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Family First: Reasons to Spend Time with Family

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“The family is the test of freedom; because the family is the only thing that the free man makes for himself and by himself.” –Gilbert Chesterton

 

With your perpetually busy schedule, have you ever stopped and thought of giving even just a fraction of your time to bonding with your family? Despite your best efforts in making a living and providing for them, have you ever truly justified your reason for pushing family time aside to make room for your work tasks and responsibilities?

If you have answered “yes” to both questions there is a likely chance that you are not spending time with your family at all—even in the barest minimum. Each day you decline to spend time with your family, you push them further away. And by the time you will have realized all that you have missed, your children will have grown distant and your spouse cold. Then, you ask yourself: Is it truly worth it? Sure, you might have provided for them more than adequately but none of those could ever compare to the warm and loving presence of a parent or a spouse who is physically there. At the moment, the realization might fail to register but once you are old and grey, you will begin to wonder what else you have missed when you spent all that time at work. When you are old and grey, would the extra time away toiling at the office make up for the ones you have already lost with your family? Spending time with your family is more important than you think. After all, you only have one so you might as well cherish the bond that you have. Form a relationship with your kids and solidify it or you might regret it once you are old and grey and would likely forget to spend time with you as well. Besides, spending time with family can be very beneficial—and not just in forming familial ties.

While strengthening family ties by spending time with your spouse and kids is a given, it has also been shown that there are many more profound benefits. So, if you have been wondering if you should catch up on extra work this weekend, you might want to hold that thought and book a family weekend to Sandbox Alviera or elsewhere.

In any case, here are some of the most compelling reasons why family time is incredibly important:

 

Builds self esteem

Understandably, children who spend more time with parents tend to be more confident than their less-parented counterparts. After all, by spending quality time with your kids, you are building a relationship with them. By going to their school plays, attending their school activities and presentations, you are showing them that you believe in them. As a result, these kids will develop high-esteem and self-confidence which would ultimately redound to having them build better relationships with others. When you spend time with your family, it shows them that you value them.

 

Nurtures positive behaviors

One of the best reasons why you should spend time with family is that kids will consequently develop positive behaviors because of this. You have better leverage on what they are influenced by and can gauge how well you are executing your parenting skills. More importantly, you will be able to keep a keen eye on what sort of behaviors your children will develop and correct them if needed. In fact, it has been shown that adolescents who spent more time with their parents tended not to abuse illegal substances and alcohol.

 

Creates bonds

Of course, spending more time with your family will inevitably lead to forming familial bonds with them—which over time, you can nurture and strengthen. If you and your family members constantly get involved in group activities and enjoy together, you will develop strong relationships and be able to handle stressful situations with ease. Understandably, making time for family can be quite a challenge to do in this perpetually busy age. In fact, time away from work might even be considered as luxury by some parents. However, know that no matter how difficult, always find a compromise and try to spend time with your family—your children more importantly. It teaches your kids valuable lessons which they would prove useful to them later in life.

 

Creates fond memories

Once you are old and grey, do you really want to look back at your life and reminisce about all the times you had spent time working extra hours at the office? Of course, you would want better memories to cherish and immortalize. By spending time with your family, you will be able to create memorable moments worth reminiscing over and over again. By the time you are grey and old, you will look back at those memories fondly and come to the conclusion that you have indeed lived a rich and full life.

 

Relieves stress

Spending time with a loved one—no matter how long or short—will always relieve stress. Telling them about your day and what happened at work helps you unwind and relax. More importantly, by allowing you to vent without judgment, you are given a momentary breather from what could have been a potentially taxing week. So reduce your stress, be open about your worries and anxieties. Spend time with your loved ones and watch them do the same for you. Money can always be made but you only have one lifetime to spend with your family.

 

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Smart Travels: Five Reasons Staying in Hotels Should be Your Last Resort for Accommodations

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“Not all those who wander are lost…Unless they are pissed and are trying to find their way back to the hostel” –Author Unknown

 

There has never been any doubt that accommodations play a pivotal role in determining what kind of vacation you are aiming for.

Those who wish to have a more luxurious and relaxed stay can opt to stay in hotels while those who are on a budget might want to consider the alternatives. Unfortunately, most travelers are not savvy enough to explore their options and are under the impression that they are constrained to staying in hotel accommodations. However, in a world rife with booking apps such as Trivago and Airbnb, this notion is not only preposterous but incredibly archaic as well.

More importantly, those who do not care to explore their options might end up missing out on a lot as well. Besides, when you are out of the country, you would be spending most of your time outside of the room and would probably only get to stay at the hotel between the hours that you sleep at night and wake up at the morning. So, if you are paying a premium each night for your stay, it would not make much sense if you do not get to take advantage of it—even more so when you are on a budget. With this in mind, it always pays to take a look at your options first before going with the obvious route such as a hotel accommodation. Regardless of whether you are traveling domestic and are looking for Pampanga hotels or internationally, here are some of the compelling reasons why choosing to book a hotel for your stay should be your last resort:

 

Hotels are expensive

Hotel accommodations are pricey. No need to mince words as they really are. Sure, you might get to enjoy the myriad of amenities offered from the pool to the gym, but do you really need those when you would be mostly out and about in the city? More importantly, some of the amenities offered in hotels are offered in some Airbnb rentals as well as a chain of hostels—at a fraction of the price of a hotel room. You are pretty much getting the same service at a significantly reduced rate. So, why not consider the alternative?

 

The nightlife scene is significantly more interesting than in hotels

If you are a relatively young traveler, you will no doubt be searching for things to do at night. A few of the things you might be considering would be clubbing, hanging out in bars or perhaps capping of the day with a drink or two—all of which you could do at a hotel. However, hotels have a more conservative and reserved clientele given that most of their guests are composed of families or at least esteemed guests. Guests who are within your age range have no business staying in hotels unless they are with family (or are feeling particularly luxurious which is rarely). The nightlife scene in hostels is pretty much like your first year in college all over again. You get to meet people from all over the globe, get to know and hang out with them. Who knows? You might even end up being friends and travel buddies for the rest of your trip?

 

It is cozier

Hotel alternatives such as hostels and short-term rental homes are far cozier and more personal than hotels. Hotels tend to be a bit more detached and it is quite difficult to feel at home in them. Hostels on the other hand are far more comfortable and homey to stay in. More importantly, you would get better recommendations for cool restaurants and local bars in hostels better as more locals would be hanging around in the lobby. Hotels may give you information about places around as well but it is likely because they are paid to do so rather than an honest reference of the place.

 

Shared meals

Staying at an Airbnb accommodation means you might get to share meals with your hosts. It is not uncommon to have your hosts stay with you during the length of your stay and interact with you. Apart from giving you good recommendations, they might even share home cooked meals with you! Hostels are also accommodation alternatives wherein the sharing of meals is encouraged.

 

You will make stronger connections

Hotel guests go out and about without ever interacting with one another. Hostel guests on the other hand are encouraged to meet and greet each other insomuch that they might potentially become travel chums. Hotels tend to be detached whereas hostels are more connected. If you wish to have a more memorable and immersive experience, go for the alternative and stay in a hostel or an Airbnb hosting instead.

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Philippine Adventures: Compelling Reasons Why You Should Try ATV Riding at Least Once

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“It is great adrenaline rush, especially running waterfalls. The feeling of dropping off the edge can be thrilling and terrifying at the same time.” -Anna Levesque

It has been said that you have never truly lived until such time that you experience that rush of adrenaline that takes you to new heights.

That feeling that gives you an inexplicable sensation is unlike any other brought about the slight risk in what you are doing. For this reason, a slew of people would literally chase death-defying activities that would more often than not, cross the boundary of what you would consider as daring enough. However, what about those of us who would wish to experience that very same kind of rush sans the risk involved? Well, ATV (all terrain vehicle) riding might just be an activity that addresses your need.

In a nutshell, ATV in the Philippines is pretty much just like driving a small motorcycle or car insomuch that you have pedals to break and accelerate. Perhaps the biggest difference lies on the kind of terrains you would be driving on. All terrain vehicles are specially designed to function in all types of terrains and seasons. With this in mind, you are sure to have that rush of adrenaline. Indeed, while a semblance of risk is involved in ATV riding, it is a calculated one. More importantly, if you invested in a set of appropriate safety gear, the chances of anything untoward happening to you are pretty much mitigated. In any case, if you needed more compelling reasons as to why you should try ATV riding at least once, take a gander at the list below:

 

It takes camping up a notch

If you have been camping for a while, it can feel like you have been doing exactly the same thing every single time insomuch that the monotony of it all tends to take away the fun of camping itself. Forget about doing scavenger hunts, stories and songs around the campfire and take it up a notch by injecting a bit of fun into it. Go ATV riding instead and bring them with you. Explore the wilderness with your ATVs and you are guaranteed to have an even better time scouring the woods than you would have been had you been simply on foot.

 

It beats expensive vacations

Sure, expensive vacations can mean a lifetime of memories, little trinkets and souvenirs from your trip. But after it ends, what are you left with? More importantly, kids tend to get a little restless and fidgety when you are traveling by always asking where you are going next and if you have arrived yet. Instead of taking another fancy vacation, why not take yourself and your family on an ATV ride instead? ATVs can be a medium for spontaneous adventure and fun where all you would need in is simply to hop in, find a good terrain and be on your merry way.

 

Great exercise

This might have escaped your notice but ATV riding actually makes for a very good exercise. While some might think of it as a bit of a stretch to compare it with lifting weights and going for a run, it does get your heart pumping. More importantly, it works your muscles as you have to be tight so as to have better control over the vehicle.

 

Liberating

ATV riding is an incredibly liberating activity for many. In fact, it is an avenue for stress-relief by some. With everything that is currently happening in your life at the moment, it is imperative to stop and focus on the now. If you feel locked and have lost motivation in your work or just need a little dose of inspiration, simply going through the woods on your ATV would help you feel free. It would help you relax and get rid of anything that might be bothering you–at least for the time being.

 

Better than therapy

Sometimes, you just need a good outlet for your frustrations. Unfortunately, everyone is different and sometimes, it takes more than just talking within the four walls of a room to feel better. Maybe what you need is a healthy dose of adrenaline rush–one that takes you to see the sights, enjoy the beautiful landscapes while feeling the air against your skin. Indeed, ATV riding is an excellent way to feel rejuvenated.

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Traveling with Tots: Five Excellent Tips When Traveling with Children

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“In the end, kids will not remember that fancy toy or game you bought for them; they will remember the time you spent with them.”-Kevin Heath

 

Traveling with your kids is not exactly a prospect most parents would look forward to.

After all, family road trips do not get a bad rep for nothing. More importantly, kids tend to have even shorter attention spans than their adult counterparts insomuch that they get bored easily and would incessantly nag their parents and ask whether they have arrived yet or not. Apart from that, it does not help that more often than not, you and your kids would be cooped up in a van for what would be a three-hour ride (or less, if you are lucky) at the very least. Indeed, from all these, it can be very easy for your little tots to get on your nerve and you would then begin to question why you even had this idea in the first place.

However, do not fret. Road trips do not necessarily need to be terrible and at the very least, they can be fun for everyone as well. However, you do need to be adequately prepared for the trip ahead to ensure that everyone will have an equally good time. So, if you have long been planning to take a day trip to Sandbox, Pampanga or elsewhere with your little kids in tow, here are some things you ought to keep in mind:

Include your kids from the start

Allow your kids to pick out a destination from a list of pre-selected places you have been thinking of going to. If you gave them the liberty to choose where you go, they will be far more receptive to helping you in planning the trip and will be a lot more excited about it because they are a lot invested in the process. Be sure that the list of places you are considering of having them choose from already have your prior approval so that your kids would not randomly think of a place you could not afford or make a trip to go. For trips that are already pre-planned, include your kids by asking them which stops they would want to take along the way. No matter how big or small, making them feel like a part of the planning process would psyche them up for your upcoming trip.

 Start a savings account

If a projected trip is going to last you for days, it would be wise to start saving for it. Anticipate what your expenses would be and have an account ready for that trip specifically. In this way, you would be a lot less stressed about how you would be spending for it and would be able to enjoy it instead with your family.

Make sure a parent sits with the kids every now and then

If you are traveling with your spouse or partner, it would make sense to take turns in driving and keeping the kids company at the back. In this regard, kids would not be causing too much ruckus at the back of the car and are less likely to misbehave owing to a parent’s presence. Furthermore, the parent sitting with the kids might serve as entertainment and comfort to the younger kids and if they are happy, everyone will be happy and a lot less stressed.

Start planning

To mitigate the likelihood of your kids waiting for something to do, start planning your itinerary the day you decide to make the trip. After all, part of what makes a road trip fun is looking forward to what you would do when you get there. So, encourage your older kids to do some research about your destination and ask them if there is anything they want to do or check out. From there, you can then curate a list of sites and activities you want to do. Remember, the earlier you plan, the better chance you will have in getting a reservation. Some places would require advance reservations and may often discounts if you purchase in advance.

Pack smart

One of the things you should keep in mind is not to cram your car with too many stuff lest your kids get cramped in the back seat. Bringing too many things can potentially spell a disaster and might mean your kids would be a lot crankier for the whole ride. Understandably, you would also want to bring enough to entertain your kids or else suffer through your children’s incessant whines and boredom complaints. So, how do you find a happy balance? Well, more often than not, each child would only need one backpack. Mobile entertainment would be enough to keep them hooked for hours and a few games of theirs. Be sure that everything is age-appropriate and leave toys that tend to have children fighting over. Have kid-friendly movies saved and ready in your electronic device in order to keep them still and quiet when they need to be. Make sure that these are downloaded so that you would not need an internet connection just to watch them.

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Epicurean Adventures: Five Food around the World Worth Traveling For

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“Cooking and eating in a foreign country may be the surest, truest way to its soul.” –Author Unknown

 

It has been said that there are little things in the world that are far more enjoyable than travel and food.

In fact, it has been widely believed that the best way to get to know a country is to eat your way through it. In this regard, it would be very much understandable why food is such a pertinent aspect in one’s foreign excursions insomuch that there are some travelers who would be willing to make the travel just to sample any foreign cuisine. After all, a single plate would already tell you a story– a single meal a myriad of tales. Eating food in foreign places tends to give us a brief insight into the city’s history and culture and in this regard, it has been said that there are some foreign food items that are not only good for nourishing the body but for the soul as well.

However, while there is much to be said about trying an array of food items in a foreign place, it is also true that there are foreign dishes worth the expense of an airplane ticket. These are the definitive dishes that most tourists would always include in their travel bucket list as these food items do not only give your palate a flavorful adventure but a memorable epicurean experience as well. And although it has always been argued that there is nothing better than the food cooked at home, these are the very dishes that would make your feet itch and leave home for. After all, people do not simply go on food tours such as a food trip in Pampanga if the food was not all that exceptional.

In any case, here are some of the best food offers around the world that would make for an excellent and compelling reason for travel:

 

Kaya Toast (Singapore)

Singapore is known to be a goldmine of scrumptious food and delectable dishes insomuch that it might just be included in every food enthusiast’s food bucket list. After all, the city of Singapore is known to be a food carnival of all sorts that even the food stalls lining their streets get so much traffic from both locals and travelers. Indeed, food in Singapore runs the gamut from the ever famous Singaporean chili crab to their tasty dim sum staple. However, before you feats yourself on an array of Singaporean food, you might want to start with a lesser known Singaporean food item that is definitely worth coming back for. Before you queue up for Singapore’s more popular food offers, look for the nearest coffee house and try their Kaya toast. You might ask what is so special about this bread that it would merit the first mention on this list. Well, this egg is anything but ordinary as it is essentially bread slathered generously with coconut jam and served with soft-boiled white-peppered eggs that were bathed in soy sauce—all of which are perfect elements to start your day.

Tacos El Pastor (Mexico)

While a serving of tacos is pretty much available in most shopping malls, you would be missing out a lot if you have never tried the authentic ones made from the originators themselves, the Mexicans. This is especially true if you are a big fan of Mexican food and if you are, you should never miss out on the opportunity to eat tacos the way they should be prepared. The streets of Mexico are ubiquitously lined with vendor after vendor selling these definitive Mexican Tacos. What makes them special? Probably because it is nothing like your local Mexican food joint can ever emulate. After all, corn tortillas filled with pork marinated in pineapple juice which is then roasted kebab-style rotisserie is probably nothing like what you had in your local Mexican food joint.

High tea (London)

Although a little bit pricier than what your local Starbucks can offer, having tea and scone in London is very much worth the extra expense. If you can do it at least once, you probably should. There is nothing like sipping on expensive tea with your pinkies up and pairing it with a combination of flour and butter baked to perfection topped with a dollop of the freshest berry jam and the sweetest, richest cream.

Warm Crepes (Paris)

When one thinks of Paris, perhaps the first thing that comes to mind would be baguettes. After all, it seems like this rendition of bread is king when it comes to the city of love. However, do not let baguettes be the sole reason why you would see the beautiful skies of Paris. Traipse down any streets of the city and you would find arrays of food carts selling you crepe with generous spoonsful of Nutella—a must try, definitely and certainly worth booking a plane ticket for.

Pho (Vietnam)

Hailed as one of the world’s best dishes, Pho is that one dish best tasted when prepared by their masters and creators, the Vietnamese. Although pho is typically a soup enjoyed either for lunch and dinner, they are best consumed in the early morning in Hanoi, where it originates from. Eating pho for breakfast means that you can guarantee the freshness of your herbs and the suppleness of your noodles which would emit a mouthwatering aroma. As a result, Pho would not be a gustatory experience, but an olfactory one as well.

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Travel EATineary: Five Excellent Reasons You Should Go on a Food Tour

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“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” –James Michener

 

One of the best ways to truly get to know a foreign city is to eat your way through it.

After all, eating itself is already a visceral and immersive experience. Consequently, indulging yourself in the foreign flavors a city can be a wonderful experience that is certainly nothing short of delightful. Seeing as the consumption food is known to be one of the best ways to explore and discover more about a city, the concept of food tours was then introduced and since then, it spread like wildfire. For this reason, localized food tours such as the one we have in the Philippines like the Pampanga food trip have been rather popular insomuch that it attracts tourists by the droves. So, if you wish to put a fresh new spin on your travel ventures and go on an epicurean journey.

After all, it has been said that food prepared on the other side of the world is all the more tasteful. In any case, here are some of the compelling reasons that should convince you to go on a food tour on your next trip:

It is an amazing introduction to the city

Of course, there are other ways you can learn about a country which is mainly done through research and reading articles and books. However, there is no better way to explore a country or city than to eat your way through it. In fact, one might even go as far as to suggest that each plate you consume and whatever meal you might eat in a foreign city will likely tell you a story. Similarly, it might even give you a glimpse into the city’s culture. After all, the harmony of flavors has subtle hints about the locality it is offered in. Plus, food tours also allow you to see the city in a different light than you would have had you been part of a food tour.

You visit the places locals love and take the road less traveled

Sure, while guidebooks and travel articles would proclaim where the best places and tourist spots to visit in the city are, there is a likely chance that they would miss all the spots which locals have developed a fondness for. However, as food tours are primarily organized by the city itself, you would then have the chance to get up close and personal to the locals as well as try out the food they know to be the best. Furthermore, you cannot always rely on reviews to point you towards the best restaurants in town. If you wish to get the best recommendation, there is no better person to ask than the locals themselves.

You can see and sample a lot

Walking in on a restaurant and asking to try everything they have to offer in their menu is not only unorthodox but rather impractical. In this regard, you can only rely on what you think you might fancy or from review recommendations. However, food tours are not so limiting. In fact, food tours would often encourage participants to try all of the dishes showcased and select the best one after their initial tasting. Of course, the most difficult part would be selecting one that you like as you are guaranteed to like quite a lot of dishes.

You meet other food enthusiasts

Of course, food tours will likely attract like-minded individuals who have developed a unique affinity for food and they come in all shapes and sizes (and ages too!). Some of these foodies would even be chefs and would love to share and swap recipes with you. Participating in a food tour means you would also get to know people who share the same passion for food as you do and if you are lucky, they might just recommend the next food tour you should join. Plus, who knows if you might end up forming friendships with them? You might not know it but they might just invite you to explore the city with them as well.

It is always a delightful experience

Regardless of what food tour you join, it would always be a delightful experience and one that is worth reminiscing over and over. In fact, it can be said that a food tour might just be one of the best experiences you will ever have while out of town. Take note: No two food tours are the same just as no two cities are entirely alike. Even the food tours within the city are not entirely alike so you might want to go on and try as many tours as you possibly can.

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Five Need-to-Know Tips for ATV Beginners With Quad Cars

 

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“There is no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”-Nelson Mandela

 

ATV in the Philippines has been recently gaining quite a following. It is a type of sport wherein people have found themselves developing an interest in. After all, there is nothing quite like the pure exhilaration and the rush of excitement you would feel when you first get on a quad.

In some cases, the rush of being on a new vehicle is too much that you would be tempted to run it like you stole it. However, this is not necessarily a good idea—particularly if you are still a beginner. After all, it is always best to get a feel of the vehicle first before riding it to its full capacity. Furthermore, as you are technically still a novice, it would be best if you took some safety precautions first. So, if you are planning on going on ATV riding this weekend, here are some of the need-to-know basics you ought to keep in mind:

 

 

Get to know the quad

If you have recently taken home a new quad, know that the first thing you should do is to read the manual. Unfortunately, like most new car owners, most individuals who own quads would think that manual reading is negligible and not really all that important. However, reading the manual is pivotal to the proper care and maintenance of your ATV. After all, your vehicle is likely a significant investment so you would want to ensure that it is adequately taken care of. You do not have to read it from cover to cover but at least orient yourself to the features of your quad car, the functions, maintenance schedules, and proper break-in procedures.

Inspect and top off all fluids

While taking out your new ATV or quad car for a test ride might seem like a tempting prospect, you should hold that thought until you have already checked the lifeblood of the motor. Keep in mind that most common mishaps which would consequently damage your motor’s internal organs can easily be avoided simply if you took the extra time to check on your vehicle’s motor. Much like how you would routinely check a car if it has enough water, so should you for an ATV. Twist off the cap and ensure that the engine oil, coolant, and differential fluids are all at the proper level.

Tighten Lug Nuts

More often than not, ATVs would be packed tightly into crates when they arrive at your local dealership’s shop. In this regard, no one would exactly know for sure what happens during shipments. In this regard, it would be best if you tighten the vehicle’s lug nuts and torque it well on all four wheels. You do not want to be braving the dirt roads only to have one of the lug nuts coming off which is a potential accident waiting to happen. Besides, it does not take much of your time to tighten them, so take the extra time to do so.

Check the tire pressure

Having enough air in your tires would mean ease of ride. Furthermore, knowing the tire pressure is crucial to the handling characteristics of your vehicle. There are dangerous consequences posed by tires running out of air and if this were to occur to you, facing all kinds of difficulties would be a possibility. However, you should not run with too much air as well as this well lead you to consequently bounce uncontrollably on your quad. While lower pressure might mean that a tire would be easier to puncture, it allows for more traction in softer soils. On the other hand, high pressure would mean higher durability and predictable sliding. However, there is less traction. Your job as an owner is to find the balance between these two. You can always start with the manufacturer’s recommendation and pump in or out air as you wish and as you deem suitable to your riding needs.

Engage the clutch

Engaging the clutch takes no more than a few seconds to do and in turn, would give you a more convenient and comfortable ride. Setting your clutch in the position it engages allows you to pull your clutch lever with two fingers which means your other two fingers can hold on to the grips. In this regard, you can handle difficult terrains better and still have a good grip in your hands.

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