Rickshaw Run January 2018 - The final Chukka

The dust has settled, the screams have faded into the darkness and with a 113 decibel crash of drums, the adventure has come to a gallant crescendo.

2018 was roughly body-slammed by our first Rickshaw Run of the year. The January event was bloody awesome fun.

They came, they saw, they broke down - mechanically and emotionally. Until April at least, it's over.

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First up though, they had the Goa pitstop party to survive. Thankfully everyone did. Just.

What a gorgeous bunch.

Once they'd sobered up, cleaned out their various wounds, scratches and scrapes from the night's merriment, it was time to get back on the road and back to the daily routine of long days behind the steering column.

This year's Run was a riot of back streets, traffic jams and run-ins with local wildlife, including the police. A small fortune in bribes was handed out and tears of frustration and joy rained down into the dust and skid marks.

Needless to say, the rickshaws themselves - our little three-wheeled hero machines - won hearts, lost minds and left an endless stream of confused smiles across the subcontinent.

Nothing says 'safe' like visiting a tiger reserve with no doors and a dead gazelle strapped to your roof

Nothing says 'safe' like visiting a tiger reserve with no doors and a dead gazelle strapped to your roof

Our innocent boys and girls grew up so much since they started the race. They masterfully learned to cope with life in the jungle, the desert and the chai shops on the side of the road. There were a few awkward teenage incidents adjusting to the strength of Kingfisher beer and conditions in India, but they made it.

Well that makes sense. We have broken down more in the last 24 hours than in the first 12 days of the run.
Irish skin and kerala sun is a fucking terrible mix.
— Kate
"Running a little hot this morning"

"Running a little hot this morning"

As you may have guessed, far too much went on to fit into one single report. All the teams had non-stop madness from start to finish, some found time to ruin 5 star hotels, while others discovered that a sleeping bag under an upturned wheelbarrow is more than adequate. 

Many embraced the notorious Indian road conditions with aplomb.

Goan drivers were the worst for me! So far the Keralans have been the best. I think they are lovely actually... I mean they run me off the road but I feel they are nice in their approach.
— Kate
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India truly adopted our brave heroes and heroines. They were featured on the front page of the Bombay times, interviewed for TV and welcomed with open arms into hundreds of houses, street parades and weddings.

Apparently, if you have enough beard, you can park in the lobby of the Marriot hotel

Apparently, if you have enough beard, you can park in the lobby of the Marriot hotel

The subcontinent received our invasion of madness with good humour and curiosity as the Run wound its charitable way through the mountains, villages and traffic jams of India.

Let us not forget, that these noble folk are not only doing their part to improve their own lives and Instagram accounts, but they're also saving a bit of this planet too.

Funds raised by January Rickshaw Runners
for Cool Earth so far - £38,235.36 

Special kudos goes to team 'Les Esgargots', highest Cool Earth fundraisers of this trip, raising a magnificent £4,103 to date.

"Nothing is worth more than doing this run for this reason"

"Nothing is worth more than doing this run for this reason"

Today I met the road demons.. never have I seen huge buses overtaking entire lines of stopped cars around blind bends, or overtaking each other on tiny roads coming straight at us, so we jumped on the brakes to a complete stop. Anthony actually leapt out onto the sidewalk.. after it was over I looked around and asked: “What are you doing out there?”
— Philip Bateman
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Generosity of spirit and cable ties saw our teams through to the end, helping each other or being helped by the kindness of locals. India being what it is, nobody stays broken and alone for long, there is always a hundred helping hands to push you back onto your wheels or shove you along to the next stop.

Countless selfies were taken. Some with the long arm of the law and many with the crowds of curious pedestrians fascinated by the foolhardy 2 stroke merchants of glory. Probably the most photographed and selfied event so far, our Runners ugly mugs will live on in infamy.

Looking suspicously like an episode of Banged up Abroad, our crews found themselves being interview for local TV

Looking suspicously like an episode of Banged up Abroad, our crews found themselves being interview for local TV

And of course, simply looking like the odd one out isn't enough. Sometimes you need to roar.

Our exhaust fell off. Didn’t have any screws cause preparation is for suckers so we stuck it back on with a couple of bobby pins. Our Rick sounds like a proper badass now.
— Chelsea
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So with all our crews finally limping across the finish line, bruised battered and far wiser than they were 16 days before, it was time to finally make use of some of that good old South Indian hospitality and party like they survived the Rickshaw Run 2018.

With the same sort of relief that comes from popping a particularly nasty pimple the now bloodied and road weary 3 wheeling wallies could finally let off steam.

The finish party allows teams to finally meet up with the same sterling wanderers who departed from Rajasthan. Same folks, but now just more dusty, and probably with a slight case of delirium tremors. They share battle stories, show off war wounds and hurl bits of broken Bajaj at each other.

So if you did miss out on this January's vehicle madness of stupendous scale, then you're not a totally rubbish human being, but you're close. Thankfully, all is not lost, you may still redeem your place among the greats and heroes of the future.

Team work will drag even the most stubborn Rickshaw across the finish line

Team work will drag even the most stubborn Rickshaw across the finish line

Understanding full well the survivor guilt that plagues those trying to return to society after taking up the challenge of adventure with no safety net or nappies, we gave this year's Runners an out. A way forward. At the finish line our magical group of trained gremlins installed the big red button of onward adventuring. 

Teams were given the opportunity to hit the big shiny red button at the party, to make sure the fun never had to end. That, and to commit to doing another adventurous undertaking across somewhere great and untamed, in something equally stupid and under-powered.

The altar of Adventure awaits you

The altar of Adventure awaits you

If this looks like something you could do with in your nine-to-five life, why not check out the new Rickshaw Run Sri Lanka and see what you can do to stick two fingers up at a boring world.

Throw off the yoke of the mundane, cancel the holiday to Ibiza, grasp your moustache wax and proudly announce to the world. I shall be awesome. I shall adventure.

 

Words by the slighty odd but very endearing Dane Henson.