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mhappens three times a year in January, April or August, and more than 200 likeminded loonies get together and take on what is probably one of the most adventurous trips there is. There are three events each year, either heading from Cochin to Jaisalmer, or Jaisalmer to Cochin, but the bits in between are where the adventure is-you can make it as difficult as you like, either by dodging trucks on the ocean highway, like the avatar from a 1980s video game, or (which they suggest) by heading inland to get lost in the jungles, mountains, deserts, back roads, and remote villages of rural
India. They've found the best way to do it is to provide you with a start line, and a finish line, and let you decide the rest for yourselves - that way you don't end up in each other's laps unless you really want to. Planning your own route gives you the freedom to go at your own pace, and take in the sites that interest you. Want to look for tigers, rhinos and elephants in the nature reserves? Go for it. Want to check out hilltop temples and hidden yoga retreats? Why not? Prefer to do a local homestay and cook with a local family? Good call. The rickshaw is the perfect tool to take you to your definition of adventure.
The rickshaws, or tuk-tuks, if you like, are, technically speaking, glorified lawnmowers designed for short trips on sealed roads. Millions of them ply the towns and cities of India as urban taxis, and sensible people'II tell you they're totally unsuitable for long-distance adventures. Those people are right... and yet so, so wrong. You see, they
don't go very fast, they don't go round corners very well, and they're not renowned for their ability to go up hills (which, given where you're going, can be 'interesting'), but they bring a huge smile to the face - point yours at mountains, deserts, offroad tracks or hectic highways, and experience overland adventuring so good it'll make you do a happy wee.
With a tailwind, heading downhill (and with the gods of adventure on your side), you can reach speeds rivalling a very brisk walk. They have a foot brake, and a twist-grip throttle/gear-change so they're not like driving a car or riding a 'bike, and you'd be hard pushed to say they protect you from the elements (because they don't). If you want to know more, look up the video on YouTube 'Rickshaws Explained: Quite Badly, by an Idiot'.
The entry fee is per team, and you can squeeze up to three people in a rickshaw, and that means, for example, the January 2021 run, which costs £1,895 per rickshaw, will cost you each £630 (plus flights and stuff), while the April 2021 costs £1,945 per rickshaw (£650 plus flights, etc.). For that, you get your very own rickshaw for two weeks, two days of test driving, your rickshaw pimped/painted to your own design by real artists before you arrive, massive parties at the start and finish, plenty of pre-launch shenanigans, mechanical lessons, and a bunch of other stuff that'd make this sentence really,
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he idea for the record attempts was inspired by his kids, Aliya and Callen, who suggested that he enter the Paralympics, but he felt that that may be a bit out of his comfort zone, but going fast on a bike? That was more doable ....
He bought a ZZR1400 Kawasaki, a 2006 one, because it was one of the fastest stock machines available, alongside Suzuki's Hayabusa, and 'cos he liked the sculpted look of it, and shortly afterwards spoke to Steve at Casarva in Peterborough about them triking it for him. After several calls, he still hadn't sworn or laughed out loud at the idea, which Gary took to be a positive sign. A visit was planned, and a plan was made but, due to Casarva's good reputation, and hence accompanying workload, they wouldn't be able to start on it for a couple of months, so he went home and set about collecting all the parts he was going to need.