Turf Blog 23-02-23

Turf Zone – CramondBeach

Hunting uniques on a kick scooter is jolly hard going and short of fitting an infinite improbability drive to the Swifty Zero or turning Mr Sensible (oh, God forbid!) and taking the bicycle instead, it will remain hard work on the poor old legs. That is not to say it isn’t fun, it most assuredly is, indeed more fun than you might imagine, and I would not part with my Swifty kick scooter(s) for anything. Well, almost anything.

Yes, three hours on the Swifty Zero kick scooting across the streets and byways of Edinburgh for 41 zones, most of them uniques. That was my turf challenge for today, mop up all the zones still sitting at unique status between Cramond and the Granton area, with a self-imposed limit being Ferry Road to the south and obviously, the Firth of Forth to the north (due the the fact that my Swifty Zero is not amphibious. Not yet anyway). You’ve got to stop somewhere otherwise you can go on turfing forever. There will always be that temptation for just another zone. Personally, I like to set targets and try to stick to them.

Turf Zone – ShoreStart

My starting point today was a zone that has recently appeared on the causeway to Craggy Island (actually Cramond Island, but I prefer the one in Father Ted), zone CramondBeach. No need to visit the island as I’ve taken the zones there before, tempting as it was with the tide out. I’m pleased to see new zones appearing across Edinburgh. Would be nice to see some appearing in Midlothian. Fingers crossed. I then followed the shore path as far as Granton, grabbing a few uniques along the way. It was quite cold, temperatures around zero and a westerly breeze keeping things on the chilly side. Just pleased I wasn’t kick scooting in the opposite direction, into the wind.

I then worked my way back and forth picking off the required uniques first in the Trinity area (named after a character in The Matrix), then cautiously into Pilton, some parts still economically deprived and with obvious signs of anti-social behaviour. I recall working here when I was a quantity surveyor and it was even worse then. After Pilton, onto the more up-market areas of Muirhouses and Silverknowes. Now, instead of scrappy lowered Golf GTI’s and big-bore exhaust Subaru’s we have Range Rovers, BMW’s and Volvo’s.

Turf Zone – MiddleOfTheEB

What to say about the zones? To be honest, not a lot. Took a few zone photographs along the shore but little afterwards in the housing estates. There were people cold water swimming at Granton, one gent choosing to skinny dip in the altogether in favour of swimming gear. Not even a pair of budgie smugglers. But don’t worry, the camera stayed in the bag. A group of them had a small fire going on the beach, cooking up some bacon. The smell was quite delicious.

As the morning progressed, the temperature increased, so off with the jacket. Then I dipped down onto Trinity Path for zone GoWithCharon and it was bloody freezing again. These low-lying railway paths always seem to hang onto the cold for longer. My final unique of the morning was LauristonPark, located beside Lauriston Castle. Seems a very relaxed place to visit. The Swifty Zero attracting a few comments. My next trip to Edinburgh will likely be the Inverleith and Craigleith areas of town between Ferry Road and the Water of Leith. I still have plenty of uniques waiting for me there.

Turf Zone – LauristonPark

To finish, I keep swithering whether to fit hydraulic brakes to my trusty Surly Ogre bicycle but I keep changing my mind. I use Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes (no relation to BB-8, the astromech droid in Star Wars) at the moment and no doubt hydraulic brakes would be an improvement. What puts me off is the hassle, and sticky mess, of installing, shortening the cables and bleeding them, especially the latter. So much less bother with the BB7’s. Then there’s the cost, over £300 all in for the hydraulics. Compare this to a new full set of BB7’s at £60.00. I think I’ll stick with the BB7’s for now.

I have the same issue with new bicycles. There’s the temptation of those fantastic looking (but very expensive) carbon fibre or titanium creations, especially those with Gates belt drives and Rohloff gears. But I just cannot make that decision. At the back of my mind I have the feeling that I’ll be disappointed and the new bike will not be as good at the Surly Ogre, which I have configured exactly as I want and which does everything I want. I was on the Surly Bikes website the other day and was reminded of their ethos for steel framed bikes. They even have a rule never to talk about other frame materials. Surly make serious steel bikes for people who don’t take themselves too seriously. I’ll like that. Back soon.

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