Rickshaw Run Videos + FAQ

Our long-awaited Rickshaw Run video series is back in full production. There are a total of six videos up so far and even more in the works.

  For those just tuning in, earlier this year I checked another item off my travel bucket list: the mother fucking Rickshaw Run! My good friend and fellow travelin’ buddy Ryan and I first wanted to do this back in 2013 but could not coordinate our schedules. (Just one of the many occupational hazards of professional travel blogging, I’m afraid.)

Our Rickshaw Run group consisted of 11 people, 4 'shaws, 5 GoPros (+1 FoPro), 3 DSLRs and 1 drone Teen Romanchak Yaar and their merry band of Runners. Our Rickshaw Run group consisted of 11 people, 4 shaws, 5 GoPros (+1 FoPro), 3 DSLRs and 1 drone

What was the Rickshaw Run like?

Like driving a riding lawnmower from Canada all the way to Mexico with your best friends (despite the fact you have only known them for a couple days).

Teen Romanchak Yaar being interviewed by local media in Kanpur about the Rickshaw Run Teen Romanchak Yaar holding a press conference and interview session with local news crews in Kanpur

Are there any Rickshaw Run rules?

Only 2:

#1 Don’t hit any cows
#2 Don’t finish first
  (it means you didn’t have enough adventures!)

Cows on the road in India “If you hit a person, stop and feel it out. If you hit a cow…….just don’t hit a cow.” ~Farewell speech by The Adventurists before the Rickshaw Run flag dropped

Are the roads of India really that crazy?

Yes. Everyone drives crazy, so you just have to drive crazier. There are quite literally zero traffic laws. The simple act of driving will never be the same again.

There are traffic jams everywhere in India because drivers here have no patience and end up making things 10x worse This is a highway, not a parking lot. Roads here are first come, first serve, which means traffic jams like this happen everywhere on a daily basis.

However in all fairness, it is worth mentioning that there is the occasional open stretch of road like this:

Open roads on the April 2015 Rickshaw Run Scenes from a rickshaw (#31 of 219): India’s most endangered species is the rare Emptius Roadius

What was the wildest experience?

Watching one of our rickshaws get flattened by a massive truck…and subsequently seeing the inside of a not-so-pretty hospital in Uttar Pradesh. Crashing through a pirate toll in Bihar. An epic sandstorm in Rajasthan on the first day of the Run. Going off-roading in the rickshaw. Stunt filming. Nearly colliding with a herd of cows after our brakes went out (cheers to Ryan for some fancy maneuvering — how we didn’t take out a cow is still a shock)….the list goes on and on…

Rickshaw Run 2015 accident The final resting point of the only rickshaw not to complete the April 2015 Rickshaw Run was somewhere in between Varanasi and Kanpur

How was the driver?

“A little bit uglier now, but okay.” And very disappointed he was unable to finish the Run.

But your other three rickshaws made it across the finish line….right?

Well…2 and 1/2 of them did. One more rickshaw went down a few days later after losing a game of chicken with a local (and possibly drunk) rickshaw and soon we found ourselves at yet another hospital. Coincidentally it was the second rickshaw driven by our Norwegian friends.

India's first convertible rickshaw made an appearance in the April 2015 Rickshaw Run India’s first convertible rickshaw — watch the video

  So, if you’re coming from Norway to partake in the Rickshaw Run, forget everything you know about driving and being courteous because in India, both those things are a liability. Just react on instinct, no hesitation, and you’ll be okay. It’s when you hesitate that things go wrong.

Scenic roads in Meghalya state, India My favorite photo from the Rickshaw Run. Ryan climbed up the hill and took this shot but since we both have the same footage, you might notice both our watermarks on the same photos — if you read both of our blogs enough 😉

I need to do this.

Well, that’s not really a question, but yes, you NEED to do the Rickshaw Run. No other country but India would allow hundreds of hash-fueled 20-somethings to take the keys to a “vehicle” they do not know how do drive and race across a wild, unknown and unpredictable country.

After first finishing the Run, most of my teammates were eager to return to normal life. Now, six months later, they are bored with normal life and we have begun planning our next crazy adventure — the Mongol Rally, an insane 8-week road trip all the way from the UK to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia!

Why did it take so long to start releasing videos?

Although we did release a few simple, quick videos while on the road, there was no time for extensive editing during the Rickshaw Run. Hell, there was barely even time to sleep. Then less than a week after finishing, I was at ground zero when the quake struck Nepal. Video editing took a backseat while I spent the next four months doing quake relief work (watch the epic video) and Ryan moved to Australia to go back to work.

What can we expect from subsequent videos?

We are breaking it up into a short series documenting our (lack of preparation) for the Rickshaw Run, and obviously the Run itself. There will also be a couple humorous montages released, as well as some side stories from adventures during the Rickshaw Run — like trying Bhang Lassi and learning more about cow shit than we ever wanted to know.

  And yes, there will of course be one epic grand finale video highlighting the best of the best from our Run.

My friend Rahma (Musafir Productions) is an experienced editor and has taken lead on the video production. (BTW if anyone out there needs an editor, check her out! I’m currently not accepting any new clients.) I’ve also hired a composer in Finland to create a custom score for the videos. You can see both of their work in action in the Teen Romanchak Yaar Rickshaw Run trailer:

As a final closing note, I should mention that this first Rickshaw Run trailer was made using only a fraction of the 2TB of footage. We have not watched it all yet, not even close. So expect much more madness!

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About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel."   Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

4 thoughts on “Rickshaw Run Videos + FAQ”

  1. This is Keren!!! Anyway, thanks for including me… nice to be part of your Rickshaw Run video production project!!! Can’t wait to finish the whole upcoming episodes…


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