TheRickshaw Run Sri Lanka

Crossing Sri Lanka in a powered wheelbarrow

The Rickshaw Run Sri Lanka

The Rickshaw Run Sri Lanka. We initially thought it was going to be a stepping stone to the Indian Rickshaw Run, but it’s far more than that.

Upon realising that the Rickshaw Run was the best thing since someone let the milk go off and cheese was born, we thought it was about time its tentacles spread around the globe. Sri Lanka was the next logical country.

Rammed with wildlife, beaches, jungles, amazing food, some of the nicest people on the planet, and possible most importantly – rickshaws, it seemed stupid not to. It’s now firmly on our map, is a resounding success and very bloody happy we are with it too.

1. On your own

You really are on your own. From the moment you splutter off the start line, until when you emerge at the other end - or fly home in floods of tears; you are on your own. If you break down we won’t come and help you, when you break down we won’t hold your hand, when you get scared we may well laugh, and we won’t tell you the best way to go to avoid bandits and landslides. The days of having your posterior polished and someone whispering reassurances into your ear are behind you. We recommend an insurance company with a high level of medical cover and watertight emergency evacuation plans but self-reliance is what separates the big fish from the minnows.

We give you a start line, a finish line, some training and more or less enough time to reach said finish line. The rest is up to you.

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2. The Rickshaw

The engines on our Sri Lankan beasts are an impressively pathetic 10.5bhp. They have tiny wheels, shite ground clearance and bad suspension. They have no real protection from the elements, and they're incredibly unreliable.

All of this pretty much guarantees something will go wrong. Which is where you find out what you're really made of. Hopefully it's stern stuff.

Some of the off-road tracks in Sri Lanka are properly gnarly. Thankfully, with a mere 198cc at your command, this should mean you get utterly stuffed.

Engine: 4 stroke
Power: 10.5bhp
Transmission: 4 forward, 1 reverse
Fuel Capacity: 7 ltr
Top Speed: 55kmph (downhill)
Engine Size: 198cc
System Voltage: 12V , DC


Now we’re talking. Nothing screams sexiness more than your very own auto rickshaw proudly sporting your very own design of artistic genius. It’s pretty much the pinnacle of excellence.

It’s pretty easy too. We’ll supply you with a digital flag template. You can then use photoshop or some other graphics editing software to decorate said design. If you’re not too handy with a computer then you can print the template out and decorate it with crayons, marker pens or bodily fluids if needs be. Once you’re done then scan the printout or take a photo of it and send it back to us.

We’ll then get our graphic designer in Sri Lanka to make it into a ruddy great flag to mount upon your rickshaw and bam, one pimped rick. Very detailed designs can sometimes get a bit lost. Best to go big, and bold. Like Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson.

Bear in mind, they’ll make the flag exactly as per your design, which means if you make a mistake, it will also appear on your flag.

You can even take the flag home with you come the end of your adventure to adorn your living room wall for years to come.

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3. Schedule

April 2020

Negombo to Talalla beach

27th March: Warm Up
Unofficial welcoming to the bosom of The Adventurists to meet your fellow idiots. Bring your plans, bring your maps, drink too much and tear them both to shreds.

28th March: Test driving, Q&A and Party
This is a full day so you'll need to be in town the day before

29th March: Adventure Launch
The fanfare and the start gun before you're jettisoned into the unknown

4th April: Finish Line, prize-giving and party
A celebration worthy of what you've just undertaken

October 2020

Negombo to Talalla beach

9th October: Warm Up
Unofficial welcoming to the bosom of The Adventurists to meet your fellow idiots. Bring your plans, bring your maps, drink too much and tear them both to shreds.

10th October: Test driving, Q&A and Party
This is a full day so you'll need to be in town the day before

11th October: Adventure Launch
The fanfare and the start gun before you're jettisoned into the unknown

17th October: Finish Line, prizegiving and party
A celebration worthy of what you've just undertaken

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4. The Un-Route

Sri Lanka, the teardrop shaped island just south of India. Hopefully it hands you out equal measures of both tears of joy and frustration. Beaches, jungles, off-road tracks in the middle of bloody nowhere, the crumbling remnants of past kingdoms, mountains, elephants and remote villages. All this goes towards making an adventure that will basically melt your face with awesomeness.

Because this adventure is in its infancy we're still working on the perfect start line. In 2018 we tested out a couple of great locations that were good, but not perfect. In 2019 we'll test a couple more so by 2020 we'll have found a permanent venue.

The Run will finish deep in the south of the island. The exact route you take is up to you. Because this is an unsupported adventure, it'll be up to you to etch your own way into the map.

Getting there and home

This is easy enough. Fly in and out of Colombo Airport. From there you can get a bus, train or taxi, depending on how much you want to spend and how comfortable you want to be.

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5. What you get for your money

  • The Rickshaw

    A once state-of-the-art three-wheeled Bajaj auto-rickshaw, with all the paperwork necessary for you to take it on public roads.

  • Test Driving

    A full day of test driving, pimping, mechanical sessions and a Q&A evening for you to familiarise yourself with your vehicle and what you are about to take on.

  • Launch

    A ruddy good knees up and launch ceremony befitting of the brave fools about to take on the whole of Sri Lanka in a crap rickshaw.

  • The Adventure

    Offering the best and worst that Sri Lanka can throw at you and all the stories and glory that go with it.

  • Finish Line

    A rousing welcome when you finish, and a bar for you to share your stories with each other. Topped off with a grand finish party.

  • The Tech

    A shiny blog and tracking map where you can upload your location, messages and photos while you are on the road.

  • 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 pair with Ceylon tea.

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6. Paperwork

Driving License - You need to have the right sort of licence to drive a rickshaw. Basically you need something that proves you can drive a rickshaw legally in your home country, as well as something that translates it into an easily recognisable format. For example in the UK you need a category 'A' driving license and the corresponding stamp in an International Driving Permit.

Sri Lankan Visa - Many nationalities can buy this in advance and it costs just $35. More information on how this works and if you need them here.

Travel & Medical Insurance - You'll need appropriate 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 light of the dangers in our writing, but they're very real.

Vehicle deposit - £1000 - So that we can have future Rickshaw Runs we take a vehicle deposit to make sure we can get it back in something resembling the condition we gave it to you in. The deposit is fully refundable and deductions will only be made if you fail to return the vehicle, if it is seriously damaged or if there are bits missing. If your vehicle doesn’t reach the finish line we will need to make deductions to recover it, which will not only reduce your returned deposit, but might delay its return (best to get it to the finish line yourself). The deposit will be paid by your team a couple of months before the launch.

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7. Fuel, Food and Lodging

If you're a Rickshaw Run veteran then Sri Lanka will envelope you in its familiarity like a cuddle from an overweight favourite aunt - just without the smell of lavender and piss. Prices are slightly higher than in India, but are still reasonable. Expect to pay anything between £2 - £15 for a meal.

A room will likely cost you something around the £20 mark for something basic, and £50 for something with a pool, the smell of freshly laundered sheets and a minibar full of cold beer.

Petrol's cheap, around 50 English pence per litre.

You can get a rough idea of prices in Sri Lanka Here.

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8. 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 make their best efforts to raise a minimum of £500 for the official charity Cool Earth Anything above this can be raised for any other registered charity of your choice.

If you raise £1000 or more for Cool Earth you’ll be entered into the raffle with all the teams on The Adventurists adventures for a chance to win a money can’t buy trip to the Peruvian rainforest to see the work they do first hand.

Cool Earth works alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction. Local people stand to lose the most from deforestation but the most to gain from its protection, that’s why they are the forest’s best possible custodians.

All Cool Earth partnerships are community-owned and led.

By developing local livelihoods, their mission is to end the cycle of deforestation entrenching villages into further poverty. Creating strong, self-determining communities.


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. We don't just want to have adventures across this here planet, we also want to save it a bit too. We're working with the lovely folks at Cool Earth trying to not just save a tiny piece of the world at a time, but by saving the whole thing in one go.


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 through an online platform such as Virgin Money Giving as they make it easy for us to count the funds, the cash goes straight to the charities and also because it is possible for the charities to claim Gift Aid. Different charities can use different fundraising platforms in different countries so it's best to check with the charities which is best.


You've got until 6 weeks after the adventure to collect that cash, this means you get as long as possible to raise funds including the duration of the event and shortly after.


If you can't reach the target, unfortunately you will go to hell. Together with the charities we give you tips and resources to help and when the time to count up what everyone has raised comes about we will pester you somewhat, but 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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9. Contacts

+44(0)117 9635513

[email protected]

The Rickshaw Run


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10. The Warning

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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