Rickshaw Run Himalaya

The Details: Rickshaw Run Himalaya

A glorified lawnmower versus the highest roads in the world. This is a difficult, remote adventure designed for a small band of seasoned, hardy Adventurists.

New edition up for grabs: August 2024

  
The Rickshaw Run is also available in All India and Sri Lanka Spice flavours.

Contents

 

1. The un-route

  • START

    Leh, Ladakh (3,500m)

  • FINISH

    Jaisalmer, Rajasthan (225m)

  • DISTANCE

    2,200km (ish)

  • TIME

    2 days test driving, 12 days on the road

The original un-route is now just the first leg of your mountain to desert adventure. You'll tackle around 1000km of remote valleys and seasonal high passes from Leh to Shimla. Big climbs, tiny roads hacked out of the mountain side with huge cliff-edge drop offs, possible snow and ice and spectacular views. That's when the roads aren't blocked by landslides, animals or accident wreckage. The highest point is the Tanglang La pass which is a rather lofty 5,328 metres. This is the final frontier for the mighty rickshaw because nobody else drives them up here. Ever. Except you.

**The direction you go in depends on the edition you do. There are two editions, in July and September, one starts in Leh and one starts in Jaisalmer.
"It was absolutely incredible. The 'route' is a great balance of smooth to crazy to smooth that makes it good both ways. I love the fact you couldn't even get signal let alone wifi for most of the trip and only little tarp tents were dotted around randomly to stay in, just how it should be."
Fred B, September 2019
About 7 days in you'll be at an altitude of around 2000m, passing through Shimla as you cruise through the foothills of the Himalaya. From there you point your trusty shit box south west in search of sea level and sand. Choose Punjab or Haryana and transition through arid semi-desert plains. The Thar desert in Rajasthan will be waiting for you on the other side to slap you right in your sweaty chops and deposit grains of sand in all your orifices. It's known for shifting dunes, occasional sand storms and, as you may have guessed, it's on the warm side at times.
"Really loved the remoteness of it all. The transition between High Himalayan to the foothills was excellent. The road is great."
Michael A, June 2018
The 'Golden City' of Jaisalmer is your final stop; slap bang in the middle of the desert and a total contrast to the start line in Leh. It's dominated by sandstone architecture (lots of orange buildings) and Jaisalmer Fort, a hilltop citadel with 99 bastions. The finish line itself is in a massive Palace to make sure you round your adventure off in fitting style.
  • July 2024

    Leh to Jaisalmer

  • August 2024

    Jaisalmer to Leh

  • September 2024

    Leh to Jaisalmer

  • July 2025

    Leh to Jaisalmer

  • September 2025

    Jaisalmer to Leh

71 seconds of epic drone footage

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2. The dates

July 2024: FULL

Bugger, you're too late for this one, it's already full. You can register yourself on the waiting list here. Don't forget to verify your email or you won't be added to the list.

6th July: Pre adventure beers
7th July: Test Driving & Launch Party
8th July: Test Driving & Team Briefing
9th July: Launch Day
20th July: Finish Line & Finish Party

August 2024: New edition available now

3rd August: Pre adventure beers
4th August: Test Driving & Launch Party
5th August: Test Driving & Team Briefing
6th August: Launch Day
17th August: Finish Line & Finish Party

September 2024: FULL

Bugger, you're too late for this one, it's already full. You can register yourself on the waiting list here. Don't forget to verify your email or you won't be added to the list.

31st August: Pre adventure beers
1st September: Test Driving & Launch Party
2nd September: Test Driving & Team Briefing
3rd September: Launch Day
14th September: Finish Line & Finish Party

July 2025

5th July: Pre adventure beers
6th July: Test Driving & Launch Party
7th July: Test Driving & Team Briefing
8th July: Launch Day
19th July: Finish Line & Finish Party

September 2025

30th August: Pre adventure beers
31st August: Test Driving & Launch Party
1st September: Test Driving & Team Briefing
2nd September: Launch Day
13th September: Finish Line & Finish Party
"It was bloody brilliant. Before this I was a Rickshaw virgin. It was daunting, challenging and hard work, but then that’s the point. It was also exciting, exhilarating and very rewarding."
Andrew D, September 2019

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3. Entry fee & what's included

The entry fee is £2,795 per rickshaw and you can have up to 3 people in each three-wheeled rolling cake tin.

Pay in monthly instalments

Choose 'monthly by card' when you sign up and you can chop the entry fee up into a bunch of monthly instalment payments.

What you get for your money

  • The Rickshaw

    A 3-wheeled, 4-stroke air-cooled rickshaw, pimped to your own design with insurance and all the other necessary paperwork

  • Pimp your rickshaw

    Submit your design from home and our team of artists will paint anything you want on your vehicle, including your charities or sponsors logos. We recommend matching your adventuring attire with your pimp job for maximum impact.

  • Official Team Swag

    We like to give you some stuff along the way. So each team member will ceremoniously receive...

    - A Rickshaw Run patch to prove your metal
    - A Rickshaw Run t-shirt in case you forget spare clothes.

  • Test Driving

    Our mechanics will bestow their knowledge in sessions covering basic maintenance and repairs on the road.

  • Rickshaw Repair Lessons

    Our mechanics will bestow their knowledge in sessions covering basic maintenance and repairs on the road.

  • Launch Party & Launch Day Ceremony

    A ruddy great big knees up including dinner, some free drinks and awesome local live music. Plus an official send off ceremony on launch day.

  • Finish Line & Finish Party

    We set the stage for your finish line photo and round things off with another rowdy shindig to swap tales from the road. Much back slapping and a bit of falling over is likely.

  • Some kit

    A few key spare parts plus some basic tools.

  • The Adventure

    A week of some of the most underpant-stirring adventuring possible in a rickshaw.

  • The Knowledge

    Support from our team of experts to advise you how to get to the start line, the best outfits for the parties and the best biscuits to cure altitude sickness.
    Plus the team handbook packed with pre-adventure info and updates on your Run.

  • A community of likeminded idiots

    We'll introduce you to Himalaya veterans if you want a chat before the adventure. Most importantly you get the company of fellow Adventurists in India. You're joining a collective of genius-idiots drawn to the call of overland stupidity.

"I thought it was fantastic. Loved every minute. Getting hypothermia didn't dampen my experience... just made for more interesting stories."
Adam B, June 2018

Refundable Vehicle Deposit

We take a refundable vehicle deposit of £1000 per team, due about a month before the launch.

The deposit is fully refundable and deductions will only be made if the rickshaw is seriously damaged or if there are bits missing. If you don't bring it to the finish line we'll need to use some of your deposit to recover it so it's best, and cheaper, to get it there yourself.

We understand the 'shaws will take a bit of a kicking because we've been running these adventures since 2006 so we don't deduct anything for normal Rickshaw Run grade wear and tear. We'd rather not have to take a deposit at all but it's a boring necessity so we do our best to make it as painless as possible.

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4. The rickshaw

The Himalayan mountain passes are quite tall, and a bit steep, so you'll be driving a slightly larger model of three-wheeled glorified lawnmower - the 4 stroke.

This means you have slightly more power than the standard 2 stroke model, but don't worry, the largest mountain range in the world does a marvellous job of making sure this is still a totally unsuitable choice of vehicle. Which is, of course, the whole point.

Here is a visual representation of the rickshaw and its suitability for driving over the Himalaya. In Figure 1 we have a gentleman looking rather grumpy as a Rickshaw Run team pulls up on the side of the street...
And here in Figure 2 we see the same gentlemen just after he's been told the idiots in the painted lawnmower are driving over the mountains in their 198cc three-wheeler.

Rickshaw Specs

*It’s worth bearing in mind that rickshaws of the same model will probably all be different to each other and words like “power” are in used in the more general sense of there not being any.
  • Make:

    Bajaj Auto Rickshaw

  • Engine:

    4 stroke DTSi Engine, Air Cooled

  • Engine size:

    198.88cc

  • Power:

    10.5 HP at 4500 rpm

  • Transmission:

    4 forward, 1 reverse

  • Fuel capacity:

    8 litres

  • Top speed:

    55kmph (ish)

  • Weight:

    277kg

"We have seen an incredible part of the world. The scenery is absolutely stunning and never ceases to amaze. Travelling through this amazing place by rickshaw is brilliant. The low speed allows for much more time to enjoy it."
Anton T, June 2019

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5. Pimp my rickshaw

A few weeks before you set off for India you submit a paint job to our team of rickshaw pimpers. These guys are actual real artists when they're not painting rickshaws. But when they are painting rickshaws they turn your 2D vision into a life-sized custom masterpiece.

This may not technically be part of the official specifications but we consider it one of the most important elements. The more absurd and original the design the faster and more reliable your rickshaw becomes. This might not actually be true, but you are probably 2% more likely to be helped when you break down if you’ve got a giant smiling Ganesh painted on your trusty steed.
"Loved every minute .... except for when I had altitude sickness."
Fo Millais, June 2018

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6. Driving license & insurance

Driving Licence

To drive any vehicle in India as a foreigner it’s a legal requirement to have an International Driving Permit (IDP). So make sure you have this. The IDP is an extension of your driving license showing the vehicles you're licensed to drive and translating the information into multiple languages.

Auto rickshaws are classed as ‘light motor vehicles’ in India which means a Category A or B Stamp in your IDP normally means you're all set.

It might be legal for you to drive a rickshaw in India using your legit IDP but not quite as legal to drive a rickshaw in your home country because of the way rickshaws are classified differently around the world. If you're legal in India you shouldn't have any problems but travel insurance providers are quite good at finding excuses to invalidate policies if you become an expensive problem. So double check your license set up with them. Any questions give us a shout at Rickshaw Run HQ.

Vehicle insurance

Your rickshaw comes with the legally required third party vehicle insurance and the registration documents you need to drive in India. But be aware the insurance cover is limited and often not called on after accidents. Claims are often settled at the time on the roadside, in cash. If you damage a vehicle or injure an animal or person it's likely you'll be asked to pay up in paper money there and then. Insurance claims that do go ahead have been known to take years.

Travel & Medical Insurance

You'll need travel insurance that covers you for exactly what you're doing and exactly where you're going. Don't scrimp on this one. We might make the odd joke about how dangerous this all is, but when the shit really hits the fan you'll want decent medical and legal cover as an absolute minimum, including emergency repatriation to your home country.

Imagine how proud your family will be when they get a $50,000 hospital bill because you were too lazy to do a bit of boring paperwork for your adventure. Then go do and sort the boring paperwork instead.

Inner Line Permit

You'll need one of these if you plan to go via the Spiti Valley. It's one of the most stunning sections of the Himalaya on this adventure so get the permit even if you're not sure so you keep the option open. You can't get the permit before you arrive in India, we'll give you all the info you need in your Team Handbook when you sign up.

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7. Saving the world

Not only is the Rickshaw Run an industrial dose of adventure, it’s also about Saving the World. We ask every team to raise a minimum of £500 for the official charity Cool Earth, who work alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction.

Anything above this can be raised for any other registered charity of your choice.

WHY?

We need to save every rainforest in the world so future generations have somewhere to get stuck. Not because we’re tree hugging sandal weavers, but because the world would be shit without them. It’s not about the carbon off twatting, the point is rainforests are indescribably excellent.

HOW DO WE RAISE THE CASH?

The best way to raise these funds is through your friends and families, people you work with or anyone who's got a dirty little secret only you know about. We've found that the best way to collect these funds is to set up a fundraising page on the Cool Earth website. Your donors can chuck cash their way via your page and it saves on fees. You can also use other fundraising platforms such as Justgiving.

You've got until 4 weeks after the end of your adventure to raise the minimum amount of £500. Teams often raise the most cash while they're on the road and just after they get back, but it's wise to start your campaign early.

If you don't raise £500 by the deadline, unfortunately you will go to hell. Together with Cool Earth we give you tips and resources to help you fundraise. Then 4 weeks after the finish line party we will pester you for your final total. But don't panic, we won’t set any dogs on you, or force you to sell your children. We will be very, very disappointed though and do a sad face at you.

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8. The warning

Not only are you driving a very unsuitable vehicle on very bad roads in a very remote part of the world, you're doing this at an altitude that would give a mountain goat vertigo. Being this high and oxygen starved is detrimental to both you and your vehicle.

These are genuinely dangerous things to do.

The website is written in a light-hearted fashion but you cannot overestimate the risks involved in taking part in this adventure.

Your chances of being seriously injured or dying as a result of taking part are high. Individuals who have taken part in past Adventurists' adventures have been permanently disfigured, seriously disabled and even lost their life. This is not a glorified holiday, it's an unsupported adventure and so by its very nature extremely risky. You really are on your own and you really are putting both your health and life at risk.

This is what makes them adventures.

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9. I'm ready - sign me up

Registration is open now. Press the button of adventuring destiny and set forth into the unknown in a glorified lawnmower.

Join Adventure

 

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10. Subscribe and follow

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11. Contact us

THE ADVENTURISTS UK OFFICE:
+44(0)117 422 3400

EMAIL:
[email protected]

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