Riding a rickshaw into record books

June 11, 2009
Wheel meet again: Lianna Hulbert and Simon Etkind are making plans for a long journey — and an October wedding

Wheel meet again: Lianna Hulbert and Simon Etkind are making plans for a long journey — and an October wedding

Two young fundraisers are planning a world record pedal-rickshaw ride in aid of grassroots development in India.

Simon Etkind and Lianna Hulbert, both 24, will be taking a circuitous 932-mile route from Lands End to Lowestoft to meet the Guinness Book of Records’ requirement of a minimum 1,500 kilometres distance. They aim to complete their summer adventure in 24 days, using Shabbat for recuperation.

“One person will pedal while the other will map-read,” explained Ms Hulbert, daughter of Liberal rabbi David Hulbert and a member of his Bet Tikvah congregation in Barkingside, Essex. “We’ll swap every hour or so.”

Added her partner, who is graduating as a doctor and attends the Liberal Synagogue Elstree: “Rickshaws are not too hard to pedal on the flat, but going uphill is really tough. They are a common sight in north India but we expect our EcoChariot rickshaw will cause quite a stir in the English countryside.”

They will spend their evenings camping but are hoping for offers of home hospitality. “After a hard day’s rickshawing, it would be lovely to sleep in a proper bed,” Ms Hulbert said.

She was inspired by visiting a project funded jointly by Action Village India and Jewish development charity Tzedek, for which she is a regular volunteer. “We met women who, because of the generosity of Tzedek and AVI supporters, were learning to read, starting small businesses and gaining a degree of financial independence.”

The challenge also precedes a longer partnership as the couple — who met through the Association of Jewish Sixth-Formers — plan to marry in October.

“Marriage is all about teamwork so supporting each other to complete our journey will be excellent preparation,” Mr Etkind said.

    Last updated: 5:10pm, June 11 2009