Saturday, March 21, 2009

Desert Driving #1

New Stuff from the Explorer School

Those of you who have heard of Robert Twigger are probably aware of his interest in travel in the Western Desert of Egypt. He is one of the owners of the Explorer School, which produces this blog.

When people think about desert driving they usually think about getting stuck in the sand. But actually in the desert you can spend as much time driving over gravel, rocks, and vegetation albeit sparse vegetation as you do driving over sand. Hard tyres are fine for hard surfaces but if your tyres are too hard then you will sink when you do finally hit the sand. On the other hand, if they don’t have enough air in them then you are likely to get a puncture when you weave your way through an area of sharp rocks. Many people carry a small compressor to reinflate tyres. A foot pump is not very good because it will get sand in it and chances are it will eventually break. In Germany and France you can get quite effective handpumps which though there are time consuming you can refill the air in a tyre. One of the advantages of driving with a wide tyre such as Pirelli scorpions 10.5 inchx15 tyres such as I use is that you can let a lot of air out of them without there being a significant collapse on the side wall. I often only reinflate my tyres when I am at an Oasis having driven 100 or more road km on tyres at 20PSI. In four years and 30,000km on the same tyres I’ve suffered only one sidewall blow out on tarmac. I’ve driven extensively on sand and on rocky surfaces that are quite sharp and not suffered many punctures. People with narrower tyres than mine, such as 7.5 inchX16 have in my experience suffered more punctures.

See the above page for lots more details about desert driving.

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