What is the Rickshaw Run?
According to the organisers the Rickshaw Run is;
“The least sensible thing to do with two weeks.”
The organisers are the eponymously named; “the Adventurists”. A team of very clever and I would imagine by now, rather wealthy lunatics based in Bristol who were the creators of the world’s most famous motoring adventure, the “Mongol Rally”.
Since they started the Mongol Rally they have continued to explore the planet to find the best locations for every conceivable form of adventure. There are now 11 different adventures which you can sign up for and some are so popular they run more than once a year and even in different countries.
One of their newest adventures is the ‘Monkey Run’ which involves riding a tiny child’s motorbike across Morocco, Peru or Romania.
Adventure 11 looks to have taken extreme to a new level as from what I can tell it involves strapping yourself to a chair attached to a bundle of very large balloons and floating across the plains of Namibia for three days hoping not to land in the middle of a pride of lions.
So, to the Rickshaw Run. The Adventurists launched the first ‘run’ in 2006 and since then it has evolved to a 4-monthly event.
Each run starts at the finish point of the last event and in the following 2 weeks teams of up to three people attempt to drive a three wheeled Tuk Tuk (Auto rickshaw) over 3,400km to a designated finish point. There’s no route, no support, no rules and absolutely no point other than to have a grand adventure, meet new people, experience new cultures and try to arrive at the finish line alive.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of travelling in a Tuk Tuk before it is essentially a glorified lawnmower that is designed for carrying light goods short distances within cities not across the entire country on questionable road surfaces and weather conditions. Having only three wheels they are also rather prone to tipping over when turning.
If you have been in a Tuk Tuk for more than half an hour you will know just how uncomfortable they are. Needless to say, I am expecting two weeks of sore, aching joints and dust filled eyes.
It’s slightly unnerving to think that a brand new and well maintained Tuk Tuk will only reach a maximum speed of 40 mph and since the battered machines supplied by the Adventurists are neither ‘new’ nor ‘well maintained’, breakdowns are to be expected. It’s fair to say that it will take a lot of luck to get our little machine all the way to the finish line.
I’ve signed up to take part in next year’s first run which starts on the 2nd January in Jaisalmer, an ancient fort city in the Northern deserts of India. We will aim to arrive in Cochin in the Southern state of Kerala on the 15th January for the finish party. Other than that, there is no plan. My co-pilot will be my best friend Paul. Paul has been my closest friend for the past 15 years and we were best men at each other’s weddings. We have already been through some great adventures and I trust him with my life. I cannot think of a better person to undertake this adventure with.
If you want to find out more about the Rickshaw Run and the other adventures offered by the Adventurists, you can check out their Website here;Why do it?
I’m tempting to paraphrase Mallory and just answer; “Because it’s there” but that would make for a very short and boring blog post.
There are many reasons for taking part. The first is probably the most obvious, I am the Mini Adventurer after all and I find it hard to turn down an opportunity for a great adventure.
Secondly, it’s an amazing opportunity to share a unique experience with my closest friend. India has been on my bucket list for a very long time and I am really looking forward to getting lost and breaking down frequently and immersing myself in the culture.
Timing is a huge factor. It’s not often that I can find long enough at the same time as my friends to take this kind of opportunity so when the opportunity is dropped in your lap you must take it.
Lastly, it’s a great reason to raise some much-needed funds for charity. By coincidence the official charity of the Rickshaw Run is Cool Earth. A charity dedicated to saving our Rainforests and supporting indigenous tribes. As many of you will know I’m a lover of all things wildlife. I was heavily influenced growing up by my Father who is a tree specialist and I have been obsessed with the rainforests since my first visit in Brazil when I was a 17-year-old exchange student. Even before this I had always dreamed of these magical forests full of wildlife and undiscovered plants. I’m proud to be able to have the opportunity to support Cool Earth and I hope to continue to do so for long time after this adventure has concluded.
Half of the world’s rainforest has been lost over the past forty years and sadly it continues to be destroyed at an alarming rate.
The only way to halt destruction is to align the future of the rainforest with the people best placed to protect it. This means placing forest in the hands of the people who rely on its survival for their survival.
Cool Earth does just that.
Unlike many schemes they don’t create reserves or put up fences. They don’t buy land. Instead, they put indigenous people back in control of their forest.
Local people stand to lose the most from deforestation but the most to gain from its protection. As such, they are the forest’s best possible custodians. That’s why all Cool Earth partnerships are community-owned and led; an approach that research is continually proving to be the most effective way to keep rainforest standing.
By developing local livelihoods, their mission is to end the cycle of deforestation entrenching villages into further poverty. Creating strong, self-determining communities – not dependency.
Cool Earth are also the only charity that works solely where the threat to the forest is greatest, on the frontline of deforestation. Each of their partnerships form a shield to make the neighbouring forest inaccessible to loggers – saving millions of acres of forest land.
With our support, Cool Earth can put in place the simple steps that change the fate of at-risk rainforest and the lives of indigenous people.
I’ve set up a fundraising page hosted by the Cool Earth Charity. This mean that every penny donated goes straight to the charity. My adventure is completely self-funded so everything I raise for charity goes directly there.
I would be very grateful if you would consider donating to my campaign, no amount is too small!
Please donate by clicking on this shamelessly heart-wrenching picture of an indigenous girl asking you to help!
You can read more about Cool Earth & Their Efforts by clicking on the logo below.