Turf Blog 11-03-23

Turf Zone – ArnistonBing

The initial excitement of being promoted upwards from League 5 into League 4 soon passed after a few days, particularly when I watched turfer cre8or surge ahead into pole position with around double the points I have. At first, I was tempted to give chase and hopefully grab that top of the table position for myself, the aim to stay there and get another promotion. But to be honest, I would rather do other turfy things, like hunting down uniques, making turf videos and trying for a few of the Planet Gary unofficial medals I’ve created. And today that was just what I did. I’ve not given up on the League but will aim not to be relegated back to League 5 for now. Trying for another promotion can wait.

The medal I’m aiming for is Bing Bagging 5 – take five zones located on bings – essentially waste spoil heaps from coal mining and oil shale production. The nearest such zone was in Gorebridge, zone ArnistonBing. It would be folly to cycle all the way to Gorebridge and back just for the one solitary zone, it’s about 30 minutes each way on the bicycle, roughly speaking, so I might was well bag all the zones.

Turf Zone – BridgeWatcher

Gorebridge is a hilly town, lots of up, and I suppose an equal amount of down as well, but with relatively few zones, just over 20 if you include those down in Gore Glen, it does not take all that long to scoop them all up. Recent snowfall has largely cleared but the steps at the railway bridge at zone BridgeWatcher were all iced up requiring some care, especially as I was carrying the Surly Ogre. One tends not to fair too well taking a tumble when lugging a heavy bicycle up steps. Been there, done that, and it hurts. There was also a few patches of compacted snow/ice lurking in the shady areas where the sun does not shine. No, not there, behind the houses!

Zone ArnistonBing was taken late in the morning and I’m embarrassed to say I only managed to cycle up the bing path as far as the first corner. Perhaps one day I’ll manage to get right to the top. Though when I say top, you would need a trials motorcycle and nerves of steel to tackle the last few meters, steep that they are. In my defence, the gearing on the Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub does not have the low ratios as the more common derailleur bicycle gearing. It can be lowered by fitting a larger rear sprocket, replacing the 20-tooth with a 24-tooth (max you can but though I did come across a 26-tooth but never found it again when I wanted one) but what you gain at the lower end you loose at the top end.

Actually, it was rather splendid on top of the bing. The sun was warm, the air crisp and clear and some interesting Cirrus clouds had me wishing I’d brought along my Cloud Collector’s Handbook to help me identify them. I’ve had a go at determining the species or variety later but clouds are not always as clearly defined as the books might suggest. While on the topic of clouds, I thinking of creating a cloud spotting section on Planet Gary. Perhaps “collecting” clouds identified from turf zones? However, not enough hours in the day!

So, ArnistonBing, first bing zone in the bag. Only another four to visit, at least for the Bing Bagging 5 medal. There’s also the Bing bagging 10 medal, though I only have 9 confirmed known actual bing zones at the moment. The most likely next bing zones will be RamseyBing in Loanhead and Battlepoint in Prestonpans, the only two within easy cycling distance of home, most of the other bing zones are in West Lothian, around Livingstone and Broxburn. Just a tad too far to cycle and public transport takes forever. No, I’ll have to use the car from these turfing trips, of course, when Cathryn/ChoccyMuffin lets me have it!

Turf Zone – PovertRoad

This was the first decent ride I’ve had on the Surly Ogre after his paint job and rebuild and all is going well. The front brake needed some fettling after a turfing ride yesterday and the mudguards are creaking most annoyingly. I do wish people would think about things like this when they design and produce bicycle components. But never fear, I will solve this annoying creaking somehow. Must also remember to fit the front mudflap as poor Ogre was covered in mud after Gore Glen and Prestonholm, so it was straight into the bath for him when we got home. Oh, better not tell Cathryn that! Back soon.

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