According to its UK-based organizers, the Rickshaw Run is "easily the least sensible thing to do with two weeks." (Sign me up!) A 2,000-plus mile journey across India, teams are given a Rickshaw (sometimes described as a glorified lawnmower. Or, "Possibly the least suitable vehicle on the planet for covering the entire subcontinent in two weeks,"), a destination and little else. Then, they drive.
Recently, writer Mitch Moxley finished his own Rickshaw Run—and then, he gave an account of his far-flung adventures in The Atlantic:
Hello please sound horn please.
These words are painted on the back of a truck passing me on a highway in the state of Kerala, in southwestern India. It’s a massive truck, a blue whale of a truck compared with my minnow of a vehicle. And it’s not alone.
I’m driving a seven-horsepower, two-stroke, three-wheeled auto rickshaw—ubiquitous in Indian cities, and designed for ferrying passengers a few blocks, not for trekking across the country, which is exactly what four friends and I will attempt over the next two weeks. We’ll travel 2,500 miles to Shillong, in northeastern India, in a pair of vehicles whose average speed is about 25 miles an hour. These are tiny machines; my 6-foot-3-inch frame barely fits in the driver’s seat, and to tap the brake, I have to stick my knee through the opening to my left, where, on a less crazy automobile, you’d expect to find a door.