Turf Blog 23-06-24

Turf Zone – DobbysSock

I find it interesting that turfing is both time consuming and not time consuming at the same time. The actual act of turfing does not take all that long. For example, I did 50 zones the other day in approx. 120 minutes (on the bike, I should add). My actual takeover time is currently 19.00 seconds, and let’s add another 10 seconds per zone for stopping, starting off and whatever. Adding all that together gives 29 seconds, say 30 seconds for ease of calculation. So, 50 zones at 30 seconds each equates to 1500 seconds or 25 minutes. That leaves 95 minutes in the session, around 21% or approx. 1/5th, of the time, for other things, essentially plain and simple exercise.

During that time, the time spent travelling between zones, one thing I like to do is study the different reactions that people have when I encounter them, how they react when I ring my wee bicycle bell. When approaching people, I always ring my bell, regardless if they have seen me or not, or approaching from the front or behind, particularly those with dogs, or even cats. Yes, there’s a local lady who’s cat tags along when she takes the dog for a walk. A surprising number of people seem to appreciate and actually thank me for ringing my bell to alert them, which is nice.

Another interesting situation is when approaching a group of people and one of them has seen you approaching and moved aside. However, they sometimes don’t advise the others in the group that I’m approaching. Another case of ringing the bell regardless. And ringing the bell also alerts any dogs to your approach, always a good idea not to startle a dog. I would always assume that at least some members of a group are unaware of my approach.

Then there’s the people who ignore you completely, even when they have seen you in plenty of time. They don’t call back their pack of wild dogs, one of which is usually crapping on the footpath behind them, or restrain their equally wild feral children. They also continue to walk three or four abreast refusing to move an inch, and on some occasions have even taken up more space to force you to stop. I laughed out loud one day when one grumpy chap a group actually shouted that I “should not be riding on the f****** cycle path” and waved a fist at me. Yes, this idiots exact words. I calmly pointed at the shared path sign behind him and quickly cycled away when he turned round. Some people are just unpleasant and best ignored.

Encounters with other cyclists can also be interesting. While a good proportion will reply to greetings, some groups or type of individual do not. I often wonder what the psychology is behind people not replying to a greeting. I suppose there’s a whole host of possible reasons, shyness, arrogance, cannot-be-bothered, jealousy or whatever.

Most other cyclists will exchange greetings, a shared love of the fellowship of the free wheel. However, some elderly cyclists can be particularly glum and dour, a fixed scowl on their face as I pass them. Others will stare straight ahead and resolutely ignore me. I often wonder why this is? Do they disagree with my choice of bright cycle clothing? Are they angry at the bright flashing LED daytime light I’ve been using? Am I riding too fast? Who knows?

But not let us forget the good people, the people who see you coming from afar, even more so with the flashing LED daytime light I’ve been using, it really does seem to make a difference. These are the people who quickly take a step to the side to allow you to pass and reply with a cheery “no worries” or “you’re welcome” to your words of thanks. That step to the side is a clear indication they have heard you. Beware those who do not elicit a response to your wee bicycle bell. Back soon.

Copyright ©2024 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.

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