Rickshaw run a real taste of Indian life
They battled bedlam on Indian streets, froze their butts off in the desert and toughed it out in very basic lodgings, but four Arrowtown adventurers completed the gruelling Rickshaw Run in January.
Lisa and Edward Guy, and Heather and Warwick Weber, left their young families with grandparents and set off on Boxing Day last year on their two-week, third-world adventure.
Rickshaw Run is a global fundraising event for Cool Earth, which targets threatened rainforests.
Ten of the 78 international teams entered in the 3500 kilometre global fundraising event for Cool Earth failed to cross the finish line by the deadline.
However, the resourceful Kiwis rose at 5am daily, enduring 10-hour days in their assigned rickety rickshaws – seven horsepower glorified lawnmowers – and the Guys endured four breakdowns.
They crawled from the Thar Desert in Jaisalmer, south to the Kochi finish line, reaching speeds of no more than 45kmh.
‘‘The last four hours were incredibly challenging,’’ Ms Guy said.
‘‘We only just made it right on 4pm. We had 11 minutes to travel 12 kilometres.’’
‘‘We deliberately took as long as we took, determined to take as much out of the experience as we could.’’
Some teams endured more than 50 breakdowns.
Others rolled their rickshaws and suffered minor injuries, while one had a head-on collision and another hit a sheep.
They unexpectedly struck celebrations of Muhammed’s birthday on the last stretch, so every village had a full procession blocking its streets.
‘‘Then at midday we hit striking truckers protesting tolls, who had blocked all the roads with huge boulders, barbed wire and building materials. It was bedlam,’’ Mrs Guy said.
‘‘It was very basic lodgings. In one case we had to wrap a sarong around the pillow, because the sheets were so stained.’’
For a couple of nights they were able to treat themselves to five-star accommodation, raising eyebrows as they rolled up in their old rickshaws.
The Indian people in all the villages they passed through were extremely welcoming.
‘‘We felt like 1.2 billion people stepped forward to welcome us. We were even taken into people’s homes to stay and if we broke down they stayed with us until help arrived,’’ Mrs Guy said.
‘‘The dust on the roads was incredible.
‘‘But we fell in love with our crappy rickshaws. We cried when we had to give them back,’’ she laughed.
The event raised $75,000 for Cool Earth. The Guys have also so far raised more than $4400 for their chosen Live More Awesome charity and the Webers more than $1200 for FRANK Water with donations still coming in.
To donate see theadventurists.com or phone 027 220 1676.
Riders: From left, Warwick and Heather Weber, and Lisa and Edward Guy with the rickety rickshaws that took them 3500km around India.
Intrepid: From left, Lisa and Edward Guy, and Heather and Warwick Weber on the Rickshaw Run in India.