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TECH NEWS

7 weird and wonderful cycling/fitness gadgets from CES 2024, including the indoor bike that charges your laptop, earphones that give you a training programme, and an e-bike you control with a smart ring

CES - formerly the Consumer Electronics Show – returns this week with more exciting new tech. Here’s our pick of the most interesting cycling-related gadgets…

The CES tech expo – which used to be called the Consumer Electronics Show until it got too broad for the name – is taking place in Las Vegas right now, and here are seven of the most interesting bike and fitness products that we’ve spotted so far….

Vanpowers’ two new e-bikes offer “a new benchmark in anti-theft protection”

Vanpowers has announced two new e-bikes at CES 2024, both of which come with integrated safety features, including hub motor lock, emergency SOS, vibration detector, real-time GPS tracking, and geofencing.

> Garmin introduces women-specific heart rate monitor and revamps Garmin Connect fitness tracking app

2024 Vanpowers UrbanCross - 1

“This smart system sets a new benchmark in anti-theft protection, significantly mitigating the risk of bike theft while enhancing the likelihood of successful recovery in the event of theft,” says Vanpowers.

The UrbanCross is a lightweight road/gravel e-bike that’s targeted at urban commuters and short-distance travellers. It comes with a Shimano GRX groupset and flared gravel handlebar, and has a claimed range of up to 62 miles.

2024 Vanpowers GrandTeton - 1

The GrandTeton is a mountain e-bike that comes with a 130Nm motor and torque sensor, and a removable 692 watt-hour lithium-ion battery, with a claimed range of up to 110 miles when combined with an optional power bank. You get 4-piston Tektro hydraulic disc brakes and a 120mm travel air suspension fork.

We don’t yet have prices for these models.

Find out more here 

Sennheiser Momentum Sport earbuds monitor your heart rate and body temperature as you exercise

Germany’s Sennheiser is introducing wireless Momentum Sport earbuds that take your heart rate and measure your body temperature as you exercise.

2024 Sennheiser Momentum Sport earbuds - 1

The heart rate measurement comes courtesy of a photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor. Great word! Essentially, it’s an optical measurement method, so similar to how an Apple Watch (and various other devices) takes your heart rate on your wrist, but this time via the left earbud. Other brands already offer in-ear sports earphones with heart rate measurement.

Sennheiser says, “Momentum Sport’s heart rate data connects and integrates seamlessly with many popular sport devices and apps, such as Apple Watch/Health, Garmin Watch/Connect, Strava, Peloton and more.

“For the first time ever in a non-Polar product, users will be able to enjoy full access to Polar’s elite biosensing capabilities and data analytics—including Body Temperature—offering real-time insights during training and deeper offline analysis via the Polar Flow app ecosystem.”

The Sennheiser Momentum Sport earbuds come with an IP55 rating, meaning that they’re dust protected and water/sweat-resistant. We do review earbuds that have a higher level of waterproofing than that.

“To minimise footstep noise, breathing, and other body-borne distractions, the earbuds feature an acoustic relief channel and semi-open design for natural environmental awareness,” says Sennheiser.

Body-borne distractions? Seems a bit harsh to describe breathing that way, considering how handy it is.

“An adjustable Transparency mode, Anti-wind mode, and Adaptive Noise Cancelling mode let the wearer easily adapt as their surroundings change,” says Sennheiser.

The earbuds have a claimed playback time of up to six hours, while the carrying case can recharge them up to three times.

Sennheiser Momentum Sport earbuds will be available in three colourways (Polar Black, Burned Olive, and Metallic Graphite) from 9th April 2024, at a price of £259.99.

Find out more here

LifeSpan Ampera Under Desk Bike lets you exercise as you work

It seems like every few months we hear about a new device to keep you fit by allowing you to pedal as you work, but does anyone actually use one long-term, or do they just end up gathering dust in a corner?

2024 LifeSpan Ampera Under Desk Bike - 2

The LifeSpan Ampera Under Desk Bike is designed to power laptops and phones by generating up to 60 watt-hr of electricity when you’re pedalling at 60rpm. You get a 15W wireless charger underneath the saddle that allows you to charge up to two devices simultaneously.

The Ampera desk bike is said to be virtually silent in operation thanks to a belt-driven drivetrain.

2024 LifeSpan Ampera Under Desk Bike - 1

The price? You’re looking at £899.

Find out more here

Shhh! Check out this Topsecret hubless e-bike

South Korean brand Topsecret is offering a hubless urban e-bike that has a claimed average range of 80 miles. We’ve seen hubless e-bikes before, including the Reevo back in 2020.

> Is this hubless e-bike the future? Reevo has storage inside its wheels and 'impenetrable' theft protection

Topsecret says, “Our self-developed mid-drive motor (750W/48V) provides higher torque and performance compared to conventional hub motors, doubling its power, gaining more benefits from the gear system, and being easier to maintain. [You get] power of over 140Nm from the mid-drive 750W motor.”

The Topsecret comes with hydraulic brakes that operate on a disc that sits just inside the inner edge of the wheel rim, and you lights that turn on/off automatically according to ambient light conditions and a black box camera.

We don’t yet have a price for this one.

Find out more here 

Mojawa’s HaptiFit Terra bone-conducting earphones also keep your fitness on track

Like the Sennheiser Momentum Sport earbuds (above), Mojava’s HaptiFit Terra are designed to provide the audio you'd expect along with a bunch of fitness stuff that you probably wouldn't. As well as being bone-conducting earphones, these track your heart rate and monitor your pace, steps, calories, and other metrics. Most unexpected of the lot, you get AI training programmes designed to help you get fitter and faster.

2024 Mojawa HaptiFit Terra bone-conducting earphones - 1

The HaptiFit Terras come with 32GB of file storage and an IP68 rating, meaning that they’re dust-tight and can be immersed in a metre of water without damage. More to the point, they’ll keep out sweat.

These earphones are available to pre-order at a price of £240.

Find out more here

Urtopia: the e-bike you control with a ring

We showed you the Urtopia e-bike with ChatGPT artificial intelligence last summer, and the company has now taken things further with the introduction of a smart ring that can be used to connect to the bike and turn it on and off.

2024 Urtopia - 1

> Is Shimano planning automatic shifting for the masses? Plus the ChatGPT e-bike (yep, really), Trek, Rapha, Cube + loads more

Urtopia says it is expanding its ecosystem to include a range of devices to improve the riding biking experience. The smart ring can also monitor your activity and sleep.

Urtopia says, “[The smart ring] will synchronise the heart rate with our e-bikes, allowing the bike to understand your heart rate and better assist you, providing you with health guidance for the next day based on riding data and sleep data.”

What do you reckon – interesting innovation or tech for tech’s sake?

Find out more here 

Valeo updates Cyclee motor-gearbox system

A bit of sensible news for e-bike aficionados... France’s Valeo has announced the latest update of its Cyclee mid-drive unit for e-bikes, with a new HMI (human-machine interface) and claimed reductions in noise and vibration.

2024 Valeo - 1

Valeo says, “With a 7-speed gear automatic transmission and responding with a 130Nm torque - the highest level available on the market - Valeo Cyclee boosts all the rides, even the hardest ones.”

The new HMI comprises a smart dock, a 2in touch display, and a remote with a rotative throttle. Using your phone as a key, the e-bike automatically locks when you step two metres away from it. Valeo says that the Cyclee is now quieter than ever too.

Find out more here 

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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44 comments

Avatar
Tom_77 | 6 months ago
0 likes

Does anyone use a desk bike?

I happened to see a pedal exerciser in my local mobility shop and was maybe thinking about getting something like that for my home office. It's £869 cheaper than the LifeSpan Ampera so I could probably live with the lack of phone charger.

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wtjs replied to Tom_77 | 6 months ago
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I happened to see a pedal exerciser in my local mobility shop and was maybe thinking about getting something like that for my home office

The problem with your device is the limited market- it's only really useful to e-bike users because only they are accustomed to just moving your feet around in a circular motion without any effort

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armb replied to wtjs | 6 months ago
1 like

wtjs wrote:

The problem with your device is the limited market- it's only really useful to e-bike users because only they are accustomed to just moving your feet around in a circular motion without any effort

I'm pretty sure that knob is going to adjust a brake of some sort so it requires some effort. Image search confirms: https://relaxdays.co.uk/sport-leisure/fitness/fitness-equipment/exercise...

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wtjs replied to armb | 6 months ago
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Very amusing! Anybody who thinks it's possible to put any effort with your legs into a device like that is the very definition of 'the hard of thinking'. My point still stands.

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Rendel Harris replied to wtjs | 6 months ago
1 like

wtjs wrote:

The problem with your device is the limited market- it's only really useful to e-bike users because only they are accustomed to just moving your feet around in a circular motion without any effort

Ebikes are amazing, aren't they? Somehow the 70+% of my 50+kms a day commute when I'm riding faster than 25kmh and so with zero motor assistance requires no effort at all. Incredible.

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wtjs replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
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I expected you to be along sometime with this 'e-biking is better than ordinary cycling because we carry all that weight aound and hardly use the assistance at all' stuff. This could be true in an individual case, but it doesn't apply to any of the e-bikers I see, who I recall as doing sod all (there aren't any around here in winter and I didn't see any today). Time for some data to compare: this is me today, age 71 1/2- now for one of yours in the past week or so!

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Rendel Harris replied to wtjs | 6 months ago
1 like

If you remember our previous conversations at all you would remember I've never said anything of the sort, firstly because my road ebike at 15kg weighs a lot less than many people's unpowered bikes (though a lot more than my unpowered road bike, obviously) and secondly because I'm an enthusiastic advocate, and practitioner, of unpowered cycling; I use my ebike for the 50km+ commute, carrying heavy shopping etc and when chronic illness is flaring and it's a choice between ebike or no bike - all things for which otherwise I would have to use a car or public transport. Why can't you just live and let live, people riding ebikes does you no harm in any way whatsoever, let it go.

No rides to show I'm afraid, been testing positive for Covid the last nine days so been confined to barracks.

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wtjs replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
1 like

Why can't you just live and let live, people riding ebikes does you no harm in any way whatsoever, let it go

The problem is you not letting things go, Rendel! That's why many of the topics are cluttered up with you and a collection of obvious nutters fighting it out when the best course would be to refuse to respond. In this case, it was you not letting it go. My comment was a light-hearted dig at e-bikes, and an obviously no-exercise exercise machine- rather like, as I choose to allege, no-exercise e-bikes, which most of them are. Other people, apart from you, are allowed to make any comment they choose, and yet other people can choose to ignore them. I return to the topic which began all this for me: some MP extolling the benefits of e-bikes because they 'iron out the hills'. When you do that, it takes most of the exercise away- it's not the same as cycling, it's a different activity. Nobody is trying to stop anybody (including nonagenarians, people with bad knees, people who have had cancer etc. etc.) using e-bikes but people are trying to stop me jeering at the great majority of e-bike passengers who use them because it's easier!

PS Older data will do!

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Hirsute replied to wtjs | 6 months ago
1 like

I'm astonished that you simply took the word of some MP rather than real data or experience.

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wtjs replied to Hirsute | 6 months ago
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I'm astonished that you simply took the word of some MP rather than real data or experience

I'm doubly astonished that you made up this sentence when the real data I showed below indicates that real cycling is fairly hard work, and my experience in the Lake District, say, is that people on e-bikes in pairs overtake me on hills chatting away while sat upright not labouring at all. It's a more eco-friendly way of going for a drive in the country, so to me they're pretty much the same as all the other powered vehicles going past.

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Hirsute replied to wtjs | 6 months ago
2 likes

Umm you are 71.5 and go up hill at 10kph ! Maybe it's time for an ebike for yourself !

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wtjs replied to Hirsute | 6 months ago
0 likes

Umm you are 71.5 and go up hill at 10kph ! Maybe it's time for an ebike for yourself !

Not likely! It wouldn't be up to the job

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JOHN5880 replied to wtjs | 6 months ago
6 likes

You really need to get a penny farthing.  Your newfangled safety bicycle, with gears no less is way too easy in the hills and that's not real cycling!!!  How dare you use newer technology to enjoy bike riding.  I've decided how much effort you need to put in, so don't you dare do anything I don't approve of.

Do you see how ridiculous that sounds?  You are simply making an equivalent statement with more modern examples.  It's great that your focus is to get exercise but that doesn't mean you get to determine what everyone else uses their bike, ebike or anything else for.  Get over yourself!

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armb replied to JOHN5880 | 6 months ago
2 likes

"I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn’t it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailleur? We are getting soft… As for me, give me a fixed gear!" — Henri Desgrange

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wtjs replied to JOHN5880 | 6 months ago
0 likes

You really need to get a penny farthing
That's pretty dim! The argument is trivially simple: power assistance v. no power assistance. Cycling is the latter, e-biking the former.

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Rendel Harris replied to wtjs | 6 months ago
1 like

wtjs wrote:

You really need to get a penny farthing That's pretty dim! The argument is trivially simple: power assistance v. no power assistance. Cycling is the latter, e-biking the former.

So for the 70% of my commute (which equates to around 35 km out of 50) that I'm riding above 25 km/h so getting no power assistance, I'm cycling and so getting the same exercise as anyone on an unpowered bike. Glad to see you've finally got that point straight. 

 

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Steve K replied to wtjs | 6 months ago
2 likes

wtjs wrote:

You really need to get a penny farthing That's pretty dim! The argument is trivially simple: power assistance v. no power assistance. Cycling is the latter, e-biking the former.

The key word in your post is "assistance".  Yes, the electric motor makes cycling easier, but it is only assisting you, so you are still cycling.

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mark1a replied to wtjs | 6 months ago
3 likes

wtjs wrote:

...and my experience in the Lake District, say, is that people on e-bikes in pairs overtake me on hills chatting away while sat upright not labouring at all. It's a more eco-friendly way of going for a drive in the country, so to me they're pretty much the same as all the other powered vehicles going past.

This isn't really "experience" of e-bikes is it? Watching other people overtake you on hills while chatting...

You should actually try riding an e-bike and you'll find that it's not all sitting up and kicking back. It's definitely exercise in every way. I use an e-bike for commutes to the office. It's only 11km each way, but there's around 200m (at up to 8%) elevation in the form of the South Dorset Ridgeway in between. Comparing calorie burn from power data on e-bike and bike, the e-bike ride is only about 25% less power & energy. So taking the e-bike instead of driving my van means predictable, repeatable journey time as no traffic jam on the hill, I get to enjoy the scenery more yet can travel in office clothes while getting free exercise. While I have no intention of getting rid of my regular bikes, the e-bike has its use cases and utility transport while getting exercise is one of them.

Here's example data from a commute back in November:

 

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wtjs replied to mark1a | 6 months ago
1 like

You should actually try riding an e-bike
I think not - things are not yet that bad, despite Hirsute's disparaging remarks about my abilities on hills!

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mark1a replied to wtjs | 6 months ago
2 likes

wtjs wrote:

I think not - things are not yet that bad, despite Hirsute's disparaging remarks about my abilities on hills!

You're missing my point - you appear to have said that riding an e-bike does not count as exercise, based on watching other people, my point was that it definitely does provide exercise. FWIW, things are "not that bad" for me either, when I want to go fast and have fun, I can take out the (unpowered) S-Works Venge, but that's absolutely rubbish for commuting or leaving outside a shop. The assisted Vado fulfils that role.

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Hirsute replied to wtjs | 6 months ago
1 like

Just a bit of joshing. I've seen your speeds on your videos you upload. There seems to be one hill where you get close passed a lot

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wtjs replied to Hirsute | 6 months ago
0 likes

There seems to be one hill where you get close passed a lot

Of course- I go a short distance from A to B and back at least once a day, and that hill takes up most of the distance. Reporting incidents here in both directions to the uncaring b*****d police takes less effort.

https://upride.cc/incident/md72dfu_alanhowardtrafic_closepass/

https://upride.cc/incident/pn14msx_coachcarpetsducato_closepass/

However, not all of them are there

https://upride.cc/incident/j111kdw_bmwgrancoupe_closepassuwlcross/

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to mark1a | 6 months ago
0 likes

mark1a wrote:

wtjs wrote:

...and my experience in the Lake District, say, is that people on e-bikes in pairs overtake me on hills chatting away while sat upright not labouring at all. It's a more eco-friendly way of going for a drive in the country, so to me they're pretty much the same as all the other powered vehicles going past.

This isn't really "experience" of e-bikes is it? Watching other people overtake you on hills while chatting...

You should actually try riding an e-bike and you'll find that it's not all sitting up and kicking back. It's definitely exercise in every way. I use an e-bike for commutes to the office. It's only 11km each way, but there's around 200m (at up to 8%) elevation in the form of the South Dorset Ridgeway in between. Comparing calorie burn from power data on e-bike and bike, the e-bike ride is only about 25% less power & energy. So taking the e-bike instead of driving my van means predictable, repeatable journey time as no traffic jam on the hill, I get to enjoy the scenery more yet can travel in office clothes while getting free exercise. While I have no intention of getting rid of my regular bikes, the e-bike has its use cases and utility transport while getting exercise is one of them.

Here's example data from a commute back in November:

 

But that ride seems mighty easy, look at your cadence for a start - 63 avg is very low, suggesting a lot of assistance...especially with the elevation gain there. 

I don't dispute the benefits of e-bike, I have suggested to many friends they should get one, personally I prefer good old un-powered bikes, but if my commute allowed and there were cost and time savings, I might consider an e-bike. It's just the data to me makes the ride look very easy, more than 25% easier than riding a bike. 

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Tom_77 replied to wtjs | 6 months ago
2 likes

wtjs wrote:

It's a more eco-friendly way of going for a drive

That's how I use my eBike - to undertake journeys that I would otherwise have used a car to do. I'm not sure why you think this is a bad thing.

I'm burning about 300 calories per hour on my eBike (similar to walking). It's not a huge amount, but it's not insignificant.

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Rendel Harris replied to Tom_77 | 6 months ago
3 likes

Tom_77 wrote:

I'm burning about 300 calories per hour on my eBike (similar to walking). It's not a huge amount, but it's not insignificant.

I get a bit more of a burn because I try to ride over the power cutoff whenever possible, on the commute the motor only really helps with pulling away from lights and a couple of big hills, but yes studies have shown that you will burn considerably more calories than baseline even if just (as wtjs seems to believe all ebike riders do) spinning the pedals. As we say in this house, the money saved on train fares/car expenses pays for the beer and the extra exercise burns it off.

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Secret_squirrel replied to wtjs | 6 months ago
6 likes

wtjs wrote:

The problem is you not letting things go, Rendel! That's why many of the topics are cluttered up with you .....

WTJS "I hate Lancs police" Pot calling the Rendel kettle black there....

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to Secret_squirrel | 6 months ago
0 likes

Secret_squirrel wrote:

wtjs wrote:

The problem is you not letting things go, Rendel! That's why many of the topics are cluttered up with you .....

WTJS "I hate Lancs police" Pot calling the Rendel kettle black there....

6 of one, half a dozen of the other. Both should be classed as spam

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Rendel Harris replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 6 months ago
1 like

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

6 of one, half a dozen of the other. Both should be classed as spam

Feel free to put in a complaint. Whether the editors of the site would take seriously a complaint from somebody who was previously banned for racism, bullying, harassment and libel (and who spends most of his time on here complaining about how crap the site is) is a moot point though.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
0 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

**WARNING POTENTIAL SPAM** 

Feel free to put in a complaint. Whether the editors of the site would take seriously a complaint from somebody who was previously banned for racism, bullying, harassment and libel (and who spends most of his time on here complaining about how crap the site is) is a moot point though.

More lies and falsehoods from the ever deceitful and lying Rendel Harris

You're right though, if you continue to accuse me of clear lies then yes - a complaint is very justified. 

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Rendel Harris replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 6 months ago
4 likes

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

More lies and falsehoods from the ever deceitful and lying Rendel Harris

You're right though, if you continue to accuse me of clear lies then yes - a complaint is very justified. 

Well here you go then: you are the poster who previously was on this site as thisimyusername. You were regularly suspended for bullying, harassment, racism, trolling et cetera; you were finally permanently banned for a sustained libellous and bullying campaign against me and others, in concert with others who have also been banned, most notably Nigel Garrage and his many other usernames. You came back under the name Rendel Harriz, which you were then banned from using, so you changed your name to Ledner Sirrah, then Jeremy Corbyn For PM, then The Tory, before settling on your current name. You frequently post attacks on this website claiming that it is only interested in clickbait and that its reviews are biased in favour of manufacturers who give them advertising (you also, in your more bizarre moments, claim that I am a member of road.cc staff and I'm here just to elicit responses and drive up website traffic). If any of that is untrue, please do make a complaint and let's see what the editors think.

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