Rickshaw Run: Rickshaw Torque Test

A 7 horse power engine doesn't sound powerful but a rickshaw has just enough power to tow another rickshaw. Which is lucky, considering they break down a fair bit.

Multiple Adventurist veteran Mr Chris Plough has first-hand experience of the raw power you get from 145.45cc of prime Indian engineering.

"We're going through a hilly section with a lot of curves; Alec and Jeff are pushing their rickshaw pretty hard, but we didn't think much of it.

Just as they start going up another hill, it just quits. We spend about 15 minutes trying to get it started again, but it remains dead. I pull out the tools and begin going through the basics - fuel, spark and air all seem to be fine; so I pull off the head and we see the problem - no compression.

There's a gaping hole blown through the dome of the piston. We're a ways from the nearest town. Well - there's only one way I can see to get there - tow it!

I didn't really expect to make it - I never would have guessed that one little rickshaw could pull 4 people and lots of luggage up 40km of damn steep hills, all while towing another rickshaw.

Hell - we even passed a few trucks on the way. Sure, we had to keep it in 1st gear and wind the heck out of her - but it worked! And that's when I fell in love with my rickshaw and named her Lucy.

That afternoon we found a mechanic and had a great time with some kids and their families. That's the benefit of breaking down - you meet good people.

So finally, we made it to the final stretch - the climb up the mountain to Shillong. There's a ton of traffic - like an LA traffic jam, and we're going in fits and starts. Soon our patience runs thin and we start passing trucks and buses by weaving between them.

After a few kilometers, we run across a team on the side of the road. We stop and learn that they're having problems with their transmission. We help give them running push and they go for a few hundred meters before stalling out. They're adamant that they can push the rickshaw to the end, but we're still 60km out! Well - towing worked once, it'll work again - right? But up a fucking mountain? Hell yes! No rickshaw left behind!

Luckily another team pulls over and we're able to offload luggage and a passenger to reduce weight. And away we go! Well, that sounds fast. It was really just at a fast crawl. I'm pretty sure we could have jogged faster.

About 30km in, everything starts getting really steep and the heavens open up. So, in the middle of a torrential downpour, we grind up the mountain at a snails pace. At the really bad parts, we all jump out and push them to help keep them moving. I really had no idea if we were going to make it, but was willing to give everything to find out - including nearly blowing Lucy's engine.

When we finally make it to Shillong, we got lost and spend a good hour crawling through traffic, then backtracking before finally finding the hotel. Once the finish line was in sight, pure ecstasy hit and I gunned it.

We zoomed through the finish and I dragged them around the parking circle while we yelled and screamed, still at full throttle. The second time around, I stopped and we jumped out. I can't imagine a better finish. Beer and celebrations ensued."

This is the second post by Chris Plough about his April 2013 Rickshaw Run.

You can sign up for the August Rickshaw Run here.