It was when out turfing last evening that the topic of weather came to the forefront of my mind. It was windy last evening, not the worst I’ve been out in with gusts only up to 50 mph or so. On two occasions I was suddenly pushed sideways by a strong gust, moving about two meters from my course. Luckily, I had plenty of room on both occasions and was able to stay upright. A similar thing happened when cycling between BikeSlooowly and CollegeZone, where the wind hit me head on and brought me to a sudden dead stop. All these incidents were, thankfully minor, but had the locations been in traffic or I’d been travelling at speed, it might have been a more serious matter. Hate to think what would have happened had I been cycling along a canal towpath or in busy traffic.
There is a temptation when turfing to get those points, regardless of weather conditions but we should always consider the risks involved. In the above examples, it was only windy, but later on the weather gods decided to have some fun and throw in some torrential driving rain to spice thing up for us turfers. Personally, I was back home by then but other turfers were still out braving the elements. Not sure if this is plain daft or pure dedication to turf, probable not much between the two terms.
Of course, inclement or even extreme weather can be great fun. You will know if you’ve browsed this blog that I may be considered a paid-up member of plain daft club above, as I have been known to take my Surly Pugsley fat bike into the hills in winter blizzards to make videos and also love turfing in the snow, as many of these posts will attest. I’m happy to cycle in fresh snow, or even snow with compacted snow/ice underneath, as the fat bike offers plenty of grip. It’s black ice or sheet ice, that keeps my bicycles in the shed. It’s not worth the risk.
We can also simply dress for the weather, wrapping ourselves from head to toe in hi-tech Gore-Tex and duck down jackets and matching accessories. Yes, we can deal with weather but accidents can happen when those around us who do not. How many times have you seen a car driver peering through a letter box sized slit in a frosted over windscreen? At night, in driving rain, visibility can be greatly reduced and incidents involving cyclists are higher than normal.
A number of turfers have posted comments about coming-a-cropper this winter, falling from their bikes in icy conditions. Thankfully, most injuries were relatively minor but did result in some turfers being unable to continue turfing until their bodies healed. I would note here that we of the older generation – I’m 60 in November – do not heal as easily or quickly as we did 40 years ago. I need to keep reminding myself of that fact. Youngsters fall from their bike then bounce back on again and ride off. We, on the other hand, are not quite so bouncy.
I think we need to be careful and try to keep a sensible balance between the dedication to turfing and the possible risks that the weather can present us. This is particularly important now in March 2021 when many turfers have dedicated themselves to the Scotland – Skåne Turf Challenge, perhaps with the added pressure to be out and about turfing, taking points regardless of weather conditions.
The personal incidents with the wind I mentioned above were not heart-stopping, brown-trousers affairs, but did make me think about what I was doing. Did I really need to be doing this today? The zones would still be there tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. Please be careful out there and keep on turfing, sensibly.
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