Turf Blog 23-09-23

Turf Zone – Brunstane

Following an enjoyable round trip from Bonnyrigg to Portobello and back via Musselburgh, I find myself having difficulty finding anything to blog about the turfing session. You would think that after taking nearly 60 zones and three hours on the Harley Quinn single speed there would be plenty of interesting anecdotes, but alas, none. One chap did ask to buy the Harley Quinn but when I said I wanted £2500 (the cost to build another of the same) he changed his mind. So, I’ve decided a different tack this time and will share a few turf tips.

Turf Tip No. 1
When you are out turfing and will be returning by the same route, always take the zones on the way out. This way, there will always be the chance that another turfer will take them while you are away and can take them back again on your return.

Turf Tip No. 2
When planning an extended turfing session, try to get the strenuous sections over with first, while you are fit and fresh. For example, in hilly locations gain some height at the start and contour your way back down. Similarly, in windy weather, head out as far as you intend to go without taking any zones, then take the zones on the way back. This way you avoid running out of energy when far from home and need to cycle all the way back.

Turf Tip No. 3
Finding routes to zones can sometimes be quite challenging using the map on the turf app, particularly where paths and trails could be hidden under the tree canopy. A useful free app is Naviki which will often show where these paths and trails might be. It will also show the location of the zones as well.

I’m sure I thought of a few others during my turfing session but they escape me for now. So, onto other matters, that of bicycles. Oh no, not again. Yes, the Surly Ogre again and another bloody puncture. That’s two in as many months and when you compare that to two in ten years, something will have to be done. Okay, I might simply be unlucky but I suspect it’s because I tried to save weight from my previous setup but fitting lighter less puncture resistant tyres.

A trip to the attic, where I keep a growing collection of spare bicycle components, revealed the following lurking amongst the spiders, bats, rats*, ghouls, bogeymen and other inhabitants of our attic:

  • Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour 700 x 30 mm (28 x 1.40)
  • Schwalbe Marathon 700 x 45 mm (28 x 1.75)
  • Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB 700 x 57 mm (28 x 2.25)

All these tyres have been bomb-proof, but heavy, designed with the End of Days or Zombie Apocalypse in mind, or when the new AI programs we are allowing to develop by themselves decide we humans are the biggest threat to its existence and bring about Judgement Day.

So, todays task is to remove the puncture prone Continental Terra Trail 700 x 40 mm tyres and fit the Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour 700 x 35 mm which were originally bought for the Harley Quinn but lack of mudguard clearance with them installed resulted in them going spare. As the Surly Ogre only gets minimal and low grade off-road use – I have the lightweight Harley Quinn single speed for dedicated road use – thought I might as well use them, keeping the weight down and the heavy-duty touring tread should cope just fine.

I always try to remind myself of a group called the Rough Stuff Fellowship, a organisation that promotes off-road cycle routes and dates back to the 1950’s, before the days of mountain bikes, full suspension and carbon fibre. In those days you used whatever bike you had. These were adventurous cyclists would ride the 268-mile Pennine Way on a Dawes Galaxy touring bike fitted with cyclocross tyres and a canvas saddle bag. Men were hard on those days! Back soon.

*The rats are for feeding the bogeymen, and bogeywomen!

Copyright ©2023 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.

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