The Rickshaw Challenge Classic Run Day 1 & 2: It’s still too easy!

The Rickshaw Challenge Classic Run is underway, with participants undergoing training in Chennai.
rickshaw challenge classic run
Once more, Chennai is the location of a very special spectacle. The Rickshaw Challenge Classic Run 2017 has kicked off from Tamil Nadu’s capital. Twenty teams from 10 countries and 46 participants overall will compete for the victory in the 10th Rickshaw Challenge Classic Run, which also marks the 10th anniversary of the Travel Scientists, the world’s most gonzo travel operator.

The All-Important Briefing

rickshaw challenge classic run
Aravind Bremanandam, Chief Scientist and founder of the Travel Scientists, made sure to brief the teams explicitly on the special ways of driving in India, whose traffic chaos is an immense challenge for every foreigner. Aravind’s pre-rally briefings are legendary, with many essential tips for navigating the days the ahead.

And on to Training!

rickshaw challenge classic run
Soon all teams rushed to the training ground, where they met their new travel companions, the rickshaws, for the first time. Just a couple of hours later, after all of them had more or less successfully passed the 9-seconds start-stop test, they were sent off into the real Indian traffic to fulfill their first challenge: getting petrol at the next gas station. On a straight line only one team managed to get lost and we were very proud of them. The day’s success, of course, had to be celebrated with some well deserved beers.
rickshaw challenge classic run
Things were getting serious the next morning: the first stop of the Classic Run, about 150 km from Chennai to Madurai demanded to be mastered. The distance was not too far, but the temptation to get lost in the dozens of sights and just in the Indian life was big. Many teams also experienced already the limitations of their rickshaws hardly out of Chennai, and the Service Van had to come to rescue and exchange a blown engine. But the number of breakdowns is what the Rickshaw Challenge’s stripes of honour are made of and thanks to our talented mechanics, all teams were sent back on the road in no time.

The First Day on the Road!

rickshaw challenge classic run
Today’s first point of interest was Mahabalipuram, where dozens of temples and monuments were carved directly out of the stone in perfection between the 7th and the 9th century. Also the Dutch Fortress at Sadras and the Fort at Alambarai challenged the teams firstly to find them without sufficient signs and secondly to dig into Tamil history to answer the quiz questions.
rickshaw challenge classic run
All teams arrived with so much time to spare before flag-off time that we are seriously considering building in some traps and delays for next year’s Classic Run, as it seemed just to be too easy. Team Rusty Couple had already arrived at 1 pm and we are working intensively on making their life a bit harder on the road! Tomorrow will lead our teams from Pondicherry over 200 km to Thanjavur and we will be sure to keep you updated about their successes and their failures!

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



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