Rickshaw Run Wrap Up

Rickshaw Run Wrap Up

Rickshaw Run Baby

Rickshaw RunI have been so lazy about blogging that I didn’t write anything during our crazy adventure of racing a tuk tuk across India.  The Rickshaw Run was no holiday, I’ll tell you that.  We picked up a tuk tuk in Jaisalmer India and then beat it over the “roads” all the way to Kochi.  We didn’t take the most direct route either, we meandered inland a bit and went through a couple wildlife preserves.  We took it over some mountains including the Western Ghats.  In total we drove that little tuk tuk 2,908km or 1,807 miles.  To go this far in this underpowered kitchen appliance is no small feat.  The top speed of the tuk was about 50km per hour which means at top speed we’d have to drive for 4.5 hours a day without stopping to get to our destination.  Well if you’ve ever driven in India, on some little back roads, you know this is impossible.  If you haven’t driven in India, on some little back roads, let me tell you it’s impossible.  Some days we were lucky to average 20km per hour.

Driving In India

Making PotteryWe drove on average 9 – 10 hours a day, everyday.  We’d make stops for chai or stops to meet some random people making bricks or pots or something but we spent most of our time driving.  I have never slept so well in my life.  We were so damn exhausted every single day that I don’t think I made it to 10pm before falling asleep during our two week adventure.  We’d be up and on the road most mornings by 7am and our goal was to always be looking for a hotel room in a town by 6pm so that we didn’t have to drive in the dark.  Driving is absolute insanity in India.  There is a very distinct pecking order on the roads.  Cows, Pigs, Busses, Trucks, Cars, Tuk Tuks, Motorcycles, Humans.  If there was anything in the road above you on the list, you’d better damn move.  I can’t count how many times we were literally pushed off the road by traffic coming at us on the wrong side of the road.  One time there was someone passing oncoming traffic so they were in our lane, next to them was someone passing them oncoming on our shoulder, there was nowhere for us to go but into the dirt.

Being Filmed

Crazy FamilyWe didn’t have the rickshaw run all to ourselves.  We agreed to be filmed for a documentary that Lonley planet is financing.  I don’t know if it’ll ever come out but it added a whole new challenge to our adventure.  We were followed by another rickshaw and often we had a camera woman onboard our rickshaw.  Sometimes we’d have to go back and reshoot a drive by or something or we’d have to reshoot an interview because of some technical problem or some loud noise in the background.  This was an interesting and sometimes difficult additon to our adventure and I’m not sure if I had it to do over that I’d invite a crew along again.  The good news is that I didn’t take hardly any video while on the adventure, I’m a bit dependant on the production company giving us some of their footage.  We’ll see how that goes.

Adventure In General

Tough RoadI went on this adventure because I love adventure.  I think everyone should go on adventures like this.  We never knew where we were staying.  We never knew if the rickshaw was going to make it the next km down the road.  We never knew where we were going to eat.  At the beginning of the adventure these were all hurdles to overcome and we did.  Because of this I know I can adventure anywhere else and not worry about those things.  Problems have a way of working themselves out if you attack them with an open mind and a big smile.  We were fortunate to have very few problems on this adventure but when we did, someone always came out of the woodwork to help.  The people of India are incredible, helpful, giving and always willing to give back a smile.  As long as you don’t hold their driving against them, they were all amazing.  I could never figure out if they’re the best drivers in the world or the worst.  The drive like absolute maniacs and yet they’re not all killed in car and motorcycle crashes.  I’m still confused to this day.

Off The Beaten Path

Finish LineIf you ever have the chance, go to India and get off the tourist path.  We spent the majority of our two weeks in places that rarely if ever see tourists and these were by far the highlights of our trip.  Everyone we encountered wanted to take a “selfie” with us.  Sometimes this got a bit annoying but once we just accepted it as the way of life for us in India, it wasn’t so bad.  People were just so amazed to see tourists that they had to capture it on their phones.  We traded a lot of selfies for assistance in some of the most far flung corners of India.  The beauty is we couldn’t get people to take any rupees as compensation when they helped us.  A guy helped us get around a road closure which took pure determination and almost an hour of time.  The road was less than a road, steeper than a mountain and certainly not there for tuk tuks.  We prevailed with his assistance and after it all, he wouldn’t take a single rupee for gas for his motorcycle.  The people are truly special and I hope everyone gets to visit India someday.


Pilot Michael
Pilot Michael