Turf Blog 20-08-23

Turf Zone – GraffitiZone

I sometimes think that zone makers might be a mischievous bunch. You think you’ve taken all the zones in an area only to arrive back home to find you appear to have missed one. Only, you haven’t missed one, it’s actually a new zone that’s been added. This gets me thinking are they watching me? Are they just waiting for me to clear an area of uniques, rub their hands together then add a few new zones here and there. This, of course, now requires me to go back to that area for the new uniques zones. Actually, I don’t really mind. The more the merrier.

That was my mission today two new unique zones. One called GotTheMo in Penicuik and another called ToBilstonGlen near Roslin, or Rosslyn, if you are a fan of The Da Vinci Code. The latter a good 7-mile cycle but not an unpleasant one along the Dalkeith to Penicuik cycleway and plenty of easy zones to take along the way. I’m on the Surly Ogre today, the better bike for off-road cycleways like this one and the lower gear ratio is kinder on the legs as well. As you can see above, I’m back using the frame bag rather than a rucksack. A little bit more weight on the bike but no more sticky itchy sweaty back!

One point to mention, frame bags are notorious for rubbing away the paint on your bicycle frame and the softish paint finish I’ve got would barely last a few hours before getting worn down to bare metal. Surly Bikes even mention this in their sales info and suggest, among other things, “tatting a top tube doily” of which I haven’t the faintest idea to the meaning. My answer is to wrap helicopter tape (used in aviation to protect the rotor blades of helicopters) around the frame where the frame straps would rub. Not a perfect solution but looks okay and better than nothing.

Came across a wee incident at zone EskBridge. Noticed two dogs tethered to the bridge parapet, both barking a racket and heard a commotion down in the river. Two people were struggling to climb back up the steep riverbank. So, climbed down and helped the lady back up. She apologized for being so heavy! The chap refused any help. Too much ego perhaps! Turns out one of their dogs, actually belonging to the lady’s mother, had managed to get into the river which resulted in major panic mode. The dog managed to get itself back up. At least the river wasn’t in flood.

The cycling is fairly easy, even with the fierce headwind courtesy of Storm Betty, that is until I start climbing up towards zone GotTheMo, up a steep road called Queensway. Unfortunately, when you take a steep hill, add a single speed bike, together with 61-year old legs and a head wind, you end up with something called get off a walk. After taking the zone it was off along the Edinburgh Road towards Rosslyn. Again, we have one of those sort-of token cycle lanes you get which are little more than a rough debris-strewn gap along the edge of the carriageway separated from traffic by a white line. Is it better than nothing? Well, that would be a matter of opinion. They certainly don’t encourage the traffic to pass with the recommended gap. I sometimes wonder if cycling on the actual road would be better.

Easy going now with Storm Betty’s winds at my back, offering a helping hand all the way through Rosslyn, Loanhead and onwards to Shawfair. Stopped for a picnic lunch at zone RoslinBattle where I met a lady with a young lad on a spiderman bike. Told him I liked his bike and he said he likes my bike even more. Overall, an enjoyable day with 73 zones in 3 hours. Mind you, this is a popular route and you never hold the zones for very long before another turfer bags them from you. Pleased to see my rank increasing to Rank 53 – Amazing Turfer with 7,250,000 plus points to my name. Good news but now I need another 750,000 to gain the next rank. Better get turfing then!

And that’s what I did. At silly o’clock! Yes, out turfing again after midnight. My plan was to scoot down to Dalkeith Country Park and pick of those two remote zones near Smeaton. The dirt track leading to them is aggressively guarded by an obnoxious horsy woman during the day. However, my Friends of Dalkeith gate pass would not open the gate. Not surprising really as it expired last May, though it has been working until recently. Three women who were camping in the park were also having issue accessing the gate.

S0, had to content myself with a loop back home via the Newbattle area. A relatively quiet night, other than one drunk lad on the cycle path having a fight with gravity and an animated conversation with his pizza. I’m usually wary of drunks but checked he was okay. He said he was. Well, I think that what he said. Came across three different police vehicles, so not so quiet for the local constabulary. Guess it is Saturday night after closing time. Still some rowdy beer-swilling revellers outside The Buccleuch in the town centre. Must be a late license there.

Not a huge zone count this night, only another 16 takes and a few more points. But to be honest, I don’t go out at silly o’clock solely for the turf, I simply like to enjoy the solitude of kick scoot turfing the wee small hours, wondering at the unseen rustling in the undergrowth, watching the shadows of moths as they flutter in my lights and thinking someone, or something, is following me in the darkness of the wood. But it’s only dry leaves disturbed in my passing.

You are never really alone when out turfing. There’s the watchers, the watchers of Turf TV. Yes, even at 1.30 am some people are still awake watching and listening to the latest episode of Turfenders. Rarely have I been out at night without a comment being posted on the Turf app. Crazy fool that I am, and I’m not even in the A-Team. Now who was it that was listening to zone lost alerts last night?

Must remember to renew my Friends of Dalkeith Park gate pass. It only costs £12.00 for the year and means I can turf DCP between 7.00 pm to 7.00 am when the gates are locked, all year round. And with the added benefit of never having to encounter the wicked witch who smells of horses! Back again soon.

P.S. Scott, the new wheel bearings on the Swifty Air are fab! Flies like the wind!

Copyright ©2023 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.

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