With one wheel short of four, a two-stroke 7 horsepower lawnmower motor, a seat that is hard as nails and a chassis largely held together by its paint job, an autorickshaw isn’t really the best vehicle to cross town, let alone an entire country like India. I’m always up for a challenge though, so with a good mate that’s precisely what I found myself doing over a couple of weeks this August.
From Kochi in the deep south of Kerala to Jaisalmer – just a few clicks shy of the Pakistan border – our little custom painted three-wheeler managed to haul us 2849km through floods, deserts, mountains and utterly chaotic cities with not even so much as a flat tyre to show for it. An absolute miracle considering other teams were averaging three breakdowns per hour – the Gods truly must have been smiling on us.
Put on by The Adventurists, the Rickshaw Run India is now in it’s tenth year, with over 80 teams leaving the start line and setting off, unsupported, across the madness that is the Indian subcontinent. Aiming to hit around 250km a day there’s a lot of ground to cover, but if you’ve always wanted to ‘see a bit of India’ then there really is no better way to do it than this. Just make sure to bring a cushion and some earplugs since, like Bali, a loud horn isn’t optional, it’s a necessity.
If you love comfortable journeys in peace and quiet, I urge you not to read any further. For everyone else, have a look at their website and get involved.