The Rickshaw Run
Three wheels of disaster rolling over the top of the globe
The Rickshaw Run Himalaya
The Rickshaw Run has spawned a hideously mutated dangerous bastard offspring. All the gut-churning adventure but a rather large mountain range more gnarly.
This is the Rickshaw Run Himalaya. One for the Adventuring purist, this is an adventure that will kick you hard in the arse, then laugh mockingly at you afterward.
It’s not just taking a rickshaw over a bunch of 5,000 metre high mountain passes, but doing so knowing you’re in a place where there are virtually no spares and few mechanics who even know what a rickshaw looks like.
Sounds perfect right?
The gnarlier, more deranged sibling of the Rickshaw Run. Only for those with the right adventure credentials. This is hardcore.
We’d been running the Rickshaw Run for 10 years when we decided to make it even more stupid.
We pondered as to how we could turn things up to 11. We decided that nothing less than the highest mountain range on the planet would do. So that’s what we did.
This is the Rickshaw Run Himalaya, an epic hardcore adventure for the well-seasoned adventurer. If you’re hesitant, even a little bit, this one isn’t for you.
With only two editions a year, one in June and one in September, space is limited and spots go quickly. Expect sheer cliff drops, landslides, headaches, adrenaline overload and a grin across your face wider than a sumo wrestler’s corset.
Still up for it? You know what to do.
The engines on our newest editions to the fleet are an impressive 10.5bhp. They have tiny wheels, shite ground clearance and bad suspension, they’re not remotely suited to unpaved roads. They have almost zero protection from the elements. And they’re incredibly unreliable.
All of this pretty much guarantees you’ll bite off more than you can chew and something will go wrong. Which is where you find what you’re really made of. And if you triumph, then next time you’ll likely be able to bite even bigger. That’s the theory at least, you might just start crying of course.
And there’s this too:
At 5,500 metres above sea level you’d be forgiven for being a bit short of breath. Fortunately with an engine displacement of just 198cc your rickshaw wouldn’t even have started panting properly.
The other advantage of that tiny engine is that it barely ever needs refuelling. This is doubly-handy seeing that some of the fuel stations are literally hundreds of miles apart.
Now do you see where we’re coming from?
These mountains are so big they remind you of just how insignificant you are. Fortunately once you conquer them in a rickshaw you can redress that balance.
The Himalayas are truly the final frontier for a rickshaw. The hills are steep, the terrain is rough and there’s not a rickshaw mechanic for hundreds of miles. The views aren’t bad either.
Shimla, HP (2276m)
Well connected to Delhi via flights and overnight buses
Leh, JK (3,500m)
There are numerous daily flights to and from Delhi
The ‘roads’ between Shimla and Leh are open from June to September, when the route isn’t blocked by snow, landslides, animals or accident wreckage. The highest point is the Tanglang La pass which is a rather lofty 5,328 metres.
Support or lack of
The Rickshaw Run is not a guided tour. We will not be there for you when you break down in the middle of a desert or accidentally fill your rickshaw with sunflower oil.
The whole point of the Rickshaw Run is to get out of your comfort zone, learn how to overcome problems yourselves and engage with the wonderful locals who will gladly try to help you whenever they can.
There are not many mechanics in the Himalayas. There’s not actually that many people up there at all. If you get in trouble, you should have half an idea how to get out of it.
The Rickshaw Run was created when Adventurists founder Mr Tom fell in love with the little beasties whilst on a jaunt in India. He came home and was heard to be repeatedly mumbling something about taking rickshaws into a desert and up some mountains.
After much deciphering, The Rickshaw Run was born. The first edition launched in December 2006 from Kochi, Kerala and snaked its way up to Darjeeling, West Bengal. Nobody knew if it was even possible.
Since these humble beginnings, the Rickshaw Run has grown almost beyond recognition. It has since spawned an evil cousin in the Himalayas and a slightly friendlier cousin in Sri Lanka. There have been more than 35 editions, and literally, tens of thousands of people have experienced the joy of driving a rickshaw around various bits of the planet.