One of the toughest three-wheeled adventures in the Travel Scientists’ repertoire, the Mumbai Xpress is an ambitious feet from Mumbai to Chennai, a journey that traverses most of South India and the better part of 2000km – all during the infamous monsoon season. As our nutty teams kick off from India’s largest metropolis, are they ready for this challenge of endurance?
Day 1: Meeting the Rickshaws
We started things off on an easy note for day 1, getting the paperwork and registration out of the way before introducing the teams to their rickshaws and getting them to practice a bit on their three-wheeled steeds.
Registration started at 9am, and you would have thought people would have leapt out of bed for the chance to do some paperwork, but only 3 teams were uber motivated to sign up so early. The others made it down at a leisurely 11am. Once everyone had given their deposits and signed their souls… er we mean signed the terms and agreements, everybody was led into the Royal Hall in the hotel for a pep talk from the Head Scientist, Aravind Bremanandam, to get everyone in the mood.
Once pepped, then it was time to face the beasts, and our plucky teams made their way over to the Women’s University Campus for some rickshaw driving lessons and general how-not-to-kill-yourself-in-India while driving preparation. One team played hooky though, and that was the Monsoon Riders, although they had a valid excuse in that they were not even in India due to a flight muck-up, but they got the chance to catch up on their training the day after.
After the practice, the teams had the chance to tackle the Mumbai traffic themselves as they had to take the rickshaws back to the hotel. A couple of teams broke down along the way, team Nan of Your Business had flat tyres and needed to change the wheels, but get extra brownie points for managing to do it themselves. Off course there is nothing like Mumbai traffic to inspire one to drink, so everyone went up for the welcome party at Gringo Bar to kick start the fun! The event was also double special, since Neil from team Little Laia and the Blues Brothers, celebrated his birthday.