2 Heineken Marketers Make Epic Trek Through India's Rickshaw Run

Trekking 1,800 miles in little more than souped-up golf carts.

André Woldt and Rob Ryder’s first-ever trip to India was anything but ordinary. The two brand managers for Heineken USA spent their time navigating bumpy back roads in a three-wheeled, seven-horsepower rickshaw, equipped with little more than a single paper atlas. But this was precisely the adventure for which they’d traveled half the globe. Inspired by their company’s motto (“We brew experiences that inspire legendary lives”), the duo participated in the Rickshaw Run earlier this year. The infamous event invites the intrepid to drive 1,800 miles across India in the most unreliable of vehicles.

The route through southern Asia is so treacherous that participants aren’t even racing one another—they’re simply trying to reach the finish line intact. “There’s no set route. There’s no checkpoint. There’s no backup,” 27-year-old Ryder says. “The idea was to get to the finish line with your vehicle and your team in one piece.”

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Photo by Rob Ryder

Woldt and Ryder were joined by three other friends and traveled in two rickshaws. The band of courageous motorists—dubbed team “High Five and Curry On”—lurched their way to the finish line in 14 days. Along the way were exotic sights, helpful locals—and countless hours behind the wheel. “We got up every morning between 5:30 and 6 am and started the engine,” Woldt, 29, says. The team would then drive until about 7 pm, with plenty of unplanned stops along the way. “These rickshaws are notorious for breaking down,” Ryder says. “In the first 10 days or so, our vehicle broke down every single day.” 

The odyssey’s silver lining was the $6,400 the group raised for the nonprofit charity: water. The two were later presented with the Heineken Hero Award for their efforts, and Heineken contributed an additional $5,000 to the cause.

And the duo deservedly relishes in their snagged bit of glory. Says Ryder, “You definitely get bragging rights.”

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