The Ultimate Rush

Cool piece in on the Rickshaw Challenge:
They warn you well in advance: this is an amazing race for the clinically insane. This coming August, 40 teams won’t mind being called that, as they compete in the Mumbai Xpress, an autorickshaw rally from Chennai to Mumbai. For the past three years, The Autorickshaw Challenge has drawn loyal fans to its annual rickshaw rallies, which includes the Tech Raid (Chennai-Hyderabad-Bangalore-Chennai) and the Malabar Rampage (to Kerala and back). Software techie Aravind Bremanandam has even set up an event management firm to handle the show. The victorious world champions get, apart from ‘major bragging rights’ and ‘an outrageous trophy’, free entry into the Caucasian Challenge, a drive-anything motor rally that kicks off from Budapest every year. Says Bremanandam: “Our mission is to provide an unparalleled experience to the rallyists by combining adventure, sight seeing, fun and charity. And what better way to do it than in our own homegrown autorickshaw?” Racers who fall in love with their zany, multi-coloured rickshaws have the option of buying it. For a fee of e900 (Rs 60,000), an autorickshaw, paper maps, traffic reports, road conditions, GPS co-ordinates and even internet access at pit stops, are provided. Enroute, teams adopt-a-village and provide it with school supplies, medicines and the like. Participants are urged to think of the rickshaw as “a covered bicycle with a fuel-efficient lawn mower engine”.

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Mumbai Xpress

Deccan Odyssey

Malabar Rampage

Classic Run

Tamilnadu Run

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