Driving a rickshaw? It's another string to my bow
AN Arnos Vale violin maker will be escaping the Bristol traffic and racing through Asia on a motorised rickshaw.
Edward Gaut, 31, and two of his friends Jim Edmonds and James Duke-Evans, are taking part in The Richshaw Run to raise money for charity.
The perilous journey will see them travel 2,800km (1,740 miles) starting in Thailand, crossing the straits of Malacca and through the Sumatran jungle, in Indonesia.
The dangers include navigating lawless motorways, terrifying mountain tracks and chaotic city streets, all to raise as much money as possible for charities Water Aid and BirdLife International. Mr Gaut said: "We will be racing against 27 teams and it's quite a hairy route. We think it will take us about two weeks to do. A motorised rickshaw is probably the most unsuitable tool for the job. They are noisy and uncomfortable."
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The trio are taking part in the race which is organised by Adventurists, an extreme events company who are based in Hamilton House, Stokes Croft, and who have raised more than £3.5 million for charity.
"There's no guarantee of making it to the finish line and no back up support trucks. It's just us, our unreliable rickshaw and three of the most challenging and scenic islands in South East Asia," Mr Gaut said.
"It will be a great adventure but it also means we'll be raising money for some very worthy causes. Doing something for charity has been my New Year's Resolution for the last seven or eight years now so it's time to make good on it.
"As a violin maker, working with wood, I've got an interest in sustainability. BirdLife does a fantastic job to protect rain forests and rare birds and animals within them.
"The recent flooding in Bangkok also means Wateraid is a very appropriate charity to be supporting."
Mr Gaut, who is leaving his wife and nine-month-old baby at home, has been appointed as the engineer of the group.
He said: "I had a motorbike when I was 16 so I know a little bit about maintenance.
"We're now looking to raise as much money as possible before we head out on March 10. Luckily my wife is very laid back and supportive of the challenge."
To sponsor Mr Gaut visit www.justgiving.com/TheCharityChariotWater aid or www.justgiving.com/The CharityChariot-BirdLife.
The team is also looking for business sponsorship and hopes to be able to cover their rickshaw in logos of local companies.
If anyone is interested email Mr Gaut at edwardgaut@googlemail. com.