A Tyre-ing weekend.
The treat of a new set of tyres for the Carawagon.
For once in my life I had some money. Not a lot, but enough to buy some new tyres. Most people manage with just one set of tyres. Not me. I have three sets for the Carawagon and two for the 80 inch to cover all eventualities. My lock up resembles a second hand tyre depot! The weakest link in the line up was a dubious set of cheap road tyres on the Carawagon. I have been plagued with punctures and could never get them correctly balanced, their rubber being poured straight from the tree into a tyre shaped mould with a bit of wire thrown in for strength.
Faced with the enviable position of being able to have whatever I wanted, my research led me to a combination of Wolf rims clothed in 235.85.16 tubeless B.F. Goodrich All Terrains. The Wolf rims are strong and will give a slightly wider track and the ATs seem to be regarded as the best all rounder.
I was slightly alarmed when reading a mate’s web report on his journey to Cape Town, that his ATs ‘have shredded quite badly in Sudan and Ethiopia to the extent that I had to throw one away in Kenya’. But Ashley is a hefty ex prop forward travelling with his wife and four kids with everything but the kitchen sink in a 110, so the situation is extreme.
My next task was to find the best deal. A phone call to John Craddock’s offered a good price and next day delivery, but the Wolf wheels would have to be silver or black. Formula 4 and Southam Tyres both offered similar deals on the tyres, but would have to order the wheels. As I was spending quite a lot of money and am fussy about appearance, I wanted limestone rims. My son, Matt, could get me the wheels at Special Dad Discount, and spray them limestone. All I had to do was get the tyres. With the LRW Show coming up I could take the rims there and shop around for a ‘Show Special’ price.
Those who were there will recall it was a very, very, hot weekend and our departure saw Jo filling the back of the Carawagon with ALL HER CLOTHES and me sweating buckets carefully securing my smart new wheels on the roof. I have to admit to getting a little bit grumpy as Jo packed yet another outfit to ‘give her a choice’ and another rivulet of sweat ran down my nose. Then Jo pointed out, with a logic reserved for the female of the species, ‘How will we get them all back with tyres on? Won’t they take up more room?’ Huffily, I replied that we would, in the nature of all blind enthusiasm, ‘sort something out’ and banished her to the kitchen to make some tea! Stupid question!
At the show late afternoon, I was pleased to see there were a few dealers offering tyres so while Jo changed outfits, I got the barbecue going and attempted to live up to cooking expectations I had established in an article in the July edition of LRW. We ate, drank, chatted and forgot all about tyres as Jo put on an impromptu fashion show for other members of the Editorial team.
Sunday dawned hot and sunny and we roared off in the 80 inch to do the off road course. By the time we returned and I finally did get over to John Craddock’s stand, they only had three left, but would keep the deal open for 10 days if I fancied driving over to Cannock. Reasoning that half a day and a round trip of 160 miles would outweigh any saving, Jo changed outfits and we headed for home, wheels untouched.
In my excitement I had forgotten that I had put my old wheels on ebay and had a phone call when we got home to say ‘I’ve just bought your tyres.... can I come and collect them?’ Faced with the prospect of standing the old girl on bricks, Jo removed her entire wardrobe from the Carawagon and nipped to the lock up to swap all the wheels over for my Michelin sand tyres. I heaved the old wheels into the back and met the lucky buyer who turned up in a Fiat Panda, running on gas!
Later in the week I phoned a local dealer, Oadby Tyre Services, who offered a good deal, got them in and fitted them the next day. Easy! They have transformed the ride and I look forward to a foray into the muddy stuff with them in the near future with Jo alondside sporting the latest fashions.
Ashley’s web site make a good, up to date, read for anyone planning to head for Africa http://www.enterpriseafrica.org.uk/index.asp
Photo caption. After a lot of effort, Toby finally got his dream tyre and wheel combination. Five BF Goodrich ATs on Limestone Wolf rims.