Funny But True Things About the Rickshaw Run

Funny But True Things About the Rickshaw Run

About 10 years ago, a group of crazy people calling themselves ‘The Adventurists’ created an insane 14-day Bucket List adventure race – The Rickshaw Run. Essentially, they created an adventure where participants drive a 3-wheeled Tuk Tuk (a tricycle with an engine) across all of India.  The catch? Well, no one knows what will happen during the race or if they’ll even make it to the finish line.  If you are crazy enough to enter this insane adventure race, you will battle the 1.2 billion people and 140 million vehicles in India while experiencing an epic adventure trying not to die all while having the time of your life! If you survive, you’ll love to reminisce these funny, but true things about the Rickshaw Run.

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You are going to get lost!

The adventurists use the term “un-route” to describe the path between the starting line and finish line! This is because they do their best not to guide you in order to protect the sanctity of the insanity. Besides, it would be pointless to do any planning or mapping with all the unknown variables that will be thrown at you by the sub-continent. So, expect to get lost everyday as you drive through the labyrinth of people, animals, and millions of vehicles as you search for a place to sleep and eat every day.

You will become the best defensive driver in the world!

There may be no place in the world scarier to drive than India. The roads are littered with more obstacles that you would find in a Japanese game show. Every day you dodge cows, pedestrians, and countless vehicles that will you put your Frogger skills to the test. You won’t be able to relax behind the wheel, you will learn what defensive driving really is!

Going to the bathroom will be a scary adventure!

The only thing scarier that driving in India is using the bathrooms! In the beginning you will find yourself perplexed upon entering a traditional Indian bathroom. If you are lucky, you will find a traditional western style seat, but usually you will enter to see a squat toilet (a hole in the ground with two foot grip pads on each side). If you dare to squat it out, then the real adventure begins as you figure out how to “wipe” by using the Bum Gun or the bucket of water with a small pitcher hanging on the side. From that point on, you will undoubtedly hoard any toilet paper you find as you fight off the symptoms of Delhi Belly!

You will sell your soul for a hot shower!

Driving in the Tuk Tuk is a great feeling as the lack of doors opens you up to all of the environment of India. However, you will also collect all of that Indian environment all over your body. Each day you will be caked in the dust, exhaust, and pollution of the road as you struggle to even run your fingers through your hair.

You will carry so much cash, you will feel like a pimp!

At the end of 2016, India created a homemade cash crisis, as Prime Minister Modi announced that all 500 and 1,000 Rupee notes would cease to be legal tender and needed to be exchanged for newly created 500 and 2,000 notes. This caused somewhat of a financial scramble as ATMs were constantly out of cash. Couple that with a great exchange rate ($1 USD to $67 INR) and finding an ATM with cash, you’d likely withdraw so many bills you’d walk away feeling like a baller!

Expect to break down and even crash!

When arriving at the starting line, The Adventurists will recommend that you take one of their mechanics classes. However, unless you consider yourself a grease monkey, these classes might as well be taught in an ancient Sumerian dialect. The Tuk Tuk is a simple engine that will most likely cause more issues than any space craft created by a NASA engineer. If somehow you do manage to avoid major break downs, don’t fret. You are bound to crash as the sub-continent and its drivers will throw everything they has at you and your Tuk Tuk.

You will be hounded by the local paparazzi!

Indian Tuk Tuks normally have yellow tops with either a black or a green bottom. So you can imagine the stares you are going to get as your ride your Skittles colored chariot down the road! Everywhere you go, locals will approach you begging for a “selfie”. They will even drive you off the road hoping for a picture to document the time they met some crazy westerner in their neighborhood on their Facebook page.

Ordering food will be a game of Russian roulette!

Beware of the Delhi Belly! This warning will haunt you every time you visit a “hotel” (aka: restaurant) in India! Make no mistake, the food in India is amazing if you can figure out what to eat. It’s just that every time you enter a “hotel,” after being shuffled to the wash rooms, you are handed a menu of countless options and usually without pictures. Therefore, you’ll find yourself pointing to the couple of words you recognize and hoping for the best!

You will communicate a lot via sign language or charades!

According to Census of India of 2001, India has 122 major languages and 1,599 other languages – occasionally it feels like none of them are English. However, the Indian people are wonderful and will work with you to figure out exactly what you need. Whether you are ordering food at a restaurant, trying to explain what is broken on the tuk tuk, or just having a laugh with the local kids, you will use all kinds of hand signals or charades to get your message across.

Kingfisher Beer will become your stress reliever!

When in India, drink as the Indians drink. Since 1978, Kingfisher has been the most trusted brand of beer in India lubricating those who partake in the refreshing beverage. After a long tense day of navigating your rickshaw, you will immediately look for a tall Kingfisher to relieve the stress of the day and celebrate the fact that you didn’t die.

You will make the best of friends while having the time of your life!

The Adventurists describe the Rickshaw Run as.

“A 3,000km Indian adventure in a 7 horsepower glorified lawnmower. The Rickshaw Run is easily the least sensible thing to do with two weeks”

But to be honest, it is probably the greatest and most sensible thing you can possibly do for two weeks. You will meet people from around the world, all joining in an insane adventure. With your new friends, you will discover not only a great country, but also a lot about yourself and your ability to survive while having the time of your life.

Don’t forget to Pin this to your Bucket List Board!

74 thoughts on “Funny But True Things About the Rickshaw Run

  1. That sounds insane and also a thing I would love to do!!! I’ve been to India so of course I used my fair share of tuktuks and I totally understand how that would be a crazy adventure. Now on my bucket list!

  2. Dude!! Great post!

    Amazing pictures and story! I can relate with everything. While in India last year for 3 months, Everyone thought I was the Undertaker or some other WWE Professional Wrestling Star.

    I have hundreds of pictures of me and Indians posing in Pro-Wrestling poses. It was flattering at first, then after a couple months, “no Photos!” was my motto. I guess I can relate better with real stars and their “Sean Penn” attitude.

    Really glad you got to do something like this. It does teach you about what you can endure and that even in chaos… life just has a funny way of working out. Hopefully we will cross paths someday in the world. It really is pretty small.

    1. You’re right Jaynie… the stress of it especially in the driving part can put a lot of pressure especially on a navigator to respond quickly from the back seat period because the driver is too busy battling the elements of the road to do both

  3. “The Adventurists” is a group I need to join! Well done following in their footsteps. And Kingfisher is my beer of choice–funny enough, they remind me of the UK, where I lived as an expat for a while. Thanks for sharing this adventure.

  4. This is awesome! I’ve been to India twice so I can totally understand how insane it would be to drive a freakin tuk tuk around!!
    Congrats on not dying!😂 #forreals

    1. I never thought that would be something to be celebrated, you know not dying! However the type of Adventures I’ve been involved in recently it definitely can applied to me often. Please don’t tell my mom

  5. This is super cool! I’ve never heard about this. In fact I’ve never heard about ANY kind of multi-day race challenges outside, outside of things I’ve seen on TV. How did you find out about this and begin to prepare?? I love that the whole time you are riding/propelling a Tuk Tuk too! What a unique experience.

    1. The Internet Is My ultimate friend and perhaps will be the death of me exclamation mark I’m often searching the World Wide Web for insane bucket list type of Adventures

  6. This sounds like such an interesting experience! I loved reading about it since I’ve never been on a rickshaw personally. What a crazy and fun adventure 😀

  7. simply amazing ! and like the way described the entire story. I also took about 3000 kilometers roadtrip in Himalayan range which had his own challenges, may like to check it out

  8. Adventure it is, but probably everyone’s perspective differs here. From the point of view of an Indian, it does look and sound different. And hey the cash crisis was temporary and a thing of the past. The ATM’s are flowing with cash.

  9. What an epic adventure, and I think that the pitfalls and craziness only enhance it. I don’t think the rickshaw run would be near as memorable if everything was pristine and void of failure, even if that’s not the thought at the time! Love this!

  10. You guys are crazy and I can’t imange me doing something like this. This is just so crazy! Good to see you two had a great adventure and take back many wonderful memories with you 🙂

  11. This sounds utterly incredible. Possibly not the best thing for a dodgy back bearing in mind my experience of crazy, Indian roads. Definitely something you won’t forget in an instant though.

  12. Those are pretty valid points you made you made. Being from India I can relate to a lot of these. Delhi Belly !! Even we Indians have to be careful about that. Anyway nice to see that they are having fun in the Rickshaw run.

  13. Hilarious post! Love the way you showcase the mundane in such an interesting way. Having a sense of humor is the single biggest way to get through awkward, unfamiliar situations.

  14. Wow this sounds like a Once in a Lifetime (like the Talking Heads song) adventure. Still haven’t been to India. Myanmar is the closest I’ve been.

  15. Wow, that sounds like alot of fun and crazy. Just what we need sometimes to do something that’s not typical. I loved reading this article, it’s funny and interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  16. So a Rickshaw Run is a real thing?! I can imagine that would test the fortitude of any traveling couple and maybe make or break their relationship! On the other hand, having an adventure like that would be worth all the stories you could tell afterwards!

  17. Haven’t been to India yet but the Rickshaw Run sounds like a great adventure. The food aspects probably worry me more from a health aspect here. The toilets and stuff don’t as they are everywhere through Asian countries. Great tips here though for those who are looking to go.

  18. I’ve heard so many good things about the Rickshaw Run. I used to work for Big Earth (the media company behind Long Way Round/Down). And the guys there had participated in the Rickshaw Run, they loved it.

  19. OK this is really awesome and looks like so much fun! Sign Language and beer to get your though the day! The Bomb, I would do this with my hubby!

  20. Such a crazy undertaking but surely admire you for doing it. You will have these stories to tell for the rest of your life. What a fun adventure for you and for me to read about. Enjoyed it much.

  21. Good to know that you had an adventurous Rickshaw run! Delhi belly not only applies to travelers outside India but to people within the country as well! 🙂

  22. Love, love this post! I am an Indian, and I can relate to everything you’ve mentioned. From squat toilets, ‘hotel’ to people and languages. 🙂

    To be honest, it’s a daunting task to drive a tuk tuk for that long. 🙂

  23. This sounds amazing and I feel like my husband and I need to add this to the list of things to experience! I mean I convinced him to climb Mt Kilimanjaro with me, so I’m sure I can get him to do this!

  24. Sounds like a totally crazy, but totally incredible and memorable adventure!! Great tip to take some mechanic classes before hand, because yes, I can see how driving a rickety rickshaw across India will see you break down once or twice!! Haha and I love that one of the points here was improving your defensive driver skills 😀

    1. The adventurists have multiple types of races throughout the year period with regards to the Rickshaw Run they seem to be doing it 3 times a year. Usually around January 1st, another race around the end of April into May, and a third one in August or so

  25. This is amazing! I would do this in a heartbeat. I love your comment about it being like a Japanese game show.
    Years ago my plan to go to Indi, and my husband to return, was foiled by poorly planning for my visa. Ended up in SE Asia instead which was equally as fantastic!

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