Turf Blog 28-02-23

There has been talk about e-bikes on the Turf Scotland WhatsApp group recently, a few comments about how huge numbers of zones can be taken is quite short periods of time. And yet again, this has me thinking about e-bikes and turfing. But a question always pops into my mind. Is it fair and is it cheating?

Yes, the question, is it fair and is it cheating? Well, when you think about it, the game of turf, G.O.T., is open to all people of all ages and any form of legal transport is permitted. So, if you drill down, it isn’t really fair. Turfers riding electric bikes may have the advantage over those who do not. Turfers who are retired may have more free time available for G.O.T, than those who are still working full time. Younger people may be more able than older people, and so on and so forth. No, turf might not always be fair.

The second part of that question, is it cheating to use an e-bike? Personally, I have the feeling that it is cheating, at least for me. However, in reality I don’t think it is, at least any more than someone riding a bicycle is cheating over someone walking or running on foot. It’s a legal form of transport so technically isn’t cheating. Turf isn’t a level playing field and that is the G.O.T.

My next thought was what would the benefits be using an e-bike for turfing? I guess an e-bike would mean I could take more zones in less time, travel further and longer with less effort and possibly even better my Eager Ferret time on the Loanhead Ferret Run. Now that might be reason enough? It might even help with the recurring back issue I have from time to time. Of course, it would also assist greatly in all those steep hills we encounter while turfing. However, most of the e-bikes I see are, at least to my mind, just plain ugly. Not only that but they are usually heavy as well, often between 20 Kg and 30 Kg, and weight can be an important factor when turfing as there are often places where portage or pushing is required, for example, steps and steep off-road paths.

But not all e-bikes are ugly and heavy. One manufacturer I came across, Ribble Cycles, produce e-bikes that are not big heavy lumps and look almost as good as traditional bicycles. The model I quite fancy, should I decide to buy an e-bike, is the Ribble CGR AL e. It weighs in at 13.5 Kg, that’s less than my Surly Ogre, and that’s including all the e-bike stuff such as motor, control gear and battery. With a claimed range of up to 60 miles (an additional battery pack will increase that to around 100 miles) is would be ideal for long days turfing. Cost is around £3000 and the bike can also be customised before purchase. I would be changing the wheels, tyres and handlebars and adding mudguards. Very tempting indeed. By-the-way, I’m not sponsored by Ribble Cycles. Right, I’m off out on the Surly Ogre now to take some zones. Back soon.

“…later that same day…”

Bloody burnt scones and melted chocolate! Who stole all my Bonnyrigg zones? Rant, rant, rant. Bloody retired turfers! Rant, rant, rant. Who stole all my Dalkeith zones? Rant, rant, rant. Bloody turfers with e-bikes! Rant, rant, rant. By the power of Castle Grayskull, a bloody retired turfer with an e-bike, that’s who! Rant, rant, rant. Where that URL for Ribble Cycles? Where’s my Visa card? Rant, rant, rant. Only kidding, Mr Turbosmith!

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