Barnsbury couple travel length of India on a rickshaw

A dream holiday for most couples would consist of sipping cocktails and whiling days away on a white sandy beach somewhere exotic.

But for Bridget Dempsey, 32 and her husband Gareth Turner, 30, it was a hair-raising – sometimes dangerous – two-week adventure chugging across the length of India on a rickshaw.

And in completing their 3,980 kilometre trip – overcoming two punctures and a breakdown along the way – the couple, who live off Barnsbury Park, Barnsbury, have so far managed to raise more than �1,500 in sponsorship money.

The cash will be split between humanitarian organisation Care International and clean drinking water campaign Frank Water.

Bridget, a freelance PR consultant, said: “We were both looking to do something a bit different for our holidays and we’re both really keen on doing things for charity, so we wanted to go on an adventure but raise some money for good causes along the way.”

With that in mind, carbon emissions broker Gareth, who married Bridget in Sri Lanka two years ago, signed them up to the Rickshaw Run challenge with Adventurists, which around 60 other people took part in.

The rickshaw – named the Little Master after the much-revered Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar – took them on a bumpy journey from Jaisalmer in Rajasthan to Cochin in Kerala, weaving between cars, cows and camels and taking in a long list of landmarks along the way.

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Australian-born Bridget said: “The roads were really scary – some of the highways don’t have anything down the middle and people drive on the wrong side of the road. There were camels, tanks, tractors and people wheeling carts – it was just unbelievable.

“The traffic conditions were like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I’m originally from Australia and I thought the roads here in London were bad enough.

‘‘But when I got back and started riding my bike again, it was nothing compared to India.”

“We got some amazing help from the locals. At one point I was driving the rickshaw and it just conked out in the middle of a really busy intersection.

‘‘Rickshaws need a mix of oil and petrol and we didn’t get the mix quite right, which caused a bit of bother with the engine.

“A load of locals helped push it to the person that helps fix the rickshaws in the area – there’s plenty of them around – and he just put his mouth over the top of the petrol tank and sucked it until the petrol started to flow again. He got a lot of petrol in his mouth and he didn’t even want any money for the help.”

Bridget added: “It was terrifying and exhilarating but really wonderful and we loved every minute of it.”

TTo sponsor the couple, visit or