Atlantis International Cycling Gloves SCAM?

About one year ago, I received an email from a company called Atlantis International advertising some retro cycling gloves.
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The gloves looked pretty rad so I responded by saying I would like to get a couple of pairs and do a review on them. The general implication here is that they would send me gloves for free, and in return, they would get an online review. However, they sent me a response saying I would have to pay a fee of $35 to receive the gloves. Not in love with the gloves enough to throw money at them, I respectfully declined the offer and left it at that.


Screen Shot 2018-02-25 at 7.09.44 PMThey made contact again the other day. Keep in mind that their initial email was sent nearly 1 year ago. Pretty persistent I must say.  I made contact again to see what kind of answer I would get. I told them I would like to try a couple of samples so I can post a blog about them. Here’s the response I got:
Screen Shot 2018-02-25 at 7.12.49 PMThere are two major red flags in this email. First, the grammar isn’t even close to being proper. This isn’t always a dead giveaway, but it’s certainly questionable. The second red flag is the mention of Western Union Bank. Scammers often use Western Union as it’s easy for them to obtain money transfers without being caught.

They ended up sending me their Western Union Bank info.
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Another thing I noticed is that on their public website, they list “Follow Us” icons for social media apps but none of the logos are active links.
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I’m not sure if anyone else has received an email similar to this. I searched Google and couldn’t find any threads on it. It seems like a scam to me so I thought it was worth sharing. My plan now is to continue wasting their time and hopefully annoy the hell out of them.

Let me know if you have received any cycling-related scams so we can get this information out there.

Bike Review: 2018 Specialized Chisel (W/100 mile update)

*100-mile update is at the end of this article.
New for the 2018 Specialized lineup is the Chisel. The Chisel effectively replaces the Specialized Crave as their sub $2,000 hardtail 29er. The main difference between the Chisel and Crave is frame geometry. The Chisel geometry bridges the gap between traditional cross-country geometry and modern trail geometry by offering a head tube angle of 69.8°.
There are three options for the men’s Chisel:
Chisel Expert 1x ($1850)
Chisel Comp 2x ($1500)
Chisel Frameset ($750)
I chose to build up a frameset. Going the route of a frame gives you the option of two colors that are not available as complete builds. All Chisels are built with Specialized’s M5 aluminum.
The frame has internal cable routing, boost spacing, and a threaded bottom bracket shell.
My intentions were to build a lightweight cross-country bike that still felt fun/stable on the descents.
For the fork, I chose the 2018 Fox 32 Step Cast with Kashima Coat.
The fork is light (a hair under 3 lbs). I chose the Fit4 3 Position Damper without the remote lockout. The Fit4 damper offers more adjustment when the fork is in its open position.
The wheels are built around Hope Pro 4 hubs which are high-quality hubs at a relatively affordable price.
I chose Stan’s No Tubes Crest rims which are plenty light and far more affordable than an average carbon rim. The wheels are laced with DT Swiss Competition spokes and purple alloy nipples.
Finishing off the wheels are WTB tubeless valves, Orange Seal rim tape and sealant, and Maxxis 29×2.35 Ikon tires.
The drivetrain consists of a Shimano XT 11-speed 11-46 cassette, KMC X11SL chain,
Shimano XT shifter and derailleur,
Race Face Next SL G4 cranks and a Wolf Tooth 30t oval chainring.
The brakes are Shimano XT with 160mm rotors front and rear.
The cockpit contains a Race Face Next 35 20mm rise 760 width handlebar,
Race Face Turbine 35 stem,
ESI Fit XC grips, Origin8 VEX platform pedals,
Specialized Phenom Expert 143mm saddle, and a KS LEV Integra 27.2 internally routed 100mm travel dropper post.
Finding a 27.2 dropper with a decent amount of travel and internal routing proved to be difficult but this dropper seems up to the challenge thus far.
The Chisel is for a rider looking for a lightweight cross-country rig that is stable enough for fast and challenging descents without totally breaking the bank.
The price gap between the Chisel Comp 2x and Chisel Expert 1x is somewhat negligible. It really just depends on whether you prefer a 1x or 2x drivetrain. Each has its upside and downside. The 1x is clean and simple but lacks the high-end gears that a 2x provides. On the other hand, 2x drivetrains are a little heavier and less pleasing on an aesthetic level.
My particular build retails somewhere around $4,300 with every component at full price. However, If you choose to build up a frame, you should be able to get a shop to give you a break on at least some of your components.
Let me know what you think of the new Specialized Chisel. Also, how about my build? What would you have done differently?

By far the most common inquiry regarding the Chisel is whether or not it will clear a 2.6″ tire. The only 2.6″ tire I currently have access to is the Specialized Purgatory (a great trail tire in my area). Today, after keeping you guys waiting way too long, I put the tire on my rear wheel.
The good news is that it fits with more than enough room to spare.
The bad news is this 2.6″ tire isn’t actually 2.6″. Unfortunately, it measures much closer to a 2.3″. 

This is an issue that Specialized is aware of and is planning on correcting this upcoming model year. 
I’ve decided to stop here as I still don’t have a definitive answer on whether or not a true 2.6″ tire will fit. As soon as I get my hands on a true 2.6″ tire, I will update this post.


To put it simply, this bike is a rocket.
I expected my climbs to improve in comparison to my Stumpjumper FSR. I expected an improvement because the Chisel weighs 4.5 fewer pounds than my Stumpy. I expected an improvement because the Chisel doesn’t have 150mm of rear suspension. I expected the steeper head tube angle, 29er wheels, and  XC geometry to all translate into a much better climber. It came as no surprise that all of my expectations were met.
The Chisel is a climbing machine. On climbs that I averaged speeds between 3-4mph on my Stumpy, I average close to 6mph on the Chisel. The frame is lightweight and stiff in all the right places. I feel that little to no energy is lost on the Chisel and all of my efforts result in the bike moving forward at a fast pace.
The climbing performance alone is enough to sell me on this bike. What I didn’t expect, however, is how much faster I am on the descents. There are a couple factors that should be addressed when considering why I descend faster on the Chisel in comparison to my Stumpy. First of all, I am running 29×2.35 tires on the Chisel and 27.5×2.6 tires on the Stumpy. There is a wider footprint (contact point) with the 2.6 tires which certainly adds rolling resistance. 29er tires also carry momentum better than any other tire size. This is a claim that has been tested and supported by many manufacturers and I can attest to it. Secondly, I feel that my downhill skills are slowly improving and that may be reflected in my times. Take for example the trail I rode most often: Ash Canyon in Carson City, NV. The trail is a great place to work on XC riding. There is a fun downhill section known as Jackrabbit Downhill. This is the section where I really focus on my downhill times as I know the trail very well.
In the picture below, I have highlighted my fasted Jackrabbit Downhill time for both bikes. My fastest time on the Chisel is highlighted in green and my fastest time on the Stumpy is highlighted in blue.
Again, I am becoming a better descender. But do I believe that my skills alone knocked 12 seconds off my best time in only one month? No.
I believe the 29″ tires account for some of the improvement. I also believe my sprinting efficiency on the Chisel is far superior and helped slash my time during brief moments and flat terrain. Whatever the case may be, and feel free to give me your opinion if I’m missing any possibilities, I am stoked with the results. I should mention that long descents on the Chisel aren’t nearly as fun or as comfortable as with the Stumpy. My back tightens up and begins to ache much faster on the chisel. But that’s not much of a concern because I bought the Chisel for one purpose: to go fast. I also had hopes that the Chisel would motivate me to get into shape and try some XC races. The bike has shown that it is fully capable of putting up some competitive XC runs. The only question I have yet to answer is whether or not I am as capable as the bike.

Trail Review: 18 Road Trails Fruita, CO

The four of us left our bike shop with equal amounts of excitement and curiosity. Our plan was to spend Labor Day weekend riding as many trails as possible between Fruita, CO, and Moab, UT. We knew this trip had potential to be one of the best riding adventures we had done, but we didn’t know much else to expect.
Only one of us had ever ridden Moab and none of us had ever ridden Fruita. We spent 14 hours driving from Carson City to Fruita. Highway 50 is called The Loneliest Road in America. We understood why as the sun set behind us and we saw more deer than passing vehicles. When I woke up, we were somewhere on Interstate 70 in Utah. Jimmy, the one in our group who had ridden Moab, was excited to pull over at a particular rest stop with stunning views. The rest stop delivered as we were able to watch the sun rise over an endless valley dense with incredible rock formations and 1000ft cliffs.
We settled back into the RV for the final push into Fruita. The route to get to the 18 Road Trails was interesting. We exited the interstate to drive through a network cozy Colorado homes, many of which positioned on a small chunk of farmland. 18 Road’s pavement eventually turned into a three-mile stretch of gravel that pushed the limits of the RV’s suspension. The trailhead was clearly marked and provided ample parking.
Our plan was to ride three trails: Kessel Run, Joe’s Ridge, and Zippity Doo Dah.
We decided our first ride would be Joe’s Ridge as we were collectively more excited to ride that trail than the others. We left the trailhead and climbed a dirt road that got us to an intersection of trails. One of my many favorite aspects of 18 Road Trails is that the trails have signs posted that encourage riders to only descend or ascend certain trails. Joe’s Ridge happens to be a trail where riders should only descend, and for good reason.
The trail starts off pretty mellow. Not long after, however, the classic ridge riding is exposed and the trail represents the uniqueness of 18 Road Trails. To be honest, the ridge riding was a bit intimidating the first time I saw it on Joe’s Ridge. It was like nothing I had ever ridden in the past. But I set aside my nerves, for the time being, and continued on.
We gathered up around the halfway point down Joe’s Ridge. One of our riders, Adam, noticed a free-ride line he wanted to attempt. He hiked his bike up a ridge consisting of soft dirt and scouted his line. He committed to it and descended down the steep line and into a rolling valley floor. The rest of us continued on the main trail which now presented more jumping features. We made our way to the end of the trail which emptied into an intersection between the other two trails we planned on riding. We ascended a short, punchy climb back to the parking lot and fueled up on food and hydration.
For our second ride, we chose Kessel Run. Kissel Run is considered the easiest of the three. It took less climbing to get to than Joe’s Ridge and was certainly less technical. Kessel Run is a great trail to practice turning on as it is winding and full of sharp burms and turns. One of our riders suffered a scary crash and rightfully wanted to rest around the RV while taking inventory of his bike and body.
The other three of us decided not to ride Zippity Doo Dah without the entire group so we checked out the trail map for other options.
We decide to ride PB&R (Pumps, Bumps, and Rollers). The ride is classified as a black diamond trail. I feel that this trail is better classified as an intermediate trail. Never mind the classification though, PB&R was an absolute blast! Of all the trails we rode, PB&R was my favorite in regard to trail quality.
By the time we got back to the trailhead, Jimmy was feeling better after his crash and was ready for another ride.
We had time for one more ride and decided to do Zippity Doo Dah. Getting to Zippity Doo Dah required more climbing than any of the other trails. The climb was fairly mild with the exception of a couple spots. Zippity Doo Dah offers the best views from 18 Road Trails.
This trail had the notorious ridge lines that I was so excited to ride. The trail is classified as a black diamond. It’s not that Zippity Doo Dah is overly technical, it’s that some of the ridges are carved through some high-risk areas that I found a little intimidating.
I even ended up walking one specific section as it really played with my fear of heights. That said, Zippity Doo Dah was a well-designed trail with really fun sections and stunning views.
It was the perfect ride to finish up our afternoon. I am so glad I went and rode 18 Road Trails.
We did four different trails and still have more to do. I am looking forward to the next time I ride Fruita, CO.

Bike Review: Specialized Ruze (Good 1st Mountain Bike?)

Let’s address one thing at the onset: $1,000 is a lot of money for someone’s first mountain bike. When customers enter my shop seeking their first mountain bike, I generally guide them to a bike that doesn’t exceed $600. That’s not to say they wouldn’t appreciate a higher end bike once on the trail, but it may give them the impression that cycling is an out-of-budget hobby.
My wife Monica has been hinting that she wants a mountain bike for the past couple of months. She has minimal experience on a bicycle. I had refurbished a 1970’s Peugeot Mixte, mainly because she loves the urban style of the bike, but the overall handling and geometry of the bike has left her wondering if there is more to cycling.
When deciding on which bike to purchase for her, there were some key factors that I needed to consider. My main focus was picking a bike that gave her confidence. Knowing that old school 27″ tires felt wobbly and unstable to her, I knew that a plus size tire would be a great foundation. My second point of focus was safety. I knew I wanted her bicycle to be equipped with hydraulic disc brakes as they harness sufficient stopping power without demanding as much hand power from the rider. Oh yeah, there was one other thing that was imperative on this bike: it had to have pink in as many places as possible.
I had my shopping list. I started eliminating options and the choice became clear pretty quick. The Specialized Ruze comes stock with plus size tires (27.5×2.8 rear, 27.5×3.0 front),
hydraulic disc brakes from Tektro,
and, most importantly, the graphite color option has pink highlights on the frame.
I was able to get all of the important factors covered under one bike. However, there are some features on this bike that fall in line with other beginner mountain bikes. The wheels aren’t tubeless compatible. The SR Suntour XCM fork is a coil fork that lacks range of adjustment and pays a weight penalty when compared to an air fork. That said, this bike is plenty capable for XC and Trail riding.
One feature that I overlooked was a 1×10 drivetrain.
Without a front derailleur, Monica has less shifting options to consider when riding and will be able to focus on the trail ahead.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time breaking down the components on this bike as my main argument is based on the Specialized Ruze being a good option as a beginner’s mountain bike. Yes, the price is high. But so is the performance. And, even though there are cheaper options out there, I feel confident that she will feel confident. That in itself if priceless.
I can say for certain that this is a great mountain for a beginner. It has plenty of features that make for a fun and stable cycling experience.

Nebo Cryket

Nebo is a company that seems to be growing pretty fast. You may recognize their very popular Big Larry work light that has found its home in most auto shops. Though we use the Big Larry daily at my bicycle shop, it is a bit cumbersome for portable/packable use.
Needing a light to throw in my bikepacking rig, I ordered the Cryket from Nebo.

The Cryket is a compact, LED light that swivels 90º.
The light is constructed of aluminum that is water/impact resistant. The base is magnetic and offers convenience when working on a car or around a shop. Attached to the light is a steel belt clip.
There are three light settings on the Cryket:
LED spotlight (250 lumens)

COB flood light (240 lumens)

COB green light  (30 lumens)

COB or Chips On Board LED, “improves lumen-per-watt ratios in comparison to other LED technologies.” Found out more info by clicking here.

The light runs on 4, AAA batteries that are included with purchase.
According to Nebo, expected battery life is as follows:
3.5 hours-LED spotlight (250 lumens)
2.75 hours-COB flood light (240 lumens)
6.5 hours-COB green light  (30 lumens)

For the reasonable price of $24.99, this light is well worth checking out.

Though our bike shop carries Nebo, they aren’t available through any bicycle distributors. Call your LBS first, if not available, you can order them directly from Nebo by clicking here.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any questions/comments, please post them below.


New content.

Some of us are always late to the party. Here it is, 2017, and I just now purchased my first action camera (the GoPro Hero 5 Black).


I’m not yet certain how this camera will benefit/change

I just hope to utilize this camera to bring you guys a new medium of entertainment and information on my site.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions or requests for what you would like to see from this new camera.


Bikepacking Chapter I: Specialized Burra Burra Bags + Salsa Anything Cage

Now that I have my bikepacking rig, I decided to take advantage of the new bag lineup from Specialized.
The Burra Burra lineup offers adventurists multiple options ranging from a toptube bag all the way to a pizza delivery bag. Although I found many different definitions of the word “burra,” I am most fond of this one: A small village in the isle of Shetland. Associated with drugs and alcoholics. Many people from Burra are complete arseholes. Let’s proceed with the assumption that Specialized had that definition in mind when naming these bags.
In the summer of 2018, my son will be 3-years-old. I have plans on taking him on overnight bikepacking trips so this summer will serve as a dry run to work out all the kinks. To carry our shelter, the Specialized Handlebar Stabilizer should get the job done.
If not running a sleeping bag/ sleeping pad, Specialized offers a Drypack in two different sizes (13 liters and 23 liters). For drop bars, use the 13 liter Drypack.
The Stabilizer mounts to both 31.8 and 25.4 handlebars using secure, aluminum mounts. There are also urethane-coated straps that run over the handlebar and under the fork crown for added security. However, the straps have proved to be difficult to cinch up tightly for an extended amount of time.
Handlebar Stabilizer Harness: $90.00
13 Liter Drypack: $40.00
23 Liter Drypack: $45.00
The Burra Burra Stuffpack and Stuffcage may be my favorite item in the new lineup. The bags and cages are well designed and make any drop bar bike look a lot tougher.
The Stuffpack has a listed capacity of 1 liter and fits a 1 liter Nalgene perfectly. I had originally planned on storing a Jetboil Flash stove inside the Stuffpack but the bag diameter was too small.
The stuff cage is versatile. It can mount to a 2-bolt or 3-bolt system and offers 4 slots for straps.
Stuffpack: $40.00
Stuffcage: $30.00
While in the cockpit, it is worth considering a bag that makes essentials easy to access. The Top Tube Pack has a listed capacity of .75 liters and is built around two compartments.
The Top Tube Pack is great for snacks, phones, and keys.
Top Tube Pack: $50.00
The Burra Burra Stabilizer Seatpack may end up being the most popular item in the new lineup. The pack comes in two different sizes (10 & 20) to accommodate different frame sizes and tire clearances.
The Seatpack has an extending roll top that offers added storage.
With added weight and more leverage from an extended roll top, steatpacks tend to sway and move while riding. Specialized has added an aluminum stabilizer arm to counteract the pack movement.
Once extended, the rider has access to a daisy chain.
Burra Burra Stabilizer Seatpack 10: $130.00
Burra Burra Stabilizer Seatpack 20: $140.00
As mentioned earlier, my Jetboil Flash didn’t fit in the Stuffpack. I decided to order the Salsa Anything Cage HD and mount it on my downtube. The stove fits in with room to spare and should work out great.
Salsa Anything Cage HD: $35.00

The stove is currently the only piece of equipment I have purchased for bikepacking. Though I’m comfortable in the world of cycling, I am completely in the dark when it comes to backpacking.

If you guys have any recommendations, please leave a comment below. Your knowledge is invaluable to me.

Review: Royal Racing Matrix Jacket

I’ve been on the hunt for a lightweight, hooded riding jacket for a while now. I have struggled justifying the cost of some larger company’s jackets that retail between $400-$500. When I ran across the Matrix jacket by Royal Racing with a list price of $140, I knew my search had ended.
Offered in two different colors, the Matrix jacket brings style and function to the trail.
The jacket is non-insulated and requires some layering in really cold conditions. During Spring, Summer, and Fall, I imagine this jacket will be great with only a base layer underneath.
With a waterproof and breathability rating of 10,000, the Matrix performs well in light rain and average snow conditions.
Royal Racing claims that the fitting of the Matrix ranges from regular to loose. They also recommend sizing up if riders plan on wearing body armor. I usually fall in-between medium and large with most companies. I ordered the medium jacket and found the overall fit to be very comfortable.
The Matrix includes an i Port pocket for electronic devices that has internal routing for earbuds.
The hood on the Matrix is adjustable and large enough to fit over an open-face helmet.
I would recommend this jacket to anyone on a budget who is looking for a quality shell with a rider-inspired design. Make sure to hit up your local bike shop and let them know the Matrix is available through QBP.

Have you found the perfect trail jacket? Leave a comment below and let me know all about it 🙂


E-Bikes: Progress Meets Hostility.

*For the purpose of this article, “E-Bike” refers to a non-throttle, pedal-assist bicycle.

E-Bikes may be the most controversial topic in cycling since Lance was first accused of doping. That may seem like somewhat of a false equivalency, but to many cyclists, both topics have one thing in common: CHEATING. The rapid increase of E-Bikes has sparked a lot of heated discussion in the industry. Many riders feel that E-Bikes offer an unfair advantage to other riders and shouldn’t be allowed to share the same trails. Other people view E-Bikes as motorcycles in disguise, and since they are just motorcycles, shouldn’t be allowed to share the same trails. Where is this bicycle segregation coming from?
Even at my bike shop, located in an area where E-Bikes haven’t really hit the riding scene, we are having daily discussions about them with customers. There are shops now, often in urban settings, that exclusively sell E-Bikes. The demand for this technology is clearly there. So why are so many cyclists passionately opposed to the idea of E-Bikes? To some extent, the answer is in the question. The most negative opinions about E-Bikes come from longtime cyclists. People I talk to that are new to the sport of mountain biking have a much more open mind about the idea. That’s not to say that longtime cyclists are wrong. They have spent decades in the saddle and have developed their own justified ideas of what mountain biking should be.
A regular customer at my shop told me a story yesterday that blew my mind. He owns a hardtail fat bike. Since purchasing his fat bike, he has outfitted it with a large frame pack. He was recently riding a popular trail in our area when he was stopped by another rider. The rider looked at his frame pack and began lecturing him that E-Bikes didn’t belong on the trail. The customer made light-hearted efforts to explain that it was a frame pack full of food and clothing but the cyclist who had stopped him refused to listen. This particular situation is rare. However, it was very unsettling. After hearing that story, I knew it was time to get on here and try to open a discussion with you guys and see where everyone stands on the topic of E-Bikes. Let’s first go over the two most common arguments I hear around my shop.
E-Bikes are just a new way to cheat.
It’s a common complaint I hear about E-Bikes. I think it has some truth depending on the scenario. If someone is sneaking an E-Bike, whether road or mountain, into a race, then yes we can all agree that it’s cheating. But if someone is taking an E-Bike out for some recreational fun, I don’t see an issue. One could make the argument that the rider is cheating his/her personal fitness, but that’s a conscious decision that person has the right to make. I took a Specialized Levo FSR Expert out for a ride this morning. In certain areas where I would normally be gassed, I felt strong. In what would normally take me a couple of hours to complete, I did in just over an hour. I had fun the entire time and never felt as if I was cheating myself or anyone else around me. If I was on my personal bike and someone passed me on an E-Bike, I would greet them and wish them a happy ride. That’s the type of attitude I would like to see cyclists carry towards E-Bikes, even if they’re purists. If you have moral objections to E-Bikes, use the proper outlets to express them rather than confronting riders on the trail (e.g. writing a letter to the National Parks Service or Bureau of Land Management voicing your concern).

E-Bikes are just motorcycles in disguise.
Let’s refer back to my opening statement: “E-Bike” refers to a non-throttle, pedal-assist bicycle. There is a vast variety of E-Bikes on the market. Some even have throttles and high-wattage motors capable of speeds over 50mph. Those bikes aren’t the focus of this article. Instead, I am referring to bikes similar to the Specialized Levo. This type of E-Bike has a pedal assist motor that only engages when the rider is pedaling. The more physical effort put into the system, the more output the motor will produce. The pedal assist won’t engage until the rider is moving just under 2mph. The pedal assist automatically turns off once the rider hits a speed of 15-20mph depending on location of purchase (USA/Canada). So is an E-Bike just a clever way of selling motorcycles? A quick search for the definition of a motorcycle produced this result:

noun: motorcycle; plural noun: motorcycles
1. a two-wheeled vehicle that is powered by a motor and has no pedals.
The obvious discrepancy in this comparison comes down to the pedals. By this definition, E-Bikes are not motorcycles. They also lack any characteristics one would look for in a motorcycle. I believe cyclists are running into a mental block at the mere mention of a motor. I think it is unfair to conflate non-throttle, pedal-assist bicycles with those stocked with throttles and motors capable of reaching 50mph without pedaling.

To wrap my opinions up, I will mention a couple examples as to why I support E-Bikes on the trail. I recently spoke to a couple that love to mountain bike but have reached an age where traditional cycling is taking a toll on their bodies. They love the sport and E-Bikes may extend their ability to ride for many more years. The couple isn’t looking for an over-powering motor, just the opportunity to continue their passion. I’ve also heard of several riders who have physical ailments that have left them with very low lung capacity. E-Bikes have allowed these riders to stay on the trail and continue riding. I find it very difficult to protest E-Bikes when some people benefit so much from them. The rhetoric surrounding E-Bikes is becoming increasingly hostile. I hope this article provides some insight to why E-Bikes aren’t as evil as they’re being portrayed.

Please share your opinions below. Did I nail anything in this article? Is there anything I should reconsider my position on? Let me know, I’m interested to see what you guys think.

As always, thanks so much for taking the time to check out my content. I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any comments/questions that you don’t want to post publicly, email me at