Hello, I'm Cheri. I'm a novice rider.

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cherip31
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Hello, I'm Cheri. I'm a novice rider.

#1 Unread post by cherip31 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:19 pm

So, I'll introduce myself. I'm Cheri. I'm a 44 year old female Veteran. I'm an avid motorcyclist but have been a passenger for several years. My DH has ridden most of his life as has my Dad. Both are HD owners. DH has a 2014 Street Glide. Dad has a 2016 Road King (If I recall). I rode (very little) when I was about 22-23. My Ex-DH bought a Honda 600 CBR F3 and taught me the basics. Literally enough to get from point "A" to point "B". I never felt proficient or comfortable. I would walk out from work and find it waiting for me instead of my car, so I learned to get it home. That was 20+ years ago. I've not been in the driver's seat again since then until a few weeks ago. I finally decided...I wanted my own after loving being a passenger for the last several years.

I just bought a 2017 883 Iron for myself. I can attest to the "..you will drop it..." because I have. LOL Each time, I've felt like an idiot...but..what can you do? Get back on it and try again. First time, I will say...was a foot peg malfunction. Stuck right in my left boot heel and hung my foot up when I went to put it down at a stop. I swear...I hate that look my DH gives me when something stupid happens. I put engine guards on that week...as well as new pegs. Something of note...I told my DH that the stock pegs were sticking to my heel day 1. I should have listened to my own instincts and forced the issue of replacing those immediately. If you feel like something is going to be a problem to start...it probably will...address it before it actually becomes one.

So far, I've ridden "my bike" 7 times. Day 1 was just getting a feel for clutching again. DH road it down to the boat ramp parking lot (3 miles away) for me, and I road it around the lot practicing shifting gears..braking, etc.. I did fine and felt good. Next time, he had me ride it down there with him on his bike to see how I felt. Did fine. Next, it was down to the gas station a few miles from home. That was nerve racking for me. We live way out in the country, and that road is a 1.5 lane road with lots of curves and hills...gravel driveways that spill on the road now and then, etc... I did ok. We got gas..came home. I only felt really panicky on one curve...there was gravel on the far side, and I had trouble keeping on the right side. I made it..but it scared me. I went "slow" on that trip...enough that DH was giving me grief about not keeping up with him. (really?..I was glad to stay upright the whole way..jeez) Next trip...little further to the parking lot on the opposite side of the lake. First time on a that 2 lane road. I did not have my windshield on yet, and the wind was freaking me out doing 40-45 mph. We got to the parking lot...went to stop next to DH..heel got stuck. I didn't get my foot down before the bike started to lean...over it went. Dang it! No understanding from DH...just a lecture about how I should have been able to react quicker and not keeping up with him or the speed limit on a major road. Got back on...home we went. I felt defeated. For any mentors out there...I love my DH, but he SUCKS as a coach for me. All of that "good" progress I'd made meant nothing. I felt torn down and like I'd let "him" down somehow after that incident. I made it home fine...actually stayed up with him most of the way...but all that mattered was the bike dropping incident. Next trip...longest so far. We road for about an hour all the way around the lake. That was a good trip. I enjoyed it, and there were no mis-haps. My windshield was on as well as my new pegs. Going faster came easier without fighting the wind-shear so much. I was much more confident and felt "good".

Then, I go to my MSF class. I spent the whole weekend on a little 125 Sazuki. The class was "easy". Too easy. I came home jonesing to get on "my bike". DH and I took them out to go in to town and eat dinner...such a disaster. I'd gotten used to a loose clutch on a very light bike. Coming out of our own driveway, I overshot in to the grass on the other side. (Dang it!) Kept the bike up...didn't freak out, but I knew I was going to hear it about that. Did fine with traffic around me on the way. With so many bikes around this area...people out here are hyper-sensitive to us. Makes things much easier when they want you to stay together at stops (they see the two bikes and allow you to go on with the lead bike). Get in to town, and I was watching my DH tail lights for a blinker. I swear, I never saw his turn signal (he swears it was on). I was a good distance behind him though, so I saw his hand when he started waving me to slow. I slowed. The road we were turning on was an immediate right...I made the turn..but this was an over 90 degree right...very hard sweeping right. I didn't lean hard enough and was over in the other lane. Lucky for me, the car in that lane was going very slow coming from a parking lot and gave me room to correct. Again...it was a mistake...and I knew I was going to hear it. Got to dinner...did nothing but argue because of my lecture...I was right back where I was when I dropped it at the parking lot the week before. All progress...gone. Came out from dinner...DH had me park next to him...not on pavement..on a small dirt/gravel area. (I should have known better). I get on my bike...lean it to my right to get the kick stand up...dirt shifts a little..bike leans further than I'd planned to the right...I can't hold it up...DH has to pick it up again. OMG! I wanted to crawl in a hole...if I could've walked home...I would have. I had to pull myself and my pride together...get on that bike...and ride home. So I did. Only had one place on my way home that I didn't lean in to the curve enough...I put myself in the middle of the double lines...no oncoming traffic, so I didn't try to over correct...just made a mental note and kept on..next curve..fine.

Next night...(last night)..I want to work on some of these things I'm finding harder. I don't want DH to feel obligated to be out there with me..so, I pull out the driveway...go down the road..and think..."I need to find a place to turn around.." There are no driveways down our rural street that aren't gravel besides ours. Holy jeez. So I learned a lesson about gravel. Just no...no gravel..period. Dumb me...I pull in to the last driveway on our street...little do I know...it's about 10 inches deep in gravel. Front tire hits...sinks...bike goes right over. Again. Good, Lord. I try to get it up (which I did come close to doing), but just couldn't for sliding in that gravel. Thankfully, a nice neighbor passing by comes to my aid and helps me sit her back up. I felt like a 5 year old. I got back on...road home..and put her away for the night. DH and I got a big giggle out of it when I begrudgenly told him what happened. He knew I didn't want to tell him...and I thought about just not saying anything...but...whatever. Another lesson learned.

Has anyone else felt like they made 10 steps forward then 5 steps back? I swear....

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Re: Hello, I'm Cheri. I'm a novice rider.

#2 Unread post by pchast » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:28 pm

Welcome... That doesn't sound that unusual.

I give you plenty of credits for the courage to
keep at it.
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Re: Hello, I'm Cheri. I'm a novice rider.

#3 Unread post by cherip31 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:57 pm

Thanks, pchast. LOL Nothing worth learning ever comes easy. I took her back out last night. Had my son drive his car down to the boat ramp parking lot to be there just in case I did something dumb and needed help picking the bike back up. Thankfully, I did just fine. Rode it down there on my own..no issues. I probably went slower than DH would have, but he was fishing so didn't have to worry about what he thought. LOL I spent about an hour just working on fast stops..clutching...starting from a stop..you know, the basics. I needed to really get comfortable with my big girl again. Feeling the weight when I did a quick stop and knowing "I had her"..I wasn't stumbling or anything. Much needed and well worth it. I'll just keep at it. If there's one person out there who can say they got on a bike and never dropped it in their life...then I'd be very surprised. LOL I'm joining up with our local Chrome Divas chapter to get some "female" support.

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Re: Hello, I'm Cheri. I'm a novice rider.

#4 Unread post by pchast » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:43 pm

You are doing the right thing moving at your own 'best' pace.
The club sounds like a good step too. Hope you can find a
mentor within th e group to help you.
'80 Suzuki GS550L

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Re: Hello, I'm Cheri. I'm a novice rider.

#5 Unread post by cherip31 » Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:53 pm

Actually found a great group of ladies in the Chrome Divas. I rode my bike an hour to meet up with them at their all female ride this past weekend. I wasn't planning to ride with them. Didn't think I was good enough yet. They told me that if I could ride as far as I had to get there, I'd be fine. They put me in the back where the most experienced riders could ride with me and keep an eye on me. We road over 200 miles on Saturday, and they told me I did GREAT! I didn't have any issues, and they all told me how much I rocked that ride. There were about 30 bikes (all females), and we had a BLAST! So glad I found them.

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Re: Hello, I'm Cheri. I'm a novice rider.

#6 Unread post by pchast » Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:28 pm

:D :clapping: :thumbsup: :clapping:
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Re: Hello, I'm Cheri. I'm a novice rider.

#7 Unread post by Rubiadiabla » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:14 pm

Welcome to the group and thanks for reaching out. As a lady rider I can certainly identify with you, and I wanna apologize that it’s took me so long to get a reply posted. I’ve been riding motorcycles for 25 years, started early on dirt but as an adult I prefer asphalt. My husband (JackoftheGreen on TMW) and I ride lots of miles side by side on our matching set of Ninjas and it’s bliss. As a rider, years of experience or not there are several factors that can absolutely make or break your day of riding.

Cute boots aren’t practical on a bike. Lol, I can’t say that I haven’t Ninja’d around in sexy black stretch pants and knee high stiletto boots just to see if it’s possible, (yes possible but ABSOLUTELY NOT recommended). Get you some good sturdy engineer style slip on motorcycle boots with barely a heel, and you’ll want the toe to be slim instead of chunky, flat topped is better than any sort of leather detail so it doesn’t risk getting stuck in between your pegs and levers. I’ve made gear errors before based on fashion and trust me, nothing is worse than some deep elbow road rash or laying on the road stuck under your bike waiting for somebody to help you up, at that point promise your outfit ensemble will be overlooked. I keep cute shoes in my desk at work to change into when I get there, and when I’m traveling I’ll stick street shoes in my saddlebags or in my backpack depending on which bike I take. Speaking of packing stuff in your backpack, you should never be without either a crushed soda can or a hockey puck in case you need to park on gravel or dirt, just stick it under your kickstand and make sure its secure and you can assure your bike will be still standing when you’re ready to head out. When I park, I always take a second to survey my parking job, kickstand placement, bike stability (it’s always really windy in the parking lot where I work), key in pocket, both gloves present, cell phone outta my winshield bag and lol I usually have a hair clip on my bike somewhere that is necessary after my ride, a girl with a bike doesn’t require a hair dryer right? Wear your gear every ride, all of it, every time. Helmet that protects your face too, good gloves, I have better luck with good leather isotoners than armored gauntlets, stick with your instincts, sensible booys, long jeans or leathers (pipe burns hurt!! I wore denim capris once and regretted it instantly). Leather or armored jacket but make sure you can move around comfortable to always be able to check your blind spots. Backpacks straps need to be comfortable and secure every time, your focus needs to be on the road.

Practice makes perfect. Even seasoned riders can benefit from some slow course practice and I try to get in some often. Find an empty church or school parking lot and bring some sidewalk chalk. Draw a course similar to the one in your motorcycle license handbook. Use the stalls provided and practice figure 8’s, U turns, weaving and dodging pretend obstacles. Practice fast stops and riding really slow like you’re in stand still traffic on the freeway but you don’t wanna put your feet down and see how you do. Use rubber duckys instead of road cones if you really wanna do some tight technical stuff. If your pipes aren’t too loud you’ll hear them squeak if you hit them with a tire. It’s really fun. Take some friends with you and watch each other practice, you can gain a lot of experience just watching how other people succeed and more so how they didn’t. Lol

Street riding isn’t a competition. Ask your hubby to stick with you but you can’t blame him for giving you your space. Instead of the ideal that you should keep up, the two of you need to find a face that works for you both. If he’s a speed demon perhaps you could work out a break the limit arrangement in the straightaways but slow and steady wins the race in the curvies until you’re more comfortable. He can always go out and speed through the curvies during solo rides and you can do some solo to get in some practice. The objective is to have fun and arrive safely at your destination, both of you. Perhaps you can have a discussion about constructive criticism and help him understand how you need to hear his feedback. Would it help you if he sugar coated it? Or didn’t mention every little thing you did wrong but just bring up the big things? Everybody gives and received feedback differently and sometimes just letting a guy know, ‘hey baby tell it like it is but please consider my feelings’ can go a long way. Lady riders can achieve just as much as the dudes, I have a room full of trophies to prove that fact. Stick with it, practice and you’ll be keeping up with his stride before you know it.

My son is almost old enough to get his learners permit. While I know he’s absolutely skilled enough and responsible enough to operate an automobile on the streets, (that is if he can find his keys and remember where he parked lol) he constantly tells me about what his dream sports cars are and how awesome it would be to drive one school, I constantly say uhh, you’re gonna be driving either a ‘94 Ford Tempo or an old base model Honda Civic. I thought of my son when you explained how your ex used to supply you with a sport bike to get to work and back, and then a brand new Sportster under you while you’re learning. You stated that the riders course was a breeze and I’m confident that it’s because they put you on a Ford Tempo rather than a Corvette. If my son gets in some minor fender benders or takes out a curb in the Tempo instead of the Vette, it’s just another battle scar for his learners diary of driving. I wonder if you might consider getting your hands on more of a starter bike for a season or 2? Something light, 650 or smaller, Honda nighthawk, a small Suzuki Intruder, a Yamaha Varego or V star. Older modest bikes are easy to find, easy to work on and cheap to insure. You rarely find ones that don’t have any battle scars so if you add another you don’t have to feel so bad. They’re easy to resell because there are always people learning to ride and if you’re willing to deliver to a new rider waiting to take a riders course your offer will look better than the rest (been there done that!) Your shiny new sportster will thank you and that doesn’t mean you have to keep it garaged for years, if you wanna ride a starter bike to work everyday then take the sportster out with hubby for a Saturday ride and picnic do it. Just remember to take time to make a mental note of the differences and start out slow, getting accustomed to the feel of how your sporty handles, how the throttle picks up faster and how the brake reaction time differs. I was pretty concerned for your safety when you mentioned how you ended up in the lane with oncoming traffic, it was sure your lucky day when the other driver was aware of you. Purchase bikes at a low price during the winter months and sell right at the beginning of the season when the weather warms up and people have the bug to get wind in their hair.

Last but certainly not least, gravel is not your friend. I know many a proud rider to take a spill thanks to gravel and it’s a bad time. First thing I can advise is be aware, plan your route according to where you know there’s gonna be gravel, if you’re taking a day trip going somewhere you haven’t ridden for awhile, check in with other riding dudes to see what the conditions are like, Jack of the Green and I are members of a local Facebook group called Shut up and Ride, those folks are always friendly and respond right away, (also, you can always find somebody willing to take a ride with you at a moments notice.) Sometimes gravel (tarsnakes too) are inevitable and you just gotta be aware and be prepared. Be ready especially on country/mountain roads or during construction, near pullouts and on the edges of the road. If you find yourself on a road entirely composed of gravel and there’s no other route, going faster actually gives you more control than going slow, once your bike is on top of it it will handle better but be ready to react if theres trouble! On dirt bikes, when you approach an unavoidable obstacle theres some rules of thumb to follow, and it doesn’t hurt to use the same technique on asphalt. Get a good handle on your bars without applying extra throttle, make a good wide stance with our arms, put your elbows up and flex to brace for impact. Slamming your breaks are not necessarily the answer. My dad used to say, when in doubt gas it, that works if you’re approaching a ditch or an unavoidable small piece of lumber in the road but obviously this doesn’t work if you’re approaching a tractor trailer with it’s break lights on all of a sudden. If you’re going over a large bump or obstacle stand up if you can, make sure your feet are good and centered on the pegs (I ride with my feet like that all of the time anyway) and use your legs for stability (and suspension) just like your elbows. If your bike is gonna jump a little your butt best be off the seat and the landing impact will be much better standing rather than with your spine right on the suspension. Some bikes are easier than others, I can stand all day on my Ninja (having memorized some bad bumps in recent road construction) but my Shadow, lol she thinks I’m silly if I try to stand, but it’s doable in a pinch. You can practice this when you’re out playing in parking lots with the sidewalk chalk and rubber duckies ;) Always watch, always be aware, keep an eye out for escape routes, check traffic around you and watch the emergency lanes in case you need to use it. Go around obstacles if you can rather than trying to break for it. I love to ride in the mountains but deer / sheep crossing is always on my mind. A rule of thumb is if the animal is smaller than you keep on keeping on, if its bigger, avoid. I’ve never(knock on wood) had this challenge, but my hubby had the misfortune of a cat crossing the road when he was traveling at night at a high speed. He went with the rule of thumb, just kept going as it all happened to fast and there was nothing he could do on his big Kawasaki Vulcan and fortunately returned home to me safe and in one piece, the Vulcan was fine too but the poor kitty didn’t get lucky that day. I was so grateful he knew what to do instead of wrecking himself to avoid the obstacle. Ride defensively, always have the assumption that other drivers don’t see you, assume they will cut you off and pull out in front of you and not give you right of way. Pretend you’re Harry potter in his invisibility cloak and other drivers cant see you. If you do, you’ll never have a reason to explain to an officer, a loved one or your insurance agent that you thought they saw you. Look up the smidsey maneuver on youtube, ‘Sorry mate I didn’t see you’ it’s a thing where you sorta weave back and forth to make yourself more visible to other drivers while approaching an intersection or when you see someone is about to merge onto the street where you are, I think it’s highly effective and it’s fun. Although, lol some drivers shake their head at me thinking I’m just screwing around. They can think whatever they like as long as they see me well enough to not pull out in front of me 

Always keep your phone with you in case of emergencies and I recommend joining a local riders in distress group on facebook if theres one available. You never know when you might need assistance, my opinion is biased but motorcycle people are good people, they’ll come when you’re in need.

Hope this info was helpful to you. Wish we lived closer, I’d love to ride with you and watch your progress but I'm glad you found a good group of gals to ride with. You’re gonna do great just stick with it. Your hubby will be proud.

Ride Safe and Have Fun.
<3 Rubiadiabla
'Well behaved women seldom make history.' -Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

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Re: Hello, I'm Cheri. I'm a novice rider.

#8 Unread post by cherip31 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:48 am

Rubiadiabla

Thanks for all of that info! I actually made one of the best decisions in reaching out to the Chrome Divas chapter here. One of the ladies is also a member of our local HOG chapter, and I'd met her before on some rides my husband and I had done. She has become my "mentor". She's been riding for many years and has been a Godsend. I've ridden two more group rides with her and the local HOG chapter (several hundred miles each time). That seat time has been the difference maker for me. The guys in the HOG chapter have been great about keeping a reasonable pace and understanding that I normally keep up fine, but sometimes have to catch up in straight aways when we hit some curvy roads. It's exposed me to a lot of things I needed to get some experience in...freeways, gravel parking lots, and even a fairly scary gravel spill in a sharp curve that caught all of us off guard on our last ride...a serious "Oh crap" moment for about 12 bikes all at once. Sometimes you just gotta brace yourself and go thru it, but in that kind of a curve...we were all just lucky there was no oncoming traffic. It was like someone dumped gravel in two lines (right where we'd be in staggered formation) just in that curve. I knew I couldn't "stop" in a curve like that, so I pulled up and out to avoid it and slowed down quickly to come back in at a better angle. Took me over the yellow line (I think everyone crossed the yellow line), and I was just thankful I saw nothing coming at me, and we all came thru it ok. Scariest moment so far for me.

I've gotten much more comfortable with my bike over the last month. I've nearly put 1,000 miles on it in a short period of time; and I think "seat time" is the best instructor. I've only ridden with my husband once since finding the ladies, and he actually smiled at me and told me how good I was doing after all of my other riding...which was good to hear. As I suspected, with comfort comes the increased speed..but I don't think I'll ever "want" to go as fast as he does on some roads. Just like driving a car, I just drive differently than he does. I enjoy "the ride"..not the "speed of it"...and that's ok. I rode to work last week on it for the first time (45 minutes each way), and I was perfectly comfortable on my own.

As for gear..I'm not a "heel" person anyway. My boots are more "combat boot" style. I always where jeans and sometimes chaps when it's cold. I always where a helmet..mine has a visor that I use every time, but it's not a full face helmet. I also always where gloves...and a jacket...unless it's scorching hot..then I have my leather vest on at least.

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Re: Hello, I'm Cheri. I'm a novice rider.

#9 Unread post by Rubiadiabla » Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:46 pm

WAHOOOO!!! SO proud of you Cheri, I LOVE that you had several victories to report. The saddle time has definitely done you well. Congrats for staying with it and having the drive and confidence to progress. It’s amazing how much fun you can have with some good riding buddies, I’m glad you found a group of great ladies and a mentor as well. Please invite your girls to join the forum, we would love to meet them and get their input for other new riders like you and we’re always looking for other bike enthusiasts to chat with. Check out the riding game, it’s an old part of the forum I’d like to bring back and it gives you an excuse to go on rides, sometimes a bit of a challenge and always a laugh. How it works is you find the most recent posted challenge, let’s say the last winner said, your bike at an ice cream shop, so you find an ice cream shop and get a pic of your bike there and post it, then it’s your turn to post the next challenge, let’s say you say your bike next to a porta potty then we all race to meet your challenge. Some people go the extra mile on their challenges and give extra credit to those that can talk an employee from said ice cream shop to pose with your bike… Scroll back to see my hubby’s bike (Jackofthegreen) with a donut shop girl. Not sure what he said to convince her to pose but I know if I was her I never woulda’ been able to say no to those big brown eyes. Anyway, next time he rides to donut shops I’ll accompany him for sure!!! LOL

I wanted to commend you on your impressive gravel victory, that is a true test for any rider no matter how many years / miles they’ve put in the saddle. It’s not just the skill and quick reactions necessary to overcome the obstacle but keeping your wits about you during that ‘oh crap’ moment.

I’m with ya with my vest on hot days, although I know I should have my elbows covered and protected at all times. I’ve got a Ninja tan line on my lower back and on my chest.

Gotta run, hope to hear about more of your victories soon.

Happy and safe riding
<3 Rubia
'Well behaved women seldom make history.' -Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

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Re: Hello, I'm Cheri. I'm a novice rider.

#10 Unread post by roscowgo » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:32 am

Congrats on keeping plugging! Bikes are sleepy things, they want to nap at the dangdest times. Awesome on finding a supportive group with experienced riders to keep an eye on you.

Don't worry about riding your own ride. Go the speed you feel comfy right and appropriate. That'll chap some peoples "O Ring". Let em know to love it or lump it.

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Re: Hello, I'm Cheri. I'm a novice rider.

#11 Unread post by cherip31 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:24 pm

Thanks for all of the support, everyone! I just took my first overnight ride with my hubby, some of our friends (who can be some of the pickiest riders around), and about 100 other bikes for a Riders For Heroes Veteran's Charity Ride. We'd been planning it for months, and I was really nervous about how these guys can nit-pick sometimes....but it went AWESOME! My husband stood there grinning ear-to-ear as some of the older guys in our group came up and told me how well I handle my bike! One in particular has been known to have words with riders he deemed "unsafe"...he said I left him behind in some of the curves. LOL!!! I've learned to take the curves at "my" speed. Some I feel good faster in, some a little slower in...but I always "catch-up" coming out and in the straight-aways. I've learned not to be the pack separator. LOL!! It helps that my bike is just the right size for me. My 883N is way easier to handle in a curve than a street glide for someone my size. I'm at over 1400 miles now..time to get my maintenance this weekend. My 14 year old daughter was able to come along on our trip because she got to ride on Dad's bike. It was such a good time. Here she is with me the morning we left. She thinks her Mom is "pretty cool". LOL
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Re: Hello, I'm Cheri. I'm a novice rider.

#12 Unread post by Josh01 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:49 am

Hello Cheri, nice to know you

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