Turf Blog 04-11-21

Today’s turf blog makes a slight departure from actual turfing, from actually visiting zones and taking them, and delves more into the means to provide the ability to turf. It is also born from excitement on my part. In fact, I am as excited as the 10-year old I once was some 50 years ago, on the night before Christmas, that very same night when I got my first and only gleaming chrome purple Raleigh Chopper. I’m not sure that an almost 60-year old is allowed to get that excited but I am, not that I’ve ever cared for social norms or what I should and shouldn’t be doing at my age. Someone once said to me that I was too old to be riding a kick scooter. He was very close to being told most impolitely to f*** off, if you will pardon the language. I guess that what comes from being an almost 60-year old!

This all revolves around my 60th birthday, which comes about on the 12th November 2021. That’s 20 days from now, just so you know and have plenty of time to obtain suitable birthday cards (anything Wallace & Gromit preferred), expensive gifts, a BMW Z4M, pre-paid holidays and the like. It is also when I get my National Entitlement Card. To translate that into ye olde terms, a bus pass. I plan to use this as my means of transport to turf all the zones in the City of Edinburgh. I can jump on the No 31 from the road end and be walking (or preferably kick scooting) along Princess Street in around 45 minutes. However, the City of Edinburgh has a considerable number of zones, some 1037 at last count, and they are spread across 46 square miles. Most zones are in built-up urban areas, with a good few in the more rural parts of the city environs. There are even some on the remains of extinct volcanoes dotted across the place.

Now, my favoured form of transport would be the bicycle but Lothian Buses and bicycles have yet to speak to each other and there is absolutely no chance of getting my Surly Ogre on the bus with me, let alone my Surly Pugsley fat bike for use on snowy winter days. Nor can I take either of my Swifty kick scooters. No sir, sorry sir, but you cannot take that on the bus!

So, I’ve taken the plunge, emptied my collectors-edition Wallace and Gromit piggy bank of £749 and ordered another Swifty kick scooter, the Swifty One, in forest green. I was very tempted by the Swifty One Marine, designed for and I quote, “a jet-set lifestyle, glide around the marina…. stow the Swifty One Marine on a private plane or yacht. This limited edition is ultra-lightweight, rides like a dream and looks absolutely stunning.” However, another £150 for lovely aluminium shiny bits is a touch too far. I don’t have a yacht or private plane and my Ford Fiesta probably doesn’t make the grade either. Very nice but not for me.

There’s also the Swifty C/16, pictured below, which not only folds like the Swifty One, but also has hydraulic disc brakes front and rear and is made from carbon fibre, weighing in at an estimated 6 kg. Unfortunately, it’s not been launched yet (date TBA) and with a price tag if £2499 (equivalent to 9,996 four-finger Kit-Kats, Tesco multi-pack) is serious money. You could purchase a Swifty Zero and a Swifty Air and a Swifty One, and still have change let over for some Kit-Kats. Still, a lot of cash to save 2 kg in weight over the standard Swifty One. Having said that I really, really want one!

The beauty of the Swifty One is that it folds down into a neat package which means I can take it on the bus. It takes about 15 seconds to fold or unfold which is amazing, though I guess it will take some practice to get into the way of things. It should arrive around the 10th January, which is ages away. At least I’ll have my bus pass ready for when it does. With be posting more when it arrives. Oh, it’s so exciting! Just need to order another stem clamp to mount my rack/pannier.

Just one final point. Thought I just take a wee look at the Lothian Buses website and check that I can actually take the Swifty on the bus. Yes, I should have done this before ordering the Scooter but I didn’t. Too much excitement. Their Conditions of Carriage contains a note relating to the carrying of luggage such as bicycles.

8.3 The following items may NOT be taken onto the Company’s buses:

b) bicycles other than folding bicycles which are folded and fully enclosed in a
suitable carrying bag.

That is a rather disappointing and annoying. The Swifty is obviously not a bicycle but as “accompanied luggage is carried at the driver’s discretion”, I suspect arguing the case would be pointless. However, I have found a possible solution, and that is to carry the folded Swift inside a suitable bag. The ever-useful Internet came up with the goods, a 1200mm x 940mm waterproof drawstring storage bag, basically a giant stuff sack. Costs about £13.00, weighs very little and takes up only minimal space, so easy enough to carry around. Hopefully, it will be large enough to hold the folded Swifty One, or at least enough of it to get on the bus!

Above images above courtesy of Swifty Scooters Ltd.

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