During the hitchhiking race, teams hitchhike to the next stage destination. Each stage is designed to be completed within a single day.
Fair play & fun
Fair play and fun are two of the most important values in the race. The entire race is based on honesty and trust. Do not cheat! No one has cheated so far, and you certainly don’t want to be the first. In case of conflicts, communicate with each other and find a solution together.
Hitchhiking in general & hitchhiking experience
You don’t need to be an experienced hitchhiker to participate! Both professionals and absolute beginners are welcome to have fun and even win. Many of us have had their first hitchhiking experiences during the race and have come to love it. For more information about hitchhiking in general, safety, tips, and informal hitchhiking rules, please refer to the general hitchhiking guidelines
The race takes place in teams consisting of 2-3 people who stay together throughout the entire race. An exception is made for registered 3-member teams, they are allowed to compete a stage as a 2-member team, if one team member can join later or leave earlier. In the past, routes have sometimes deviated for individual stages to hitchhike with other people, and a separate solution was found for the points system. However, the general framework should be maintained. The rule that teams in Tramprennen must be mixed-gender has been abolished in 2023.
Start & finish
In the morning of each stage, all teams of a route start together at the same location and at a predetermined time. The members of the route determine these details based on the upcoming stage. They can also decide on possible changes. In the past, stages have been completed e.g. as time trials. The overnight location often serves as the starting point. Teams often have different starting times. Some teams compete to be the first on the road, while others sleep a bit longer and overtake later on the route. However, no team is allowed to start before the designated start time, and this also applies to actively seeking a lift before the start time. The only exception is if a lift is offered by chance, then it can be accepted. The exact destination of each stage is predetermined and can be found in the hitchhiking guidebook. It includes the city/village and a specific meeting point, often a landmark or occasionally an intersection if there is not much else in the village. Upon reaching the destination, each team takes a photo with the time, relaxes, and waits for the following teams, if there are any. The route can make individual adjustments, such as relocating the destination to the sleeping spot after a certain time, etc
During the hitchhiking stage, as expected, the rule is that only hitchhiking is allowed, and you must not accept paid rides in that sense. An invitation for coffee during the ride as a thank you for offered kindness is naturally allowed and appreciated. It doesn’t matter what type of transportation it is. Additionally, the rule is that individual teams must stay together in the same vehicle while hitchhiking, even if the drivers know each other. Motorcycles will be challenging in this case. An exception is that within city limits, public transportation can be used, including taxis. Sometimes it can naturally happen that you have been standing in one place for a long time without making progress. In such cases, the hitchhiking wisdom applies that eventually, a lift will always come, but the timing is uncertain. However, if for any reason you no longer want to hitchhike, it is allowed to catch up with the rest of the route using public transportation. You should be fair enough to inform the scoring in that case, and you will be disqualified for that stage, meaning you won’t receive points, but only for that stage. On the next stage, you can start anew and catch up from the back of the pack!
Each team is awarded points based on their placement in each stage. Points are distributed as follows: 20, 17, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, from first to last place. In the event that multiple teams arrive at the same time, they will share the same rank in the ranking, and the next rank will be skipped. This only applies if they actually arrive in the same vehicle. It has also happened before that multiple lifts arrived simultaneously, and then a final sprint determined the order. Any team found to have moved contrary to the rules will be disqualified for that stage. In addition to the placement points, there are Social Points that teams can give to another team if they have helped them during the day, for example, by organizing a lift for them. Only one Social Point can be given per team per stage, and the allocation is decided during the plenum. Furthermore, there are extra points to be earned for special tasks during the race, which vary each year and are explained in the hitch booklet provided to each team at the starting location.
At the end, the team that has earned the most points on their route wins the route ranking, and the team that has earned the most points overall from all routes wins the race. There is no material prize to be won, at least nothing that can be weighed in terms of money. The reward is lots of glory and the satisfaction of successfully completing the race together with everyone else. And without a doubt, there is nothing greater than being celebrated enthusiastically by over 50 joyful faces for securing the 21st place!