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.
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:
Good to hear they're on the ball. How about this effective detective work:
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 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
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:
A terrifying visual.
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:
It was bumper edition for tattoos. Everyone wanted one. And at least four people (so far) got themselves a permanent flesh souvenir.
This Cultural Exchange
No words can make this exchange better:
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:
The Best of the Rest:
Let's leave this one there, shall we?