Friday 29 July 2016

Sandboarding and Cars

This is a Sandboarding blog, the name of the sport is pretty much in the name of this blog; but every now and again I will buck the trend of Sandboarding (whilst still remaining on topic) and talk about something else; whether it would be donating to charity, my patreon account, passing my driving test, or even sports camera batteries.

As you could probably tell by the title of this post, this is regarding the sport in which I'm specialised (I hope you'll believe so) and my other favourite sport, driving!

If you live in Southern Africa, the "Deep South" of the United States, or in the Rub Al-Khali (empty quarter); you'll need a good set of wheels to get you from A to B. If you have a lot of sand dunes near you and you lack good roads, or if you're just enthusiastic about Sandboarding as I am, then you need a specialised (or at least good) vehicle to get you around those dunes.

[Disclaimer] I passed my UK driving test in May of this year, there's no opportunities to do extreme driving in the UK as I would lose my license and my car is an economical hatchback, not a 4x4 that has the power to go at high speed up a mountain. This article is intended for advice and entertainment purposes only as I'm not a driving instructor or indeed have a qualification in the driving profession. [/Disclaimer]

My car. Courtesy of: Ganymede81 License: CC BY 3.0 Modified: No

My car is a MK4 Seat Ibiza, it was first driven on the road on my birthday of 2003; which also was the breakout of the Iraq War; the manufacturer claimed to have 63 brake horsepower and 47/48 miles per gallon. My car has a 1.2 litre petrol engine and the top speed is about 103 miles per hour (even though my speedometer goes up to 140 miles per hour but never mind). My car is fantastic, I love it, I really do; but it's not the sort of thing I would take to go to Namibia or even in the USA to go dune-bashing (Yes, that's what it's called), nevertheless the car is my first and hopefully my last.

If you're going to use dunes, try using a dune buggy. Dune buggies usually have a cage equipped so in the unfortunate event that your vehicle is upside down, you can tip it back to normal. Literally. The engine size of a standard dune buggy can vary from 200cc (cc means Cubic Centimetres) to about 2 litres in engine size.

Courtesy of: Alberto G Rovi License: CC BY-SA 3.0 Modified: No
Dune buggies not only make you look cool but they're also lots of fun... when it's a nice day, if the weather is rubbish and it starts to rain or if you're going through a zone with lots of sand; you will most likely get covered in sand; they're not very fast either, a standard 250cc dune buggy will go at 60 kilometres per hour (37 miles per hour).

If dune buggies don't take your fancy and you prefer comfort in the desert, then you should opt for something more fancy, for example: An off road 4x4 vehicle, such as a Land Rover, Range Rover, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz G-Class, or a Hummer. These vehicles will cost significantly more than your dune buggy or your basic, young driver, economical hatchback like mine. My Seat Ibiza was purchased for £400 ($525 USD as of 26 July 2016), a 2016 dune buggy with sand rail costs about $46,000 USD (£35,019 as of 26 July 2016), and a brand new Mercedes-Benz G Class will happily sell for £88,800 ($116644 USD as of 26 July 2016).

Mercedes-Benz G Class from the Classic Moto Show 2014 in Kraków, Poland. Courtesy of: Dawid783 License: CC BY-SA 1.0 Modified: No

The picture above is an example of a Mercedes-Benz G class, this is an early model but more recent models will be equipped with air conditioning, heated seats, traction control, cruise control, and a treasure chest full of useful features that'll combine luxury, comfort, and power. You don't even have to use four wheels for a small economy car, a dune buggy, or a high cost, high standard, and high luxury vehicle to get up sand dunes and cross a horrible, uninhabitable, dry, rocky, and hot desert.

Yesterday, I went back on Holywell Bay Sand Dunes and I won't spoil the surprise but I had a thought and I was thinking of a method to get up sand dunes, that method was a quad bike. Quad bikes might not have the luxury aspect but they have 4 wheels, and they can get you up a sand dune in no time! Quad bike engine sizes generally vary from about 200cc to usually 1000cc or a 1 litre engine size, quad bikes are a good method of getting around off-road but most quad bikes are not generally road legal and will need modifications in order to make it road legal. Quad bikes can go from about £1,000 to £15,000 each ($1,319.27 USD and $13,192.65 USD respectively as of 29 July 2016).

Quad bike doing two-wheel trick. Courtesy of: Peter Ellis License: CC BY-SA 3.0 Modified: No
Now you've seen some of the possibilities you can transport across sand dunes and a desert area, you can choose whether you want to be in luxury or to be in a standard vehicle, speed or power, style or substance; whatever you choose it'll be a good choice to go in one of these vehicles. Pick-up trucks and SUV's are also good to go across a desert but you'll need modifications or a sports' model if you want to go far! It's also important that you have the items you need if you have a breakdown, get stranded or if you have any injuries; be sure to also have appropriate vehicle insurance if you're going far (and keep in mind, in some countries including the United Kingdom, vehicle insurance is compulsory).

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