Turf Blog 18-11-23

A touch of trepidation this morning as I walked out to the shed. Was out hunting Unique zones yesterday, one was called KeepItLevel on the Pencaitland Railway Path, the other was called WasThatRude, located on a very rough, wet and squirrelly mud track to the east of the former Blindwells open cast coal mine near Tranent in East Lothian, very close to Tandem country. And it was zone WasThatRude that I picked up the first little nasty, a hawthorn twig with about a million sharp spines. It came to my notice when I heard the rhythmic click of the twig striking the rear mudguard after each revolution of the wheel. You just know what that means.

Stopping to investigate, I soon located this first little nasty. Now I had a problem, a decision to make. Should I remove the offending little devil and risk my tyre deflating, of course, hoping that a) I didn’t actually have a puncture, and/or b), that the tyre sealant/puncture protection would do their jobs. To be honest, the bike was a total mess after riding down that track and I didn’t fancy fixing a puncture. In the end I opted for the next option, c), remove the twig but leave the spine in place until back home. Fingers crossed. Thinking was that the spine would stay in place and together with the sealant glop, seal any leak.

The next little bugger I picked up was back in Dalkeith at zone ExitDalkeith, there I heard the dreaded rhythmic tick of a suspicious foreign object, this time embedded in the front tyre. Turned out to be a shard of very sharp glass. Again, what should I do? If I leave it in place, as I did with the hawthorn spine, it would quite likely work its way through the tyre, possibly even in spite of the SmartGuard puncture protection layer. I opted to remove it, and luckily the tyre did not deflate.

So, fingers crossed, I open the shed door, switch on the light and check the tyres. Good news, both still firm and solid. Checking with a pressure gauge shows only a 2 psi drop on the rear tyre, the one that collected the hawthorn spine. Looks like I made the right decisions yesterday. Also now considering whether I should change to my “winter” tyres, a set of Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB tyres. They are chunky, but heavy, and would make it a lot safer when riding squirrely mud sections like those encountered yesterday. Probably will.

Now, did a bit of thinking yesterday while out turfing on the Surly Ogre. Funny how a string of random thoughts come up with an idea. It started off wondering why people pay large sums of money for gym membership, then drive there in their cars, do whatever, then drive back again. Why not walk/run/cycle there and get the exercise? I cannot get my head around that one. Then there’s people who make patently obvious statements. For example, I recall this one. I’m dressed head to toe in motorcycle gear and I’m wheeling my lovely BMW R1150R along the drive. A neighbour asks if I’m going out on my motorcycle? Duh, no, I’m going fishing.

Anyway, more thinks lead me to thinking it’s a shame there are no “real” turf medals, actual solid, physical medals you can hold in your hand, display on the wall, etc. Then, a few more thinks later, I realise that could possibly, actually be possible. Investigation reveals that custom medals might cost as little as £3.00 each, not a huge cash outlay, though I would need to take the 25 unit minimum order. So, my brain is clunking away trying to merge together the idea for a turf treasure hunt. I’m mulling over the ideas of geocaching, letterboxing, trigpointing, orienteering and, of course, G.O.T, the Game of Turf.

Here’s where I am at the moment. I’m buy a few custom-made metal/enamel medals designed around the Turf/Planet Gary theme. There will be 10 medals in total, each with 10 clues. Each of the 10 clues would be located at 10 different turf zones. You would need to find and collect all 10 clues to reveal the location of the final Turf zone where the medal is hidden. So, overall, there would be 100 clues located at 100 different zones. Finding the zones with clues would simply require you getting out there turfing zones and searching for clues. First person to find the 10 clues associated with a medal wins the medal. Or something along those lines. Still more thinking required. The zones would all be in Edinburgh and The Lothians. Back again soon.

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