Rickshaw Run Northeast

The Details: Rickshaw Run Northeast India

Everything you need to know about the newest Rickshaw Run in the far northeast of India. If you landed here first, check out the main website here.

We’re calling this the Wild One, mostly because there’s only been one edition so far and we’re still not sure what’s going to happen on the second edition. Splendid.

Contents

 

1. The un-route

Rickshaw Run Northeast India Un-route Map
START & FINISH: Shillong, capital of Meghalaya

DISTANCE: Depends how far you wobble off the edge of the map

TIME: 2 days test driving, 13 days on the road

PIT STOP MEETUPS: 2 locations to be confirmed

Most teams will head north into Assam and take on the seven northeast states in a vaguely clockwise direction. But you can go in any direction you want. We'll organise two meetups along the way in the first and second week so you can meet your fellow runners on the road. We're researching locations right now, but it's likely to be up north in Arunachal Pradesh followed by another one in Nagaland.
“Taking shortcuts down places that probably were not meant to be roads, smiling kids, delighted elderlies, enormous smiles, huge snakes, monkey attacks, ELEPHANTS!!!, ‘not possible’ off-roading, big rickshaws on tiny barges, potholes, speed bumps... All of it.

The run was great fun, this area of India is so beautiful and worth visiting … There are many firsts to do up here!”

Cornelia Fleischer, Northeast Pioneers Edition May 2023
"Longwa village on the Myanmar border is doable! Once you overcome the "highway" road." By Dotan, Team Turn the Page, Northeast Pioneers Edition

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2. The dates

This newest and wildest Rickshaw Run spewed itself into glorious existence in 2023. 58 brave fools pointed their rolling cake tins into the Northeast and proved that we should've done this years ago.

Next edition: March 2024

28th February: Pre-adventure evening beers
29th February: Test Driving & Launch Party
1st March: Test Driving & Team Briefing
2nd March: Launch Day
14th March: Finish Line & Party

Coming soon: November 2024

We're fiddling with the final details on this one. If you want a heads up when we open registration press the button of three-wheeled destiny...
These dates are provisional. They'll be confirmed when this edition goes on sale so don't book your flights yet.

13th November: Pre-adventure beers
14th November: Test driving and official launch party
15th November: Test driving and team briefing
16th November: Launch day
28th November: Finish line and finish party
"It was an amazing experience. Driving a rickshaw through the Indian countryside is such a unique experience. People are naturally drawn to you because you stand out everywhere you go. People are curious and want to meet you.

It was great that every stop we made we met someone new. So many handshakes, and smiles, and selfies and it was awesome. What The Adventurists offer makes it what it is. Keep up the great work."

Travis Meredith, Northeast Pioneers Edition May 2023
Sand trail by James Feeney, Pioneers Edition 2023
Lorenzo, Team Tucati, Pioneers Edition 2023
James Feeney, Pioneers Edition 2023

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3. First edition highlights

We asked some of the Pioneers on the first edition in May for their Northeast highlights...

Clemens Froelich, Austria

  • A wild Rhino up close 20 metres bathing in front of us.
  • Shared the rickshaw with monks who wanted to go river bathing and we gave them a lift.
  • Taking in the views from Sela pass at 4200 metres altitude.
  • Parked the rickshaw in an army camp overnight as we were breaking down in the middle of the night in Arunachal Pradesh. Luckily in front of an army camp. The soldiers helped us to park it safely and organised us a transport to our homestay.
  • The intelligence agent at the checkpoint to enter Arunachal Pradesh who asked to take our rickshaw for a ride. We feared he would never return but just drove 50 metres to the next petrol station to say hi and show off with his friends.
  • The visit at a local school at the Indo - Bhutanese border where we gave a speech about our adventure and the kids took dozens of pics with our rickshaw.
  • The heavily armed soldiers with their loaded AK47s at a checkpoint between Sikkim and West Bengal who waved us down to pose for pictures with us.
  • Wild yaks roaming around at the passes of Arunachal Pradesh with their up to 2 metre long horns. In the foggy and misty weather they seemed like animals from another planet.
Clemens Froelich on the Rickshaw Run Northeast India Pioneers Edition
Clemens Froelich on the Rickshaw Run Northeast India Pioneers Edition

Rob Weston, Australia

  • Accidentally (not accidentally) finding an entrance to a game reserve and driving the rickshaw through mud to get within 100m of a rhino.
  • Meeting locals in Megalahaya who advised of a bamboo walk in the mountains. We did a three hour detour and four hour hike to see it. All the locals we asking how we found it and heard about it as they rarely see any foreigners.
  • Joining a rap video for a local Sikkim artist as back up dancers.
  • The interactions with the locals and random situations that we found ourselves in everyday when we got off the main roads were the magical ones. We were up everyday at 4am to get 4 hours of driving done so that we had the rest of the day for Indian randomness on the backroads, in little restaurants, shops, swims in rivers, runs through tea fields, trekking, learning to cook at homestays, eating street food with locals and drinking with locals in their homes (sometimes even tea).
Rob Weston on the Rickshaw Run Northeast Pioneers Edition, May 2023

Cornelia Fleischer, Germany

Taking shortcuts down places that probably were not meant to be roads, smiling kids, delighted elderlies, enormous smiles, huge snakes, monkey attacks, ELEPHANTS!!!, ‘not possible’ off-roading, big rickshaws on tiny barges, potholes, speed bumps... All of it.

The run was great fun, this area of India is so beautiful and worth visiting … There are many firsts to do up here!
Cornelia & Maddy on the Rickshaw Run Northeast India Pioneers Edition May 2023

Travis Meredith, Canada

Being the only team to make it to 8 states. We were often the first team into new areas and it was exciting not knowing what to expect or how other teams had managed. For us the trip was about interacting with people. We didn't see a lot of sights and we don't have a lot of crazy stories, but we met so many people on our way, and shook hands, and shared stories, and took selfies and loved every interaction.

It was an amazing experience.

Driving a rickshaw through the Indian countryside is such a unique experience. People are naturally drawn to you because you stand out everywhere you go. People are curious and want to meet you. It was great that every stop we made we met someone new. So many handshakes, and smiles, and selfies and it was awesome. What the adventurists offer makes it what it is. Keep up the great work.
Travis and Jordy on the Rickshaw Run Northeast Pioneers Edition, May 2023

Dotan Barak, Israel

Meeting the former headhunters of the Konyak tribe
In the state of Nagaland, we wanted to visit the village of Lungwa, famous for its past "headhunters." This term refers to warriors who would bring back decapitated heads of enemies after battles as proof of their kills. Morbidly fascinating ... The last documented case was in 1946.

The village of Longwa has residents from 6 tribes, including the Konyak tribe which our guide Jay-Lu belongs to. We had a spicy dinner (cry-worthy) with Jay-Lu's family in their kitchen/dining area. Half the village is in India and half in Myanmar (Burma), with the residents having dual citizenship.

A main attraction is taking photos with retired "headhunters" based on their claims, though their ages don't always match up with the practice ending in 1946.

There are also local shotgun manufacturers with shooting ranges set up around the village. No safety briefings before firing.
Dotan Barak on the Rickshaw Run Northeast India Pioneers Edition May 2023
The road to Mokokchung
The road between Mon and Mokokchung turned out to be a rough, bumpy one. To start, the "roads" in Mon were optimistically described as "some asphalt connecting potholes." We arrived on a Sunday and struggled to find fuel, water or signs of life.

But we set out on the 150km journey that should take ~3 hours on a proper road. It was a hot, deserted area with the occasional biker or pedestrian. The road logic wasn't always clear - stretches of dirt and mud alternated randomly with short paved sections, speed bumps, and more.

We met some road construction crews and elephants dragging logs. This stretch turned an expected 3 hours into 12 long hours of bumpy, hot, confusing progress.
Dotan Barak on the Rickshaw Run Northeast India Pioneers Edition May 2023
Living root bridges of Meghalaya via military base shortcut
We entered a large military base, passing by soldiers' quarters, orderly grounds, and soldiers in uniform. We reached the middle of the base, and a military policeman stopped us. "What are you doing here?" he asked.

"We're crossing the base on our way to the bridges," we replied. "Well, the road here is really bad. You won't be able to pass, especially not with a rickshaw."

"We'll try, at worst, we'll come back."

The road ahead was indeed broken, but somehow, we managed to cross it safely amidst the perplexed looks of farmers in the fields and car travelers who wanted to cross and follow us in trauma.

From there, we reached the beginning of the road to the bridges and pools. 2500 steps downhill, a dip in the pools, and 2500 steps uphill. A small climb ... 3 hours we thought. 3 hours turned into almost 7 hours of pounding knees, sauna-style sweating, a heart rate that sets records, and breathing in short supply. It turns out that from the second hill, there's a route with only 300 steps.
Dotan Barak on the Rickshaw Run Northeast India Pioneers Edition May 2023

William Lonergan, USA

Crazy good times, lots of type two fun.
William Lonergan on the Rickshaw Run Northeast India Pioneers Edition, May 2023

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4. Entry fee & what's included

Get £500 off the standard entry fee... For a limited time it's down to £2,295 per rickshaw. You can squash up to three people in each engineering marvel on wheels.

That makes it a measly £765 each for a team of three.

You can pay in instalments too, chopping the fee up into monthly chunks.
"This road is like a spiritual experience." - understatement central from David Price on the Pioneers Edition
Rolling rickshaws over rolling green hills. Another corker by James Feeney on the Pioneers Edition

What you get for your money

  • The Rickshaw

    A start of the art 3-wheeled, 4-stroke air-cooled rickshaw with third party insurance and all the other necessary paperwork.

  • Test Driving

    Two days of adventure prep and test driving including rickshaw driving lessons from the Rickshaw Run crew.

  • Rickshaw repair lessons

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

  • 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.

  • 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. Includes dinner, some free drinks, much back slapping and bad dancing.

  • Official Team Swag

    - A Rickshaw Run patch to make your adventure blazer complete
    - A Rickshaw Run t-shirt in case you forget spare clothes
    - Some other stuff we're still deciding on

  • The Knowledge

    Team handbook with all the pre-adventure knowledge you need including nuggets of wisdom from previous teams.

  • Chat groups - before and during the run

    Your team handbook has a chat group to meet your fellow Adventurists before you set off plus a teams only WhatsApp group for on the road chit-chat.

  • Daily coverage and Photo of the Day Competition

    A daily opportunity to win the widely renowned photography prize, plus updates on our socials every day.

  • A community of likeminded idiots

    Most importantly you get the company of fellow Adventurists. You're joining a collective of genius-idiots drawn to the call of overland stupidity.

  • The Adventure

    Two weeks of some of the most underpant-stirring adventuring possible in a rickshaw.

Ewen catching a three-wheeler ferry on the Pioneers Edition.
Stuck in the mud - Doc and Martin, Team Disco Pants


Refundable Vehicle Deposit

We take a refundable vehicle deposit of £1000 per team, due 4 weeks 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.

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5. The rickshaw

"The rickshaw allowed us to go off the main roads onto dirt paths, goat trails, and open land. It simply went everywhere! This made the trip enjoyable since we could access any corner, meet people, and see landscapes."

Dotan Barak, Northeast Pioneers Edition May 2023
The 4-stroke three-wheeled 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 exactly as it should be. If nothing went wrong it wouldn't be a proper adventure.

They're also not great at going up hills, which will be entertaining in the mountain sections, so we recommend packing light. But the raw power of 198cc is more than you actually need, so you should be grateful we haven't made the engines even smaller.
On the border of Bhutan - Brandon, Team Room and Board on the Pioneers Edition
  • Make:

    Bajaj Auto Rickshaw

  • Engine

    4 stroke, air cooled

  • Engine Size

    198cc

  • Power:

    10.5 HP at 4500 rpm

  • Transmission

    4 forward, 1 reverse

  • Fuel Capacity

    7 litres

  • Weight:

    277kg

  • Top Speed

    55kmph (ish)

Sunset rickshaws by Brendan Meyer, Team Ugly Tuklings
Lovely framing by James Cooper, Team High Maintenance

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6. 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.

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7. 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.
"Double decker living root bridge" - Steve Young, Pioneers Edition
The Naga Hills, Nagaland - Lorenzo, Team Tucati, Pioneers Edition

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 should get this in place as soon as you register. 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.

Take a minute to 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 and sort the boring paperwork instead.
"We saw Kanchenjunga"- Scott Shaver
Non-standard window configuration - Jeremy & James

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8. Permits for restricted areas

You'll definitely need an official permit in advance to get into Arunachal Pradesh. There are other areas where you may need to register your arrival with Police or local authorities.

Less formally, but equally important is informal permission you may need to enter remote areas. There are some hill tribes and communities you can't visit without an invite. So you'll need to check on local information as you go. Make sure you don't venture into any remote communities where unannounced tourists rocking up in a bright pink rickshaw may not be welcome without an invitation.

Arunachal Pradesh: Protected Area Permit (PAP).

Meghalaya: No permit. Local police or foreigner registration may be required in some areas.

Manipur: No permit. Police and foreigners office registration required.

Nagaland: No permit. Registration with Foreigners Registration Officer or the police.

Mizoram: No permit. Registration with foreigners office required.

Tripura: No permit. Registration requirements unclear, we're checking this.

Assam: No permit required.
"Two tuks two countries", Jeremy Usher

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9. 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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10. The warning: this is dangerous

You'll be driving a very unsuitable vehicle on very bad roads in a very remote part of the world. That means it's genuinely very dangerous. Depending on your route you may also be driving at very high altitudes in remote areas. Being really high and oxygen starved is detrimental to both you and your vehicle.

These adventures are definitely dangerous.

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

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.
Eyal - Team Turn the Page, Pioneer Edition
Rickshaw sandbath - Maddy, Pioneer Edition

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11. 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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12. Subscribe and follow

Follow the Rickshaw Run

Follow The Adventurists

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13. Contact us

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

EMAIL:
[email protected]

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