely out of stock (sold out).
The side screens were added by the rider. They don’t come with the canopy. Here is a picture of what you get …
It is 4 foot long, 2 foot wide and the back vertical part comes 7.5 inches down.
Some riders have used baby stroller canopies …
Obviously it doesn’t extend very far forward so it only shades the head and possibly the neck and shoulders at times.
Here it is in the down position. It definitely would catch the wind.
Even kites have been used to make a canopy on a trike (…
And one can use a canopy made for a bicycle …
Lastly, an umbrella has been used as a canopy …
It is so high up it doesn’t offer near as much shade as it could if it were lower. And I am sure it would do very poorly in the wind.
I am adding this here as an idea as how to fasten the front of a canopy down. The front derailleur post can be used to anchor to by placing a rubber pipe plug with an eyebolt and adjusting lock nut into the top of it. First the plastic plug in the derailleur post needs to be removed.
A canopy should indeed help you to …
ENJOY THE RIDE!
A FREE GIFT awaits you!
I can sum this up in just a few words … “wow, what an improvement!” When I bought my Catrike Trail in 2009 I ordered the full fender set which the dealer installed “half ass”. The fenders were the Planet Bike plastic which would break out small chuncks where the mounting braces attached. In 2013 when Catrike replaced my frame under warranty I had to settle for the new frame as they stopped making the Trail with the “space frame” (which I loved and much prefer). Over the years I have done various upgrades with better quality components. This past summer I ordered new front fenders and fender mounts. I had seen the new aluminum alloy fenders on new Catrikes the dealers had in stock so I knew they were an improvement over the old plastic fenders like I had. Upon getting them and installing them I was quite impressed and a “happy camper”. These babies not only look a lot nicer, but they are so much stronger. Just the fender mount itself is such a great improvement. No more braces are needed on the front fenders. Now a flat tire can be fixed without having to remove the front wheels. And the fenders are rock steady … no more flopping around.
Later during this past Fall I ordered the rear fender to replace my Planet Bike plastic fender. The rear fender still uses braces, but at least the fender is mounted solid. The Planet Bike rear fender moved all over the place all too easily. Thank you Catrike. You listened to customer complaints and suggestions and fixed the problem. I have to give credit to ICE and HP … they did it right to start with. The new fenders from Catrike are worth the money in my opinion. With my new fender set I am able to even moreso …
ENJOY THE RIDE!
Earlier today I received a pair of bar end mitts I had ordered a couple of days ago. I installed them after getting home from my daily ride, but I wasn’t feeling like going back out to try them. However, later on I decided to try them out. It is a good day for it as it is windy today and feels pretty cold as a result. They definitely made a difference as far as greatly reducing the wind I feel on my hands. In fact, I can’t say that I felt any wind on my hands so they are doing their intended job. I only wore a pair of wool gloves inside of them hoping that the wool gloves would be sufficient to keep my hands warm. They weren’t. This disappointed me as wearing anything more will be a little problematic as there just isn’t a whole lot of room inside of the bar end mitts. Having the bar end mitts installled presents problems as the handlebars are no longer accessable like they were before. I have to use the handlebars to lift my trike up and down out of the back of my truck. And using the locking brake lever is quite difficult now with the bar end mtts installed. I don’t know how much difference there is between brands, but these I bought just don’t allow much room inside. The brake levers are right up against the front of the bar end mitts making them harder to use. Also it would be best not to have my fingers come in contact with the bar end mitts when using the brakes as in doing so coldness is transferred via conduction. I have twist shifters and with the bar end shifters they are very difficult to use to shift gears. So the verdict is out at this point in time. I just wish they was a lot more room inside of them so that these issues were non-issues. If I have to use additional gloves or mittens on my hands to keep my hands warm using the bar end mitts is going to be even more problematic. I will let you know further down the road how it all works out. Meanwhile I hope to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
A FREE GIFT awaits you!
Cateye (not to be confused with Catrike) has out a new product some may be interested in … lights that mount on the safety flag poles. The cost is about $40 and they are 50 lumens. They are available in red and white (clear lens).
- COB LED (50 lm)
- Mounts securely to seatpost or seatstay with the rubber band (Ø12-32mm)
- Lithium-ion polymer rechargeable battery
- USB rechargeable (Micro USB cable included)
- Low battery indicator
- 6 modes * Charging time: 2h
- Mode memory function
- Battery Auto Save (The mode automatically changes to flashing when the battery power gets low.)
- Attaches to the existing CatEye bracket by using the optional Spacer X
The USB Rechargeable Rapid X provides a bright powerful glow with incredible side visibility. When the battery runs low the low battery Auto Save function automatically changes the light pattern from the current mode to flashing providing an additional hour of riding safety. 6 modes. 2 Hour charge time.
Includes Rapid X attachment base, one large and one small attachment band, and a micro USB charging cable.
Relive your adventure? Well, yeah … sort of. Actually I am talking about a smartphone app which is pretty nifty. Anyone who watches Matt Galat’s (JaYoe) videos has probably already seen it as he uses it on his videos.
RELIVE is free and works with Strava, Endomondo, Garmin Connect and Polar Flow apps to create a 3-D mapping of the route you rode.
HERE are other videos concerning this neat app.
A FREE GIFT awaits you!
I am not blind, but I have been experiencing various vision problems over the last several years. I have glaucoma. My mom had glaucoma as did her mom. My grandmother went blind the last few years of her life and my mom nearly did. I am “legally blind” in my left eye. My eye doctor has been trying to save my eyesight I have left. Blindness is not something any sane person would choose and yet many of us who ride tadpole trikes do choose it. We don’t have eyes in the back of our heads and we can only see so far off to the sides. We are not owls with the ability to turn our heads clear around backwards. In short, we need mirrors to see behind us. That is reality and no sane person would argue it. Certainly our laws require left and right outside rear view mirrors as well as an inside rear view mirror. As far as I am concerned they ought to be a legal requirement on all forms of cycles and misc. vehicles.
See what you are missing without a mirror? There is another trike following behind, but without a mirror you wouldn’t know that. Of course, these pictures don’t really illustrate what I am talking about as far as a blind spot. Many tadpole trike riders choose to only use one mirror. I don’t understand it. We are greatly limited in our sight and it is very unsafe for ourselves as well as others. I am sure most all of us have heard of “blind spots”. They are real and they are very dangerous. A blind spot is the area that doesn’t show up in the one mirror some riders have. Obviously that area is closer up to us than what is shown in these pictures.
Here are the blind spots using 2 mirrors. The grey areas are the bling spots. The white areas are where we can see using the mirror(s) as well as with our eyes looking ahead of us. (Ignore the small grey area in front of the rider. I didn’t bother to remove it when I did the photo editing.)
And here are the blind spots areas with only 1 mirror. As you can observe there is a tremendous difference.
Yes, when we choose to only have one mirror we are choosing to be blind on the side we have no mirror. We don’t do it when we operate our cars, trucks, etc. so why would anyone choose to only use one mirror?
I ride with other tadpole trike riders and they only have one mirror. I have to be very careful around them as they don’t see me if I am on the side where they have no mirror … not unless I am quite a distance back behind them. Just recently one of my friends turned sharply to the right and forced me to brake hard to avoid a collision. He had no idea I was there as he is blind on that side and to make matters worse he usually doesn’t turn his head and try to look. And this situation happens everyday several times a day. I always see them, but they don’t see me. I have talked to them about this, but they stubbornly refuse to install a second mirror. They choose to ride blindly and be a hazard … an accident waiting to happen.
Matt Galat (JaYoe) … well known for his world travel adventure and videos …
is wise enough to use two mirrors.
When I built my first trike I put two mirrors on it. I have always had two mirrors on my trikes. I can’t imagine not having a mirror on both sides. I don’t choose to be blind … not when it comes to my eyesight nor when riding my trike. What about you? Are you blind? It is a very dangerous thing to ride around blind on one side. It is a very foolish thing as well. And it is a very unnecessary thing as they sell mirrors every day. We need to be safe ourselves and do our part to ensure others are safe from us. In short, we need to be responsible. That means having two mirrors is a must. We all want to …
ENJOY THE RIDE
A FREE GIFT awaits you!
TerraCycle, not to be confused with TerraTrike, is a gold mine for recumbent folks. They have much to offer and if you have never heard of them you really need to get acquainted. Here are their own words:
“TerraCycle has a simple mission: to make parts for recumbent cycles that considerably improve the riding experience. Every day, the TerraCycle Team shows up and uses their hands, hearts and minds to create those parts. We know were doing well when Tom Caldwell writes us and says: “Great work, great product, great companyI love doing business with professionals!” When a customer comes back to the shop just to see what new add-ons we’ve created for our accessory mounts, when a team of college kids asks for our idlers on their human powered vehicle, or when a couple comes by to show off the new ways they’ve figured out to use their cockpit mounts, then we know we’re doing it right.
With our website, we hope to create a library of information on recumbent cycling and the technologies that empower those who ride. Over the years, we’ve demonstrated our dedication to making the perfect part, which requires knowing just about all there is to know about recumbent cycling. If you haven’t had the chance to try us out, we recommend it. Otherwise, let this site be a place for you to come to learn about that wheeled craft you’ve been riding around. Who knows, you might realize you need something after all.”
Here is a list of their offerings:
Cargo Monster Load Carrier
Chain in Bulk
Easy Reacher Underseat Racks
FastBack Hydration & Packs
Handlebars, Stems & Steering
Idlers & Chain Management
Purple Sky Flags
SeatSide Mount System
Stainless Bolt Kits
Tires & Tubes
Velogenesis Seat Clamps
Xtras, Blems & Discounts”
They also have a FAQ page which you may find very helpful. Here is a sampling:
Here at TerraCycle, we strive to be the world leader in recumbent cycling knowledge. Below are some topics that have caused more head scratching than brand new helmets, and our best attempts to alleviate the discomfort!
Diagnosing Drivetrain Noises
They even speak (or at least write) Latin. You’ll have to look thru their website to know what I am referring to here as I am not going to tell you.
TerraCycle also has some videos available on YouTube.
Please note that there is another company called TerraCycle which deals with recycling waste so don’t get confused with them. Because of the shared name our TerraCycle has to use a different name in their website …” t-cycle”.
For those who have followed my personal triking life you know that I recently had my trike motorized with a pedal assist setup. A TerraCycle mini-cockpit T bar was used to mount the display console on. Here is a picture of it. It is the bar furthest forward with the green area and the white 0 (zero) displayed on the screen of the dispaly console. The TerraCycle part is only the section shown where their company icon is seen. It is where the display console is mounted. The bottom part is made by a different company (it is the Catrike mirror and accessory mount). The two parts look like they are made as one unit.
Well, that’s all I have to say about that. I have ordered a couple of items from them in years past and they always provided excellent and quick service. Their parts seem to be very well made … top quality. With their help we can …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
A FREE GIFT awaits you!
After about 8 years or more of dependable service my 1 watt Planet Bike headlight has started shutting off all by itself. So I am now looking for a replacement.
I came across this webpage which is somewhat unique. I shows many different headlights as they shine forward on the road at nighttime. It has a split screen where you can compare one light with another. You can adjust the split screen however you want it.
HERE is another website where you can compare the lighting from various headlights at nighttime.
HERE is another side by side comparison.
HERE is an explanation of LED lighting with helpful information.
HERE is an article on lumens and brightness.
As you can see, not all lights are equal. In the image above are two lights both rated at 300 lumens. Obviously the one on the left is much much brighter than the one on the right. I also selected some other 300 lumen lights to compare and the result was identical to what you see in this picture. Good optics make all the difference in lights.
In the image below are beamshots of a 350, 700 and 1000 lumen headlights. As you can see the 350 holds its own pretty good against these much more powerful lights. Again, good optics make all the difference in lights.
I bought the 350 lumen headlight shown in the image above. It is a Light & Motion Urban 350 which sells for about $50. I like it fine for nighttime riding … which I seldom do … but I am very disappointed in its pulse mode for daytime riding … which is what I almost always do. As far as I am concerned its pulse mode is nearly worthless in the daytime. There is no comparison between it and my Planet Bike headlight. So I more less wasted $50 on a light I really have little need or use of. I looked at some others which were about twice the price and their pulse mode was very attention getting. I don’t understand why this light I bought fails so miserably in this one area. It’s pulse mode would be fine at nighttime, but in the daytime … like I said … it is about worthless.
Here is a video of my Planet Bike headlight flashing inside my home.
Fortunately my Planet Bike headlight is working again so I am continuing to use it for daytime riding. It turned out that the problem of it shutting off by itself was simply a matter of the battery contacts needing to be cleaned. Its flashing mode is very attention getting. BTW, Planet Bike lights have very good optics.
Here is a still shot of my current headlights at nighttime. I have changed the mounting positions since this picture was taken.
One thing I have noticed about many of the new headlights being sold now is that they have rubber straps to mount them instead of much more solid and secure clamps. I hate these rubber straps as they are a cheap way of making what are otherwise good lights. The rubber straps won’t tighten up and hold the light in position and they make it extremely simple, fast and easy to steal the light. I am constantly having to reach down and reposition my two new headlights as they just keep moving out of position as I ride along. I would never buy another headlight that uses a rubber strap to mount it. They are a joke … only I am not laughing.
Well, I hope this article has helped to shed some light on the subject of headlights. Be safe out there and …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
A FREE GIFT awaits you!
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