The Best and Worst of the Rickshaw Run - April 2017 Edition

Born 2 Rickshaw Run caught this cracking shot on the road

Born 2 Rickshaw Run caught this cracking shot on the road

The Rickshaw Run is over and the votes are in – it was a damn fine edition. Ricks were rolled, limbs were tattooed and Kingfishers were drunk. At the end of it all, the finish line was so enthusiastically embraced - the runners broke it. 

Two and a half weeks after starting in Jaisalmer, our 86 Autorickshaws have trundled into Kochi with an extra few thousand kms to their engines.

Another 226 fine runners have joined the ranks of the Rickshaw Run veterans - although this batch can forever have the honour of being the first to do this route on these dates. 

It's pretty hot in India - and especially in April. This is the first edition to trade the dry heat of Bihar for a clammy descent down India's western coast. Sweaty pats on the back for all. Even with 10 years on the Rickshaw Run clock, each edition is full of surprises. Here are some of the best moments from this edition:

1. The Photobombs

Indian Roads belong to the cows. It seems they reckon it's time to take the photos too. 

Sterling work. 

The Traffic Stops

Our runners have never been the type to blend in with the crowd, but anecdotes of police traffic stops have been unusually prominent: 

The police pulled us over and said our “noise level was illegal.”
— Kevin

Good to hear they're on the ball. How about this effective detective work: 

Stopped by police, asked if we stole our tuktuk. We said no. They shook our hands and let us go.
— RIck Conquered

Excellent. 

We’re pulled over by police at the moment…. They’re pointing out the colour of the license plates being white instead of yellow.
— Dan Frederick

It seems that some money changing hands would have cleared this one up. The conclusion? "They tired before we did. Zero Rupees paid." Good work chaps. The best response of all is probably this one: 

A police officer came over asking us what the heck we are doing. We told him riding from Jaisalmer to kochi in this rickshaw. He gave us this look like we were some kind of weird aliens and sent us on our way.
— Rickshawshank Redemtion

A busy edition for all. But it was Shawly Knot who managed to blag their way through their stop using only Rickshaw Run official ID. Nice work and here's the proof:

 

The Nightime Roads

Finally we had figured out the order of things on Indian roads: cows, buses, trucks, cars, motorbikes, goats, rickshaws, people... add today a new one... wrong way trucks!! Not sure where they fit in but they are scary as shit and have been coming at us every few miles.
— Tuk-ing the Void
Remarkable. Morning Glory have managed to claim a whole lane. 

Remarkable. Morning Glory have managed to claim a whole lane. 

A decade of Rickshaw Runners can attest that India's roads are hair-raising. Trucks, pedestrians and cows conspire to give you a heart attack. Most unlucky this edition was team Must Dash who stared down a truck and lost: 

All were fine apparently. Especially the truck. 

Despite all warnings, and the laws of common sense, many teams still think driving at night is a good idea. Top marks to Rickshawshank Redemption for this bold move in hilly terrain:

I’m hanging out the side of the rickshaw pointing my flash light (or torch as the brits call it) at all the corners and turns so Austin can see what the hell is going on. And to show us where the edge of the road is since there are no guard rails on most of it.
— Rickshawshank Redemption

A terrifying visual. 

The Breakdowns 

“I swear the Adventurists loosen a few bolts before we leave to make things more ‘adventurous.”
— Jazz Tuks

It's not a bad idea but fortunately for everyone, it's not necessary. The Autorickshaw is a delightfully impractical vehicle for a multi-day, cross-terrain journey. Poor at handling gradients and especially ill-adapted for taking on uneven surfaces or heavy loads.

The modern fleet are remarkably alike the prototypes first introduced in 1947.  These chariots need gentle driving, lots of rest and loving care. Shame they get our runners and 3000kms to cover against the clock.

This year, it was Team Mustachio who found themselves most at odds with their rick. No amount of coaxing seemed to get their rickshaw out of Jodhpur where they wound up on second day. If there is a punchline to a four day breakdown, it's that Luka had already got a commemorative tattoo: "I need to get my tuk tuk tattoo lasered off or redone in fire." At least you have a story.

A combination of night driving and catch up trucking got their steed down to Kochin, just in time for this display of their driving skills: 

But it's not all been bad news. Stories of the generosity of local mechanics and miracle repairs have also surfaced: 

“Replacement cost 70rp. The mechanic didn’t want any money but did want a selfie. I had to force 500rp on him.
— Born to Rickshaw Run
However, they say with breakdowns come local magic and they were right, we were given directions from every Indian in town, personally escorted to the workshop and plenty of advice (in Hindi) was given. Not to be dismayed we unpacked the cricket bats and got a game going with about 40 locals.
— Team Bingo

Tattoos

It was bumper edition for tattoos. Everyone wanted one. And at least four people (so far) got themselves a permanent flesh souvenir. 

I got a classic hangover remedy: a tattoo. It’s a tuk tuk on my ankle. I felt like I needed one seeing as how I couldn’t bring the real thing home. The one on my ankle doesn’t need permits or a smog check.
— Kody, Team Koddiwobble

Congrats Kody.

 

This Cultural Exchange

No words can make this exchange better: 

Not as easy as it looks! Total respect to the ladies.
— Danny

We salute you for your attempt, sacrificing your dignity for everyones enjoyment. 

But did the Runners enjoy themselves?

Looks like it:

Sounds like it too: 

I’ve done some silly things in my life but this by far takes the cake. Late flights and missed trains led to a long car ride that forshadowed the task at hand…. This adventure didn’t give me the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone. This adventure ran my comfort zone over and left me on the roadside to adapt quickly.

— Team Ramrod
Just getting back into the states and I’m already imagining the conversations I’ll have when people ask how it was. Theres’s now way to explain or even pick a starting point for what the fuck just happened these last two weeks.

— Scott
I still can’t get all the glitter off and I’m back in the office tomorrow.

— Jarrod

The Best of the Rest:

Last time we were in a city, I made James push start me and then forgot to stop for him.
— Emily
Currently sitting in the palace bar exchanging curse words in Hindi.
— Scott
The selfie request count is now up to about 250
— Supersonic Gin and Tonic
Sage barterning advice from our Indian friend we dropped off in Ahmedabad: ‘Never pay more than the price.’
— Helpful advice received by Dan
I also love how you can just stop and pee on the side of the road. Everyone does it. I do it. It’s glorious. It’s freedom at its finest.

— Rickshawshank Redemption

Let's leave this one there, shall we? 

If it's your time to do the Rickshaw Run - alas, the August and January editions are very sold out.

April 2018 will be on sale soon.