Rickshaw Run 2018 with Pickle Rickshaw
Cambridge Mask Company is relishing the opportunity to sponsor team Pickle Rickshaw on the most epic adventure of their lives.On April Fools Day 2018, 70 teams of intrepid rickshaw racers will set off from Kochi, a city in the southern Indian state of Kerala. They will have just two weeks to rattle their way 2,583km north to the state of Rajasthan and will cross the finish line in a city called Jaisalmer. Those of you who have spent any time in Asia will know that a rickshaw (or Tuk Tuk) is not something one might typically associate with competitive racing. Certainly, they are excellent vehicles for zipping haphazardly in between lanes of busy traffic and squeezing down roads off-limits to most other means of transportation. However, each year extreme thrill-seekers descend upon India to embark on the annual rickshaw race in these humble vehicles. They are kitted out with an impressive seven horsepower engine, a mammoth 8-litre fuel capacity and a downhill velocity of up to 55kmph.
The JourneyThis year, the Cambridge Mask Company is backing the Pickle Rickshaw team, which consists of siblings Matt and Jo Osborn and their friend Ryan Wheeler. Jo has been a supporter of the Cambridge Mask cause for over a year now and wears a respirator on her daily bicycle commute across London. Knowing how notoriously bad the roads in India can be for dust and pollution, she reached out to us for a few respirator donations. In exchange, we are fortunate enough to be able to come along for the ride from the comfort of our living rooms as Jo and the Pickle Team will be sending us updates, videos and photos from their hair-raising adventures.
“We haven’t planned anything, have absolutely no race experience nor have the three of us met up together since we agreed to do it. It’s going to be a very interesting first day…”
Jo OsborneJo is the brains behind the whole mission, having been inspired by a project 2.5 years ago when she shaved her head for charity and raised a whopping £11 000; the time seemed ripe for a new challenge. Although Jo had been dreaming about taking on the Rickshaw Run for some time, she managed to rope together a last-minute motley crew daring enough to accept this somewhat ludicrous challenge. “I convinced my boyfriend to join me. My best mate was out of the running, so we put the feelers out for a final teammate and my brother showed enough intrigue for me to pester him continuously until he said yes.” Having strong-armed the men in her life into accompanying her across India in a tin can with wheels for a good cause, it seems only fair that her team’s name, Pickle Rickshaw, is a pun of Pickle Rick, a character in one of Ryan and Matt’s favourite TV shows, Rick and Morty.
“We wanted to work with a charity that helped India directly, and for something as fundamental to life as water, it was a no-brainer.” Funnily enough, consistently ensuring that they have enough water to last through the vast swathes of rural India is apparently just one problem that lies ahead."
Local MechanicAt least they have remembered to prepare their respirators on time. Many of our readers know what an enormous problem air pollution is in India’s big cities as Delhi has been named and shamed by the World Health Organization as Earth’s most polluted city. Studies in January of this year cite a shocking 75% of India’s air pollution-related deaths are rural. The research found that exposure to the smallest and most dangerous airborne pollution particles, known as PM2.5, was roughly equal across rural and urban India. As two-thirds of India’s massive 1.3 billion population lives in the countryside, this can account for the shocking findings of the investigation which focused on a comprehensive, state-by-state analysis of the sources of air pollution and what effect it has had on health in India. Researchers are predicting that unless Indian authorities commit to intensive energy efficiency goals and severely reduce biomass burning, air pollution deaths could rise to as many as 1.6 million across the country by 2030.
Ready for the dusty roads of IndiaDespite all the risks, the team is in good spirits about the challenges they face and are determined to compete “for the esteemed prize of crossing the finish line alive and in one piece....or as few pieces as possible.” Armed with this goal in mind and touting the motto of ‘no route, no plan, no clue’, the Pickle Rickshaw are making their final few preparations before they set off on the journey of a lifetime next week. Let’s just hope at least one of them thinks to pack a map. Stay tuned with the Cambridge Mask Company to follow their progress and read more about the team via their blog. If you wish to donate to their cause, click here.