Turf Blog 20-05-24

Turf Zone – SayAhhh

I was out turfing my local patch of Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, and was thinking I’d optimised my route plan to the best possible, yet still, even after having ridden this very same route plan hundreds of times, I’m still finding little tweaks and better efficiencies that fine tune the route. For example, at zone LadyMarion, I usually ride past the primary school but if it’s school closing time the path is chock-a-block with children, parents and dogs, so I take an alternative quieter route which is much the same distance.

I’m always trying to fine tune my turfing routes, no matter where I am and also how I can turf more efficiently generally. So, what steps can we take to improve our turfing efficiency, reduce our times, expend less effort and get more turf points for our hard work? Let’s start with the basics, the bicycle.

First of all, you need a well-maintained and efficiently running bicycle, that’s one with tyres at the correct pressures, wheel and hub bearings all running smoothly, chain oiled and even good brakes, as any sporting cyclist will tell you, good brakes allow you to ride faster. Oh, I probably should point out that any dafties riding single speed bikes should buy a bike with gears. Now I wonder who that is? Ah, that would be myself. But fear not as I have a Ribble CGR SL on order and it comes with 2 x 12 gears! Yippee! If you’re not sure if your bike is running as well as it should, give Scott, aka turfer MuttsCycles, a call at Mutts Cycles* in Newtongrange and he’ll sort your bike out.

While in the topic of bicycles, you might also consider an electrically assisted bicycle, in other words an e-bike. These come with a battery, motor and electronic wizardry that gives you a boost as you pedal along. Interestingly, the government are currently looking at changes to the power output and maximum assisted speed of e-bikes. Seems also to be some suggestion of throttles as well. Personally, I’m not a fan of e-bikes, preferring to stick with lightweight bikes at the moment, at least until such time when I’m struggling to turn those pedals.

On the topic of weight. It seems obvious that more weight takes more effort and that is also the case with bicycles, lightweight bicycles are easier to pedal and therefor quicker. So, why not buy a nice new shiny lightweight efficient modern bicycle? Too expensive I hear you cry! To that I would reply. I’ll bet you would not be adverse to spending £1000’s on a two-week holiday abroad? Same the amount spend in a bicycle will get you fit and it will last a lifetime, rather than two weeks holiday soon to be forgotten.

Now for a more sensitive topic. What about the weight of the rider? No point buying a lightweight bike if the rider is carrying extra kg’s. If you are overweight you are having to expend additional effort shifting all those extra stored cakes, chocolate bas and the like as you cycle/turf along. So, why not follow the Planet Gary easy diet and exercise plan and lose some weight, get healthier, turf better and likely live longer as well. It’s as simple as you can get. Are you ready for this? Okay, here goes. Eat less food and take more exercise. There. Yes, really. Or even simpler. Recall the mantra, “yes or no”, next time you are faced with that second round of pudding, the second half of that chocolate bar or when passing the McDonalds, Greggs bakery or Krispy Kreme, as challenging as that might be. How hard can it be to actually do less?

Still with bicycles, how should you ride? Considerate or crazy? Well, considerate of course, But that’s may not be the most efficient way. Perhaps we should take some tips from the NYC Bike Messenger Code. For example, never stop at traffic lights, red is for go and green is for go faster, do not stop at pedestrian crossings or stop signs, one-way streets are a myth and do not exist, pavements are for cycling on, cyclists have right-of-way above everyone else and brakes are only for decoration. Of course, I’m only joking and would never dream of suggesting anything of the sort. Well, probably not.

There are a few other things you can do to be more efficient while turfing. One is to ride down steps, which saves time. It’s not something I’m keen on, though I did once on the Surly Pugsley fat bike. In fact, I’m not all that keen on riding off the kerb but then again skinny tyre single speeds are not the best for that kind of thing, suspension would be better. Avoiding remote outlying zones or single in/out zones also saves time better spent elsewhere. Avoid revisits if possible, they are only half points and therefore require twice the effort, turf early mornings and during the night when it’s generally much quieter. And finally, what about a fitness or training plan? Perhaps even signing up at the local gym. A step too far perhaps? Food for thought. Back soon.

*I’m not on commission, just think the idea of turfers who run bike shops and repairing other turfers bikes is super cool.

Copyright ©2024 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted in Turf. Bookmark the permalink.