On Sunday, 64 vehicles lined up at the start in Kochi, India, turned on their engines and with a wave of the flag, off they went. The 2010 Rickshaw Run has started and for the next two weeks, these 64 teams from around globe will travel 2,000 miles to the finish line at the base of the Himalayas. While this race could be categorized as an amateur motorsport, it is vastly different from a NASCAR or Formula 1 race. Advertised as “the amazing race for the clinically insane,” the vehicles used in this race are pimped-out rickshaws. Auto-rickshaws are three-wheeled vehicles with a two-stroke engine that is about as powerful as a lawn mower engine and can only reach a maximum speed of approximately 30 mph. Unchanged since their release in the 1950s, these vehicles are primarily used as taxis in countries such as India and Thailand.
Additionally, there are but few rules to this race. There’s only point A and B - no checkpoints, no specific routes, no assigned accommodations, and no grand champion.
In fact, unlike most races, the emphasis of this race lies not in who makes it to the finish the fastest, but rather on the experience of seeing the vast and diverse country of India—the landscapes, its culture and its people.
The prize at the end of the race is a once in a lifetime experience and humanitarian aid as each team had to raise at least 1,000 £ for a charity of their choice before the starting day.
The Run is about adventure, exploration and humanitarian action.
That is the very reason why three Boise adventurers signed up for the challenge. Alex Lindbloom, Oliver Deppert, and Jacob Black make up Team Shayu Productions that left Kochi yesterday and will navigate across jungle, arid desert, and windy coasts to get from the southwest to the base of the Himalayas in the northeast.