Turf Blog 23-05-24

Turf Zone – Restoration

Out for a couple of hours turfing on the new turfing bike, the Ribble CGR SL, the other day. Had originally planned on just going for a few zones but ended up with 45 takes, ranging from cycle paths in Rosewell to gravel tracks in Dalkeith Country Park. My main aim was to see how my back copes with the drop bars on the bike. Not too bad as it turned out, even after two hours in the saddle, and that on top of spending much of the day in the shed tinkering and the previous day painting ChoccyMuffin’s shed. However, I’m not too sure I’ll ever be a fan of drop bars, much preferring flat or riser bars. Will need to give it a real good try before making any major changes.

The quick and easy option is to raise the existing bars by means of a steeper angled stem or replace the bars themselves with drop riser bars, perhaps even both. The other option is proper flat bars. However, that comes at a cost and a lot of effort. The problem is parts compatibility. For example, the rear gear shifter will need replaced and this needs to be compatible with the rear derailleur which in turn needs to be compatible with the cassette. Same goes for the brakes. I’ll need new brake levers and these will need to work with the existing brake callipers. Early research suggests that my best and most cost-effective option is to purchase a Shimano XT M8100 group set, that way I’ll at least know the parts will all be compatible. The £400 I saved as the bike was on special offer will go towards that. But that’s all in the future.

But wait, I’ve found another option and it’s called the Redshift Top Shelf Handlebar. It’s like a standard drop bar but with another section added. Not quite sure how to describe it but see above image*. I did some measuring on my other bikes and adding this 50 mm rise just about takes me exactly to the same riding position as my other bikes, or close enough anyway. And with the added bonus of more cockpit space for my little tickly bell, lights and mobile phone mount, all turfing essentials. Should arrive in couple of weeks. There is also a 70 mm rise version available. Will do a review in due course.

The other issue, one I’m getting used to, is that I have gears. Having been riding single speed bikes for the past year, it’s quite a novelty to be able to go faster and climb hills with less effort. But don’t get me wrong, I still love the simplicity of single speed and will still continue to ride single speed. But with gears I need to start thinking again, planning ahead and working out what gear I will need to be in when I stop at the next zone. Caught me out once or twice when I forgot to change down beforehand. Hard on the legs riding off in too high a gear and most embarrassing when you have to hold the rear wheel off the ground to click down a gear or three. No laughing. please.

To finish, I’ve received a message, yet another complaint, that some of my turf blogs feature bicycles and cycling too often and that is not really what turf is about. Yea, okay, fine. As I stated the last time, don’t read them then. But to my mind, and I’ve said this before, turf and cycling go together like coffee and Kit-Kats, so sharing thoughts, ideas and knowledge like that mentioned above might just help another turfer-biker find something useful. So, I’m going to continue to include turf blogs with bicycle content. So there.

*Image courtesy of Redshift Sports.

Copyright ©2024 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.

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