Jaisalmer Erupts as the April Rickshaw Run Launches

As your eyeballs read this 80 teams are hurtling in their beautifully pimped rickshaws from Jaisalmer, Rajasthan towards Shillong, Meghalaya. 

It has been a tremendous few days here in the Maharajah's palace which acts as HQ for the event.

Teams arrived and got introduced to their marvellously painted vehicles. As always they then had to learn how to drive the things. After some driving lessons, mechanical sessions and the highlight of all adventure - a powerpoint presentation - they were all set for driving the beasts 3500kms across India (well, pretty much anyway). Team Brothers Brown managed to go through two engines before the launch, third time lucky eh chaps.

First though came some fun stuff.

As is tradition with the Rickshaw Run we held a game of cricket against a local team, as is also tradition - we got royally stuffed. Our chaps and chapesses fought bravely, under the fierce desert sun but sadly still couldn't match the might of the local team. Let's hope we can make up for it with the football match in Shillong.

Then of course came the grand launch party. The wonderfully dressed (well, most of them) teams poured into the palace and attacked the bar with gusto. It was an evening filled with beautiful people and hideous dancing. Once everyone had eaten it began to take an inevitable downhill before reaching its glorious crescendo. Mr Ricky nearly blew his face off when lighting the fireworks, one chap fell asleep on the stairs, a teletubby fell off a balcony, somebody else lost a trouser leg and countless brain cells were lost forever. The music continued until well into the night and the lost property section grew to include hats, sunglasses, a driving licence, iphones and a teletubbie's head. Nice.

Then this morning it was time to blow away the cobwebs with a gigantic launch ceremony. The hot desert air was thick with the smell of exhaust fumes, excitement and sweat. Teams loaded up their vehicles, put the final touches to their pimping, adjusted their outfits accordingly and drove up and over the start line on their way to adventuring bliss. The event was inaugurated and flagged off by Vikram Singh Ji - a revered prince of Jaisalmer.

As often seems to be the case, the weather took a strange turn not long after the teams hit the road, with a huge sandstorm blocking the sun and turning the sky a dark red colour. Huge winds blew over motorbikes and a biblical downpour destroyed the start line decorations. It was almost like the gods of adventure themselves were feeling frisky and throwing all they had at our poor teams.

Updates from the road are pouring in thick and fast, and a special mention should go to team 'Yabba Dabba Curry' for the first breakdown of the run - blowing a piston a mere 5 miles out of town. Jolly good show.

All in all it's been a huge success and we look forward to seeing them all in a couple of weeks - grubby, full of stories and heroic.

You can follow all the teams here on The Jibber, on our Live Tracking Map and our FacebookTwitter pages. You can find out more about future Runs as well as links to sign up over on the Rickshaw Run pages of the website

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