3 girls from Peckham; 1 rickshaw; 3500km across India. We did this. And with 2 days to spare.
To all those who said this was a bad idea for an all-girl team: eat your words. It was actually another all-girl team who crossed the finish line in 1st place, despite never breaking 45kph. In her award acceptance speech, their team leader said, ‘This is what happens when you tell 3 women they can’t do something.’ As we know, who needs a man when you’ve got a little rickshaw and 2 soul sisters for company?
For the past two weeks, we’ve been privileged enough to have experienced Mother India from a perspective few will ever know. And she has captivated us. From the deserts of the North to the rainforest of the South. From industrial sprawl to languid rural life. From bitter cold to stifling heat. From camels to elephants. We may have moaned often in our blog posts about her sights and sounds and smells and bad hotels and terrible drivers. But those who know us well won’t be fooled by this. Cynicism is woven into our DNA. It’s what unites us as a team. It’s how we express joy.
Crossing the finish line, we felt euphoric. But the sense of achievement will take a while to really settle. While we had many near misses, other teams bore the battle wounds of head-on crashes and somersaulting rickshaws. We never told our parents this, but at the New Year’s Eve party, Matt, the organiser of the Rickshaw Run stood up and proclaimed (very inappropriately), ‘Party like you’ve never partied before. Party like this is your last New Year’s Eve. At least one of you is likely to die in the next 2 weeks.’ Thankfully nobody did. The wrecks of rickshaws at the finish line reminded us of what we had achieved. With no major crashes, a smattering of hairy moments (night driving) and 2 breakdowns, we had faired very well. You don’t have to live recklessly to feel alive. But you do have to feel fear in order to be brave.
The sense of empowerment will fade. We’ll return to our lives and jobs and everyday frustrations. But we’ll always be able to look back on the last two weeks and think We did this. We did what few others in the world can say. We drove a rickshaw across India.
The only thing left to say is a huge and heartfelt thank you to all of you. For your love and support. For reading our blog. For your incredibly generous donations. We received an email from St Christopher’s Hospice to say that they are overwhelmed by the amount that we’ve raised, and this is down to you (over £2200 for St Christopher’s plus £520 for Cool Earth). You are awesome. You are our heroes of the day.
So, that’s all folks. The Touring Trotters are signing off. It’s been emotional. Of course, we’ll leave the final words to Del Boy:
This is not farewell. Just bonjour!
The finish line: