Water fights, Drag Races and Rickshaw Hopping: Riding with Dukes of the Green

Final leg of the Rickshaw Challenge Classic Run and I decide to take my life into my own hands by travelling to Kerala with the infamous Dukes of the Green to the finishing line. From water fights, drag racing and hopping between rickshaws, there is no dull moment with these lads. 
Day 9, Kanniyakumari – Trivandrum
 The final day of the Rickshaw Challenge Classic Run 2015, and I was up at 6am to head down the beach with the participants from the TDB Team for the sunrise over Cape Comorin. Having missed the sunset the night before because we arrived too late, I was determined to catch the sunrise.

"Good morning India!" Sun rise over the most southern point - photo by Marian Brooks from Rice to the Challenge.
“Good morning India!” Sun rise over the most southern point – photo by Marian Brooks from Rice to the Challenge.

The crowds had taken their base down on the seafront, camping out to watch the sun slowly emerge from the horizon where three seas meet. With the silhouette of the Thiruvalluvar Statue in the distance, catching the morning rays was worth the early wake up.
In my case, I also thought it would be my last sunrise, since I had foolishly elected to ride with Dukes of the Green today! Obviously, I lived to tell the tale, but the trip was not without its adventures.
Firstly, Dukes of the Green II broke down only minutes after leaving the town. Turned out they had run out of petrol in the middle of the motorway, so Dukes of the Green I had to go back into town and get some more supplies. As Piers, Rob and myself sped off in our tuk-tuk, we left Alex and Harry behind, who played around doing handstands in the motorway… as you do.
"What else are you going to do when you break down and get bored?" - courtesy of  Harry Ropner from team Dukes of the Green.
“What else are you going to do when you break down and get bored?” – courtesy of Harry Ropner from team Dukes of the Green.

We sped off later, and as team II’s rickshaw, named “Sam” for being the trusty friend (and an undamaged and reliable rickshaw, the damaged rickshaw got the name “Gimli”) rolled up blasting out Jerusalem at full volume on the sound system, the boys decided to play with fate as they hopped from one rickshaw to the other , but fortunately, there were no capsizes.
Once Harry realised he couldn’t keep up with Piers’s manic driving, Alex took the reigns and the two rickshaws got into a bumper car drag race through the towns on the road to Kerala – despite Aravind’s warnings that the roads were not particularly good – but nothing says adrenaline rush like flying out of a pothole at 60kmph.
Harry took things up a notch and started to poke our rickshaw with a stick and aimed to throw water at Rob, but actually hit me in the face instead.
Just over the border into Kerala, Harry and Alex’s rickshaw broke down in the middle of a busy town, in the centre of traffic after having run out of fuel, so we had to push the rickshaw to a less busy corner of the street as Alex refilled the tank.
Getting into Trivandrum was tricky. Harry was driving Dukes of the Green II, and couldn’t keep up with Piers in Dukes of the Green I. We had also lost the daysheet, so had no idea where to go. We went to the hotel, but Dukes of the Green missed the final procession of all the rickshaws leaving St. Joseph’s Cathedral to the pomp and ceremony of the official flagdown at the hotel. I guess it was a fitting end for the boys, especially when they had to push their totalled rickshaw towards the others since it finally couldn’t go any longer. I guess this meant Rickshaw Challenge was officially over… but what happened to the other teams?

Are you crazy enough to come along for the ride? Then join us on the next Rickshaw Challenge. Then get a team together and lets see you at the starting line! If you want to join us in spirit, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or Instagram to keep up with our latest antics.


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