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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Mumbai Express: Rikshaw Challenge has reached the West Coast

The sentiment was the same for participants, organizers, and locals: The roads to Mangalore are a challenge within themselves. So for the participants of the 2009 Mumbai Xpress Rickshaw Challenge that takes 27 participants from 8 countries through 4 states on 13 rickshaws, it was a relief to not have any additional challenges on their expedition from Mysore to Mangalore. Winding through the lush, green hills and maneuvering around the abundant potholes over a distance of nearly 250 kilometers was enough to call it a day.

The Mumbai Xpress began in Chennai on August 1, 2009 and from there, has moved through Vellore, Bangalore, and Mysore. Now, as the event route shoots north up the Indian Ocean coast, participants can look forward to such places as Panaji, Alibag, and a new addition to the Mumbai Xpress route, Pune.

A typical day for the participants includes an early morning wake up followed by breakfast. By 7:00 am, luggage is loaded and participants are expected to be prepared for the day’s flag-off. The official beginnings of each leg of the race have been fantastically organized by the local branches of Round Table India, the official charity partner of the Mumbai Xpress Rickshaw Challenge. Once the custom-designed rickshaws have been given the go ahead, each of the teams spends the day driving their rickshaws, getting directions, and completing pre-arranged challenges, ranging from visiting monuments and gathering information to taking their picture with a cow on the road. Flag-down is typically at 5:30 pm, though most teams arrive later due to break downs, traffic, or a variety of other reasons.

Each of the elements of the challenge- flag-off, the challenges, and flag-down- are worth points. The team with the most points at the end of the event will be titled the Mumbai Xpress World Champion and will receive a grand trophy as well as free admission into the 2010 Caucasian Challenge, organized by the same company that produces the Mumbai Xpress, Chennai Event Management Services.

More than an adventure to explore the culture, food, and driving rules in India, the Mumbai Xpress also focuses on charity. By working with Round Table India, the Mumbai Xpress organizers are able to introduce international participants to a variety of RTI projects including schools, work establishments, and current works in progress. By seeing firsthand the importance of their contribution, Mumbai Xpress participants are able to contribute to the progress of such RTI initiatives as "Freedom Through Education." At a Bangalore school of Round Table India, team Crud Bug donated pencils and colored pencils to the school children. Other teams, including the Mystery Machine and Ruby Murray, have raised money in their home countries.

By incorporating the aspect of charity, the challenge of driving an autorickshaw, and a thrilling route from Chennai to Mumbai, the Mumbai Xpress offers a unique opportunity to see India in its true form.

After surviving the bumpy roads and "in progress" highways in and around Mangalore, the participants are relieved to have one of the longest driving stretches completed. Now, it’s up the coast they go, through Karnataka, Goa, and Maharashtra to reach Mumbai on August 13th, 2009.

2009/08/06 | 18:42 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Chelsea Kot

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