Turf Blog 27-02-24

Turf Zone – BridgeOfFaith

I am very upset with myself. Why? You may well ask. I am very upset with myself because I missed an FTT for a new zone in Bonnyrigg, my home town and local turfing patch. The zone was requested by MuttsCycles, is called NaeWatter, and is situated in Hopefield on a small footbridge across an even smaller burn that does not look as if it ever holds water, though actually it does, though not a lot, certainly enough for wet feet should you fail to jump across accurately, as I can attest.

NaeWatter is only 2.1 km from the house, or 1.3 miles in yea olde measure, or a few minutes on the bike. The zone was created at 11:12 yesterday and was taken by turfer Hardcore Hodge at 12:29. Sadly, I didn’t even notice it until much later that day and took it at 18:07. Poor show on my part indeed. I must also say I’m somewhat disappointed by HH, there being whole 77 minutes between zone creation and his taking of the zone. I feel that HH may be slipping and at risk of losing his “Hardcore” status. More effort that chap!

Now, turfing essentials, the mobile phone. Was out in the rain this afternoon and my mobile phone got wet. Okay, not an issue as it’s claimed to be IP68, using the Ingress Protection rating system. The dust rating is 6 (highest level of protection), and the water resistance rating is 8 (water-resistant up to 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes). All good and well. One issue that does arise with a rain-soaked phone is that the rain drops give the screen a life of its own. I watched my turfman randomly move across the screen as if taking zones on its own. Okay not so much of an issue as long as I can take zones.

Another issue with my Google Pixel 8 Pro is recharging the battery when the charging port is wet. The Android system detects any water lingering there and shuts the port down. Not much use if you need to charge the battery out in the field during a turf session. So, while it might be a waterproof phone there are some potential issues. Looks like it might be wise to carry those self-seal polythene bags I used for my previous non-waterproof phone!

With a shortage of nearby zones, due to the fact that I already owned them all and hate the idea of doing revisits, opted to visit Dalkeith Country Park for the handful of zones there. All a bit on the muddy side to be honest and I skipped the two most easterly zones, YouAreTheAce and TheUnknown for that very reason. I prefer to visit these during dry weather, and usually at night, when encounters with nasty horsy people are not likely. And also, the track is not very suitable for the Surly Ogre and his skinny 35 mm touring tyres!

Only one zone is out of bounds at the moment, zone ToEdinburgh, located in the ancient Old Oak Wood, also an SSSI, which is closed until the summer to prevent tree root and path damage. You can still reach the zone BridgeOfFaith, even though the actual bridge is closed off. I was able to take the zone from the side parapet without actually being on the bridge.

I still don’t agree that they are allowed to restrict paths to certain users, in this instance, pedestrians only, no bikes (see picture above). I think the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, brought into law under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, clearly states this. You can close a path to all users, for example, should management operations such as logging be in force, but not any one group of users. I hope I meet the estate ranger or factor one day. I would love to chat with him/her. I did notice that many of the Horses Only signs have vanished. Good on yer, whoever you are.

I’m enjoying riding the latest version of my Surly Ogre, splendent in his glossy black livery and also enjoying not attracting so much attention. Having been riding the Harley Quinn while the Ogre was dismantled, which also has narrower handlebars, I’m finding that the narrower bars are more comfortable. So, I’ve dug out a spare set of Alpkit Confucius handlebars, chopped 35 mm of each end, and will give those a try. Just need to give them a quick glossy black paint job to match. My preferred bar width is 660 mm. Not sure why some riders use 800 mm wide bars? Back soon with more exciting blog!

P.S. Annoyance of the day. Cycling gloves where the liner comes out when you remove the gloves.

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