Wrong Way Round Sahara


Trip Summary

Name: Wrong Way Round Sahara
Destination: Sahara desert
Distance: 6,950 kms (4,350 miles)
Vehicle: Yamaha Townmate

Trip Diary

Desert storm (in a teacup)

The bike of shame

Two wrongs make a wrong

That is not a tyre lever

It’s scorching, let’s do coffee

Up the creek without a pump

It’s definitely left. Or right

Sun block. Inflatable guitars

What would Bear Grylls do?


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Whatever you do, don’t lose the water

Sunburnt, dehydrated, and suffering from heat exhaustion. Never have four lost travellers been so pleased to see the French Foreign Legion. Our Yamaha Townmate mopeds proved once again they are unstoppable. Unless faced with a 50 ft sand dune in which case they are unusable. Extreme Trifle takes on the Sahara desert. And loses. Quite badly.

Desert storm (in a teacup)

There was quite a lot of debate at the PGM (Pub General Meeting) about whether to attempt another “Wrong Way Round” adventure. We hadn’t even got got to the bar before deciding we would.

By pint number three we had agreed that it would be across the Sahara. Pint number four to do it in the hottest month of the year. And pint number five, without a support vehicle, cos that would be funnier.

Somewhere between pints six and eight there was some speed-eating of Watsits in hot custard. This is not relevant other than to portray the overall state of events.

It occurred to us that entering the Sahara desert without a support vehicle might be a bit dodgy. We set about a thorough risk assessment. All potential outcomes led to a disaster of one sort or another.

These ranged from finding ourselves getting hopelessly lost for days. Our water would eventually run out and we would die slowly and painfully.

We might forget to check our boots in the morning and get stung by scorpions and die slowly and painfully. Or we might camp the night at a desert oasis only to discover it was a watering hole for angry hippos who would trample us to death. Quickly at least, but still painfully.

That’s never going to fit

At this stage at least, the only painful thing was working out how to fit all the kit on to the bikes.

adventure moped

The next morning we set about building the Sahara spec prototype. To do this you need to take a standard Yamaha Townmate and attach a lot of stuff to it.

10 litres of fuel. 10 litres of water. 3 litres of oil. Tools, spare tyres, inner tubes, pump, cables, bulbs, spoke kit, tent, sleeping bag and clothes.

Mosquito net, first aid kit, sun cream, haemorroid cream. Camera, lenses, video camera, tripod. Travel documents, maps, GPS, mobile, solar charger. Torch, firelighters, pots, pans, petrol stove, food, bog roll. Shit Box, lock and chain and last but not least, fancy dress and inflatable guitars. Oh, and a rider.

We subsequently learned that “tools” should not constitute five 10mm spanners and a piston for a Honda C90. And it should definitely include tyre levers.

Here’s a quick intro video. Parental Guidance is advised as it contains scenes of gratuitous fuckwittery.

> Part 1 The Bike of Shame