23 Foreigners ride Auto-Rickshaws in ‘Mumbai Express 2016’

23 Foreigners ride Auto-Rickshaws in ‘Mumbai Express 2016’

Mangaluru: The Auto Rickshaw Challenge-Mumbai Express 2016, rally team was welcomed in the city at the DK Government School ground- Bikkaranakatte by the Round Table India (RTI) 115 club members on Wednesday 17 August, and later the rally was flagged off by the board members of RTI. The team consisting of 23 members were in the city on a adventure travel from Mumbai to Chennai on nine auto rickshaws.

They had left Mumbai on 7 August, after covering Alibaug, Pune, Mahabaleshwar, Ratnagiri, Panaji and Murdeshwar, they had reached the city on Wednesday 17 August- from here they will be heading towards Mysuru, and then reaching their final destination Chennai on 20 August, 2015. At 8.30am after the ‘Rickshaw Challenge” members interacted with the school kids, Royster Alex DSouza-chairman of Round Table India-Mangaluru Chapter 115, along with other board members flagged off the rally. Leaving the city, they are scheduled to take the Mysore, Bengaluru route to Vellore and then reach Chennai. Among the 16 international teams of 40 participants riding auto-rickshaws separately on their own, of which nine teams made a stop over in Mangaluru on their way to Mysuru-Chennai, we learnt more about their dare-devil adventurous journey, and also about the ‘Rickshaw Challenge’ event.

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The nine teams in nine different auto-rickshaws were: Team name ” 2ManDeep” headed by Joshua Thomas and Ashish James from UK; “Algo en Espanol” by Naomi Jujols, Shamir Quinones, and Hector Gabriel Arizmendi (Peurto Rico/USA); “Just Married” headed by newly married couple, Becky James and Andrew Colwell (UK); “Shitty Shitty Bang Bang” headed by William Cecil, Matilda Moir, and Lydia Cecil (UK); “Team Jelly” headed by James Poole and Eleanor Fraser (UK); “Dancing Double Chef” headed by Kristina Cheffins and Christopher Double (UK); “Beach Please” by Marlen Heldemeel, Janna Martinson and Eva Vaino (EST); “Wilson” by Kaspar Ratsep, Georg Tulver and Siim Silver Salamaa (EST); and “Aloha Spirit” headed by Andres Koger, Magnus Heinmets and Jaan Parmask (EST)>

An approximately 1400 km adventure in a 7 horsepower glorified lawnmower ( auto-rickshaw ?) -that’s truly amazing ! The “Rickshaw Challenge” is easily the least sensible thing to do just within 13 days travelling from Mumbai to Chennai. At each end of the Ride is a party of earth shattering proportions but what is between them is all down to the team members. And luck – good or bad. No set route, no back-up, no way of knowing if they are going to make it. The only certainty is that they are bound to get lost, will get stuck and their vehicle will break down. It’s just the driver and the mates in a wholly unsuitable vehicle traversing the subcontinent enduring whatever the road has to throws at them.

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The Rickshaw Challenge is a modern day, yet primitive, cannonball challenge ride across parts of India in a glorified-three wheeled lawnmower. An epic journey across India that offers craziness and unexpected adventures at every turn. The Rickshaw Challenge is mad dash across the prescribed destinations where just making it to the finish line is an achievement. Put on by the clearly crazy individuals – it’s basically done on a tricycle with a lawnmower engine. “The Rickshaw Challenge isn’t a race – there’s isn’t a course, just a destination! We don’t know which team traveled the furthest because none of the odometers work ?” said one team member.

Each team consists of one rickshaw and between one and three drivers. The Rickshaw is a vehicle designed to transport light loads over small distances on paved roads, making it a challenge to cover long distances. A short trip in a Bajaj auto-rickshaw is enough to convince you that the rickshaw is barely fit for the purpose of a brief journey across town. It’s only when you hit the open road or indeed off-road that the beauty of these vehicles becomes apparent. Nothing of the design of these noisy tripods is with comfort, safety or reliability in mind. They put you right at the bottom of the Indian road hierarchy thus giving you perfect opportunity to see India from the gutter.Possibly the least suitable vehicle on the planet for covering the entire subcontinent in two weeks. In other words: perfect.

“The rickshaws go about from 50km-60 kmph -but you can’t speed up that way for long, since the engine may crank up. The engine is only about 7 horsepower, just under 150cc. You’ve got to pull the clutch in to shift, that’s one more thing that can break. Engines have been known to catch on fire while moving along at 60km/h. The eight-liter tank has to be refilled basically every day. It’s two stroke, so you have to mix oil in with the petrol. We didn’t know that, so our rickshaw engine started doing some funny noises and got heated up releasing some fumes-but everything was okay. You can get about 150k on a full tank – they’re very economical until they break down or you smash into something!” said Joshua Thomas and Ashish James of “2 ManDeep”, who had a minor accident when their auto tilted over when they were over speeding near Ratnagiri.

When asked about the people they came across, all the team members said, ” People along their route were friendly, helpful and very courteous and gave us respect and provided us good hospitality when we needed. Indian folks are the best people on this planet. ” . When asked about consuming Indian food during their rally, they all said that they enjoyed the Indian delicacies, especially veg dishes like Paneer Tikka, Dal Tadka, Gobi Manchurian etc etc- Tandoori chicken and Chicken tikka was also great at a roadside Dhaba. Loved the biriyani and kabab items. Masala chai was excellent.

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“Anything and everything. We brought along some protein bars, which helped during long stretches on the road. Almost exclusively, though, we ate at local restaurants and roadside cafes (dhabas). We found that the dirtier the cook, the better the food was. We often liked the veg plates better than non-veg. Water, though, was the most important resource – especially when traveling through the crazy weather. Keeping stocked with bottled water was difficult at times, especially with 12 guys drinking more than 15-20 liters a day at times, said the team members jokingly.

How does one come to drive a rickshaw down the coast of India? I asked the newly married couple riding the “Just Married” auto-rickshaw- Becky (46) and Andrew (55) who were married on 3 July 2016 said this was their honeymoon ride and wanted to explore the real India through this adventure. “By joining one of these adventures puts us on exciting adventures for charity, and which describes us as “Purveyors of adventuring chaos the world over. We’re fighting to make the world less boring with a bunch of glorious old school adventures. We’ve entered the Rickshaw Challenge, a adventure that goes in/across/through India (Mumbai to Chennai, all whilst driving a rickshaw. We’re on the road 7 Aug-20 Aug-feels great and awesome! People are amazing, friendly and got the best hospitality wherever we stopped. Loved the Pav Bhaji (like our Burger in England) and most of the veg dishes” added the couple.

Why are you doing this? I asked, “For fun, and in the spirit of unadulterated adventure. We have three goals: Support an awesome non-profit organizations, Experience and get excited by India…it’s a crazy, awe-inspiring place., and Have a blast, but make it out alive-most important goal. What we get, besides a giant thank you, fame and fortune for assisting in this epic journey, and perhaps our first-born child, are perks ?” came back the answer from the couple.

Speaking to mangalorean.com, Royster Alex D’souza-chairman, RTI-Mangaluru said that the participants will raise funds throughout their rally and utilize the amount for the development of the infrastructure of the government schools. So far the round table 115, has helped government schools like the Bengre Kasaba School, Moodshedde School, Mallikatta government school, St Joseph School and Kemral school in Kinnigoli. He further said that the round table 115, will take up the requirements of the schools and after a thorough study of the project and approval from all the members, the infrastructure will be provided to the deserving schools.

With so much to achieve and such little time, the participants of the Auto Rickshaw Challenge Mumbai Express 2016 have their work cut out for them. The stage is set for the grandest of all challenges – a unique opportunity to the lovers of adventure to push their boundaries harder and higher and to prove their mettle in the great outdoors. While I enjoyed a few hours in the company of these great adventurists, I would like to compliment them for being bold and brave in undertaking this adventurous rally, and I wish them best of luck . Great guys ! Great damsels-loved them all and their new friendship-hoping to keep in touch with them forever. Long live the “Rickshaw Challenge” heroes!

About Rickshaw Challenge

The 1400 km Rickshaw Challenge- Mumbai Express 2016 is an adventure Rally/ Challenge done using Auto-rickshaws. The Rickshaw Challenge – Mumbai Express 2016 adventure will run for 11 days from Mumbai to Chennai (August 9th to 20th), taking the 9 teams of 23 participants from 4 countries on an exhilarating journey across the length and breadth of the country.


Route Map

Mumbai – Alibaug – Pune – Panaji – Mangalore – Mysore – Bangalore – Vellore – Chennai Flag down

The aspiring adventurers come from countries as far as UK, USA, Australia, Newzealand, France, Sweden, looking for an experience of a lifetime. And this is exactly what the Mumbai Express 2016 provides. In order to win the Rickshaw Challenge – Mumbai Express 2016, the participants will have to rely on the locals at each destination to guide them along. Clearly it is all about human power.

During the Mumbai Express 2016 participants will eagerly look forward to a number of mini- races and challenges on a daily basis through which the contestants will also get the opportunity to form a meaningful connection to the places they are visiting. They will not only enjoy the natural beauty of the rural countryside but also sample the local cuisine and culture.

Along the way, the participants of Mumbai Express 2016 will be making a difference in the lives of the underprivileged by raising funds for various projects of Round Table India under their Flagship program Freedom Through Education. Social responsibility is very close to the heart of the Mumbai Express 2016. The event is owned and conducted by Chennai Event Management Services.

About Round Table India and Mangalore Round Table 115

An organization of non-political and non-sectarian young men between the age group of 18 to 40.

The aim of the young men is to promote service, fellowship and goodwill in National and International affairs. RTI has a membership of 2,500 like-minded professionals spread across a network 75 cities and towns in India. RTI is Part of Round Table International, a global organization with a presence in 54 countries and a strong network of 36,000 members.


Our National Project is FREEDOM THROUGH EDUCATION in pursuit of educating 1 Million Children. The current status: half a million children educated and about 750 schools built with a total spend of R 80 crores.

Eminent personalities like Super Cop Kiran Bedi, Lead India winner R K Mishra, Kajol and Ajay Devgan, Sabeer Bhatia, Shiv Khera Narain Karthikeyan and Madhavan have supported Round Table India in its mission to educate underprivileged children by being voluntary Goodwill Ambassadors.

We are a ZERO overhead organization. All administration expenses of Round Table India and member tables are met from membership collections alone. Donations received are strictly utilized for Charity only, for which we have a separate Charity Account.

Almost 95% of the members are self employed professional or businessmen. We are doing this as a passion – purely voluntarily – out of our own interests. Hence there is very high focus on accountability / quality and deliverables.

For more information on Round Table India please visit our website www.roundtableindia.org.


  1. There you go, white people having fun so they can go back home and show pics of them standing next to poor Indian kids. There is a good chance that they all watched ‘slumdog millionaire’ as an introduction to India before coming here!! Oh well, let them have fun – who cares.

  2. Mr. Original R. Pai,

    Please refrain from commenting without knowing the facts. These guests of ours come to India not to click pictures with poor people but for an adventure. And when they are on this adventure they try to do good by donating their time and resources to help the needy.

    In the past MRT115 and MLC82 has donated books, stationery, school uniforms, helped build the compound wall of this particular school from the funds we received from these guests.

    It’s easy to pass comments sitting at home.

  3. There you go, white people having FUN so they can go back home and show pics of them standing next to poor Indian kids. – RampaNNA from Yumreeka.

    Ayyo Rampaaaaa…… you are in Whiteman’s land. You call your OWN motherland names such as – 3rd world country, WHAT a country, will never improve (minus our Pravaaaaadi’s guidance though).. blah blah.

    Say, any filter for your loose tongue? Ask your MIL. Marmalade should do I guess. 🙂

    Enchina poora budpe namma RampaNNa. Lol…

  4. In response to the comment posted by Mr Original R Pai, I think it is just very hurtful and quite ignorant that someone would post such a meaningless comment, without knowing the exact facts. These foreigners don’t come to India to pose for pics with children, instead, they come on an adventurous trip to explore India and its beauty. At the same time, they are very courteous and caring towards the children of India wherever they make a stop on their journey.

    I have been covering this Rickshaw Challenge for the last three years when these foreigners make a pit-stop in Mangaluru, and it has always been a pleasure for me to interact with these “White People” (as named by Mr Pai) and have fun – these folks are fun people, and I love “White People” as well as Indians – being in the United States for the nearly 23 years, my bond with white people has been very intimate and fruitful. White, black or brown people – we are equal and God’s children.

    And I think MRT 115 and MLC 82 have been doing a good job in welcoming these innocent and friendly foreigners to their towns, thereby providing them good hospitality and gesture – showing that Indians do love foreigners and they mean a lot to them.

    Thank you!

    • “.. and I love “white people” as well as Indians – being in the US for nearly 23 tears……. white, black or brown people – we are equal and God’s children” – Mr. Alfie to RampaNNa.

      Mr. Alfie, THIS Joker must have thought that he was ONLY chap who set foot into the US. (Oh no! If you’ve noticed, my US visa was rejected. Jeez… lemme confess some more…. my goatherd visa applications to Sudan, Somalia, Egypt, and EVEN Pak were REJECTED. Shhhhh…… keep it to yourself and please don’t tell that to our pyareLallu Rampanna, will you? 😉

      Anyway, YOU have said it bro! You have put this… in his place…………

      Cheers bro. 🙂

  5. Comment posted by Mr Original R Pai, being a Indian and making big bucks in a White Man’s land is just worthless!

    Good job by MRT115.

    • Comment posted by Mr. Original R Pai(s), being a(n) Indian …….. is just worthless! – Mr. Naresh Kumar from Florida

      Ouch! RampaNNA…. now, that is adding INSULT to injury. You got whacked by Mr. Royster in the morning and now we have Mr. Naresh Kumar from your own backyard who is rebuking you. Tsk! WHEN will you EVER learn ya, RampaNNA?

      Adhakke naanu helodu…. makkalu shalege hogbek’ri. Chalo beta….. nimma patya pusthaka tereyiri. 🙂

  6. It’s easy to pass comments sitting at home. … .. has donated books, stationery, school uniforms….- Mr. Royster to Yumreeki Mr. RampaNNA

    Lol! A very tight slap on the face of our Yumreeki Gau Rakshaka who happens to be our own Armchair analyst on almost all matters under the sun. He reminds me of another expert joker called Rahula ‘Shampoo’ Ishwara who is ‘invited’ to say his two bits on ‘Garnab Arswami’s’ nautanki show on HOT topics such as:

    1. Which came first – the chicken or the egg?
    2. Entry of Women into Temples/inner sanctum thereof.
    3. Sedition, Kashmir, Pak infiltration etc.
    4. Zakir Naik’s Speeches
    5. India’s pathetic show at Rio
    6. The dwindling Rhinos
    7. Soaring prices of Dal, Tomatoes, onions etc.
    8. Salman Khan’s ‘rape’ comment

    And on EVERY topic, our Rahula Baba emerges ‘victorious’ – i.e., AFTER Garnaba Arswami!

    Sigh! What can be done with such armchair analysts who sit some 7k miles away from Mangalore/india and yet yammer on and on……?

  7. Seriously, guys? If someone wants to genuinely help poor people/kids, do we need this-challenge or that-challenge? Wouldn’t it be much more effective if these individuals spend this time and resource directly on educating or social services. I would rather have mother theresa-Bill Gates model (yes – both are whites!!) than auto rickshaw model!!! To be honest, I see this trend growing in India as well – We see some guys hitting road on a bike to spread awareness of this-or-that. I remember one such guy reaching mangaluru areas to spread the awareness of ‘swachcha bharatha’!! One has to wonder – what different it really makes!! True – one can have fun and get free publicity. In terms of meaningful impact, I don’t see much though!

    • I would rather have mother Theresa-Bill G model *yes – both are whites)!

      Wow! Not bad for for a loaf of brown bread whose maibanna happens to be ‘kandhu’! 🙂

    • Original R. Pai,

      Well atleast they are doing something.

      BTW read the article properly. They are on an adventure and along with that they are trying to do something for the poor.

    • Seriously guys? If someone wants to genuinely help poor people/kids, do WE need this-challenge or that-challenge? – RampaNNA getting ‘serious’ for a change

      Seriously, RampaNNA, YOU DO NOT need any kind of a challenge because getting through EACH day itself is a HUGE challenge for you and the word “help” is JUST a 4 letter word that you have come across here.

      However, NOT everybody is as simple as you and further burdened with the trails and tribulations of daily life – like YOU are. So, SERIOUSLY, RampaNNA, what they do is their prerogative.

      Artha aitheno, RampaNNA? Seriously? 🙂

  8. I am really surprised the way all (with something in common) are targeting one reader for his views on the subject.
    This only proves what he is saying.

    • This only proves what he is saying. – Some Avani to Rampu’s rescue

      “Proves”, eh? Lmao! The ‘burden of proof’ rests on you, dearest Advani’ji. So….. go on… make my day/week/month. 🙂

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