Things have been rather challenging these past few weeks and turfing has had to take a back seat due to family matters. My poor old dad passed away on the 12th January in the Margaret Kerr Unit at the Borders General Hospital. He was 83 years old and had been unwell for the past couple of years but went downhill fast these past two weeks. Much of my time has been spent down in Selkirk supporting my mum, who is coping well but as an 80-year-old needs some help will all the stuff that needs managed followed dad’s passing. My wee sister Pauline is also lending a helping hand.
I’ve been amazed at just how much stuff needs dealt with. There’s the will, the solicitor, registering the death, state pension, private pension, bank accounts, savings accounts, car insurance, house insurance, passports, driving licence, organizing the funeral, HMRC, DVLA, community charge, dentist, opticians, electric and gas, internet, telephones, property, TV license, personal effects and removing all the medical stuff that came from the NHS in his final days. Then there’s the working out how to go about dealing with each item. It’s been a steep learning curve for us all but we are slowly getting there. Everything is internet based now, or done over the telephone. Gone are the days when you took some paperwork to the local office and a nice old lady sorting things for you. But such is life, and onwards we go, and I’ve still managed to keep up my Daily-5. Turfing has helped me cope enormously.
One of my ongoing projects is to take all the uniques in my local area, Midlothian, but I’ve also started making inroads into Edinburgh and also East Lothian, and was checking the turf map to see what zones were still sitting as uniques. Now, one of my favourite fat biking areas is the stretch of sandy coast and leg-sapping dunes between Aberlady Bay and North Berwick. So, imagine my delight that there are now over 30 zones in the area with zones dotted all along the coastal trails, in the dunes and also Gullane and Archerfield. This is great news and I’m also thinking how remarkable it is that the addition of a few new zones in the just right place can give fresh excitement to turfing.
However, my Surly Pugsley fat bike has been in need of an overhaul for some time, so the prospect of many a great fat bike turfing adventure at the coast – with a few at night as well – means some spanner work is required. The main aim is rustproofing the bike against the ravages of corrosive saltwater and the erosive effects of sand. A complete strip-down and rebuild is what is required. Items like the drivetrain really take a beating when used in this type of environment. This will also help Pugsley cope with winter salt from the roads when snow-turfing. I suppose this isn’t really directly about turfing but is about an aid to turfing, so that’s why I’m posting it here in the turfing section.
The strip down starts by mounting the bike on the workshop stand in the man cave and basically removing all the bicycle parts from the frame, including bottom bracket and forks as I want to check the bearings on both. One point to mention when stripping a bike down is that having the right bike tools makes all the difference. All parts are carefully laid aside and/or bagged for cleaning later. The strip down also includes the wheels, removing tyres, tubes and rim tape. The spoke nipples will get a coat of grease before being reassembled.
Next, carefully clean and dry each and every part and inspect for wear or damage. Anything that needs replaced is binned and new parts ordered or taken from stock. I use Gunk and WD40 for most of the cleaning and white spirit for the really grubby items like the chain. In this instance the chain is getting replaced and is not cleaned but is needed to get the correct length of replacement chain. Easiest way is to lay them side by side on old newspaper and check carefully before cutting the new chain to length. I also check the frame and forks over carefully for damage such as hairline cracks. Better safe than sorry.
The rebuild is fairly straight forwards. Each item is fitted to the frame with each bolt carefully greased using Copaslip to help prevent corrosion and seizing, though some items such as brake calliper bolts should not get this treatment. I took the opportunity to replace rear sprocket, chain, chain ring and brake pads. The inside of the frame and forks gets a squirt of WD40 to help prevent corrosion and each threaded mount on the frame also gets some Copaslip on the threads. The new chain is also cleaned of grease before use and I use Squirt Dry Lube on the chain which is one of the better products for not attracting too much sand from the beach.
And that’s where things stand at the moment. Once I get all dad’s stuff sorted and mum happy, I’ll hopefully find some time to get down the East Lothian coast with the Surly Pugsley and take all those nice new zones just waiting for my attention. Back soon.
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