Back in March 202o, when the Covid-19 lockdown started and travel was greatly restricted, both my car and Cathryn’s car largely sat idle in the driveway, gathering dust and depreciating rapidly in value. We both had new cars, both on the Ford Options scheme where you paid a monthly amount, in effect renting the vehicle. This seemed an awful waste of money. I calculated I was spending around £4000 a year to have my car sitting at the front door. Yes, it got used occasionally, mostly for work, but it was annoying to be shelling out hard cash every month for little return.
When I retired in May 2021, I made the decision to get rid of my car entirely, not only to save money but also to do my bit to reduce emissions and help save the planet. A big factor in being able to retire early was not having that outgoing cost of running a second car. I could afford a car – I calculated that £1500 would more than cover one year of motoring including fuel, but not initial purchase cost – and had enough saving to purchase one, but wanted to see if I could do without, either walking, cycling or kick scooting locally rather than using the car to travel further afield for all my hobbies and interests, including turfing. It would also be good exercise as well. Cathryn kept her car as she was still working and wanted it for her golf competitions and so on. It was sensible to share one vehicles between us.
Now, onto the subject of car-free turfing. I actually made the decision to retire early back in November 2020, even before I discovered turfing, the following month. So, it seemed a good idea to continue to follow my car-free idea for turfing as well. Initially, it wasn’t a problem as there were plenty of local zones for the taking. Cycling or kick scooting, for example, within a 10 to 20 miles’ radius of Bonnyrigg providing more than enough zones. The main problem I could see was variety. For instance, Peebles down in the Scottish Borders has a good selection of zones but a 40-mile round trip on a fast and busy main road even before the cycle-turfing required for taking the zones is quite a long day out.
With ten months of turfing behind me, I’ve managed to stay local fairly well, with only a handful of trips using the car as a means of transport, for example.
- Turf Blog 09-09-21 – fat bike turfing at sunset in Aberlady Bay Nature Reserve.
- Turf Blog 26-08-21 – taking zones on the Dalmeny estate at South Queensferry.
- Turf Blog 09-07-21 – Galashiels, Tweedbank and Bill Scott’s big house.
And to be honest, while I could continue that way, I’m finding it rather monotonous. I’ve done most of my local zones so many times I barely need to look at the turf app to reach and take them. Doing the same old thing every time also means I finding it difficult to come up with something new to say on new blog pages, sometimes repeating myself, something I want to avoid if possible. I’ve still to make inroad into nearby Edinburgh, and have done many of the closest areas, but just cannot summon enough enthusiasm to actually go there on the bike.
I have been finding ways and means of keeping my local turfing fresh, so to speak. Trying to think up new interesting, or more exciting ideas, thinking out-of-the-box, for example, heading out on the night of a full moon to take those awkward zones in hard to reach locations. Or simply going out at night just for the sake of going out at night, mainly because it offers a whole new experience to turfing. The one thing I do miss is the excitement of discovering new zones as well as the photo opportunities that can offer. And new zones also mean plenty of inspiration for the blog pages. So, to that end, I’ve fitted a tow bar to the car to allow me to carry the bike here, there and everywhere. More on that in Turf Blog 08-09-21.
The feasibility of turfing car-free can also depends on a number of other factors, for examples:
- where you live (city easier than countryside).
- how many active turfers around (more makes it easier).
- how long you have been turfing and how actively (boredom factor).
- public transport links from where you live.
- what your turf aims are.
So, is car-free turfing possible? Well, of course it is. It just means you need to stay more local, or stick with taking zones within cycling range of home, or make use of public transport to travel further away. And you are also saving money, as well as helping to save the planet.
Many thanks to turfer Floss for her contributions.
Copyright ©2021 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.