Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Indian ARC Rickshaw Driving Training Day

Here is a video covering our travel and our training.

We had one goal today: learning to drive our autorickshaw. By “our” I mean that we each team has its own AR pimped out to our specs. We are team Namascar (we put the NASCAR into Namaskar – a Hindu greeting).

The day went, in what appears by both experiential and other accounts, to have gone in typical Indian fashion. Some ARs were there and in great working order, some worked partially, and some were no shows. The autorickshaw in the form of a plush muppet furred rabbit was fantastic. We fared a bit worse than most – our AR, dubbed the 3 Wheel Tamil looked great but the engine kept quitting in different ways: One all out seizure where the wheels locked up and we came to a skidding halt. Twice it sputtered and then stopped. And finally it just quit. “Towing” the AR consisted of someone driving behind it in another AR and pushing it with one foot. This technique seemed to be pretty well known. Our AR didn’t have a back window, and of the three front windows, only one was even partially transparent. And the musical horn we spent extra money on didn’t work. Details, we don’t need to see where we’re going. We were assured these issues would all be fixed by tomorrow morning by flag-off. Let it be god’s will.

We are being shadowed by SS TV. Southern Spice – a kind of Tamil MTV so we’ll have lot’s of other footage too. Our intense training period consisted of about 2 minutes of here’s the gears, here’s the brake. In honesty, it’s like driving a go cart, so we don’t anticipate any problems…except for tipping, which on a 3 wheeled contraption is surprisingly easy to do. Our first day takes us from Chennai to Pondicherry, between 120 and 150km by different accounts. Like all things here, it’s a very ‘fluid’ situation. We have absolutely no clue what to expect. Really. None.

Other details:

  • We have a team of mechanics following us during the “challenge” (it’s not a race).
  • The event is billed as “emissions neutral” since the sponsors purchased trees to cover our CO2 emissions.
  • The engines are 2-stroke, and produce a lot of smoke. Covering that part of the emissions was not discussed.
  • Some form of religious music starts every morning at 5AM and is VERY loud


samuel l jackson said...

way to go G

Pam said...

So glad you learned to drive that beast. Vin Diesel would be proud!! Flags waving from the farm. Pam x.