spring-ricksaw-run

The Spring Rickshaw Run has begun… mayhem reigns!

Teams with such outlandish names as Dark Side of the Naan, In-dia Straits, The Jungle Book Tuk Tuk, Team Drink and Be Merry, Barrick Oshawma, Tuk Tuk BOOM, the 3 Tuk-eteers, Mother Tuk-ers  are on their way and already testing the boundaries of the word ‘adventure’… another extreme adventure has just begun.

“We’re safe and sound in Mangalore, but we have lost a couple of Swedes on what otherwise was a good day of progress,” say Team Drink and Be Merry, followed with “We thought we had really caught the sun today, but having just had a shower, we realise it was just dirt.”

“Looked like plane sailing,but had an afternoon of navigational errors!” say SikkimtheHead.

And “Major mechanical problems with the rickshaw. Basically, the piece o’ crap needs major wiring” from Texarian Queens tweets.

As I said… it’s mayhem. But that’s what The Adventurists do and it’s what they do best, and that’s why there’s a waiting list of people wanting to take part in their mad and crazy adventures.

This is is an event where teams drive Auto Rickshaws across various routes across India. At no time was it imagined, when the Rickshaw was originally designed, that this little vehicle, which was only ever meant to transport light loads over small distances on paved roads, would be used in a race destined to cover long distances on a multiple of surfaces. And when talking about long distances, I really do mean LONG … more than 2,000 miles anyway!

The Adventurists thoughtfully give you a start location and a finish… but in between those two points the choice of route is entirely yours. As they say “You choose how much adventure the seat of your pants can handle in between. If barren desert tickles your fancies, you shall have it, if you want impenetrable jungle it is yours for the getting stuck in, if you want to force 150 cc of magic up the Himalaya or take a detour to Karachi, so be it. If we told you where to go the Rickshaw Run would be rubbish.”

The start line is Cochin down on the bottom west corner of India and the finish is Gangtok at the very top right, squeezed between Buthan, Nepal and Tibet. If you follow the link I’ve put on Cochin you can add in the two names of Cochin and Gangtok and see for yourselves exactly how much air there is between them!!!

You are expected to get from A to B in just two weeks… in this:

The Mighty Rickshaw

And before the race begins believe you me these small, noisy, uncomfortable machines are no longer a dreary black…

Pimp My Rickshaw

It’s another genius idea of The Adventurists. They call it “Pimp My Rickshaw” and with the art of modern technology you can choose a theme upload your fantasy paint jobs onto the website and try them out on a 3d rickshaw. Then just press go and by the power of magic, and a willing Indian artist,  it all becomes real on your very own rickshaw.

The race was launched in style on Sunday, 28th March, following a humdinger of a party. Many fragile and fuzzy heads took to the roads with the locals helping give a grand send-off.

The Rickshaw Run takes place three times a year. The Winter Run in January, Spring in the Easter break and Autumn in September-ish time. Check out the Dates page for more, and remember that this event is restricted to 70 Rickshaws and places fill up quickly.

There are no restrictions as to how many people you can fit into the Rickshaw although 3 is probably the best bet, 4 is a little cramped. Some enterprising soul holds the record for 14, but considering you have 2,000 miles to go I’d plump for comfortable rather than squashed!

If you’re thinking of doing this then an idea of the costs might be useful. To get a coveted place in the Rickshaw Run you are looking at £895 and this includes everything to do with the race – the party, the Rickshaw, advice on fund raising, sponsorship, etc. Over and above this is your airplane ticket which, if you’re lucky, can be as low as £250, but is more likely to be between 500 and 700. Visa will be aroundabout £50 and on top of all this is fuel for your Rickshaw which shouldn’t come to more than £100 (they’re very economical) and any repairs that may need to be done as it must be returned in working order. Repairs, though, are very cheap – a bit more expensive for a completely squashed Rickshaw!

Where to stay on the way is up to you, whether in a campsite or guesthouse or hotel… depends how much pampering you feel you need.

And then there’s the obligatory £1,000 minimum that you have to donate to charity, although this is usually raised by sponsorship. The charities supported are those that are in the country that the event takes place in. “One of our main principles is that we don’t blur the line between giving money to charity and having a bloody good adventure. So we don’t touch a single penny of the money that is donated, it goes direct to the charity”, say The Adventurists. “All the teams taking on the Rickshaw Run have to try to raise a minimum of £1000 per team and thanks to their hard work and clever tricks our target of raising £1 million should be reached this year.”

The 2008 Rickshaw Run raised enough money for the Frank Water Projects to provide clean, safe drinking water to more than 40,000 people in India… and that’s just a start.

And if you’re still not sure that this extreme adventure is for you? Well then, maybe this video will help convince you, with thanks to thedecktv and The Shaw Must Go On for the fabulous photography.

Percy and the Bounders: 7am k.o.that brandy is not alcohol.more like plant fertiliser..

Cornershop Players: 5.30 a.m. Just made our way back onto the right side of the highway!

Barick Oshawma: stopped at shacks by road for lunch only sold beef and liquor…

Day 3 is underway….

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