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Posts Tagged ‘slow bicycle movement’

There’ve been previous updates on this but I just wanted to refresh y’all.  I saw these bicycle signs pop up in German Village yesterday and I was thrilled.

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More of these will continue to be installed along with the bike symbols on the ground to guide you on where to stop your bike at intersections.  Once you place your bike ontop of the symbol on the ground, it acts as a detector to change the light.  The city of Columbus’ Public Service Dept. plans to install both the signs and bicycle signals on the ground when you place a 311 request.  This is why it is so important to utilize this easy service-request system (http://311.columbus.gov/).  Our streets cannot get better unless we ALL are proactive in making them better.  I recently placed three requests through 311 and one of them is already in progress.

Next subject.

People constantly ask me ‘where is the best and safest place to ride my bike?’  The honest answer is, is that there is no real answer but there are better practices than others.  I tell people that if there are multiple travel lanes going in each direction, I always take the far right lane b/c there’s still another full lane(s) of travel.  Now, what about a street like High St.  There’s one travel lane, sometimes a dedicated left turn lane, and a far right lane that has buses, right turns, and now – parked cars.  Engineers reinforce that this lane can be ‘shared’ and let’s face it, most drivers DO want us on the most far right lane as possible, so they can continue about their destination, not having to slow down.  The fact is, is that that far right lane is 12ft wide (I counted) and clearly NOT enough for both a bike rider and an open car door to safely exist together.  Take a look at the pics below:

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Many car windows these days have tint to them leaving it as either a guessing game or a ‘Hail Mary’ for us bike riders riding in this lane.  As you can clearly see, there’s a variety of width of these cars.  I don’t care what people say, this is clearly not enough room.  I’ve been door’d and I’m still intimidated at times.

We learn in drivers education to be ‘predictable’ when driving.  Having drivers be able to anticipate your next move is both courteous and safe.  You dont want a driver to abruptly turn right and not signal or a car to change lanes with out adequate space and time.  The same goes with us on bikes.  We want drivers, buses, and walkers to be able to anticipate our moves.  Weaving in and out of lanes isn’t predictable.  I would rather anger the driver behind me b/c I’m slow and predictable than create this bike rodeo of weaving in and out of lanes and parked cars.  I know it’s engrained in us (slower traffic stays right) but when it comes to safety, drivers are just going to have to deal.  I hope these images help along with my quasi-clear explanation.  Again, its really difficult to answer b/c there are so many different levels of confidence when riding however, I hope these images give you a better idea of why its always not in the best interest to appease the cars behind you and for you to maintain the lane until the far right lane frees up for you to move into.

Be safe and keep riding.

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This is going to be my one and only blog written about helmets.  This topic, in my personal opinion is a waste of my time but I feel the need to balance current statements that have been made regarding a recent photo that was taken and published in the Dispatch:

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As many of you know, the three of us just recently executed our first and very successful statewide ‘Ohio Women’s Bicycling Summit.’  This was the photo published  in the Dispatch and you can imagine the comments and judgments that took place once this photo was released.

Only in America does it seem like there’s this war regarding helmets so let’s stop and figure out why.  Why do we wear helmets?  We wear helmets for ‘protection,’ right?  Who are we protecting ourselves from:  drivers and our cities that have been built to solely accommodate the automobile.  If you wear a helmet – you’re a safe bike rider.  If you don’t – you’re reckless.   I’m as safe of a bike rider as they come.   I wear a helmet about 98% of the time I’m on my bike so when I make that CHOICE to not wear a helmet, why do you take it upon yourself to judge me and reduce my safe bike riding; because I don’t conform to your standards?  Just because I don’t wear a helmet, that doesn’t make me more reckless of a bike rider or less credible of a bicycling advocate.

The staunch opponents out there need not be so quick to judge and think about a few things:

  1. Helmets help save lives, however, they do NOT prevent crashes from happening.
  2. We need to stop wasting time on the ‘blame game’ of who is and who isn’t wearing helmets and move forward to trying to change our infrastructure and slow down our streets.   The only way to change behavior is to change the infrastructure.   When you slow down a street with traffic calming elements, road diets, bicycle infrastructure, and pedestrian infrastructure – it not only increases livability within the street, it increases more walkers and bikers which in result increases safety and decreases crashes.
  3. Steve Barbour, Michelle Kazlausky,  Dr. Deborah Ehrlich and William Crowley are just four folks that come to mind whom all except Dr. Ehrlich were fatally hit AND were wearing helmets.  Dr. Ehrlich barely survived.  She was right hooked by a semi.  Again, infrastructure.

The focus must be moved to redesigning and changing our infrastructure which slows down cars and safely allows all users to move about.  Are you going to stigmatize me and anyone else who hops certain lights b/c they don’t detect us?  Do you know that if an intersection goes through two cycles w/out detecting a bike rider, we are legally allowed to hop the light or are you going to immediately make the judgment like most ppl do that I am a reckless rider and not take into consideration that our infrastructure has been built solely for the auto?   If you’re unwilling to see that ‘we’ a car-centric country has created these dangerous cities in which people die and that it is the way our cities have been built and not whether someone is wearing a helmet or not then I’m happy to be your scapegoat.

I’d like to also insert that in 2008, 4,387 pedestrians were killed in traffic and nobody is suggesting for them to wear helmets.  Where is the outrage in pedestrians being killed by motor vehicles?  It’s an increasing epidemic and yet there has been no public outrage.   Bicycling needs to be seen as both safe and fun and that everyone can do without special clothing or gear or feeling the need to ‘armor’ up (perfect example here – a national bicycling webpage:  http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/send_a_pro-bike_letter_to_your_local_newspaper).   Over the age of 18, we as adults have the ‘choice’ to either wear a helmet or not.  I don’t need to feel looked down upon or targeted should I choose on rare occasions to not wear my helmet.

Before you continue to waste both my time and yours judging me on the basis of my not wearing a helmet during a photo shoot, use that energy and write a letter to your local representatives advocating for safer bicycling infrastructure and enforcement of lowering our traffic speeds within our cities.

From 1997-2006, there have been 424, 840 motor traffic fatalities (NHTSA), maybe drivers should start wearing driving helmets:

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This is in fact an actual helmet for driving.  When a bicyclist is fatally hit or seriously injured, the first question asked shouldn’t be, ‘was she/he wearing a helmet?’  It should be about the environment of where the accident took place.  Did you know that the majority of accidents happen in urban main arterials of cities? (NHTSA)  This leads me to once again acknowledge infrastructure.  Our inner- city streets are nothing short of inner-city freeways; five lanes across, no less than 12ft lane width, infinite sight distance, and let’s not forget the timed traffic lights working as an accomplice to speeding and safety concerns.

Our society has become fat and lazy when it comes to putting cars in their place.  Tailgating on freeways going 75mph is the new ‘black.’  Complete stops have become ‘rolling stops.’  ‘Stop bars’ aren’t paid attention to and if a crosswalk is more than six feet deep, that apparently gives a car permission to stop INSIDE the crosswalk and we continue to let this happen.

We need to move beyond whether a person on a bike was armored up with a helmet or not.  Once you understand that it’s not about the helmet – that it’s about our unsafe infrastructure then maybe you’ll put forth your efforts to creating a more ‘people-friendly’ city.  Hopefully soon, our cities’ infrastructure will be balanced enough to where you may walk out of your house, hop on your bike and in mid-riding say to yourself, ‘I forgot my helmet.’  We need to encourage, not discourage.  Our cities need the voices of people who ride bikes to unify and fight as allies, not judgmental enemies.  Again, this post is written based upon my personal opinion, on my personal blog and nothing more.

Be safe and keep riding.

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About eight months ago, I had my two friends Mimi Webb and Jeannie Martin join me for a beer so that I could present them with an idea.  I went to California the end of last summer for two separate Bicycle Conferences.  At both conferences, there were specific ‘women forums’ to continue to forward efforts of increasing women ridership here in the U.S.  Leaving California, I was both inspired and new what I had to do in Ohio.  Fast forward to the evening with Mimi and Jeannie.  I told them I planned to organize the first statewide ‘Ohio Women’s Bicycling Summit’ and would they be interested in joining me in this effort.  Immediately, they said ‘hell yes!”  So, for eight months, Jeannie, Mimi, and myself met and planned out this Summit.

Interest and excitement generated, immediately.  Our main sponsors, ROLL and Trek were absolutely incredible.  Then, Detroit’s ‘Autobike’ got in touch with us.  ARC Imaging donated printing costs for us.  And last but not least, food trucks!  OH! Burgers! and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams sponsored and killed it during lunch time :)  Green Bean Delivery covered all of the yummy fruits during the Summit.  Thank you to all the talented and incredible speakers:  Lisa Hinson, Tammy Krings, Marjorie Shavers, Lindsay Sherman, Lindsey Bower, Emily Burnett, Ohio’s First Lady Karen Kasich, Julie Walcoff, and Rep. Teresa Fedor.

72 women from around the state of Ohio and two women from Indiana.  The overwhelming positive responses from both the attendees and the presenters was absolutely amazing.  The Summit ran without any huge hiccups.  Women were learning, asking questions, laughing, meeting new women, and just enjoying themselves.

I’m grateful for such an amazing first Summit.  This will turn into an annual event.  My main focus is making our city inviting and safe to more modes of transportation.  Men, women, and children deserve ‘choice’ to be able to move about our cities and feel safe doing so.  Us advocates can provide the education; can organize bike rides to build confidence; but there are other components in making people feel that ‘choice,’ in moving around is priority:  political will and infrastructure.  Our wide, arterial streets need to be road dieted and designed with protected bike lanes.  The perception of safety is what I feel a lot of our engineers are missing.  I’ll say it until the light bulb goes off, ‘sharrows do not invite families to ride and feel safe on arterial streets that are four + lanes across and each lane 12+ wide.  Road diets, the narrowing of lanes, and an integrated bicycle network of green lanes, protected lanes, bike boxes, etc. will announce that our leaders are serious about inviting people of all ages to move around the city.  Our leaders making decisions need to be okay with hearing complaints instead of trying to please everyone.  When you create change, you’re gonna hear complaints but the only way to change behavior is to change the infrastructure.  You’re NOT changing the infrastructure when you lay down sharrows.

We have a long way to go and we’re doing better but…  we could be doing even MORE.  We can be building and piloting innovative and bold infrastructure that IS WORKING in other cities.  If we continue to remain status- quo as a city, we’ll continue to get left behind.

Some photos from the first ‘Ohio Women’s Bicycling Summit.’

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Be safe and keep riding!

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I’ve been sexually harassed, I’ve had a water bottle thrown at me, I’ve been driven off the road, I’ve been hit, I’ve been door’d, I’ve been cut off and this past weekend, I can add that my life was threatened-verbally.  I was riding east on Gay St. with a friend.  Gay St. is a two-way street; one travel lane in each direction and I maintained my lane.  A pick-up truck behind me was revving his engine; speeding up and slowing down to get my attention and probably to get me to move to the right but I had no intention b/c I had every right to maintain the lane.  At the red light, he sped up beside me, proceeded to spit on me and said I should ‘share the fucking road.’  I said, ‘how do I do that, I am legally allowed to take this ONLY lane?!’  He continued to be antagonistic, wanting me to ‘hit’ him.  I said, ‘I’m not going to hit you.’  He said, ‘I’ll end your life, you white bitch.’

A few more words were exchanged, the light turned green and since he was finally ahead of me, he was able to again maintain his driving cadence of 25 mph as oppose to my 15 mph.

I got home and couldn’t shake this particular instance.  I’ve had ppl intimidate me with their cars and I’ve never had anyone verbally threaten that they’d end my life.’  I rang a friend of mine who really helped me put this situation into perspective.  I could have handled the situation differently and I was beating myself up for it.  But, my friend told me that that person was my teacher – teaching me how I can improve myself the next time b/c there WILL,  inevitably be a next time.  Thank you, JLa.

I’ve written a ‘Will’ in case I die and its b/c I ride a bike.  How many drivers have written a ‘Will’ b/c they drive a car?  I bet I could gamble and say ‘not a whole lot.’  I constantly think and obsess over WHY, we are in such hurries that when we are slowed down, it infuriates us.  Why, as drivers, when we are slowed down, we have such anger and violence within us that we want to kill, intimidate, drive off the road, spit and harass.  How did we become so disconnected with each other and we don’t see the ‘human being’ component.

I am a daughter, a twin sister, an aunt, a cousin, a best friend, a human being.  When did we as human beings become so transparent that our destinations became more important than the safety of human life?  You’re wanting to END MY LIFE b/c I slowed you down for less than two minutes?  Let’s take a moment and really digest that sentence b/c that’s what I deal with on a regular basis.

Why is it drivers have more patience for school buses or public transportation buses when they make frequent stops yet they are ready to cut off and /or harass a person on a bicycle?  What is the difference?  The operator in any of these mode of transport is still a human being so why the fortitude with one and not the other?

Our streets began with people owning the streets – not cars.  Now, driving has become such a part of our DNA that this sense of entitlement and ownership has taken over our streets and our neighborhoods to where people will kill over it.

I’m willing to die in order to change this mentality.  I have been brought up to be a leader, not a follower.  Streets are suppose to be mini theaters- acting out life experiences and this can’t happen when cars control streets.  Families should want to take their kids on walks after dinner.  Families should want to sit on their front porch or stoop and talk to neighbors about how ridiculous ‘Honey Boo-Boo’ really is.  Nobody wants to do this when their front yards are three lanes wide and cars speeding at 40 mph.

I look forward to the day when we realize that some congestion isn’t always a bad thing and that life WILL NOT END if you have to slow down.  I look forward to the day when more people see change as a good thing and not fear it and react recklessly.

 

 

 

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If you follow my blog or just have seen some of my recent blog posts, you can gauge that I’m passionate about empowering women and providing them with the tools to feel confident to ride their bikes more.  I’ve began this great monthly ladies ride ’2 Wheels & Heels’ which spun from the original up in Cleveland via Lindsey Bower.  There is a niche that’s been missing here in Columbus, Ohio and it’s this inclusive group that I’ve initiated and just with word of mouth and social media, seems to grow like wildfire.

Aside from bringing together all levels of women riders, I wanted to empower younger girls.  Over the summer, I read this amazing research paper by Elizabeth Jose discussing how there really weren’t any girls-specific youth empowerment programs through the bicycle.  The light bulb went off and I knew after reading that paper that I was the right woman for the job; hence – ‘Girls in Gear.’

It is an eight week program held once a week.  There are four areas of study that this program encompasses:

1.  Bicycle Safety.  Learning the basics of bicycle safety over a two week period (lighting at night, hand signals, proper helmet fitting, ABC quick check of bike, door zone, etc.

2.  Bicycle Mechanics.  Two women professionals will come in over a two week period and go over the anatomy of the bicycle, fixing a flat exercises, gear shifting, bike cleaning and maintenance, and brakes.

3.  Urban Design.  Two women professional will come in over a two week period and discuss the basics of urban design and planning.  We’ll be conducting an audit of two streets in which the girls will then have the opportunity to re-create these two streets into their ideal, ‘safe’ street for all.

4.  Public Speaking.  The girls will then discuss in the class how they came up with their street designs.

Upon full completion of their eight weeks, the girls will be awarded a bicycle along with the opportunity to meet Mayor Coleman.  The idea is to not only discuss ‘Girls in Gear’ but to also present their newly designed streets to the Mayor and talk to him about their creations.

I want this program to continue to flourish and expand as far as it can go.  Middle school age is very tough age.  Developmental changes, physical changes, peer pressure – all these components that over consume a young girl.  Girls in Gear empowers them to learn how to fix things, problem solve, communicate, design streets to which maybe one or two them will end up going to school for City Planning or Urban Landscape Architecture – all professions that are still heavily male dominated.  The four areas of focus in this program revolve around the bike however, these development tools can be manipulated to fit into any part of a young girls life and well into adulthood.

I’m just finished my fourth week yesterday and as each week progresses, the girls just impress me more and more.

Enjoy the photos.

Stay safe and keep riding

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Keegan created a ‘bike safety poster on ‘Sharing the Road.’

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Lindsey’s poster was on ‘reflective clothing.’

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Abigail’s was also on ‘Share the Road,’ the ‘do’s’ and ‘dont’s.’

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Anna from Roll and Emily from Paradise Garage were the two mechanics teaching the girls the basics.  They did fabulous!

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Showing the girls the ‘bare bones’ of the bicycle

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After Emily and Anna went through the steps of changing a flat, the four girls practice.  All four changed a flat by themselves.  It was fantastic!

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Abigail pumping up the tire she just changed.

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Alijah and Lindsey changing another flat.  These girls ARE impressive!

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Alijah and Lindsey both practicing releasing the brake, using the quick release and removing both front and rear tires.

 

 

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So, back in November, I organized my monthly ’2 Wheels’ night to be a basic mechanics evening.  Ladies were very interested and asked if I could set something up and of course I did.  It was a super successful evening at Paradise Garage.  Emily Burnett and Sarah Elizabeth were fantastic in teaching the ladies the basics about their bicycles.

Well, post holidays, I received requests about another basic mechanics evening since folks missed the first one as well as folks just learning so much from the first one – they wanted another.

So this time, Trek Bicycle Store off of Lane Ave hosted us.

42 women showed up last night.  Women ranging from 11 yrs old to 50′s and older.  Numerous ethnic backgrounds and riding abilities.  All women wanting to know best practices, the ‘dos’ and ‘don’t’s’ when riding your bike.  Trek’s Raeda and Rhonda took the ladies through the basics of changing a flat, shifting gears, lubing your chain, cleaning your bike due to weather, riding clothing, as well as a few safety tips.  I’m very conscious of ending these events around 9pm.  We’re women and we have numerous responsibilities let alone, we seem to always over extend ourselves.  Well, last night women were asking such wonderful questions that even after the event, women stayed to continue to ask questions.

This kind of an environment was so humbling to be a part of.  It was comfortable, and nobody felt foolish when asking their questions.  The environment and the experiences that took place last night are exactly why I do this.  There IS a need for empowering women and providing women with these kinds of environments so they can build their confidence to ride more.

I feel like women left last night really excited about what they learned and about what’s to come for Women on Bikes -2013 in Columbus.  I look forward to weather being beautiful and the ’2 Wheels & Heels’ ride being out of control, over populated with women coming from all over wanting to become more confident in their riding.

Women make up over 85% of the decision making within families today.  We are the majority when it comes to volunteering in our communities as well as when it comes to taking our kids to school.  If women are confident and excited about riding their bikes, its going to be that much easier to funnel that excitement to their kids.  The bike needs to be ‘normalized’ and women will be the one’s to do this.

Enjoy the photos from last night’s mechanics.  Thanks again to Trek Bicycle Store of Lane Ave.  If you’re a fb user, be sure to search ’2 Wheels & Heels’ and ‘LIKE’ us.  Also, search for ‘Ohio Women’s Bicycling Summit’ as myself and two other colleagues are organizing the first statewide women’s bicycling summit – here in Columbus, Ohio.

Be safe and keep riding.

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Was on the bus yesterday and saw this.  Found it humorous so I thought I’d share.

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So, finally the clouds parted – the sun was shining and the temperature wasn’t bone chilling.  This past Saturday was our winter Tweed ride  which was a fantastic success.  I’m guessing there were close to forty riders eagerly wanting to get back on their bikes.  Prior to the Tweed ride, I hadn’t ridden my bike in five days b/c of the ice still coating the side streets of where I live.

Beginning at Cup o’ Joe in the Short North we then hit off to Franklinton Cycle Works.  We hung out, I took more photos, and had coffee and fruit that was donated by Green Bean Delivery.  On to German Village we rode.  Every Tweed ride, we have a group photo at Schiller Park.  This group photo was one of my favorites taken b/c of the snow covered grounds.  It set a nice tone to our ride and of course, the picture.

Thanks to everyone who joined in on the ride.  I think everyone had a wonderful time.  One of the things I absolutely love about bikes and social bike rides is how it brings people together and how it creates friendships.  I notice that immediately and it puts a smile on my face.

Another Tweed ride will happen in the Spring so stay tuned.  Enjoy the photos

Be safe and keep riding.

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One of the handful of phrases a bunch of us learned last night at the ’2 Wheels & Heels’ Columbus Ladies Night.  Last night, I organized this month’s ’2 Wheels’ event at Paradise Garage.  A handful of ladies have brought up how much they would love to learn more about their bikes.  So, with winter surely upon us, why not learn the basics about your bike so that you can be prepared and as safe as possible.

Emily and Sara of Paradise Garage were pumped to educate these women.  Immediately, when I walked into the shop, I felt comfortable and welcomed as I always do at Paradise.  Women of all ages and backgrounds started showing up and the ‘meet and greet’ hour began.  Right around seven, twelve of us women went into the back repair area where chairs and pairs of tire levers were laid out for all of us.  The backroom setup was immediately inviting and it made me even more eager for the education session to begin.

The 1.5 hr session went through everything from PSI pressure, to brake pads, to chain lube, frayed cables, to learning how to fix a flat.  Fantastic questions were asked throughout the entire session.  I would look around and see women taking notes and being completely focused on what Emily or Sara were saying.

After the session, the girls changed a few flats and realized how easy it is to take the back wheel off if you have your chain in the smallest ring :)  It was such an empowering evening for everyone and again, SUCH a comfortable and inviting environment.  If all bike shops provided this type of comfortable and relaxed feel, women feeling intimidated when in bike shops would be minuscule.

Last night was another absolute pleasure.  Enjoy these incredible and empowering pictures.

Be safe and keep riding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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So, the weather has been a bit of a roller coaster for us.  I personally love it that its mid – high 50′s during these months.  It makes winter less ‘meh’ for me.  Every year I think I say, ‘I need to move’ and each year its been staying milder and milder so we’ll see.

Anywho, through out the awesome rides we’ve done, I’ve asked a handful of ladies if they’d appreciate a ‘basic mechanics’ class and each of them RAVED.  So, before winter DOES hit (if it does), I thought it would be swell to hold a little class for ladies to get to know their bicycles a little more.  Like I always say ‘knowledge is power.’

This Wed. we’ll convene at the lovely Paradise Garage in the Short North where I asked a couple of my favorite bicycle ladies to teach the ladies a thing or two.  We’ll meet at our usual time – 6pm at Paradise Garage.  You can bring your bike or not.  There is a parking lot just South of Paradise Garage as well.

If you have any questions, shoot me an email.  My email address is found under the ‘About’ tab of my blog.

Be safe and keep riding!

New air pumps have been installed at certain bike shelters around Cbus.  I LOVE it.

 

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