Tag Archives: Hub gear

Why I love my Bike for Life when it is 11pm and I’ve 10 miles to home with strong headwind and heavy rain

It is a long title “Why I love my Bike for Life when it is 11pm and I’ve 10 miles to home with strong headwind and heavy rain” but I feel I need to explain why I had a grin on my face as the rain got a lot heavier as I was riding through Burton on the Wolds last night.

It seemed to me that when you are out riding in bad weather late at night 3 things allow you to grin and enjoy it.

  1. You need to be wearing the right clothes and have the right food and drink at hand.
  2. You need to be confident that your bike can cope and it not going to let you down in any way.
  3. and it really helps if you know that when you get home you don’t need to worry about cleaning the bike or doing any work on it because of the conditions you are riding through.

This is the route last night:

So for me last night I was able to grin because

1. Clothes/Food/Drink

On the top half I was wearing a thermal t-shirt (don’t know the brand, it is old but still effective), a very old short sleeve cycling top and a new Dare 2 Be shell long sleeve top. It was all warm and kept me feeling dry.

On the lower half I was wearing a cheap pair of old cycling shorts and a pair of winter cycling tights from Altura (at least 5 years old). Again very comfortable and warm.

On my feet I was wearing Shimano MW81 Gore-Tex Winter Mountain Bike Boots, these keep my feet dry upto a few hours of riding in heavy rain and usually warm after that. That is helped by the full mudguards and mudflaps which mean I don’t get much water splash onto my feet.

trail42-packflaskTo drink I had just finished some great hot filter coffee (Cameroon Hosnia from tankcoffee) which has been kept warm in a Trail42 Pack Flask. I’ve only had this since Saturday when I used it for the ParkRun support ride. This time I did make sure the coffee was really hot, using the microwave, before putting it in and it was still a good temperature after nearly 2 hours.

Plus also a bottle of water and a couple of energy gels which I ended up not needing.

2. Confidence in the Bike

At that time of night I find it impossible to enjoy the ride, however comfortable I am, if I having any nagging doubts about the Bike. I find it easy to let nagging doubts drag me down and so in the past instead of enjoying the ride I would be worrying:

  • are my lights going to last to the end of the ride
  • am I going to get a puncture
  • am I going to damage a wheel in a pothole hidden by a puddle
  • are my brakes good enough or do I need to slow down on the downhills
  • am I so tired that I will run out of gears uphill against this headwind

I am sure that you are not like me and don’t let these things cross your mind or get you down. But they have spoilt rides for me in the past. If you have to stop to fix the bike or walk home or call home for a lift then you quickly switch from being warm and comfortable to cold and wet.

While I was fortunate and didn’t get a single puncture on my 2012 LEJoG I also knew that Jane was available in the car not far away from me with full tools, parts and even a spare bike. Even so my Trek Pilot didn’t leave me feeling as relaxed about finishing a ride as my Bike for Life does.

The confidence comes from:

  • The Schmidt Hub Dynamo that you know has been so carefully engineered to last and last.
  • LED front and rear lights powered by the dynamo. The only maintenance they have needed since new is to wipe the lens clean.
  • The Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres, 35mm front, 40mm rear. Incredibly puncture resistant and big enough volume to not worry about pinch flats on unexpected potholes etc. So far I’ve had no punctures ever on a Marathon Plus.
  • The wheels are handbuilt, they have stayed true for the first 4,000 miles. As I use disk brakes the rim has not been worn at all and it wouldn’t matter if they got a bit buckled on this ride as it won’t affect the brakes.
  • There is nothing better than hydraulic disc brakes for inspiring confidence that they will get you home. You can stop reliably and controllable right to the limit of the tyres grip no matter what the weather. These are Hope Tech E4’s and they have been superb from day 1. I wore out a complete set of new Swissstop brake pads on my Trek in the first half of LEJoG (and I mean fully worn out). I wrote about this in A bike for life: Cascading decisions.
  • As the Trek had got older I used to worry about the Carbon fork a little, you read scare stories about forks breaking. This is one of the many reasons why the frame and forks of my Bike for Life are all steel (although it is a very fancy steel that Shand Cycles use). So the whole frame inspires confidence that it is not going to suddenly fail.
  • One of the beauties of the Rohloff 14 speed hub gear is that I have a mountain bike range of gears (wider than a road bike). It is brilliant because, however tired you are you are, all you do is twist and there is another gear available. It is very rare that I get to use first gear (I certainly didn’t last night) which is great. That feeling when you are in first gear and struggling up a hill against a headwind is a horrible one and one I have never had with the Rohloff.
  • h10_loopbar_alFinally, the Jones Loop H-Bar is also great in these conditions. You can put your hands close together on either side of the loop (depending on how tired you are) getting a much more aerodynamic position than you would expect on a fairly upright bike. I find this makes a huge difference in strong headwinds and is much more comfortable than riding in the drops of my Trek was. This really helps remove the impact of a headwind on my morale.

3. The Bike after the ride.

The combination of Gates Belt drive and the Rohloff means that when you finish a ride in horrible conditions you can simply leave the bike alone. There is no chain to go rusty, there are no derailleurs that are going to have been clogged up. No wheel rims or brake pads to clean or check. Again compare that to the state of my Trek after LEJoG.

It is so nice to ride your bike without having to think about the maintenance you will have to do afterwards. There will be no guilt because you simply put it away and lock it up. Late at night that is a very good feeling which again keeps the grin on your face.

Summary

I love my bike and it means I can be 10  miles from home with a strong headwind, heavy rain at 11pm with a great big grin on my face 🙂

A British Budget Bike for Life: The Paper Bicycle

I rabbit on and on about the need for practical bikes or Bikes that defy categorisation typified by my expensive but fantastic Bike for Life, hence my search for a Budget Bike for Life. My friend Dave reminded me of a potential solution: The Paper Bicycle and it is British!

Paper Bicycle

The design, the pricing and the specification are all fantastic!

It makes an excellent Bike for Life.

Total price for a complete specified bike is almost exactly £1,000 and that is complete with:

  • 8 speed hub gears
  • front and year hub brakes
  • hub dynamo and front and rear LED lights
  • fully enclosed chain
  • steel step thru frame
  • stainless steel mudguards
  • kickstand
  • strong rear rack
  • big air tyres for comfort, speed and reliability

This should be way up your list of potential bikes if you want something that is going to be:

  • reliable
  • extremely low maintenance
  • comfortable
  • completely practical: carry stuff, ride it in any clothes, get on and off easily and stay clean
  • faster than a Dutch bike and many mountain bikes (unless they have been adapted for road use)

Every bike shop should have these in stock to provide a real alternative to the unsuitable bikes they normally sell for town and city use.

Look at the superbly strong rack.

If this had been available with this specification when I bought Jane’s City Bike, it would definitely have been chosen over her Ridgeback (excellent though that has been – after I added all the missing bits).

A Bike that defies categorisation

David Arditti has written an excellent post Vole O’Speed: A post about bikes. In one part of the post he compares the category of a “Road Bike” and a “Hybrid Bike”. My Bike for Life is a Bike that defies categorisation in these ways and deliberately so.

In my opinion the categories of bikes sold in most British shops do not reflect the needs of reliable, convenient, long lasting, pleasant transport.

  • “Road Bikes” are impractical, their 23/25mm tyres do not cope with cycle tracks, potholes and daily use carrying loads. They are designed for speed, not comfort and so you rarely see anyone riding them in normal clothes. They come without mudguards (and often without the space for mudguards to be fitted), racks, lighting and pedals that can be used with normal shoes.
  • “City Bikes” are poor relations of real Dutch bikes. They frequently don’t have the features that make Dutch bikes reliable, long life, comfortable and practical. Eg chain guards, hub gears, dynamo lights, hub brakes.
  • “Mountain Bikes” are also impractical for transport in many ways. They come with knobbly tyres which while often quite puncture proof are very slow on roads. They come without racks, lights, mudguards and chain guards. They have low gears designed for climbing a mountain off-road but irrelevant for getting to the supermarket or work.
  • “Hybrid” is such a vague term that it can include what is essentially a road bike with flat handlebars (and with nearly all the disadvantages of a “road bike”) or a mountain without knobbly tyres, to a more traditional town/city bike (although typically without hub brakes or lighting).
  • “Dutch Bikes” we are starting to see a number of places selling Dutch Bikes, these are much closer to being what is needed. However, Dutch bikes are not perfect everywhere in the UK. Many designs assume fairly flat terrain (heavy and few gears) and good quality infrastructure (typified by not enough volume of air in the tyres and by a very relaxed riding position which I think works best when in a more cycle friendly environment).

It was partly in response to this that I came up with the phrase “A Bike for Life” when I started looking for a practical bike that defied these categories.

By a “Bike for Life” I mean:

  • A bike that will last a lifetime
  • A bike that is completely practical for everyday life
  • A bike that is reliable for everyday life
  • A bike that enhances life

Lets look at the features of that make a bike for life fit these criteria:

Last a Lifetime

  • A steel frame because unlike Carbon or Aluminium it can be repaired (plus with the added bonus of a lower environmental cost)
  • Components that are chosen for long life that can be serviced and won’t break. So handbuilt wheels with big tyres, hub gears, hub dynamo lighting, disc, hub or roller brakes (that work for ages without adjustment and which don’t wear out rims)
  • Security fastening of wheels etc so that the bike can be quickly locked more securely (I use Infinity3D)

Completely Practical

You need to be able to ride all year round for normal tasks in normal clothes. This implies:

  • Hub Dynamo lighting: always there, automatic, maintenance free. I use a Schmidt hub dynamo and eDelux front light (on two bikes) and a B&M rear light (on my Bike for Life).
  • Racks: Ideally front and rear. I have chosen Stainless Steel racks from Tubus for strength and long life.
  • Either a chain guard (to keep oil off your clothes) or a belt drive (no oil in the first place). I chose the belt drive.
  • Full length mudguards, preferably with mudflaps to keep you dry.
  • A stand for easy parking.

Reliable

  • Puncture proof tyres on strong wheels. So 35/40mm tyres with loads of puncture protection (I use Schwalbe Marathon Plus).
  • Hub gears which last far longer and require far less maintenance than do derailleur gears. My (expensive) preference is for Rohloff for performance and reliability (amongst other things moving the indexing into the hub reduces gear cable problems)
  • Hub, Roller Brakes or Disc brakes (hub gears are the lowest maintenance, disc brakes the most powerful)

Enhances Life

This will be more subjective, but for me it includes:

  • The bike being great to ride, so not frustratingly slow or heavy.
  • The bike being comfortable despite the poor road conditions and infrastructure (big tyres, seat post suspension, ergo grips, Jones Loop H-Bar handlebar).
  • Supporting local manufacturing which helps with community, with our own economy and the environment. For me that included Shand Cycles, Hope, Middleburn, Brooks, Carradice, Atomic22, BridgeStreet.

Bikes for Life

I would be so happy if a shop would start selling “Bikes for Life”, by using less exotic components than I chose it should be possible to achieve the magical £1,000 Cycle to Work Scheme limit.

Bike for life shows how it is done

Today was a delight, 47.3 winter miles showing exactly why I made the choices I did for my Bike for Life. Particularly the combination of:

  • Gates belt drive (silent and no need to worry about oil being washed off, or grit wearing it out)
  • Rohloff hub gear (reliable, huge range, smooth, weatherproof)
  • Schmidt dynamo with Schmidt EDelux front light and B&M rear light (very bright, there all the time, reliable, foolproof)
  • Jones loop h-bar (so comfy with options of two more aerodynamic positions for headwinds)
  • Brooks B17 Select saddle (well worn in and so comfy)
  • Hope Ceramic bearings bottom bracket (reliable, silent, smooth)
  • Schwalbe Marathon City Plus tyres (comfy, puncture proof, fast, bullet proof)
  • Hope Tech Evo V4 hydraulic disc brakes (so powerful and smooth)
  • Shand Cycles Stoater frame to hang it all on (looks fantastic, all the right fittings with internal electric cables and beautiful brazing & paint)

Together they mean that the bike copes with rain, floods, potholes, grit all over the road, darkness etc without any problems at all. In fact more accurately with beautiful composure.

This is what I had wanted. A bike you can just get on, that you can rely on for any journey whatever the weather. I maybe one of the slowest riders in the Festive 500 challenge, but I am certainly the one needing to do least maintenance and least worried about British weather. 🙂

A Bike for Life passes the ordinary use test

In my search for a Bike for Life the central factor was a bike I can use for everyday transport. That means riding in normal clothes, in all weathers, with a wide variety of loads and a wide range of distances. There will be many journeys shorter than 5 miles and generally at least one each week of 20 miles or so.

Using a bike for everyday transport requires reliability and little maintenance, otherwise it is not available when you need it.

All these things fed into the specification which led to:

  • Hydraulic Disk Brakes (all weather, long life, reliability)
  • Dynamo lights for reliable lighting that is always available
  • Rohloff Hub gears (reliability)
  • Belt Drive (less maintenance and also clean for normal clothes)
  • Versatile racks to carry a variety of stuff
  • Large tyres for puncture resistance despite poor surfaces
  • full mudguards (fenders) to keep me as dry as possible

After collecting the bike on Friday I am pleased to say that it is already meeting these needs. I have ridden more than 10 miles each day and all but 6 have been as normal transportation. They have included riding in the dark, riding when it is raining, when it is frosty, unloaded and with a full pannier.

Nothing dramatic yet, but then that is what I wanted 🙂

The comfort is there from the first ride, really liking the Jones Loop H-Bar handlebars along with cork Ergon grips. Of course my well worn in Brooks B17 Select saddle has been moved onto this bike so I knew that would be comfortable. It is interesting that the handlebar and grips attract more comments than anything else, presumably because they are so visible.

It took a while to figure out how to fit it but I have now sorted the Velo Orange Campagne Handlebar Bag with the Randonneur Front Rack with Integrated Decaleur. The result is very convenient for bits and pieces (jacket, phone, wallet, tablet, notebook etc).  The way I have done it is to remove the handlebar straps from the bag and bolt the decaleur to the back of the bag. All you need to do is thread the bag under the handlebar and hook on the decaleur and you are ready to go. With the Plug USB charger on the step I can charge up any device kept in the bag while on the move. Very useful as my Galaxy Tab battery seems to be dying at the moment.

I am loving the belt drive already. I have been wearing ordinary trousers and not tucking them into anything and no problems at all. It is absolutely silent and smooth.

For security I am carrying my new and pretty weighty (2.06kg) Krptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini around. It fits on the Randonneur front rack under the handlebar bag. Currently I am using a bungee to hold it in place but plan to create a pouch for it that will sit permanently on the rack. The critical components are all secured to the bike using Atomic22 Infiniti3D security (another innovative British made product). The infinity3d security comes with a beautiful ratchet handle used with the keys that can also be used with standard screwdriver and allen key bits.

That’s all for now as I am about to use the bike for a hospital visit and some other errands 🙂

 

A Bike for Life: The Frame

So the time has come to reveal my choice of frame for my Bike for Life. Cue drum roll!

First, I want to say there are some great frames out there. My personal choice is not going to be right for everyone (or maybe even anyone), in explaining why I have made this choice I am not intending to attack the frames made by anyone else. Nor am I claiming to have made an exhaustive or even 100% logical decision.

So the criteria that helped me narrow down my choice were.

  • Frame to be made in Britain rather than simply the product of a British company that is made abroad: for environmental reasons, to support our own economy, to support small companies, greater chance of the person who builds it being treated well by the company (in fact in many cases in Britain they probably own the company as most are very small)
  • Made of Steel: reasonably low environmental impact, comfortable, easy to customise, easy to repair, wide choice of frames made in Britain
  • The builder to have experience of and like Gates Carbon Belt Drive
  • Support for Rohloff Hub gears with dropouts that support the OEM large slot for anti-rotation and also the EX box for cable connections.
  • Disk brakes only
  • Support for braze on fittings for low riders and other front racks
  • Clearance for at least 40mm tyres with mudguards
  • Separate mountings for racks and mudguards
  • Willingness to add a plate for a kickstand to be fitted

Some of the bikes that I have mentioned in the past that came close included:

  • On-One Pompetamine (at the moment the 2012 frames are selling for £99 no belt drive, not UK production, Alfine instead of Rohloff but very tasty.
  • Milk Bikes RDA The Commuter. Gates Carbon Belt Drive, dynamo lights but not UK production and not Rohloff, limited options to front braze on changes
  • A custom bike by any of the builders at the UK Handmade Bike Show: Wow, breathtaking.

In the end the company I chose did exhibit at the 2012  UK Handmade Bike Show and had just launched a “production” range of frames.

So I have ordered a “Stoater: AllRoad” frame from Shand Cycles. We managed to fit in a factory visit and a test ride on our way home from John O’Groats. In fact it is going to be more than just a frame because Steven (Shand) is going to be doing a lot of the assembly. So he will be able to make sure things like the front rack braze-ons are in the right place and ensure that the alignment for the Gates Carbon Belt Drive is spot on.

Small companies can vary widely in their attitudes to potential customers. With some you wonder how they sell anything! My experience so far with Steve and Russell is great, very responsive, very interested in my needs and genuinely interested in building the bike I want. Just as examples Steve has gone out of his way to source one of the very rare Jones H-bar handlebars and well as finding out the situation with the Civia Marketplace Porteur rack.

The Shand Cycles “Stoater : Allroad”. Even meets all my requirements!

The Series so far:

 

Make it easier for people

This morning in Belgrave, Leicester I saw someone bouncing along on a full suspension mountain bike and it reminded of a thought from the other night when I was riding along an unlit road.

Why does the Bike industry sell so many unsuitable bikes in the UK? I guess the industry would rather I worded it “Why do people want to buy such unsuitable bikes?”

A full suspension mountain bike is a hopeless bike for Belgrave, for a city environment. You see so many of them and almost without exception they are being ridden slowly because they are so heavy and inefficient. They almost never have lights, they offer nothing to keep the rider clean and dry, they have nowhere to carry anything. Their only “virtue” is that they are sold cheaply by supermarkets and discount retailers. No wonder so many people think bikes are unreliable, slow and tiring to ride.

My thoughts the other evening were not about mountain bikes but about the advantages of hub gears, well more accurately about the advantage of having only one gear control. When you ride in the dark it is so much easier to have one gear control. There are very few gear controls that tell you by touch which gear you are in (bar end levers are the only ones I use that do this). That does not matter when you use hub gears as you simply change up or down until you can’t change gear any further. However, when you use derailleur gears with front and rear changers it is suddenly more complicated and the relationship between the two gear controls matters.

So derailleur gears are more complicated for everyone in the dark, yes skilled riders will know what gear they are in without being able to see but that is not true for most people. In fact I see many people on cheap bikes who never use the front changer, with cheap bikes it is so stiff that they don’t believe it works,  so clunky that when it does they think they have broken something and so often not properly adjusted so they scrape against the chain the whole time. These riders would be so much better off with hub gears, they can change gear when stopped or when moving. There is only one gear lever to worry about, there are no gears you are “not supposed” to use (due to extreme chain mis-alignment).

If the marketers think people want mountain bikes then at least sell them with hub gears so that they are easier to use, then they might actually get used more. If they also provided lights, mudguards and high volume road tyres then they would double their safety, speed and utility.

It’s a bit technical isn’t it

This has got to be a winner.

Jane was out around Syston on her bike this afternoon.

She had been to the Library, to the Post Office and to the Doctors. While she was at the Doctors she noted how odd it was that they didn’t have a bike rack/stand at all. Fortunately she has a double leg centre stand and a framelock so it is not a problem for her.

Anyway as she was leaving a man came up to her and after looking at her bike apparently said

“It’s a bit technical isn’t it”

Which she understood to mean something like “How do you as a mere woman manage on such a complicated bike”.

It made mean laugh for two reasons.

Firstly, this bike has been chosen to be as convenient, reliable, simple and easy to use as possible. So it has:

  • Hub gears (a nice 8 speed Alfine) so you can change gear at anytime, don’t need to do any maintenance and don’t need to worry about multiple gear changes that are fussy with some combinations that are not suitable. One odd feature is that hub gears are now so rare that many people think it is an electric motor – maybe it is just that Jane just rides it so fast 🙂
  • A framelock so you don’t have to remember or carry a lock and don’t have to remember a key
  • Chainguard, skirtguard, mudguards so you can ride it in whatever you are wearing. Today that included a skirt, knee boots (with long laces) and a long coat.
  • A basket for you to drop your library books, handbag, post etc in
  • A rack with permanent bungee in case you buy anything else while you are out.
  • A step through frame to make starting and stopping really easy
  • A double leg centre stand so it is really stable when parked for hassle free easy loading.
  • Disc brakes so the wheels won’t get so dirty, and they will last for ages without maintenance and will stop you well in all conditions

So in one sense there are a lot of bits but they are all ones that made the bike easier and simpler to use and maintain. You can tell we live in a strange place where people are so not used to practical bikes that so many comment on it.

The second reason it made me laugh is that he should see the bike Jane rides when she is not riding this one. That is our Trice XXL recumbent trike. That is far more complicated/sophisticated 🙂

 

How important is efficiency?

Vik writes:

One thing I have learned slowly over the years is that an efficient bicycle is really important if you want to use your bike for transportation and utility: Efficiency… « The Lazy Randonneur.

It is a good article and well worth reading as Vik has a lot of experience of a wide variety of bikes and also varies the setup of his bikes a lot.

However, I am not completely convinced. In my experience most people do not maintain their bikes as well as Vik does (and when the bike is a simply a tool for a transportation why should you).

So in my opinion Efficiency comes about 4th in the list of important features for a bike. For me (thinking about bikes for transport) the higher priorities would be:

  1. Reliability. Can I set out on this trip and be sure of getting there and back with no problems.
  2. Practicality. Can the bike carry what I need, cope with the hills, cope with being left out in the rain while I am in a meeting, allow me to ride in the clothes I need for the meeting/event?
  3. Low Maintenance. Can I just use the bike without needing to spend lots of time cleaning it, replacing bits, repairing things? If I ride my bike several times a day and everyday through the winter I won’t have time to clean it each time. If I ride a bike 80 miles a week I don’t want to have to adjust brakes every week or two.

How much time will an efficient bike save me on 80 miles a week. If an efficient bike allows me to increase my a 10mph average speed by a 1/3 to 13 1/3mph then I would save 2 hours per week, but at what cost?

My experience is that the cost of getting an average speed that much higher will include:

  • time spent on maintenance as the bike will need to be in excellent condition with lightweight components that wear out
  • it will mean time spent changing before and after journeys as I will sweat more and be unable to wear normal clothes (eg jeans on a drop handlebar bike tend to be uncomfortable).
  • it will mean extra trips as I will find myself unable to be as flexible when the day changes and I don’t have a bike suitable for the extra stuff I unexpectedly need to carry.
  • I will need multiple bikes in order to have more efficient ones for different purposes (ok I have multiple bikes but don’t believe all transport cyclists should need to have more than one bike)
  • the components that are lighter to be more efficient are more expensive and last less time, particularly in bad weather. So I will need to earn more and spend more time cleaning them.

My belief is that these extras add up to more than the 2 hours saving.

However, I do accept that within the constraints of your bike it is worth spending a little thought on efficiency. I would focus on choosing an bike that is easy to keep efficient in the first place (hub or disc brakes, good hub gears, protected chain). Then the two things that are most worth spending time on are

  • tyre choice (find a good compromise between puncture resistance and rolling resistance for example not riding a mountain bike around town with knobbly tyres is a good starting point, beyond that go for big air volume for comfort and speed)
  • tyre pressure. Riding with tyres that are either flat or too hard  is slow, uncomfortable and puncture prone

Then look at the wider efficiency factors:

  • Speed of getting your bike out from home
  • Avoid needing to change clothes to ride
  • Avoid stuff that needs cleaning or maintaining or that breaks
  • Make it quick to secure your bike and leave it when you get to places
  • Make it quick to load and unload your bike

Preparing your transport bike for winter

The cycling magazines are currently full of articles about preparing your Bike for winter, all the things you should be buying for your bike in winter and cleaning your bike in winter.

So I thought it would be helpful to add my tips for preparing your everyday transport bike for winter.

The list of tips is not very long.

In fact the list is empty.

I have no tips for preparing your transport bike for winter.

Why?

Well a bike used for everyday reliable transport will already be fully equipped with:

  • Hub gears for low maintenance, reliable, clean and protected year round use.
  • Hub, Coaster or Disc brakes for low maintenance, reliable, clean and protected year round use. They won’t be wearing out your rims and they won’t need special winter pads.
  • Mudguards, because when you use your bike all year round in normal clothes you know that roads get wet all year round.
  • Lights that are there all the time because it gets dark before you put your bike away at night for most of the year.
  • Tyres that are heavy duty because you know the roads are covered with glass all year round
  • Ideally a full chainguard (the only thing I would like to add to my Bullitt Clockwork) so your chain is going to be kept clean and so are you

So as far as preparation goes you might want some thicker gloves 🙂

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