Pimp my rickshaw

We’ve heard of our share of zany travels, but hopping onto an autorickshaw for an adventure kick was way out of the question.It began in 2006 as Princely Jeyachandran, head of Indian operations, reveals, “The idea struck Aravind Bremanandam (founder and CEO), when he was participating in a fun rally in Africa. He got an old Ladha (a Russian car) for that rally which he was participating in, with his friends.”

Aravind Bremanandam (right), founder and CEO of The Rickshaw Challenge, taking control of the wheel

It only justifies that a madcap idea can come out of a totally crazy experience. Aravind, the ‘driving’ force behind the venture, runs an Internet marketing company in Budapest and also introduced boutique hotels to India. A rally junkie, it hardly surprised us to hear that “the moment when the idea struck him he was caught in a sandstorm, under the car,” relates Jeyachandran.

Customised autorick-shaw in the shape of a rabbit

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So, coming to the frustrating public vehicle of our lives, the Rickshaw Challenge offers you four trips in a year called the Mumbai Express, Tamil Nadu Run, Classic Run, Malabar Rampage and Deccan Odyssey. This year, Mumbai Xpress begins on July 17 and make you map about 1,900 kilometers on that lawn mower’s engine (that rickshaws are supposed to have).

An autorick-shaw painted as a tiger

After being flagged off from our city, the daring travellers will cut through myriad landscapes -- hills, beaches and valleys -- and reach Chennai in 14 days. We wondered if the raucous rickshaw invited this smooth a ride in the beginning.

Jeyachandran shares, “When Aravind informed his like-minded friends; immediately, all planned (to hit the road) and within a year it happened. There were 20 teams (two in each rickshaw). The participants drive the vehicle. Even the noise the autorickshaw makes, becomes a part of fun.” With 30 vehicles in tow, Jeyachandran informs that one can surely pimp their rickshaws (if not heart the trip) and get them shipped to any part of the world.

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