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OK kids, grab a beer (or beverage of choice) and kick back. I got a tale to tell.

After much thought on the matter, I recently decided I'd sell one (or possibly more) bikes and just get some different stuff to ride. I'm sure as heck not getting any younger and I do have my "List" of bikes I want to own & ride while I can.

My first thought was to off the Big Rig- my lovely 2002 K1200RS, which I've owned for nearly 10 years. YES it's a fantastic machine, and I just dumped a massive pile of hard earned $$$ into the thing- so what better time to sell a bike that many people aren't fully enamored of (many folks still haven't gotten over the "treasonous" act by BMW Motorrad of inventing an engine other than a horizontal opposed twin- go figure)?

Well after a few weeks on various sites and pages, I finally managed to send the mighty K to a new home.

SO. What next then? I've kinda always had a hankering for a Ducati ST series bike. A later one would suit me, say an 05 ST3s, or similar vintage ST4s. Then again, Im not a complete masochist, and I'm sure as hell not made of money- so moving down The List, my thoughts next went to a bike I was looking at when I bought the K1200- a Triumph Sprint GT.

Triumph had rousing success with the Sprint ST bikes, The 1050 triple is amazing and the ST was a super-sporty "sport tourer" with hard emphasis on "Sport". They had a great run on these bikes and decided for all the world, to update and upgrade the Sprint. So they made it longer, improved many things about it, simmered it down somewhat and turned the ST into the GT- designed specifically for all-day, long distance 2-up comfort touring, maintaining more than a casual nod to the "sport" aspects of "sport touring" (for example, the GT retained its chain drive- no drive shaft). The new Sprint was widely acknowledged to be a bike that got everything right- yet somehow, it failed to generate mass appeal! Triumph made it for a few years, I believe from 2011 to about 2014 or 2015, then again without fanfare, swept it under the proverbial rug. They dropped it like a hot potato and created the bloated (but no doubt lovely [*whatever*]) Trophy. Which to me looks like a massive cow.The Trophy is infinitely more complex with all manner of electronic gizmos and stuff.... I was never a fan however.

So a couple weeks back I began hunting for a Sprint GT. Well it didn't take me long to realize that the few people who ever bought one must abso-fliipin-lutely LOVE the bike. Because DARN few ever come up for sale! I missed one after another on sites like Cycletrader dot com. I considered buying one from England and importing it to the US., I looked high and low, and may STILL have one coming my way eventually.... had a whole conversation with a guy who has some physical difficulties and cannot ride much longer, so he's mulling it over... blah blah blah.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, I'm continuously poring over motorcycle ads in places like Craig's list and [email protected] Marketplace.... and a few local BSAs keep popping up. Well most of these guys, what the heck are they thinking? A Bitsa for 8,000 $$$? A 69 Lightning? Not a chance in H E Double EL, Bucko. But one of them had an enticing story line along with it- although the photos were total [email protected] The guy's tale of the bike mentioned an old, long dead friend of mine, DT Howard. DT had apparently worked on the bike, or the guy was friends with DT. Or something. Let's say he had my attention. Even tho the pix were garbage the bike purportedly sat in a basement for 40 years, this dude rescued it in 2008, DT worked on the thing, then dude.... failed to ride the doggone bike! When I went to look at the thing after he upgraded his photos, he said he'd barely put 300 miles on it!

Hold that thought.

Meanwhile back in 2019 The Lovely Miss C & I flew over to England to ride one of Shaun's BSAs to the BSA International in the Cotswolds. It wes fabulous etc- BUT nearing the end of the week there, Cynthia & I were walking around, basically just shooting the breeze and gawking at bikes, when she turned to me, (and by now were standing with a few friends) and said: "SO... WHY don't you have a BSA?" Far as I was concerned those were marching orders! The end result was that ever since, I've had at least half an eye out for a bike. A BSA. BUT not just any BSA, it had to be THE BSA.

The end of the story (you wish) is that when this dude posted better pix of his bike that my dead friend worked on... it sure LOOKED like THE BSA. From what I could see, the bike looked like an unmolested machine with every nut, bolt, bit & bob intact. The paint looked solid. It looked like original paint. Not even heavily patinaed, But the patine seemed true, it seemed authentic. So I messaged the guy and asked if I could come see the bike- an A65T Thunderbolt- 1966. Stuck away in some back yard shed.

[Linked Image from ricochetridersmotomojo.zenfolio.com]

Did you ever have a "magic moment" with a random person, where it was like dominoes falling, quite naturally, one after another, into the perfect pattern? That was what our conversation was like. It was pretty much all around our mutual long lost buddy, DT Howard. And meanwhile... the bike. My immediate take away was this: this bike, for what it is, isn't necessarily anything special. Single carb 650, they made, quite literally, 10s of thousands of these. It's as plain as plain can be. What I told him is this: this bike is extraordinary in that everything is there. Not one bolt had been changed. Not one part removed. It was never repainted, it was not molested. The paint isn't perfect, the bike has its (very minor) flaws- scratches. Dings. A smallish dent in the tank. This bike, I decided, is a one-in-a-thousand literal "survivor". It's as though you could look at BSAs for sale for ages and not find this bike, in this condition. There's a [email protected] AIR PUMP under the seat. It still has its original tool kit!

SO.

I bought the thing. In the space of a few minutes (practically) I went from importing a modern space-ship super bike from England (remember I was hot for a Sprint GT) to buying a 1966 BSA that had only been ridden a few miles in its entire lifetime. To do the math, 2021 - 1966 = 55 years. 5516 miles on the clock- and I have zero reason to believe these are not for real, honest miles. 5516 miles. Divide those into 55 years. This bike has been ridden about 100 miles PER YEAR. Except I know it sat for 40 years, but never mind that, laugh Dubba-u. Tee. Eff. How does this even happen.

Cynthia was like, "you did what?" & "you bought....a what?" to which I responded gleefully, as only a 5 year old 64 year old could, HECKF*CKINYEAH MAMA I DID. BUT YOU GOTTA SEE THIS BIKE. And she replied.... well I won't repeat it, let's just say her response wasn't as enthusiastic as I might have hoped. Her "enthusiasm" was nowhere near the level of my own. frown

I told dude, in no uncertain terms, "Your bike is a total dream. I'll f*ckin take it. Let me give you this 500.00 and I'll see you in the mornin with the rest of the $."

*******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SO today I went over there with cash in hand, and we rolled the bike out of the shed into daylight. OK, first REAL solid look at the thing. Not as peaches-&-cream as I thought, OK so it's possible I had my head in the clouds and couldn't see straight when I first peeped it. BUT. Even in daylight, I was still thrilled.

And so it goes, that on this day of our lord, 13 April, 2021, I became the proud owner of a 1966 BSA.
My 1st Beeza.

Of all the bikes I've owned... and the numbers aren't huge, I've never been so excited. Wade popped by just now to see the bike in person. I'll let him chime in on it, bu tty say he was impressed could be something of an understatement.

So, it's a done deal. I've officially crossed over to The Dark Side.
I've owned Triumphs (still have a matched pair).
I've owned a Norton Commando (which I still have).
I've owned a spate of BMWs (still have the trusty R100RS)

All current motorcycles are officially antique tho- a 1st for me!

Until today, I'd never owned a BSA. Until Miss C chirped up at the BSA International... I'd never even considered owning one. SO you're probably bored to tears by now, and understandably so. Without further ado, then, here is my "new" bike.

[Linked Image from ricochetridersmotomojo.zenfolio.com]

AND here is a link to all my pix of the bike. My new-to-me BSA A65T, BSA Thunderbolt. Our very own @andylorenz tells me that according to the numbers, my bike was dispatched to New Jersey on 16 March, 1966. And it never has gone very far from there in its lifetime.

HERE IS A LINK to the gallery of photos in Zenfolio. I have a few more pix to add yet, but there is certainly enough here to see the bike in all its glory.

The deal is 100% done, I have the new title and a brand-new, shiny Antique tag bolted up to the bike. It's all but ready to ride. Im having it gone through to make sure it's OK n stuff. I fully expect to be riding it by early-mid May.

Meanwhile the hunt for a Sprint GT goes on.

Yee and indeed, haw. The future on The Dark Side never looked so bright.

Last edited by ricochetrider; 04/14/21 3:02 am.

"It is no measure of health, to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

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Darkside Tom?

Wrong!

You have finally seen the light and entered the wonderful world that is BSA
Hallelujah, a sinner has been saved beerchug


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Looks nice--good find.
But dont ever work for a bank----
5516 miles over 55 years equals just over 100 miles per annum!

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hey so math was never my strong suit!

Last edited by ricochetrider; 04/14/21 2:40 am.

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Lovely. Just the kind I'd love to find. I'm not partial to BSA's but if that had been offered to me I'd not have hesitated either.


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Originally Posted by ricochetrider
So a couple weeks back I began hunting for a Sprint GT. Well it didn't take me long to realize that the few people who ever bought one must abso-fliipin-lutely LOVE the bike. Because DARN few ever come up for sale! I missed one after another on sites like Cycletrader dot com. I considered buying one from England and importing it to the US., I looked high and low, and may STILL have one coming my way eventually.... had a whole conversation with a guy who has some physical difficulties and cannot ride much longer, so he's mulling it over... blah blah blah.
Definitely keep looking for a Sprint GT. They're a lovely bike in a modern sort of way.

The only thing I've changed on mine is to add riser blocks to lift the handlebars about an inch. The standard riding position puts a lot of weight on the wrists at lower speeds, and it's still quite noticeable even at highway speeds. The steering doesn't feel quite as taut with the higher bars, but that's a small price to pay.

It does feel top-heavy at low speeds, and the seat is quite tall, but not as bad as the Trophy.

I'd recommend looking for one with the factory top-box and panniers fitted if possible, but they seem to be thin on the ground in your area.


...and that T'bolt does look nice.

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What goes around comes around, I just sold my BSA.
I only advertised it on the Nashville TonUp Facebook page. There are many BSA fans in the club, and I didn't want to sell to an unsuspecting victim, as I was when I bought the bike. I probably could have gotten more money on CL, but I don't trust the work of the machinists who participated in my engine rebuild and Karma is a bitch.
It's tempting to start looking for another bike, but I enjoy the extra space in the carport. I'll probably spend the money to have my driveway paved, I got the only gravel driveway on the block.
Now, if I can just find some BMW sucker enthusiast to take the K off my hands before I have to fix the drive shaft......


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That Tbolt is a pearl, congratulations. I have an ‘05 Sprint and it is a great ride although it does share some of the “old” Triumph traits, stator started to melt due to dodgy (original) reg/rect and smoke billowing from melting wires under tank. Cheers.

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I've covered about 15k miles on a 955 Sprint, I wouldn't buy another one, too unreliable and removing the fairings for spannering is a pain in the backside.

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Congratulations, Tom! Hope you enjoy the ride. I look forward to seeing your pictures of the new T-Bolt in front of the covered bridge, the round barn, and your other favorite haunts.


'64 TR6R Plus some Twins from other countries (U.S., Germany, Japan)
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Originally Posted by Shane in Oz
Originally Posted by ricochetrider
So a couple weeks back I began hunting for a Sprint GT. Well it didn't take me long to realize that the few people who ever bought one must abso-fliipin-lutely LOVE the bike. Because DARN few ever come up for sale! I missed one after another on sites like Cycletrader dot com. I considered buying one from England and importing it to the US., I looked high and low, and may STILL have one coming my way eventually.... had a whole conversation with a guy who has some physical difficulties and cannot ride much longer, so he's mulling it over... blah blah blah.
Definitely keep looking for a Sprint GT. They're a lovely bike in a modern sort of way.

The only thing I've changed on mine is to add riser blocks to lift the handlebars about an inch. The standard riding position puts a lot of weight on the wrists at lower speeds, and it's still quite noticeable even at highway speeds. The steering doesn't feel quite as taut with the higher bars, but that's a small price to pay.

It does feel top-heavy at low speeds, and the seat is quite tall, but not as bad as the Trophy.

I'd recommend looking for one with the factory top-box and panniers fitted if possible, but they seem to be thin on the ground in your area.


...and that T'bolt does look nice.

Shane

Thanks for the run down on your Sprint GT experience! Heavy at low speeds- well I'm going off of a BMW K1200RS- 620 pounds wet weight and mighty tall to boot. I think the GT weighs in at a claimed 600 pounds or slightly less- and I THINK the seat height is a bit lower? Anyway in terms of ergos, I think it's pretty close to apples to apples between the Sprint GT & the K1200RS.

EDIT: Shane here are some specs for both the Sprint GT & the K1200RS. I've not looked directly at these specs side by side until now, posting this mainly for my own knowledge- BUT while we're on teh subject....

The 2 bikes are remarkably close- although I see the GT actually has a taller saddle height! Wheelbase & O.A. length very similar/same (respectively), but the GT comes in at a wet (curb) weight of 590 compared to the K1200 @ 628 (pounds)!

wheelbase: GT 60.5; K12 61
seat height: GT 32.1; K12 31.5
dry weight: GT 558 lbs; K12 586.4 lbs
wet weight: GT 590; K12 628.3
overall length: GT88.6 inches; K12 88.6 inches
HP: GT 128; K12 130.52
torque: GT 108; K12 117

Last edited by ricochetrider; 04/14/21 2:29 pm.

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Nice one Tom. I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Both the good and the weird


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So here are a few pix for anyone who hasn't followed the link to my Zenfolio album. Wade popped by last night to see the bike. I think he was suitably impressed, but I'll let him speak for himself at some point.

[Linked Image from ricochetridersmotomojo.zenfolio.com]

[Linked Image from ricochetridersmotomojo.zenfolio.com]

[Linked Image from ricochetridersmotomojo.zenfolio.com]

[Linked Image from ricochetridersmotomojo.zenfolio.com]

[Linked Image from ricochetridersmotomojo.zenfolio.com]


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Originally Posted by TR6Ray
Congratulations, Tom! Hope you enjoy the ride. I look forward to seeing your pictures of the new T-Bolt in front of the covered bridge, the round barn, and your other favorite haunts.

Thanks, Ray! I'm super stoked to ride this bike. I too, look forward to noodling about these old Pennsyltuckey lanes! Pix will definitely be forthcoming, but it will take me a minute before I can get out on it.


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Hey just searching around the web for anything I confined on my old friend DT Hpward. He was known widely for various things- for one, he had a career in drag racing Triumphs and BritBikes.

For another thing, for a few years in the 80s or 90s he was deeply involved in publishing a vintage motorcycle magazine that had wide circulation named Classic Cycle Review.

DT was a bit of a rogue in his later years, a guy with loads of character. He had a bit of a small empire set up in Harrisburg, PA and I always enjoyed going up there to hang out with him. It was f un to talk to him and to see him interact with locals from the 'hood. His wife Karen was an auto mechanic and DT & various minions worked on bikes. There was always some kinda something going on up there.

DT finally got Hep C and it was his eventual d downfall. Last t time I saw him, was after the California BSA International. Dieter came up to visit for a few days, IIRC after the TSMR that year, and I took him over to meet DT. The shop was dark and quiet as we walked back thru it to knock at the door of DT& Karen's apartment. Quite the contrast to the loud & active place it once was, that's for sure. I knocked on the apartment door and after a few minutes Karen cracked it open just enough to peek out to see who was there. I told him I'd brought a friend to meet DT and she said something about DT not doing vey well= but she'd tell him I was here.

A few minutes went by, and I honestly wasn't sorehead come out at all. But then he did pop out just to talk for minute. Man it was a bit of a shock to see my old buddy who had been such a lively character, reduced to a shadow of his former self by the hepatitis. It's been many years since I really thought about my old friend and buying this bike and speaking to the seller about DT & Karen, really cracked The Vault open. Good memories of good times!


Here's a DT story: Among other things, DT had a history in drag racing. One of the bikes ins shop was a Triumph Hurricane that DT had set up for the drag strip- and then never ran it. I sat in his shop with its low stance, gleaming. Not too long before he was diagnosed with hep C, DT got this idea to create a rocket-powered drag bike. He copied a design for a Hydrogen Peroxide- power propulsion mechanism that I understand was originally conceived by one of Adolf Hitler's cohorts? The bike was designed to run on nearly pure hydrogen peroxide which apparently expands massively and also quite rapidly under certain circumstances. Well the only downside being that hydrogen peroxide of such purity isn't readily available. IIRC it requires all manner of special licensing and government permissions, with oversight and regulations galore, to even be ablate purchase this. And that's IF you can even get it at all.

In the end, the Rocket bike never did run. It never saw the light of day- even tho it created a bit of a stir in certain circles. At one point, DT had been invited to bring the bike over to some show in I think, Germany for an exposition of s one sort. It was around this same time that he got the hep- and wasn't able to go.

Last year I was rooting around in a bag of cotton rags I use for various things and found and old T shirt from the DT rocket bike venture, appropriately dubbed Radical Reaction.


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Hey just searching around the web for anything I can find on my old friend DT Hpward. He was known widely for various things- for one, he had a career in drag racing Triumphs and BritBikes.

For another thing, for a few years in the 80s or 90s he was deeply involved in publishing a vintage motorcycle magazine that had wide circulation named Classic Cycle Review.

DT was a bit of a rogue in his later years, a guy with loads of character. He had a bit of a small empire set up in Harrisburg, PA and I always enjoyed going up there to hang out with him. It was f un to talk to him and to see him interact with locals from the 'hood. His wife Karen was an auto mechanic and DT & various minions worked on bikes. There was always some kinda something going on up there. For a while I was going up to his shop on Saturdays to play "dice" with him and some other friends. Good times.

DT finally got Hep C and with him not being in great health anyway it was his eventual downfall. Last t time I saw him, was after the California BSA International. Dieter came up to visit for a few days, IIRC after the TSMR that year, and I took him over to meet DT. The shop was dark and quiet as we walked back thru it to knock at the door of DT& Karen's apartment. Quite the contrast to the loud & active place it once was, that's for sure. I knocked on the apartment door and after a few minutes Karen cracked it open just enough to peek out to see who was there. I told him I'd brought a friend to meet DT and she said something about DT not doing vey well= but she'd tell him I was here.

A few minutes went by, and I honestly wasn't sure he'd come out at all. But then he did pop out just to talk for minute. Man it was a bit of a shock to see my old buddy who had been such a lively character, reduced to a shadow of his former self by the hepatitis. It's been many years since I really thought about my old friend and buying this bike and speaking to the seller about DT & Karen, really cracked The Vault open. Good memories of good times!


Here's a DT story:

Among other things, DT had a history in drag racing. One of the bikes ins shop was a Triumph Hurricane that DT had set up for the drag strip- and then never ran it. It sat in his shop with its low stance, gleaming.It looked almost exactly like a regular Hurricane with the 3 pipes sticking up out back and the Orange body work- but it was chopped and stretched for the drag strip!

Not too long before he was diagnosed with hep C, DT got this idea to create a rocket-powered drag bike. He copied a design for a Hydrogen Peroxide- power propulsion mechanism that I understand was originally conceived by one of Adolf Hitler's cohorts? The bike was designed to run on nearly pure hydrogen peroxide which apparently expands massively and also quite rapidly under certain circumstances. Well the only downside being that hydrogen peroxide of such purity isn't readily available. IIRC it requires all manner of special licensing and government permissions, with oversight and regulations galore, to even be ablate purchase this. And that's IF you can even get it at all.

In the end, the Rocket bike never did run. It never saw the light of day- even tho it created a bit of a stir in certain circles. At one point, DT had been invited to bring the bike over to some show in I think, Germany for an exposition of s one sort. It was around this same time that he got the hep- and wasn't able to go.

Last year I was rooting around in a bag of cotton rags I use for various things and found and old T shirt from the DT rocket bike venture, appropriately dubbed Radical Reaction. Finding this shirt stirred some memories- but not like buying this bike and talking with the seller has. I am sure glad this shirt managed to survive somehow. It's been in that rag bag for years!

[Linked Image from ricochetridersmotomojo.zenfolio.com]

Here are a couple links to hydrogen peroxide as a propellant.

[/url]

[url=http://w.hydrogen-pe...s_of_Rocket_Grade_Hydrogen_Peroxide.pdf]


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Originally Posted by ricochetrider
The 2 bikes are remarkably close- although I see the GT actually has a taller saddle height! Wheelbase & O.A. length very similar/same (respectively), but the GT comes in at a wet (curb) weight of 590 compared to the K1200 @ 628 (pounds)!

wheelbase: GT 60.5; K12 61
seat height: GT 32.1; K12 31.5
dry weight: GT 558 lbs; K12 586.4 lbs
wet weight: GT 590; K12 628.3
overall length: GT88.6 inches; K12 88.6 inches
HP: GT 128; K12 130.52
torque: GT 108; K12 117
That 40 lb difference in wet weight will make a lot of difference. I'd only looked at the dry weight of the Sprint before, which is very similar to the T160. Other than that, they do seem very similar.

One thing I forgot to mention is that the swingarm was extended for the GT, to keep the front wheel down. Pulling out into a gap in traffic in Yarrawonga on the way to an All British Rally, I found that asn't entirely successful.

We can compare notes when you do manage to snare one.

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He's probably very lucky he never got to fuel that rocket up:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messerschmitt_Me_163_Komet

Nice bike Tom! excellent find.


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Hi Tom
Just read your story of the "barn Find" Bsa, which is indeed very special. You can call yourself lucky for finding this beauty. And don't loose too many tears over the BMW (the Flying brick). In my opinion it is more a car than a bike. You will get much more feedback from the A 65 when you are on the road with it.
So, now that you are officially a BSA rider and Wade is not far away, who has a fair amount of Beesas in the stable, you might think about an own BSA Pennsylvania chapter? Next step; a membership in the BSA OC ??
By the way; of course i remember the visit at the shop of DT Howard back in 2014. It looked like a lost place with lots of dust on the tools, the bikes and all.
Must have been difficult to see him when he was so weak, almost more dead than alive when we were there. I am quite sure that he must have had a busy life, when i look at his Rocket Bike and the bike shop.
Hope you will have a nice time with the A 65. Will follow the progress.
Cheers my friend
Dieter

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Yes Dieter , We could start our own Chapter in PA. I never got to see DT Howards until the final auction when I first learned who he was... Sorry I didnt learn earlier in their hey day.... But as you say... It was covered in dust so maybe I would have been too late even if I had been earlier.

Tom definitely scored a super nice , unmolested and as original as it could be.... BSA . Go to enough BSA rallies and meet the great people who ride BSAs and you will eventually have to have a BSA ... We have done well leading Tom to the water and he has finally drank of the water... The sweet sweet water... !! If the bike runs as good as it looks he will be very happy ....

May we all run our bikes into the sun and through the twisties and switchbacks with the wind in our hair and bugs in our teeth... And a pint to wash them away... Happy BSAing


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Beer is not the Answer.... Its the Question..... The answer is YES

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