Wrong Way Round Sahara Event Logo © Extreme Trifle

Whatever you do, don't lose the water

In this episode of our Wrong Way Round series of adventures our Yamaha Townmate mopeds proved once again they are unstoppable, unless faced with a 50 ft sand dune in which case they are unusable.

Sunburnt, dehydrated, and suffering from heat exhaustion. Never have four lost travellers been so pleased to see the French Foreign Legion.

We experienced first hand the sort of shit that only Bear Grylls knows. 

That's not normal

How can you shiver with cold when the temperature is 53 degrees (127 F)?

How can you make water cold by wrapping it in the sort of blanket your nan uses to keep her knees warm?

How can you see no vegetation in all directions and still hear a frog croaking?

Welcome to the Wrong Way Round Sahara. Extreme Trifle takes on the biggest desert on Earth. And loses. Quite badly.

Header image


Sahara Desert


6,950 kilometres (4,530 miles)


Yamaha Townmate 80cc

Desert Storm (in a teacup)

Even by our low standards, the debacle that was the original Wrong Way Round adventure came as a bit of a shock. We’d fallen short. About 16,000 kms short actually. 

When all was said and done there were a lot of minor contributing factors like not taking the right paperwork and entering a country illegally. In the end we decided to blame Charles. 

There was quite a lot of debate in the pub about how to redeem ourselves and restore the tarnished reputation of the mighty Yamaha Townmate. It would need to be something big. The Sahara desert is big.

It's not gonna end well

As we washed down our pork scratchings with a cold pint we agreed that to add to the challenge we should go in the hottest month of the year. By pint number five, any talk of a support vehicle had been binned off, cos that would be funnier. Somewhere between pints six and eight there was a speed-eating contest involving Watsits in hot custard. This is not relevant other than to portray the overall state of events.

It had not gone unnoticed that entering the Sahara desert in pyrolytic season without any form of support might be a bit dodgy. We set about a thorough risk assessment. All potential outcomes led to disaster even if we left Charles at home.

We might get hopelessly lost for days. Our water would eventually run out and we would die slowly and painfully.

Perhaps we’d 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.

This is Charles

The lovechild of Sean Connery and Mr Bean


Martini, stirred not shaken.

Pack it like a camel

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

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

But, before you attach the stuff you have to attach something to attach the stuff to. The standard luggage rack on a T80 is only weight bearing up to an 18 inch deep pan pizza with a side of chicken dippers.

A few bits of old wood, some home made brackets and a welder took us to dizzying new heights of haulage capability.

The kettle might be pushing it

The inventory for EACH bike was 10 litres of fuel. 10 litres of water. 3 litres of oil. Tools, spare tyre, cables, bulbs,  inner tubes, spoke kit, pump. Tent, roll mat, sleeping bag and clothes.

First aid kit, sun cream, haemorroid cream. Cameras, lenses, video cameras, tripod. Travel documents, maps, GPS, mobile, solar charger. Torch, firelighters, pots, pans, petrol stove, food, bog roll. 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.

loaded moped

The bike of shame

Kaspars, our Latvian comrade, would not be joining us until leaving day. A rookie error since it was left to the rest of us to “prepare” his bike. This involved gathering up all the awful spares we’d decided weren’t good enough for our own bikes, and bolting them together to make an even more awful bike.

Charles decided the bike should not only be awful, but embarrassing as well. But seriously, how do you embarrass someone who is already riding a Yamaha Townmate? Charles with a knowing wink said he had something in mind. “Think pink” he said.

Spanglestastic pornstar pink

Pink? Hang on, didn’t the SAS used to paint their Land Rovers pink as desert camouflage“.

Yes they did“.

Well it will hardly be embarrassing to ride a bike that is invisible!“.

This is no ordinary pink

Charles strutted off to the garage with airbrush in one hand, roll up hanging from mouth and the customary can of Stella in the other….hang on. No Stella can! Blimey he was serious. After a few minutes the bike was entirely stripped down (number plate removed). It was then prepared for painting (top layer of rust removed). Then the first squirt of pink was laid down. Spangletastic Pornstar Pink to be exact.

Simultaneously everyone reached for their sunglasses and stood around nodding approvingly. It was truly hideous and abundantly clear that far from being invisible in the Sahara, the bike would actually be visible from space. 

Sunglasses on

It that was a food colouring it would be banned

Spangletastic moped

It looked like a stick of rock. It should have had “bellend” printed all the way through.

Trip Diary - see what happened!