Turf Blog 24-08-23

Took the Surly Pugsley fat bike to Dirleton in East Lothian today, aiming to ride along the beach to North Berwick, take a few zones along the way and have a picnic lunch at North Berwick. However, a certain turfer with years of bike turfing experience forgot to take the bloody handlebar phone mount and with it being such a pain in the butt to stop every few meters to remove the rucksack, take out the phone, locate the zone and put it all back again, I gave up and forgot about turfing. So annoying!

Then at North Berwick, I selected a nice bench with a fine view cross West Bay, and settled down for some lunch. Again, however, digging into the rucksack revealed no picnic lunch. I even emptied the rucksack completely but to no avoid. No lunch, just a bottle of water. It was actually sitting on the bike rack at the car in Dirleton. And with no money to buy anything, I just had to go hungry. Not a good start to the day. And my apologies to anyone in earshot of my use of some extremely bad language, all directed at myself. What a plonker.

But the day was not a complete loss. Another aim of the session was to try out my selected gear ratio on the Pugsley fat bike, a 32-tooth front chainring together with a 20-tooth rear freewheel. My first real test was the soft dry sand at the head of Yellowcraigs beach. It was hard going but with a slight downward slope and some momentum behind me I was able to reach the hard-pack sand nearer the shore without falling off or having to stop. I should say that loose dry sand can easily turn your steering and off you will come.

In fact, I managed the entire route just fine. Bit of strenuous effort at times, especially where the sand is not compacted by wind and wave and also climbing up the soft deep dry sand at the beach head. and some careful pedalling in the more technical rocky sections where balance is all, but no problems at all. It was even more of a challenge on the return part of the trip as there was a steady headwind to contend with. But, overall, it did not seem any more difficult than the 8-speed hub gears I used before. Now I’m wondering why I had gears in the first place now that I find I don’t need them? Is it all just a marketing exercise to make us buy stuff? I should also note that the Pugsley weighs about 4 kg less than before and is also running slightly wider tyres, both making it easier to ride.

Now, more turfing fun and games in the pipeline for September. The time has reached us yet again for the TURF Ultimate Region Fight 2023, and Scotland has entered a team into the competition. The rules have been changed slightly this year and are available here, but the basics are the same with points awarded each week for takes, points and round uniques. There are eight other teams entered at the moment, including one from Minnesota in the USA. The competition is open to all, regardless of ability and it’s jolly good fun. Don’t let those who get somewhat competitively obsessive spoil your day!

Another turf topic that’s been in turf social media in recent days has been FTT, or First To Take. Perhaps something some turfers might not be aware of. This occurs when a new zone is created and has yet to be taken for the first time. A turfer who then takes this new zone is awarded an FTT. There are no medals, extra points or anything, but hunting down FTTs can good fun and sometimes become a bit of a competition with local turfers. Here in Midlothian, we have some friendly rivalry between turfers in Dalkeith, Bonnyrigg and Penicuik. You can see if you have any FTTs at turf.lundkvist.com. Login with your turf name and drill down the drop-down menus to view your own. Remember, don’t get too serious. It’s just a game!

And finally, with the holiday season upon us many turfers are finding themselves in far flung exotic locations where zones are few and far between, or perhaps, do not exist at all. So, what I propose is something that will help with that and also means that turfers can holiday anywhere in the world without worrying about not getting their daily zone fix. My proposal is for “portable zones”, where you can request (for a small rental fee that is used towards the development of turf) up to five portable zones you can then locate at your holiday destination. Simples!

Copyright ©2023 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.

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