The Mission

The Peking to Paris Rally is a recreation of the 1907 challenge issued by Le Matin, "Is there anyone who will undertake to travel this summer from Peking to Paris by automobile?"
The 2016 version will follow a route of 13,695 Km (8,510 miles) and take 35 days. We are travelling in Rhubarb and Custard, a 1936 Buick. We know nothing about cars or rallying.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016


There's a lot of discussion amongst rally folk about what tyres to run on.  There is the option of special rally tyres designed for Mongolia's off road conditions, but these won't work so well on the tarmac roads that cover most of the rest of the route (although there are several special stages on gravel and dirt roads).

We've decided on van tyres for Rhubarb and Custard.  These fit onto the existing wheels, don't weigh too much and should be easy to source if we need new ones. They won't give us a fast time around a racetrack - although as is often said on Top Gear the fastest form of transport in the UK is a white van, so who knows.  On balance we hope they are a good compromise between practicality and serviceability.

We know that punctures are a problem and so we have brought a puncture repair kit. However, neither of us have any idea how to use said kit. Nor do I see how it is possible to remove a tyre by the side of the road when special equipment is used if the garage does this.  We also have spare inner tubes which I recall my father always saying you must never fit to radial tyres. Again, we have the same problem of how to get the tyre off the wheel and back on again.  I've seen on one of the 2013 blogs that a competitor had 20 punctures along the route. We are only carrying two spare wheels so if we have that kind of bad luck the repair kit will be coming out.

There is the option of replacing the tyres at some point, whether or not they are damaged or punctured. At least a set of van tyres should be available and affordable in most places. Although a bit of me is reluctant to trust a tyre from a garage in the middle of nowhere.

There's quite a lot of altitude change along the route which may require adjustments to tyre pressure.  I think the advice in Mongolia is to run with soft tyres (that's certainly what mountain bikers do).  It sounds like we may be constantly pressurising and depressurising the tyres.  I've just come back from Iceland where the off-road Super Jeeps can inflate and deflate their tyres from the cockpit. We are going to fit bluetooth enabled tyre caps so that we can monitor tyre pressure form our smartphones. Mind you that's yet another thing to make life more complicated.

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