It has been a fairly anxious wait during the past two months and throwing multiple University assignments hasn’t helped my cause. The biggest announcement to make is that I am confident that I can go ahead with the World Rickshaw Taxi.
Lord Rootes Memorial Fund:
Last Saturday I recevied fantastic news that I was successfully awarded the Lord Rootes Memorial Fund grant. It was unbelievable news at the time! Although throughout the long wait, I kept my level of optimism low to prevent any disappointment if the worst was to happen, despite World Rickshaw Taxi being a highly ambitius and challenging project. It’s a substanial grant and will help cover the many unavoidable costs such as visas, vaccinations for the tropics and also insurance for 18 motnsh.
Some background behind the fund:
The Lord Rootes Memorial Fund was set up by a former Coventry Car Manufacturer owner, who was heavily involved during the early years University of Warwick. Unfortuantly Lord Rootes, passed away before being able to take the position of Vice Chancellor. In his memory, the earliest accomodation was named after him. In his legacy a fund was set up to support challenging undergraduate projects from Warwick University. The project has been used to support trips all over the world, from the quite ordinary to the quite strange such as Dog Sledding.
More information can be read here
Offical Starting Location (Pending):
I ahve decided that I would like the World Rickshaw Taxi to begin its great long journey from Howden Secondary School, East Yorkshire. It makes greater sense to have all my past friends and family around aswell as the support from pupils and the teachers at the school. It definitely means more to me than starting with a small crowd (consisting mostly of Family) in London. Also it will hopefully build up some more publicity as I travel south towards London and then crossing into Europe at Dover + saving me an expensive ferry fare.
I still have to confirm this with Howden School and their staff, including a more specific date (i.e. when term starts). However, I think the teaching staff would be really behind this after meeting them last December.
The Long Journey Ahead:
Luckily Easter is drawing in very soon, most of my work has been done with sufficient time for revision. It’s going to be great returning back home and being able to concentrate on getting more of the smaller details planned for the trip.
Organising a profile for countries:
One thing that I will be doing is collating all my findings for each country and organise these so I can tackle each country’s problems one at a time.
My other foucs is figuring out the situation in the Middle East. Obtaining visas still look difficult, but not impossible. However a more pressing concern is how cold it will be in Turkey and the Caucus Region during Winter, especially because most of the current route is between 1000-2000m and even during March there is snow. The current route was based on what someone has done previously and it most likely needs a re-think…
I am going to attempt to contact some friends who I met on my trip to Istanbul two years ago and see if they can provide some advice. One possibility is considering a route around the Black Sea, or much longer aroudn the South Coast, taking me close to Syria.
If I were to avoid Iran, travelling through Russia in February seems like an impossible and perhaps life threating diversion and heading south seems more suitable to remove any possibilities of getting frost bite.
Despite it’s difficulties this will be interesting part of the itinerary to figure out!
Having contacted the rickshaw manufacturer, I am still slightly nervous if they will be able to support me, but time will tell. Nevertheless many other options exist and there is plenty of time to sort this out however, in the mean time, I wish the company good luck with their business startup.
Equipment sponsorship is still quite essential, however, much of this remains similar to previous cycle touring except electronic equipment such as cameras and video camers to document my trip. Hopefully, I can get the support from local businesses back at home to give me a helping hand in this area. This will require work over Easter and Summer closer to the event.