Rickshaw Run India
The Details: Rickshaw Run India
This is the original rickshaw flavoured slap in the gonads of an adventure. Launched way back in 2006 when 34 pioneer teams traversed the length of India from the tropical tributaries of Kochi to the tea plantations of Darjeeling.
Here’s all the information you need to round up a couple of mates and drive a 3-wheeled shit box across the length and breadth of India. 3000 kilometres of ridiculousness awaits you…
1. The un-route
At the other end, the mighty Thar Desert in the north-west state of Rajasthan. Our spot is a palace in Jaisalmer, otherwise known as the 'Golden City'. Every day at sunset the temples and giant fort made of sandstone give every influencer within 3 miles a waking wet dream.
In between Fort Kochi and Jaisalmer everything you could hope for, and a fair bit of stuff you wouldn't hope for, will slap you about the chops with old school adventure.
Each edition goes in a different direction but the Rickshaw Run is equally stupid and glorious whether you start from the tropical south or the sandy north.
January and April 2024 have a slightly different route heading up to Shillong and back down again. From September 2024 onwards it's back to Fort Kochi and Jaisalmer - proven generators of just the right sort of mayhem.
Shillong to Fort Kochi
Fort Kochi to Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer to Fort Kochi
Fort Kochi to Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer to Fort Kochi
"A unique way to see a country, coupled with the constant fear of breaking down in the middle of nowhere, was very exhilarating."
Christie S, August 2019.
"Feel like I’ve been chewed up and shat back out."Anonymous Poet & Endurance Rickshaw Driver, August 2019.
2. The dates
April 2024 - SOLD OUT
UNROUTE: Shillong to Fort Kochi
3rd April: Pre-adventure evening beers
4th April: Test Driving & Launch Party
5th April: Test Driving & Team Briefing
6th April: Launch Day
20th April: Finish Line & Party
September 2024 - SOLD OUT
UNROUTE: Fort Kochi to Jaisalmer
6th September: Pre-adventure evening beers
7th September: Test Driving & Launch Party
8th September: Test Driving & Team Briefing
9th September: Launch Day
22nd September: Finish Line & Party
29th December 2024: Pre-adventure evening beers
30th December 2024: Test Driving & Launch Party
31st December 2024: Test Driving & Team Briefing
1st January 2025: Launch Day
14th January 2025: Finish Line & Party
2nd April: Pre-adventure evening beers
3rd April: Test Driving & Launch Party
4th April: Test Driving & Team Briefing
5th April: Launch Day
18th April: Finish Line & Party
3rd September: Pre-adventure evening beers
4th September: Test Driving & Launch Party
5th September: Test Driving & Team Briefing
6th September: Launch Day
19th September: Finish Line & Party
3. Entry fee & what's included
That makes it £798 each for a team of three.
You can pay in instalments too, chopping the fee up into monthly chunks.
What you get for your money
A 3-wheeled, 2-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.
Designed so you can learn to be master of your 3-wheeled destiny. It also includes how to switch your rickshaw on, how not to stall it more than you actually drive it and how not to let it fall over when taking on things like corners or potholes. Our mechanics are on hand to assist and answer all those pesky questions like "how does it go forward?"
Rickshaw Repair Lessons
We have a team of most excellent auto-rickshaw mechanics who will give you the basics of how to tinker with your chariot when it inevitably breaks down.
Sports match & Q&A
No adventure across India can begin without a starter of cricket. We'll pit you against a talented local team and watch how you fare. And if after a trouncing you feel you have questions about what on this fine earth you are about to commit to doing, then the Q&A with our splendid crew should cover it all off.
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.
We give each team a basic tool kit for fixing up your steed once released into the wild.
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 bloody great big knees up to swap tales from the road. Much back slapping and quite a bit of falling over is likely.
Two weeks of being slapped about the chops with everything India can throw at you and your glorified lawnmower. Adventuring stupidity at its very finest.
We'll be on hand by phone and email to answer your questions before the adventure. Our team of experts can advise you how to get to the start line, the best outfits for the parties and our recommended blend of Darjeeling tea.
Plus the team handbook packed with pre-adventure info and updates on your Run.
A community of likeminded idiots
And we'll introduce you to Rickshaw Run India veterans if you want a chat. Most importantly you get the company of fellow Adventurists, a collective of genius-idiots drawn to the call of overland stupidity.
5. Pimp my rickshaw
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.
Not only does this mean your ride looks shit-hot, but the layers of paint accumulated over the years give the Rickshaws almost 0.5% extra structural durability, which is almost entirely useless.
6. How much will I spend on the road?
The best people to explain are the veteran teams (all prices in USD).
“We spent roughly $50 per person per day, without scrimping on food or lodging. We only had one breakdown which was just overheating so we cooled it down and replaced the spark plug which cost less than $1. And we crashed into another team's rickshaw so we paid for their replacement headlight ~$5."
Kira Niccum-Pritzl, August 2017
“I didn't stay in fancy places, but I would estimate $30 USD per day for lodging, and another $10 for food.
Robi Holmes, January 2019
"I think our [accommodation] budget was about $75USD per night max and preferred option was triple share rooms or family rooms if possible. Remember we were 3 strangers, haha, so 2 of us shared a bed most nights in sleeping bags of course.
“$20 USD per day per person [for food]. If you’re happy to eat street food it's 5 to 10 cents for Chai, 50 cents for Vada Pav (deep fried potato dumpling placed inside a bread bun), 50 cents for sugar cane juice, couple dollars for dosa.”
Tim Dinte, January 2018
“Chai and samosas for brekky $0.70, street food $2, fancy restaurant $14 each. Tyre repair $2.50, full grease and reattach exhaust $2. Head gaskets 35 cents, changed ourselves.
“Initial set up with a heap of spares, 2 jerry cans etc <$30. Antibiotics to fix Delhi belly $1.40.
Laura Sewell, August 2019
“$3 - $9 USD per night sleeping (I know, I would have appreciated fancier hotels). Food at about the same.”
Nik de Jong, January 2016
“Our average daily cost per person including food and lodging and petrol was probably about $30-$50... and we ate well. A couple days were higher due to fancy lodging decisions."
Zac Boswell, August 2018
Matthew Boesch, August 2019
“Our run costs are 200 to 250 USD per day staying in 4-5 star hotels and buying 2 rooms per night. Roughly 70 USD per person per day. Kingfisher costs - 500 USD.”
Mike Elhard, January 2020 & April 2017
How much will I spend on rickshaw repairs?
“We rolled our rickshaw in the mountains of goa, cost about 5 quid to bash out the panels, straighten the steering and rub brake fluid in our team mate’s wound. Most of our repairs were actually done for free by lovely random people.”
Timothy Entwistle, January 2016
*We did end up charging Tim £90 to fix it again after the Run but that’s excellent value for money considering he tried to bounce the rickshaw along the road upside down instead of using the wheels like everyone else.
“We had to have our clutch rebuilt with all new plates, the mechanic came in on his day off and found it for us, for £10 inc parts. Insanity ... I also forgot to mention that the clutch failed ON A MOUNTAIN LION RESERVE AREA. Coincidentally also the worst place to do a nature poop."
Shane Abbott, January 2018
“Only major repair cost was having our clutch plates replaced because I stripped them riding the gears up hills. Don't do this. But the entire repair in a remote village in the hills was $10 and included an oil change so yeah.
“The repair included the mechanic taking a tuk tuk up the mountain to us at a bus stop, looking at the engine with 20+ people, then coasting it down the hill.”
Zac Boswell, August 2018
“Our most costly repair (taking apart the engine and replacing a blown piston) came out to roughly $8 USD if I remember correctly. The mechanic was so nervous to tell us thinking it might be too steep.”
Sean Dobbe, January 2017
Weld roof rack - 5 USD
Replace exhaust system - 17 USD
Replace head gasket - 10 USD
Repair brakes - 2 USD”
Mike Elhard, January 2020
"We didn't break down other than needing to replace a spark plug, but we did have to have a roof rack welded which cost us less than the equivalent of $1.”
Robi Holmes, January 2019
“One breakdown for entire engine replacement and 12 hours of manual labour = $100
“This is easily the cheapest and funnest adventure of all time!”
Tammy MacKenzie, August 2016
7. Driving license & insurance
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.
Travel & Medical InsuranceYou'll need travel insurance that covers you for exactly what you're doing and exactly where you're going. We wouldn'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. 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.
8. Saving the world
Anything above this can be raised for any other registered charity of your choice.
How do we raise the cash?
You've got until 2 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 2 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.
9. The warning
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.