With the charity marathon long since passé, what’s a socially conscious D.C. adventure girl to do? Well, in late August, Rajshree Solanki and Jen Cook plan to battle heat, monsoon rains, and insane traffic on a 1,200-mile race across Southern India in a three-wheeled autorickshaw.

Call it Baja 1000 meets Race for the Cure. The Mumbai Xpress Rally is a 13-day race from Chennai to Mumbai that benefits Indian villages. Solanki, a 31-year-old sometime Elvis impersonator who works at the National Museum of the American Indian, says participation was Cook’s idea.

“She woke me up from a dead sleep and asked me if I wanted to do it. I said sure, thinking she was not serious. Now here we are.”

An autorickshaw is a three-wheeled vehicle often used as a taxi in India and other countries. Cook, who works at a scooter shop in Connecticut, knows how to drive one. “She just doesn’t know how to go into reverse,” Solanki says.

Team RickshawGrrl is collecting funds to sponsor an Indian village with books, medical supplies and clothes. Solanki and Cook are hosing a fundraiser at Franklin’s in Hyattsville on July 17. To donate a portion of your bill, mention the Indian Relief Fund.

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