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Reference route: INDIA (South-North)

  • departure: Fort Kochi

  • arrival: Shillong

Reference period

  • January 1-15 2024

The words that follow are not meant to be any guide or reference for anyone, so much as a collection of findings and thoughts derived from the recently concluded experience of my first Rickshaw Run.

Not having found too many testimonials about it online, I thought a few more lines and fresh notes from the race might perhaps be helpful to someone.

Two basic points to keep in mind from the start::

• The Rickshaw Run is NOT a race. Or rather, it is not a race in the strict sense of the word, not one of those where finishing first gets you on a podium and receiving a cup, not one of those where you sprint to the last few meters before the finish line, jostling with opposing teams. NO. The only race you will be running by participating in a Rickshaw Run will be with yourself.  There will be teams, race liveries, real-time updates on team positions, but what you must not forget is that first and foremost you are experiencing a journey. And in this journey it is essential to enjoy every discovery, every day, every kilometer traveled because when you arrive in front of the finish line you will want in every way to turn the handlebars back, to postpone even a few hours the end of the adventure. Saying that the only competition will be with yourself means that beyond all the fantastic experiences that will happen to you (and there will be countless, whether you seek them or not), the 15 days of the race won't all be sunshine and roses. The route to which this testimony refers includes a 3500 km journey (if you consider the shortest route provided by Google Maps) from the southernmost tip of India to one of the most northernly reachable regions, Meghalaya. Obviously, needless to say, covering 3500 km to reach the finish line in the most direct way possible will mean traveling hundreds and hundreds of kilometers on Indian highways, which will cut you off from all the beauty of India, such as villages, towns, roads immersed in forests, national parks, mountains, lakes, rivers, nature in all its forms, cities so chaotic it would be hard to imagine. No one will stop you from going straight to be the first to reach the finish line, but isn't this the goal that might convince you to entrust your journey to a three-wheeled can?

• The Rickshaw Run is a NON-assisted "race". In what sense? In the sense that beyond the starting point and the endpoint, every team has to figure everything out for themselves. No one will warn you if you're running late on the schedule because, in fact, there won't be a schedule unless you impose one on yourselves. Similarly, if something goes wrong, if the vehicle breaks down, if you flip into a ditch, or have a head-on collision with a truck on the highway (not such a remote possibility considering Indian traffic), you'll have to handle it on your own. If a member of your team or you encounter problems, if you fall ill, if you get a stomach bug for 10 days, or any other mishap occurs, you'll have to rely on your own strength/resources to get through it. You'll need to be able to fend for yourselves, to figure things out and extricate yourselves from the problem you find or put yourselves into. There are a couple of phone numbers for the organization, which you'll be given before the start, but they should be considered as last resort contacts, to inform the organizers of your situation in case something really serious happens; the ultimate emergency parachute. In practice: save them and forget about them. From the road you choose to travel to how many underwear changes you make during the race days, no one will tell you if something is right or wrong. There are no limitations on the cities you can visit; you'll decide the route totally freely, without any restrictions. Where to sleep, where to pass through, where to eat, how long to stop in a place, how many kilometers to cover each day, at what time to start/arrive are all decisions you'll make freely. No one will tell you it can't be done, no one will tell you to do differently from what you decide. Here lies the beauty (and the ugliness). During the 15 days of the race, you'll finally be masters of yourselves and your vehicle in a country that, if you're really lucky, you will truly get to know. You'll be free, if you choose, to cover 500km a day, do stretches of 12-14 hours, waking up early and arriving in the dark, and reach the finish line in just over a week. Will you have enjoyed the journey? Make your considerations.

These pages, which could be useful to those who are about to face a Rickshaw Run, to those who are considering participating, or simply to those who are curious about what they might encounter by taking part in such an experience, will be divided into 3 sections, with their sub-points listed here:



The information you'll find below doesn't aim to comprehensively cover everything you'll need or should know to prepare for or face what you'll encounter during this experience.

Starting from the premise that explaining everything diminishes part of the surprise and unpredictability that constitute the experience itself, it could happen that some things you want to know aren't explained, or you may prefer not to deliberately read certain sections.

Feel free, of course, to skip sections if you don't find them necessary, to give a quick read, or to just look at the pictures.

Let's begin.


You will be asked to arrive at the starting point a few days before the actual start of the competition.

This is to attend the kickoff party, a couple of lessons on the maintenance of your future travel companion for the following weeks, and to get a bit acquainted with India and its roads. It won't be anything earth-shattering, nothing that will prepare you in the absolute best way for the journey or enlighten you, but it's important to be there, even just to understand the people you'll be facing this race with, get to know some other teams, and exchange a few words.

During these days, you will discover how the design for the livery of your tuk-tuk has been brought to life. If you're lucky, whoever painted your tin box will have done a great job of craftsmanship; if, like us, you're unlucky, you'll find yourself with a small blemish. But it will matter little whether it's beautiful or ugly. It will have three wheels like all the others, if you're lucky, fewer problems than others, and in any case, you'll be proud of it for the next 15 days.

You will then receive keys and documents for the tuk-tuk, the only thing that, along with your passport, it's better to keep safe.

Travel equipment

This was a point that was particularly important to me, as it's not widely available on the web. What you decide to bring with you will depend a lot on how you decide to approach the race.

Let me explain further: Do you want to travel as lightly as possible and, if necessary, purchase what you need along the way?

Do you plan the possibility of sleeping a few nights in a tent? Are you paranoid about puncturing 20 times along the route and prefer to bring a spare wheel in your luggage? (No, generally this will neither be useful nor particularly convenient.)

Are you a team of 3 people, each 2 meters tall, weighing a total of half a ton?

These are all aspects to consider.

We were two, and we decided to bring along a lightweight and easily transportable backpack and a duffel bag each (think North Face style, soft bags with shoulder straps that allow you to wear them like backpacks). The two basic duffel bags shuttled between the (non-existent) trunk of the vehicle and the chosen room for the night, while we carried the backpacks, containing the most important things that would have been a big problem if stolen, when we stopped for breaks or to visit places.

We didn't have a tent, camping stove, camping light, or all the equipment you might bring for a mountain outing if you were to stay out for more than a day. Unless you decide to be curry boy scouts, leave everything at home and you'll thank yourselves for the choice made. Sleeping outdoors in India is doable; in general, no one will say anything, but you need to be careful of animals that might come to say hello, perhaps in the middle of the night, and the areas where you might decide to set up your roof for the night.

In any case, the following items were essential for us:

Sleeping bag liner, for when you find beds that are a bit borderline in terms of hygiene. You'll get used to it after a few days, but stains on sheets are almost a distinctive feature of all of India, which doesn't necessarily mean the bedding isn't clean, but you'll often find it stained. In more extreme cases, cigarette burns and/or small guests might appear to keep you company at night (yes, we're talking about bedbugs/fleas).

Sleeping bag, for when you start heading north and find rooms without heating. On these occasions, which could happen even if you decide not to choose the last of the rooms not reviewed on Agoda/Booking/Google Maps, your sleeping bag could make the nighttime hours bearable. Generally, since you don't have so much space available, it's good to have a relatively small one, but based on the temperatures reached, I recommend one rated for at least 5 degrees Celsius. Don't bring a spring-like one. It would just be a waste of space.

Another crucial aspect: If you're thinking of taking a vacation in warm weather and you're facing the same route in the same period as us (January), engrave one thing in your mind right away: India is vast. In the south, it's warm (never so hot that you'll want to peel your skin off because you don't have any more clothes to take off), but as you move towards the central regions, it starts to cool down. By the time you reach the north, the cold will knock on your door, and if you're not prepared, you'll be in trouble.

So, bring some shorts, lightweight t-shirts, and what you would wear for the summer season (maybe something that dries quickly), but... NOT TOO MANY. You'll only be wearing this type of clothing for the first few days. In the beginning, you'll sweat, but by the time you reach the north, you'll be shivering even with just t-shirts.

The cold becomes important not so much when you're stationary or walking but rather when you're covering hundreds of kilometers daily on a vehicle completely devoid of wind protection (except for the windshield). Although the cruising speeds aren't supersonic (you'll have an average of no more than 50-55 km/h when going fast), starting early in the morning and arriving in the evening in the dark, the cold wind will be quite a challenge to face.

So, bring warm and technical clothing that is effective in maintaining an adequate body temperature and doesn't take up too much space in your bag. It's better to dress in layers, making it easier to adapt to temperatures as you head north. In general, I found myself quite satisfied with a long-sleeved thermal shirt, a fleece, a sleeveless mountain vest, and a moderately padded windproof jacket. Underneath the pants, a pair of thermal leggings.

Another thing: keeping the extremities of the body warm is crucial, so make sure to wear long thermal/wool socks and a decent pair of gloves. Driving without feeling your fingers/toes isn't pleasant. I underestimated the situation regarding hands, and the gloves I bought (Decathlon for €19) weren't heavy enough. Result: more stops along the way for chai breaks to warm up hearts and fingers.

Which might not necessarily be a downside.

I won't dwell further on each of the indispensable items or items you'll never take out of your backpack (Editor's Note: in hindsight, it happened, I wrote too much, but you can easily choose to skip this entire nerd part).

Let's leave out the toothbrush or the pair of sunglasses, and even the MacGyver survival kit, but you'll still need something:

I. Toolbox. If you think it might be useful to bring along a small toolbox with the essentials to address future vehicle breakdowns, go ahead, but consider that the basic equipment provided with the vehicle will consist of a case containing:

• a pair of adjustable wrenches,

• a spark plug wrench,

• pliers,

• a couple of screwdrivers.

Personal advice for enhancing the provided equipment (remembering that this advice is only applicable if you have luggage to check because otherwise, 90% of what I list here will be stopped at security check):

• Duct tape

• Electrical tape

• Multi-tool like Leatherman, with knife, pliers, and a couple of screwdriver tips

• Monkey wrench

• Wire

• Lighter + a hot glue stick (to melt in case you need to glue something on the go)

• Tube of cyanoacrylate glue/ two-component resin

• 10-15m of paracord

I also brought along a small can of WD40, a multi-purpose lubricant and rust remover that can come in handy on more than one occasion.

Regarding security checks, there were no issues on the way there. However, on the return from India, where it's necessary to have your checked luggage scanned before boarding, the can was left at the airport. It's up to you, perhaps it's just my fixation to have it with me.

You might think you've wasted valuable space if none of these items prove useful during the trip, or any of the tools listed above could save the race for you in case you encounter a problem. Once again, it's your choice.

II. First aid kit, Including band-aids, gauze, disinfectant, etc... The classic red one with a waterproof case that until recently you could find at Decathlon. I had read that it was pointless to bring it along as they were easily found throughout India: I didn't see a single one.

III. Packet of tablets/packets for every need: This is my personal selection: • Generic antibiotic (in my case Amoxicillin) • Ibuprofen (I had Moment ACT with me, which acts quickly) • Imodium (and in cases of more serious emergencies, Normix) • Moment ACT • Antihistamine • Probiotics • Paracetamol (whether generic, Tachipirina, or something containing it. A friend in London gave me Lemsip when I caught a mega flu, a yellow/red pill containing Phenylephrine and Caffeine, which kept me alive for 3 days of walking around the city.) • Gaviscon • Polase/magnesium/potassium sachet like the Swisse one, the best in my opinion. • Tube of Momendol

IV. Electronic Devices: Again, this is a fairly subjective matter. I'll write mine, then it's up to you. The essentials: - 1/2 Power Banks with 5000/10,000mAh capacity with attached cables, so you won't be left with your phone or any other device that could get you out of trouble running out of battery; - Cell phone. Again, it's your choice whether to have a backup or not. Our chosen equipment for this race was: A cell phone with an Italian SIM card + an Indian e-SIM (Airalo with a 30-day plan), purchased from Italy before departure (there are many providers, I chose Airalo because it relies on the Jio network, which along with Airtel, has the widest coverage in India) + a backup phone with a prepaid Indian physical SIM card (Airtel). The latter was obtained on-site a few days before departure. Essentially, the backup phone was turned on in the morning, creating a hotspot to which other devices were connected, and then turned off in the evening to charge. It remained in the backpack, in its pocket, untouched. The network was used for everything needed: maps, routes, room bookings, searching for spots around, communications, social media, etc., leaving the e-SIM traffic as a backup. IIn some regions, one of the two networks referenced by the two SIM cards didn't have coverage, so we relied on the other one. Basically, where Jio didn't have coverage, Airtel did, and vice versa. There were rarely areas where we were completely without coverage. The main differences between an e-SIM and an Indian prepaid SIM card are these: - Cost: e-SIMs come with a price tag. Referring to the one purchased for this trip, it costs around €35, compared to approximately €3.50 for a traditional physical prepaid card obtained in India. - Validity: it all depends on the plan of the prepaid card and the chosen e-SIM, but both of these had a validity of 30 days. - Data allowance: 20GB total over 30 days, usable without specific daily caps for the Airalo e-SIM, 1.5GB per day for 30 days for the physical Airtel SIM. - Phone number: the chosen e-SIM provided only data traffic, so it didn't offer an Indian phone number. The physical prepaid SIM obtained in India, on the other hand, was a complete SIM card, including an Indian phone number. - Validity territory: there are e-SIMs that can function internationally, for a price. The chosen one was only valid in India, in any of its regions, just like the Airtel prepaid card. - Hotspot: this point is essential if you want to utilize the connection provided by a SIM card with other devices. If it's not of interest, there are e-SIMs (such as Holafly, if I'm not mistaken) that, at a slightly lower cost, offer the same characteristics as the chosen one but without the option to create a hotspot with the device it's installed on. In my case, both the e-SIM and the physical Airtel SIM had this option, crucial for sharing the connection with your teammates. Note: While the e-SIM is easily obtainable even before departure (in fact, it's advisable to get it a few days before the trip, so you can activate it before the flight and have the connection available automatically once you arrive in India), obtaining a physical Indian SIM card is slightly more complex. To get one, you can go to any service center of the chosen telecom company, which are found in airports or cities, much like in our country. One small detail: to obtain an Indian SIM card and therefore an Indian phone number, you need to provide a functioning phone number that is INDIAN. It seems paradoxical, but that's how it is. The number is used to receive a security code to unlock the new SIM. Obviously, if you're not Indian, it's assumed you don't have an Indian number... You'll have to figure something out. You could either appeal to the sympathy of the store clerk, asking them to use their personal number to receive the said code (and maybe offer them a few tens of rupees for the kindness), or ask the tuk-tuk driver who took you to the store if you can use their phone, or... come up with something else. The lady at the store who took pity on us and kindly activated our Indian SIM using her phone (after half an hour of waiting, filling out documents, being asked to blink for photos, photocopying documents, and various questions) later brightened up when we offered her 100 rupees (a little over €1) for the trouble. - Lights/flashlights/headlights. Starting from the premise that it seems like those who travel by driving, whether in a race or not, have this untouchable mantra of "don't drive in the dark," you might find yourself (several times) doing just that. Either because you might not have made any plans for the day and find yourself in the middle of nowhere as the sun sets, and you're forced to reach someplace somehow (unless you've chosen to be a Boy Scout, and then you might decide to pitch your tent exactly where you are), or because you've made your calculations and the goal to reach before setting off the next day is still a few dozen kilometers away. In any case, we all start with the good intention of being under the covers when it gets dark, but in the end, at least once, we face that dreaded darkness. Well, we allowed ourselves to have 5-6 evenings of night driving in the end. Basically, unless you find yourself in a city or on one of the few stretches of highway illuminated by streetlights, in India when the sun sets, it's dark. But dark in a way that there are no other lights except for the moon and your vehicle headlights. So at least bring a flashlight and/or a headlamp with you, just to avoid walking around (as we always end up doing) with the flashlight on your phone. If you also wanted to implement the headlights department of the vehicle, think about it for a moment. We had decided to do it with a couple of photographic spotlights fixed with mini-clamps directly to the bodywork. Power was provided by their internal batteries and by connecting to a power bank capable of supporting them. It wouldn't have been a bad idea either. The battery lasted longer than necessary for nighttime routes, the fixings were sturdy and didn't move (except for some excessive bumps and holes). The only real problem was the directionality. The spotlights emitted enough light, but not being designed for that purpose, the beam was not concentrated in any way, indeed it was totally diffused. Result: they worked well as indicators of our presence on the roads but, unless mounted very close to the ground, they did not provide much help in driving. Certainly better than nothing, but to avoid making our same mistake, what I suggest, assuming you want to implement the existing system on the vehicle (it emits little light, very little if you happen to have the old 2-stroke model), is to take 1-2 spotlights designed for road use, which therefore have a reflective parabola that can concentrate the beam of light in a specific direction. As for powering it/them, you can think of a small 12v battery that you can buy directly on the spot or, depending on the power consumption of your spotlight, you can also try your luck with a quality power bank and a voltage step-up (they are available for a few euros online).

- Photo/video.

It's all very subjective. I'll just mention here my personal setup, as someone who didn't want to fuss too much about how to transport camera equipment. In the end, I decided to go fully analog for photography because I didn't have any compact digital cameras, and I didn't want to carry around a full-frame DSLR with a heavy set of lenses, both because of the bulk and the care I would have to take in using them. In my opinion, it's not worth it anymore. The disadvantages outweigh the advantages. This is true in general, let alone on a trip like this.


- Yashika T3 Super: a 35mm film point-and-shoot camera with autofocus and automatic exposure. It has been my travel companion for several years now and has never disappointed me. Reliable, solid, and compact. Changing a roll of film takes only 30 seconds; self-winding, equipped with high-quality Zeiss lenses, consumes very little battery, and takes high-quality photos.

- A couple of disposable film cameras for emergencies, they take up little space, weigh little, and are perfect for casual outings.

- DJI OSMO Action: an action-cam borrowed from a friend (whom I thank) because "you can't go to India and not bring it." It's cute, simple, fast, and convenient. I'm not the type to shoot big videos, make spectacular shots, or commentated vlogs... But it does timelapse, hyperlapse, and everything else. This, with a couple of mounts, like the chest or head mount, can be useful especially if you want to shoot some footage and show your friends when you return what it's like to drive in Indian traffic. Or if you want to film in places where you don't want to attract too much attention (alleys, slums, ghats, etc...)

- iPhone 13 Pro: It turns out to be the choice you'll use in 90% of situations. There's not much to discuss. You always have it in your pocket, you use it every day, all day, for everything, and by now its storage space has made it a storage device as well, for how capacious it can be. Your phone is the most immediate device for capturing/shooting in digital. Quality, above a certain threshold of decency, matters little compared to other factors. Use it and stop with any other discussion about quality and professionalism.

V. Vaccinations The topic of vaccinations can be controversial. Let's be clear, in a trip like this, the choice is not whether to get them or not, unless you decide to take the risk of contracting something serious during the race or, even before, of being stopped by a more specific check at the Indian customs that would find you without one of the required vaccines. The choice, as I was saying, is to understand which ones to get. This is because, depending on your Local Health Authority (ASL), the choices vary, at the sole discretion of the doctor you will speak to in order to explain to them what you have in mind to do in India. Basically, it is assumed that you may already have vaccines against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, and polio (the famous quadrivalent). If you are young enough, you might even have the hexavalent vaccine (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hepatitis B, Polio). In addition to these, you will generally be given vaccines for typhoid, cholera, and hepatitis A. If you really want to go all-in, they might recommend (or you could ask for) Japanese encephalitis vaccine, rabies vaccine, and malaria prophylaxis (there is no vaccine for malaria. There are two main prophylactic treatments based on pills to be taken from the beginning to the end of the journey, depending on the type, either every day with fewer side effects or once a week with slightly more side effects). I chose to update my vaccination record and get a bit of everything, just to be pierced about 6-8 times in different places and increase my personal level of masochism. N.B. unless you are going to India as part of a humanitarian project, all vaccinations are paid for, and quite expensive.

VI. Documents The documents required to participate in the race are practically the same as those you should have with you if you decide to visit India freely, so: - Valid passport: And up to this point, nothing to add. - Visa or e-Visa: Regarding the visa issue, I'll make it simple: the most convenient, fast, and economical way is to apply for an electronic visa (e-Visa) through the website of the Indian embassy.

You'll need to fill out 5-6 pages of forms on the embassy's website, providing practically all the personal data you have, including flight tickets and contact information for a hotel/home-stay where you'll be staying for at least the first night in India. You'll also need to answer various questions (including some rather interesting ones), upload a passport-sized photo, and pay around €25. By doing this, your request will be registered. It takes 1-2 days, and if the Indian government decides to welcome you with open arms, you'll receive a positive outcome directly via email. At that point, you can download (and print) what is commonly referred to as your electronic visa, although it's not exactly a visa but rather an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization), which confirms your right to board a plane to India and subsequently present yourself at customs in the airport where you'll land. Only then, after answering some additional questions and providing your passport, the duration of your stay in the country, and the ETA in printed form on paper, will you receive a stamp in your passport, which effectively constitutes the real Indian visa, including an expiration date.

There are various types of e-visas for which you can apply, but the simplest and sufficient for the competition will be the basic one with a duration of 30 days.

ATTENTION: The only precaution you need to take, and a detail not very clear (which could compromise EVERYTHING), is not to submit the online application for the e-visa too far in advance of your travel departure date. This is because from the moment you receive the confirmation email for your application, and thus from the moment your ETA document that you'll need to print and bring with you becomes available, you'll have 30 days to enter the country (and from the moment you enter India, the validity period for which you requested the visa will start, whether it's 30, 90, etc., days).

For example, if your flight is on December 27th and you apply for the electronic visa on November 10th (for instance), you would go to the airport with an invalid ETA, and they wouldn't even let you take off. In that case, you might receive confirmation on November 12th, a couple of days after your application. From November 12th, you would have 30 days to enter India, so you'd only have time until December 12th. Therefore, in that case, apply for the e-visa no earlier than November 27th (I also recommend a week later, to have a bit of a buffer), so you can be sure. I applied on a Saturday evening and received the ETA to print the following Sunday morning.t and received the ETA to print the following Sunday morning. - Travel/Health Insurance: Travel insurance is not mandatory by default for any country, but the Rickshaw Run organization expressly requires it as necessary for all teams participating in the race, under penalty of team elimination. Given that they basically require the policy number you provide to be valid, in your name, and for it to be a travel insurance policy, there are no specific requests regarding clauses, specific coverage, etc. For an experience like this, at the very least, you should have decent insurance coverage that is valid in the country in question and provides coverage primarily for health-related issues in case of unforeseen events, health problems, accidents, etc. The policy should have reasonable maximum coverage limits. However, the biggest issue is that almost all insurance companies do not explicitly cover extreme situations, dangerous sports, competitive activities, or motor racing events. There isn't much room for interpretation on this matter, and personally, I haven't found any companies that cover this condition either. The organization, on its part, does not require it, although it mentions that in case of any unforeseen circumstances, the Rickshaw Run is not really a race, as there is no competition, rankings, or awards, but rather a long-term rental of a motor vehicle... Be aware of the nuances of the situation, because if you find yourselves in uncomfortable situations, it's important that you know your limits/the limits of the race regarding the coverage of your insurance. Personally, my choice for the team ultimately fell on the insurance company AXA Insurance, with the Tripy 360 policy, which includes both health coverage (accidents, medical expenses, assistance), repatriation for necessity or emergencies, coverage for lost luggage, liability insurance, etc... There are indeed countless options available, but the important thing is to choose insurance policies from reputable providers with sensible coverage limits and deductibles. Keep the emergency number handy and set off. If all goes well, you'll forget you even got it, and you won't even need to use the service you're paying for. - International Driving Permit valid for driving a vehicle in category A2 or B: Easily obtainable by independently immersing yourself in the request process through the completion of a set of documents to be sent or by turning to an office that handles your application automatically (such as ACI, driving schools, or similar). In the latter case, of course, you'll pay for the service as well, but in about a month (so start early), you'll have your international driving permit in hand. The only slightly unpleasant operation is that you'll have to go to the Municipality to authenticate your passport photo. Cost of the operation: just a few cents (to be paid explicitly in cash, at least in my Municipality). It's more the time you'll spend scheduling the appointment at the Municipality than the time you'll actually spend there for the operation. Unfortunately, as India adheres to the Geneva Convention (and not the Vienna Convention), the validity period of the International Permit will be only 1 year, instead of 3.

The vehicle

We haven't talked yet about what will be your companion for 15 days of the race (if all goes well).

They will be the soul of the journey, your hero (or heroine, depending on the gender you decide), the one on whom you will place any hope and trust because if you are left on foot... well, at that point you will have to figure out how to manage.

Probably one of the first incentives to sign up for this madness would have been the possibility of having a fully customized livery for your team. So once it's created digitally, sent to the organizers, and awaited in eager anticipation, you can't wait to see it painted on your tuk-tuk.

I won't write anything about it because I think it's one of the things that will propel you into the race and it's right to leave it as a surprise.

I would just like to give you a small suggestion regarding this: if you decide to design the livery of your vehicle as minimal and simple as possible, in a way that is easily reproducible, I advise you not to hesitate, and indeed dare to try something a bit more complex than what you had in mind. Providing something easy to execute doesn't always pay off. And here I'll add nothing more...

Before the start (and actually until the kick-off party), it wasn't clear at all that some teams would have a 4-stroke tuk-tuk and others a 2-stroke one. Personally, I thought we would be assigned a 2-stroke, on which we could minimally tinker if something not too serious happened (brake cable, clutch cable, check spark plug and clean carburetor, etc.), instead fate gave us a 4-stroke, on which it is much more difficult (= almost impossible) to operate in case of emergency. In hindsight, we actually thanked for being assigned the latter, seeing how (not) some teams arrived who were driving the 2-stroke version. The endurance and reliability of the 4-stroke vehicle were far superior to those of its younger siblings, older (thus with more kilometers under their belts) and less tenacious, especially on stretches where the engine was heavily stressed (uphills and highway stretches where the throttle was wide open). Furthermore, the lighting system of the 4-stroke was much more effective, and although it remained rather undersized compared to the lights mounted on the 2-stroke, with the high beams on, it felt like we had at least a few meters of visibility ahead.

The model in question was a Bajaj RE 150 4-stroke, 4-speed, with hydraulic braking system and dual spark plugs. Electric start. Ours presumably had another previous run under its belt, with the odometer showing just under 4000km.

Maximum speed downhill and with tailwind: around 75km/h according to the instrumentation, so it was probably just under 70km/h actual speed.

Having the fortune of having an uncle who restores vintage vehicles, I already had an idea of the vehicle by looking at the Piaggio Ape, whose driving is absolutely identical to that of a Vespa and whose design is precisely what was adopted by the Indian Bajaj. What differed in ours was the 4-stroke engine instead of the 2-stroke, and the brake, which was split front-back and operated solely by the pedal.

Preparing the tuk-tuk

What equipment will they provide you with when they deliver the vehicle? The documents to always carry with you, the keys, and a small case with a couple of tools, including (as previously mentioned):

• A couple of adjustable wrenches,

• A wrench for tightening/loosening the spark plug,

• A pair of pliers,

• A couple of screwdrivers.

It will be your responsibility to equip your tuk-tuk with whatever else you think might be useful along the way. This vehicle will accompany you throughout all 15 days of the race, so be kind, give it a name.

Our third member of the race was indeed her, Gianna.

She stood out for her loyalty, performance, and dominance on the Indian roads, from the five-lane highways to the most rugged and muddy dirt roads in the countryside, in the middle of nowhere.

The vehicle's headlights aren't too bad, or rather, as mentioned before, those of the 4-stroke model exceeded expectations compared to the lights you might have expected on an Apecar. However, daylight illumination is a whole different story. For this reason, as already hinted at in one of the previous sections, I managed to squeeze into the bag the kit that I thought would save our lives by providing us with a view of dozens of meters on the road ahead: two LED photography lights with corresponding mini-clamps to attach to the bodywork. I knew they wouldn't be the ultimate solution, but let's say they provided little depth of illumination. They were useful if fixed laterally and in a low position, like fog lights, to illuminate the edges of the road, but definitely not as substitutes for high beams. They certainly made us more visible to those traveling in the same lane but in the opposite direction (whether in the emergency lane or in any other lane, all normal for India). So, if you really want to bring something to enhance the vehicle's lighting system, my personal advice is to also take a single automotive LED spotlight, which therefore has a greater directional and depth of the light beam. As for its power supply and to avoid adding another battery to the vehicle (a solution not to be ruled out a priori), figure out something with a good power bank and a voltage adapter, just in case. Otherwise, rely on the stock lighting system, which is also part of the race experience.

Certainly essential will be a gasoline canister. Bringing along a 10-liter reserve that allows you to almost triple the vehicle's range is not bad. White plastic ones will work fine, and with a funnel (any kind), you won't even risk spilling half of it on the ground every time you need to refuel in the middle of nowhere.

Regarding engine oil: it will be essential if you have a 2-stroke engine. You'll need to mix it if the vehicle doesn't have an automatic mixer, so every time you stop for fuel, you'll need to have a small graduated bottle with you to determine how much oil to pour into the tank before adding the gasoline. The 2-stroke engine uses the oil you put in the mixture for lubrication (and also in the combustion process). The 4-stroke engine will have its own engine oil, so you won't need to mix anything; just pour gasoline into the tank and that's it. Obviously, even in the 4-stroke engine, oil is essential, and you'll still need to keep an eye on its level. However, if everything goes as it should, just checking the level every morning before departure should be enough.


- If you have a 2-stroke engine, always make sure to have two-stroke oil with you, which you'll need every time you stop at a gas station (or in the middle of the road with your fuel can) to make the mixture.

- If you have a 4-stroke engine, take a small bottle of engine oil with you before you leave to keep under the seat, in case you need it to top up the level.

That said, fuel stations are one of the things we missed the least. Every so often, whether you're on highways or normal roads, you'll find one, so bringing an extra fuel canister will be a good idea, but gasoline, in general, is not scarce.

If you really want the complete kit, take with you a fine sieve, as fine as possible. We were told that some fuel stations don't have very clean gasoline, and the less dirt you put in the tank, the better. However, after using it for the first 3-4 days with every fill-up (of the tank and the canister), we honestly stopped using it because either the gasoline wasn't that dirty, or the sieve had meshes that were too large and didn't filter enough. In any case, it was useless.

The elastic straps with hooks, the ones used on motorcycles to secure bags, are another particularly useful item for keeping your luggage in place, creating a makeshift barrier in the rear seat area (where there should be a door that is not present in the rickshaw setup), and preventing one of your backpacks from falling off along the road while you cover hundreds of kilometers.

In any case, having 2-3 straps of this type can always be useful.

As mentioned, if you still have a little space in your bag, consider adding an extra set of basic tools along with a couple of candles.

All these trinkets, except for the tools, don't bother bringing them from home. For spark plugs, you simply wouldn't know the model until you see what engine you have under the seat, and besides, everything takes up precious space in your suitcase, and you'll find them for just a few rupees in the countless shops in Fort Kochi a few days before the start of the race.

Yes, it's true, the prices in these little shops, accustomed to the departure of the rickshaw run, and therefore clever in inflating prices for tourists, might be slightly inflated compared to what you could find in other less touristy parts of India, but with a bit of bargaining, you'll still manage to get a good price.


Let's skip the start, the clouds of dust and fuel mix, the honking horns, nearly 70 tuk-tuks itching to go lose themselves in every corner of the country.

If you tell everything, you lose the magic of the moment, the spirit of adventure.

Let's just say you've started, you're on the road, you're already covering a few hundred of the handful of thousands of kilometers you'll need to reach your goal.

The route

We could open a chapter just to talk about the different roads that each team can decide (and indeed will decide) to take on to face the race.

There will be those who will go straight, trying to cover as few kilometers as possible, in order to spend as little time as possible gripping the handlebars and perhaps having more time to be outside the tuk-tuk, even if this could mean not being able to visit some places, unless they are exactly on the chosen route.

Others, having a more or less clear idea of the points of interest they would like to pass through, will build their itinerary based on these, even if this will probably mean extending the road by a lot before reaching the finish line.

Then there will be those who, without the slightest idea of where to go, where to pass, and without having planned the route, will decide day by day what could be the "right" way for this journey.

Needless to say which category we belonged to...

While planning the route to undertake for the race may indeed be a safer choice, in the end, the real decisions will be made on the spot or at most the day before for the next one.

Unpredictability will accompany you throughout the journey. You'll have to deal with the reliability of the vehicle, road conditions, traffic, weather, and finding places where you'll want to stop. Therefore, last-minute decisions will dictate your race days, and soon you'll realize that making medium to long-term plans will be completely useless.

You won't be the only ones deciding the route; there will be all those factors that you can't predict and that will be part of your adventure.

You'll end up building your race day by day, making wrong turns and then having to divert to another, taking longer to cover a stretch because you'll encounter traffic, road diversions, or simply not taking into account how slow a vehicle like this can be (let's not even talk about uphill).

There isn't much else to say about the route.

There's no one better than the other.

It's not about deciding whether to go along the coast or inland; it's not black or white. You'll always have time to deviate from your choices, to adjust your predictions, to change your mind. Explore what comes, don't make too many plans, and don't think you can visit a lot, as if you were on just any vacation. The kilometers are many, as mentioned, the tuk-tuk is slow, and the hours in a day remain the same, so you'll often find yourself driving for a good part of your day.

At some point, after you've become familiar with the timing, distances, and race routine, dare to make a sort of rough plan about the area you might be able to reach in the next 2-3 days. This will help you understand if you'll be able to afford 1-2 days where you won't cover too many kilometers.

It will come naturally, like everything else, but my advice is: do it.

Do it because stopping even just for a day to breathe something other than dust and fumes is good, for your head, your back, and your heart.

Give yourselves a day or two off.

You deserve it.

Here below, just to give you an idea, I leave you the updated map with all the routes chosen by the various teams of our edition.

As you will see, there could not be anything more varied.

We started the first day without any plans at all. Then we decided to head towards the coast, following a couple of points of interest and towns to see. However, we weren't crazy about sticking to the coast the whole way; we also wanted to explore the interior. And so we did.

After that, we made the choice to pass through Varanasi and then rushed to reach a city that otherwise wouldn't have been too far along the way. But we didn't regret it, and we spent a whole day walking around the city, its alleyways, amidst the people and their stories. After a day of being stationary, though, we had to hurry a bit because the destination was still not very close, and the roads towards the North seemed quite winding. As if that wasn't enough, just before crossing over to the North, towards Bagdogra, we had the unhealthy idea to make another small detour, towards Darjeeling, to see one of the regions densely cultivated with tea plantations.

The city, almost at the foothills of the Himalayas, did not disappoint us. More than the city itself, it was actually the landscape that took our breath away. Every detour adds extra kilometers and less time to stay still, but it leaves you with something invaluable.

The final stretch towards the finish went smoothly. After 15 days, you become attached to everything that, until two weeks before, you didn't even know existed. So, in front of the finish line, we turned back to enjoy a few more hours in the company of our trusted three-wheeled vehicle.

We completed our race around 1 PM on February 15th, among the first 10-15 tuk-tuks out of the 69 in the race. With the satisfaction of having made it, but also already feeling nostalgic for the journey that had been, we bid farewell to our adventure companion.

The diary

The first evening, once we arrived in our room, tired from already having driven in the dark, I felt the impulse to write a few lines summarizing the day. And so I did on the second and third day. Then the fourth and fifth, and in the end, those two lines per evening became a small travel diary, along with the photos of the day.

Without pretensions, with many typos, and without particular goals, except for fixing the sensations of each day and sharing that handful of images and thoughts collected during the hours of driving.

HERE, I leave you the Instagram stories used to publish it, because in some ways, they might be more useful than everything I have written so far.

Random notes

Below, completely in random order, are some advice, thoughts, observations that you might (or might not) find useful.

Again, I don't want to take away from anyone the joy of discovery, so feel free to read only a part, all, or none of it.

FOOD. During your travels, you'll need to take breaks or stop to grab a bite to eat. Do it along the roads. Don't waste time looking for inhabited centers hoping to find a restaurant or a place that inspires you. Stop at the first shack you find along the road and be amazed. Amazed by what they offer to eat, amazed by the hospitality, by the curiosity to know where you come from and how your paths crossed. Be amazed by how difficult it will be to find bad food, and how everything instead always turns out incredibly good, tasty, fresh, flavorful, well-made. Don't wait to be impressed by looking at a place from the outside. It's hard to find those that inspire you just by glancing at them while you're traveling, but trust me, stop even in the most unsuspecting ones because they will surprise you. Choose any place that cooks on the spot and has customers, the more there are on average, the safer you'll be. On average, it works like this everywhere in the world. And here too, you won't go wrong.

This is not to say that you should avoid restaurants, but for what it's worth, the most delicious, typical, and satisfying food experience was what we found along the road, whether it was a cart with a mobile kitchen and dishes to eat standing up and with your hands, or slightly more organized places with chairs and tables. From quick freshly fried samosas to a full meal with rice, chicken, vegetables prepared in any way, you will eat incredibly well.

PRICES and PAYMENTS. Certainly, in India, everything is quite inexpensive, or at least considerably less than what you're used to living in any European city. However, some things will cost very little indeed. Food in India is definitely the cheapest thing of all. Every time we finished a meal, I was amazed at how little we had spent and how well we had eaten. There were evenings when we ate enough to be satisfied for just over €2 for two people. If you want to try fancier and/or more touristy places, we spent a maximum of €16 per person in Pondicherry, a former French colony on the eastern coast, in a restaurant that had a dining area in the courtyard of a historic downtown villa. Regarding alcohol in India, it's a controversial issue. In the south, it's difficult to find, and when you do find it, mainly for tourists, the price is quite high (you could pay as much as 250-300 rupees, around €3, for a beer). In the north, we noticed that alcohol is more widespread, and so are the authorized shops to sell it. However, returning to the issue of money, always carry some cash with you, and you won't have any problems. If you have cards that incur fees for withdrawals abroad, considering you'll be making quite a few, to avoid literally having your wallet full of banknotes, get one of those Revolut cards before you leave, which you can easily manage from the app and which guarantee you free withdrawals worldwide, for a monthly fee. If you no longer need it after the race, you can cancel it the month after. Personally, I found it excellent, both in terms of app functionality and card convenience, and I never had any problems at any ATM. Card payment is generally accepted throughout India (obviously not in smaller shops or at some roadside eateries). You may find that some places accept card payments, but their system is not enabled for "international cards." In that case, there's little you can do except try another card or pay in cash. However, ATMs are not so rare in cities and even in moderately small towns. Usually, we withdrew the maximum amount allowed in a single transaction, which is 10,000 rupees (a little over €100). If you need to withdraw more money, simply make multiple subsequent transactions.

CHAI. You will stop, we said, and many times. The shock absorbers of the tuk-tuk are not exactly the most developed component of the vehicle, and the lack of doors and windows will make the journey (especially for those sitting on the rear bench) a rather rough experience. In Italy, we usually stop for a coffee at the service areas. In India, they do the same, but much more often and not with coffee, but with chai. Chai is the lubricant that keeps the gears of Indian society turning. Chai (or "tea"), also known as masala chai (or "tea with spice mix"), is a tea (the type of which varies depending on the region you are in, but basically it's black tea) that is prepared and cooked together with milk (exclusively whole) and with the addition of a mix of spices including cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, ginger, and a lot of sugar. Obviously, there is not just one recipe, and you will notice during the journey, from South to North, how this beverage changes.

In general, in the South, it will be more spicy, with a less strong tea, while in the North, the caffeine will be more pronounced, but the mix of spices will be lighter and will tickle your throat less. To us personally, the one from the south drove us crazy. Overcome the initial hurdle of hygiene expectations (which will become almost natural after a few days), and try as much chai as you can. You'll find some served in paper cups, some in glass, some in small terracotta bowls that are entirely handmade and, to our great surprise, disposable. They are thin, made of baked clay/raw terracotta, and you would never guess that they are used just once and then thrown away.

Once they've served their purpose, they will return to a river or simply to the earth and decompose completely, dissolved by water.

TUK-TUK MAINTENANCE. If you are lucky and take good care of your vehicle, there won't be much to do. Most likely, if you are assigned a 4-stroke engine instead of a 2-stroke, then you'll have even fewer unpleasant surprises (though this is probabilistic and not certain). You're prepared, you have everything you might need in your toolbox, and if something is missing, then most likely those will be problems for which you'll need to find a mechanic and a workshop. However, there are two fundamental things that you'll be asked to do to preserve the health of your vehicle: in the morning before setting off, check the engine oil level and the brake fluid level. For everything else, you'll worry about it when any problems arise. If you happen to travel amidst sand and dust for long distances or several days, also check the air filter, and if necessary, blow it with compressed air to clean it roughly.

Also remember that:

  • Your tuk-tuk is not a fast vehicle, so don't keep it at full throttle for long stretches, especially when going uphill and when driving under scorching sun. - Your tuk-tuk practically has no suspension, so be careful of potholes on the road, especially speed bumps, the real killers of Indian roads. They are not visible, not marked in any way, and you'll find them even on highways, particularly being tall and poorly rounded. Approach them slowly, as slowly as you can, to avoid risking getting airborne and potentially damaging the front wheel.

All these words I'm writing here, I write them just so you can read them, but know this from now on, they'll be useless. This is what will happen instead: you'll arrive not only the first time, but also the second, the third, the fourth, etc... at full speed, you'll see the speed bump in the last 3 meters, you'll slam on the brakes as if there's no tomorrow, and you'll fly over the bump... or rather, the bump will make you take flight. Then, after acting like Icarus, and making sure your teammate is still inside the vehicle, you'll pull over to the side of the road and check for damages. And it will be like this every darn time.

• WHERE TO SLEEP. As with food, for overnight stays (as indeed for everything else), you'll be completely free to decide where to rest your weary bodies after a day in which you'll have averaged between 250 and 350 km. Here the discussion is a bit different from food, on the economic side. Yes, you can find a cot for a few coins in one of the many guesthouses (if the location is touristy enough), or in a hostel, or in any place that offers you a bed. But to find a place where you won't leave more tired than when you arrived (meaning with hot water, perhaps a mattress that isn't made of marble it's so hard, and semi-clean sheets without too many bed bugs), you'll need to search a bit and be prepared to spend a little more proportionally compared to the cost of food. There aren't many guidelines on prices for a night in a private room, and unless the city sees a fair bit of tourism, you'll find it difficult to find hostels with shared rooms. Basically, since most of the time you'll be visiting places where, if you're lucky, the last non-Indians to pass through were there a few years ago, you'll need to search, keep an eye out online, and hope for the best. You might come across a room that's fairly expensive (30€ per night, or even more), where you'd expect high comfort, only to find it's either an icebox overnight (especially in the North), or a quiet corner for overnight guests, including those with more limbs than you. Similarly, it's also happened to choose a hotel with no reviews but nice photos (something I'd never do elsewhere), only to discover it was indeed a 5-star hotel open for less than a month where we were the first customers. In this case, besides the obligatory group selfie with all the hotel staff, we ended up enjoying a full 5-course dinner completely offered by the hotel's restaurant. And we only paid 40€ for the night for two people.

As mentioned, there aren't many rules or real guidelines for choosing the right accommodation. There will be days when you pass through larger cities where the choice of where to spend the night will be greater, and there will be others when you're forced to stop in a tiny village where the variety of options will be much more limited.

The advice remains the same: try them all. Try the worst, try the best. If you're particularly tired after 4, 5, 7, 10 days of travel, treat yourself to a night of relaxation in a nice place. India will allow you to enter hotels where in Europe, just to look from the outside, you'd have to take out a loan. Take advantage of it.

HOW TO SEARCH FOR PLACES TO STAY. For food, as already mentioned, what you find along the road will be the best choice. Don't waste time searching on your phone for restaurants on TripAdvisor or similar apps. You'd only lose time and, most likely, miss out on part of the Indian experience. So, if you're hungry, stop at the first place that catches your eye. That will be the only reliable gauge. When it comes to accommodations, doing the same thing might expose you to a bit more risk, but above all, it's advisable to roughly set a destination for the day and confirm or change it around lunchtime or early afternoon to avoid finding yourself in the middle of nowhere at night. At that point, it will also be worth understanding if the place you've chosen as an intermediate stop has a bed to offer. So, you'll start searching on your phone. Or rather, the person who isn't driving, from the back seat, will start scouting ahead, so that you arrive at your destination with a reservation already in place, avoiding having to start desperately searching upon arrival.

These are the three tools we found to work quite well when used together: Booking, Agoda, and Google Maps. Booking isn't widely used in India, but you'll still find something, especially in larger cities. Use it to uncover fake reviews, get an idea of places that might work, or realize that your destination might not be such a good idea after all, given the complete lack of results found. This is where Agoda comes in, a very similar application to Booking but primarily used in Asia for hostels, guesthouses, and the like. In reality, you can find a bit of everything here, including hotels ranging from mid-range to 5-star. Generally, you'll find more options here than on Booking, and 70% of the time at lower prices. We've paid the same price for the same place and room, sometimes €15-20 less on Agoda compared to Booking. The app isn't perfectly made; it has occasional bugs or crashes. Have patience. It will be one of your main allies during the journey. The third option, to be used together with the first two, for us, was Google Maps. This is the tool that contains the most results of all three. Endless reviews and booking modes that refer to different platforms. If you're desperate and can't find anything, or simply want to have a general overview, use Maps and start sifting through options for the night.

GASOLINE. On average, during a day of travel, you'll need to refuel between 2 and 3 times. Remember that your vehicle runs on petrol and not diesel, as some gas station attendants might assume. This is because most tuk-tuks in India run on diesel, especially larger ones like the Bajaj MAXIMA. Yours does not, so remember to be careful when stopping at a petrol pump to ensure that no one pours the wrong fuel into the tank, or it will cause issues. There are plenty of gas station attendants in India, and we've never experienced the risk of running out of fuel. However, as mentioned earlier, it's always a good idea to carry a full 8-10-liter jerrycan with you, just in case. This will give you greater autonomy both for the vehicle itself and for when you decide to stop.

DANGEROUS ZONES. In our journey, we never felt in danger. The population is mostly very friendly, helpful, and open as soon as you give them a smile. However, there are some areas considered a bit more critical, such as the region around Odessa, due to armed separatist riots encountered by another team during the run, or the Bihar region, which is very poor. It was precisely in the latter that part of our race route unfolded to reach Darjeeling. We didn't know this and were a bit taken aback when they tried several times to forcefully stop the tuk-tuk after we didn't stop at the request of an ordinary person who we thought wanted to ask us for a taxi ride. Or when a group of boys, while we were stopped at a traffic light, tried to reach into the tuk-tuk in the hope of grabbing something. Another situation you might encounter at the entrance of some villages is gentlemen who will energetically try to stop you to apparently give you pink notes. The advice, even reading the advice of other travelers, is not to stop because, especially in the crowd of inhabited centers, it could become difficult to keep everything under control.

Honestly, India, from what I've been able to see obviously, I wouldn't define as a dangerous country, absolutely not. Most of the time, it's you who will be wary of unexpectedly kind attitudes that would make us doubt the good faith of people at home, but which in India are commonplace. Try to abandon this Western mistrust as soon as possible because Indian kindness and hospitality, along with their curiosity about people who have decided to embark on a journey like yours, will be fundamental ingredients to enjoy your adventure even more and get to know a truly unique country.

It was an unprecedented adventure, an intense, dense, difficult, and tiring journey, but also and above all a beautiful experience, in a country where Magic and contrasts exist much more than in other places, and you see them every day.


In India, traffic seems unmanageable, chaos appears to reign supreme on the streets, and driving becomes a challenging task at times.

However, it is essential to understand a fundamental principle of traffic in this country right from the start: the use of the horn is different from ours. Horns are not sounded to point out others' violations or recklessness behind the wheel. Instead, they are used to highlight one's presence. The typical Indian driver often neglects the use of accessories such as rearview mirrors, resulting in the notion that anything not directly in front of them does not exist, and thus, they need not worry about it. It is precisely at this moment that your horn becomes the most important tool on board.

It's so much a part of the unofficial road rules that even trucks have explicitly written on the back to honk the horn when you're behind and want to overtake one. When you overtake another vehicle (especially if it's larger than yours), when you are being overtaken, or when someone is getting too close to you, honk, honk, honk. No one will give you a disapproving look as it might happen here in Europe; instead, you will have signaled your presence, asserted your occupancy of the stretch of road on which your wheels roll, and at least in this way, others will know that you exist. And please, do not hesitate. You will learn to keep your right thumb always ready to press that damned (yet blessed) button, which could literally save your life on more than one occasion.

Primarily, the horn will serve this purpose. Of course, you will also honk when it seems that someone in the opposite lane and against traffic hasn't bothered to move aside; or if, in the dead of night, the pleasant high beams of another vehicle flash directly into your pupils.

You will use the horn to assert your place in traffic, or to gain priority at an intersection or roundabout. You will use it to greet others, and why not, occasionally to release some tension after a particularly challenging stretch.

In any case, the horn will be the last component you'd want to break on your tuk-tuk. And if it ever does happen, please, find a solution as quickly as possible. You can drive without a muffler, without mirrors, even with a flat tire, but NEVER without the horn.


You will cross the finish line, step down from your tuk-tuk, and realize that the next day it won't be with you anymore, and that your backs, now part of the vehicle's frame, won't spend those 10-12 hours in contact with it anymore. It will be a small trauma because despite all the potholes, discomforts, wind, cold, smell of gasoline, dust, noise, honking, and unexpected events, you will have spent 15 days in pure contact with the Indian soil. And you will miss this incredibly.

Your race will be over, what you will receive as a prize for your courage and recklessness will matter little compared to what India and a race like this will have left in your hearts.

The fundraising

Don't forget that the main reason for which this race is born (in addition to the madness that distinguishes it) is a fundraising for charity.

This is how it works: each team during the race and in the two weeks following its end is required to open a fundraising campaign. The first 500 pounds raised by each team must go by regulation to the Cool Earth association, which deals with reforestation and assistance to populations living in the Amazon area that is gradually undergoing a process of wild deforestation and is founded by the same company that organizes the event, The Adventurists. The rest of the money collected (if any) is freely donatable to any other charity or organization chosen by the team itself.

I won't hide it: it was the first time we had to launch a fundraising campaign, and we didn't have the slightest idea of how to do it, what the mechanics were, and above all, how to at least scrape together the minimum amount of 500 pounds.

Obviously, all this was done on the fly a couple of days before the official start of the race, when, finding ourselves on the hotel room bed, we racked our brains to sketch out something that was minimally appealing, easy to read, and easy for potential donors to access. After a quick analysis of the proposals on the market in terms of crowdfunding platforms, our choice fell on GoFundMe, which among the many seemed to us to simply take a lower percentage on the donated amounts. The rest went rather smoothly, and, thanks especially to generous and wonderful friends, colleagues (and family members), we managed to complete the campaign with a total of 2100€ donated.

The collection was, of course, closed at the end of the two weeks following the race, but the page is still freely accessible HERE.

Of these 600 and something euros (equivalent to 500£), 500 pounds went to CoolEarth as per the regulations, while the remaining part was donated to an association for the assistance of cancer patients and their families, a cause close to my heart. 

I won't deny that the "excuse" of the fundraising allowed me to get in touch with some old friends I hadn't heard from in years. I also thank all those beautiful souls who helped us do good while we had fun like crazy.

And here we have reached the end of this impromptu account/guide about the personal experience of the Rickshaw Run.

As mentioned at the beginning, its goal is not completeness or exhaustiveness; the aim was not to describe this adventure in every detail because that would have meant taking away the joy of discovery.

However, I hope that the small pieces of advice contained within may be useful to someone.


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