Turf Blog 07-05-24

Turf Zone – ArnistonBing

Gorebridge this morning, 20 or so zones all with a nice 50 points Neutral bonus each. Not a lot I can say about turfing the zones in Gorebridge other than it’s very hilly and not a place for a single speed bike unless you are a bit daft, a word I’ve become accustomed to in recent years. Personally, I would prefer the term mildly eccentric. Actually, it’s not accurate to describe Gorebridge as hilly, it’s really all just one steep hill. So, today I thought I’d share a few observations, perhaps some turfing hints and tips, that might prove useful, or not as the case may be.

The first one concerns GPS and how fickle it can be. For example, at zone LouisBraille, if you ride onto the pavement, you can usually find yourself just on the edge of the zone and can start the take process, saving the need to ride down the wee path towards the play park. However, if you are like me and want to make efficient use of your time, you might flip the bike around before the take has completed, ready to ride off into the sunset, or more likely, the next zone. Unfortunately, the GPS Gods don’t always take kindly to this simple manoeuvre, and will move your turfman all over the place, anywhere, in fact, except in the zone. Best to wait until the take is finished before changing the orientation of the phone. Another example zone would be HolyGoreKirk, same can occur there.

Next footwear. It seems to be a rare occasion when you don’t end up cycling off road for one zone or another, and might often find yourself walking. And this is not an uncommon event when riding a single speed bike. My point on footwear is that while some footwear is good for cycling, it might not always be good for walking, or pushing your trusty iron-steed up a steep muddy slope, for example, at zone ArnistonBing. So, footwear with a good grip it a wise choice. Oh, and a good thick solid sole is kinder on the soles of your feet when riding bear-trap type pedals. That’s the ones that are expert at catching your shins when pushing the bike!

Next bikes with skinny tyres. For some time now I’ve been riding my single speed with 30 mm wide touring tyres (that’s one and a quarter inch in old money) and have come to the conclusion that they will cope with about 99% of the terrain I throw at them. In the past, I would use tyres up to around 75 mm (that’s three inches in old money) and today I wonder why I did that. Of course, not including the fat bike, as that’s a different kettle of fish all together being for soft sand and snow.

Okay, I may not be as quick on rough terrain but I still get there in the end, and what’s the rush anyway? In deep sticky mud I need to take care but still manage to make my way though. A farmer once told me that his skinny tyred Series 1 Landrover can outperform some of the later models with wider tyres when sued in deep mud. I think the theory is that the skinny tyres cut through the mud to find firm ground underneath.

Now another turfing tip, this time how to carry your bike. It always seems inevitable that I end up carrying the bike while out turfing and Gorebridge is a good example. There are the steps across the railway line at zone BridgeWatcher and the very awkward steps up to zone GoreGlenPark from the parking area. So, how to easily carry your bike, well, relatively easy, I should say.

The method I use is to reach across the top bar and grab the down tube near the bottom bracket, then lift the bike and hook the saddle over your shoulder. This shares the weight between your arm and shoulder. For ascending steps raise, the front of the bike to clear the front wheel, for going down steps raise the rear to clear the rear wheel. Simples. Must go now, I’ve got a Teams meeting arranged my Walter to attend regarding creating turf events and I’ll be off for a night turf tonight if the weather holds. Back soon.

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