Here’s a question for you all. Is there a word for storm-driven 50 mph stinging horizontal rain? Perhaps one in the Scots language? That’s what I experienced the other today while out turfing in Dalkeith. Storm Esha had mostly passed in the night and we were lucky enough to stay relatively unscathed, other than a loose mortal fillet on the roof and one of Cathryn’s bug hotels was blown off the fence. Still some strong gusting winds during the day and sudden heavy showers both making turfing on the bicycle a challenge at times. Was almost blown to a standstill on a couple of occasions.
However, despite this managed to clear zones from Bonnyrigg, Eskbank and Dalkeith, mostly all taken from TurboSmith, which placed me in pole position in the League, just a few hundred points ahead of friend and friendly rival HappyHibby. I also had a reasonable pph which should add a few more points overnight. Unfortunately, this was not to be. I don’t suppose I should be surprised when TurboSmith nips across Dalkeith and Bonnyrigg and reduces me back to a handful of zones and a pph of not-worth-bothering-about. HappyHibby was now back in the lead again.
Apparently, there’s another storm on the way, this one being called Storm Jocelyn. It’s not supposed to be a bad as Storm Esha, but I for one, will be planning for the worst. The forecast showed heavy rain and strong winds from about 10.00 am which gave me enough time after chores in the morning to re-take Bonnyrigg and gain my League pole position again. And guess what happened? I lost all the zones again to TurboSmith who braved the horizonal rains and 50 mph winds of Storm Jocelyn to clear Bonnyrigg again in the evening.
Now, turfing by bicycle in storms. With two storms in the past few days, I thought I share a few hints and tips to make things slightly easier when faced with headwinds that bring you to a dead stop and those recycling bins that suddenly have a life of their own and crash into you when least expected.
First thing is to give more thought to your route plan and how to avoid the worst of the wind. Rather than following the route you’ve done for years on your local patch, think about where the wind will be the strongest, for example on high open ground, or where buildings funnel the wind, making it even stronger. This is called the Venturi effect, where a fluid, in this case the wind, is compressed and therefor speeded up. Named after the 18th-century Italian physicist Giovanni Battista Venturi.
I would also avoid busy roads if you can. More than once I’ve been forced sideways by the wind and potentially into the path of other vehicles. Other situation to watch out for are gaps in buildings. The wind may be much stronger here and can catch you unawares when passing. Another good tip is to head into the wind early on your turf session and avoid having to struggle back home into headwinds later on after a hard day in the saddle.
Another hazard you might encounter during and after storms is an increase in debris on roads, paths and cycleways. Much of it will be leaves and branches but could also be masonry or roof tiles from buildings. At zone ClarindaZone, the wind had taken down the rainwater downpipe from a block of flats and also taken down a large area of roughcast which was scattered across the path, along with shards of glass as well.
Now, looking at the turf activity map and the reduced number of turfers venturing out during Storms Esha and Jocelyn, there’s another great tip I want to suggest and that is not to go out turfing at all. Very obvious and sensible really, avoiding things like trees and chimney pots landing on your head, which would be somewhat inconvenient. However, having been out turfing in both storms, and while questioning my sanity at the time, afterwards I realised that I’d actually enjoyed myself and it was jolly good fun.
And finally, the topic of clothing. I always use the layer system rather than fewer thick layers of clothing, much easier to regulate your temperature by removing a layer. Windproof clothing is essential, at least the top layer, and plugging those gaps at the neck, wrists and ankles can make all the difference. Sunglasses or cycling goggles will help keep your eyes free of wind blown debris. Back with more soon.
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