It is pimping day. Today we spent the whole day working on our rickshaw. As we worked, we looked around at other rickshaws for inspiration and saw some great ideas.
1) Pay homage to our wonderful friends and family that donated to our Rickshaw Run charities.
2) Since it is inevitable we will breakdown along the way, keep a tally of breakdowns. In a previous Rickshaw Run, one team broke down 117 times! Of course, we were also told they were not kind to their rickshaw. Same with the team that lost their engine and had to replace it. Rickshaws are pretty reliable, but they are not meant for long distances or to be driven hard. It is advised that we give her a rest every two hours to cool down, which is perfect because we planned to switch drivers every two hours anyway. That is what we do on overnight passages on the boat and it works well for us.
We bought a random jumble of stuff with no real plan on where anything would go, so the hardest part was figuring out where to put stuff. We put beads on the front, garlands on the sides, vines wrapped around, and ferns on the sides. We expect the decorations to last about 5 minutes after we start. The ferns and vines will likely be stripped of their leaves immediately. Oh well, we’ll look good starting and look like crap finishing – us and everyone else.
Dave picked out a gorgeous fabric ribbon that we had no idea how to hang. We tried double-sided tape, but it will not stick to the ribbon. I used some extra material from the cushions to cut into tabs and stitched them to the back of the ribbon to go around the rickshaw frame. It works… sort of. But it is very time consuming and it is the only thing we did not get completed. I’ll have a little time in the morning to finish before we take off.
The engineers and mechanics were hard at work to get all the rickshaws ready to go. Two rickshaws completely lost their brakes! To work underneath, just have someone tip the rickshaw and place a little piece of bamboo to hold it up. No problem. The Livin’ Life rickshaw had a couple lights out and those were fixed today. Someone was walking around looking at the mileage on all the rickshaws. He looked at me sympathetically and said, “You have the rickshaw with the highest mileage I’ve seen. Yours has 78,000 miles and most of the others have around 24,000!” Looking at these rickshaws, they are not that new. They have been used again and again in Rickshaw Runs AFTER being retired from taxi service. So it may well be we have the least mileage since the odometer rolls over after 99,999. I think it is more likely these rickshaws have 124,000 or even 224,000 miles on them! 24,000? No way!
We are working and test-driving in a bus depot. I like to watch the people load the buses. The inside fills with people, then the top gets loaded with freight or vegetables. Not an inch of space is wasted and the bus doesn’t move until it is completely full inside and out, no matter how long it takes. Amazing!
We are having a blast and we haven’t even started the run yet. The atmosphere was lively and fun and some people were doing crazy things. We are not sure what this person was doing on top of the rickshaw, but they actually drove some that way! Nuts!
While working on the rickshaw, the skies opened up and poured everything it had on us. Dave and I are fortunate we are cruisers and pay attention to the weather. We saw it coming and moved our rickshaw under the shelter to work on it. I mean it poured! The ground became a river within minutes. The sound in the video is the rain hitting the roof, ground, and unprotected rickshaws. Yep, it’s monsoon season all right.
Here, you can see the extra cushions we had left for sale on the roof rack. I was still sewing the tabs on the ribbon, but she’s getting there. Just some final touches tomorrow. Good, time to eat! I think I’m putting on weight. I knew I would: Indian food is my favorite in the whole wide world and I tend to pig out on it.
We were shocked yesterday when we picked up our cushions and instead of 4 we received 10. We promised to try and sell the extras to recoup some money for them. The interest was immediate. Some were potentially sold immediately when we returned to the hotel with them last night. They wanted to try them on the rickshaw first (Smart!). Two more were sold outright this morning at our hotel while I was working on the blog. Everyone who saw them loved them. So there are 4 other rickshaws with the same cushions. We ended up raising 5000 Rs for the people who made them, so they made a little more than they would have charged for them. Needless to say, they were very pleased and even tried to give us back some of the money. “No, you keep it. It’s for you. Everyone loved the cushions. Great job!” A couple other people were in the shop and asked us the standard questions: Where are you from? Why are you here? How long have you been here? How long are you staying? There are around 200 foreigners in this small city now and these people assumed we all came together, like we all know each other. We explained that we just met them for the Rickshaw Run event and there are people from England, Australia, Russia, USA, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, China, France, Germany, Norway, and probably many more countries.
Here are a few pictures of other rickshaws being pimped out:
So far… We are loving it and are very glad we came. Wish us luck tomorrow when we hit the streets!