Turf Blog 16-03-24

Turf Zone – ByOrmiston

Dry mild weather, lovely blue skies with fluffy cumulus clouds and a free pass for the day. Now, what am I going to do? Daft question really. In fact, no need to even answer that one. There is, however, another question, one of indecision. It’s actually one I have quite often, just where should I go turfing? Do I head west towards Gladhouse reservoir followed by Penicuik and catch that handful of unique zones I’ve still take? Or do I head toward East Lothian, for Tranent and Cockenzie for those turfer uniques? Indecision, indecision.

I know, I’ll have another coffee, perhaps that will help me decide. It didn’t, so I flip a coin. Heads for west, tails for East Lothian. It lands on the edge, bugger! I eventually head for East Lothian. Why, because unique zones will stay uniques zones until I take them but turfer uniques are ephemeral and may vanish at any time. So, better get them while I can.

Today was one of those days when you feel Spring is starting to appear. The day starts off frosty but by lunchtime temperatures are destined for double figures. And for turfing cyclists this means a decision, what to wear? You need to be warm enough for the cooler hours of the morning but not too much clothing that you will overheat when the temperature rises.

My solution is lots of thin layers, easy to remove and importantly, easy to pack away and carry on the bike. A key item are gloves. A warm pair to start, a thinner pair for later on. My small handlebar bag and larger frame bag just about cope but I’ve added a mini front rack for additional capacity. Useful for bulkier items like fleece jerseys. Just need to remember to carry a strap.

My route took me along the Pencaitland Railway path as far as Ormiston Station, then across to Tranent for zone Carlaverock, held by my first turfer unique take of the day, GooseEater, followed easily with another at zone ABBA, held by Marrob. My third turfer unique was sailajd, at zone PowerWalker, located on the path leading through the site of the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745, a wee punch-up between the Scottish Jacobite army and British government forces.

While I was taking the zone a Lycra-clad mud-covered cyclist approached me along the track and stopped to chat. He was riding a Ribble Endurance Ti Disc Pro, the one with the Shimano Ultegra Di2 electronic push-button gear shifting. He was very off-hand and arrogant, quite dismissive of my steel-framed Surly Ogre and claimed his titanium and carbon-fibre gravel bike was the best you can buy and cost £5500. Gravel bike? Aye, right.

I got my own back by asking him why he bought that model and he replied his mates recommended it to him for riding off-road gravel trails. He was none too happy when I told him it wasn’t really a gravel bike and was designed for endurance road riding. All the gear and no idea! Last laugh to me. Beautiful looking bike, under the mud, mind you.

I quite like this type of turfing, heading for specific targets while picking off easy-to-reach zones along the way. I do wonder if it’s a more efficient method of turfing rather than clearing an entire area of zones, which usually entails a lot of back and forth cycling to reach the zones. Might need to try some test sessions to see if that is the case. Anyway, 90 zones in four hours was okay and an enjoyable cycle to boot. Added another turfer unique back in Bonnyrigg, a new turfer with the questionable turf name of gob5hite, at zone CatSchool. As he/she/they/them was a newbie I only took the one zone. Back soon.

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