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Updated: June 18, 2013 18:02 IST

Man & Machine - On his own trip!

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Girish Mylanda. Photo: S. Thanthoni
The Hindu
Girish Mylanda. Photo: S. Thanthoni

Girish Mylanda is set to embark on another journey. What makes this adventure biker different? Read on…

Balboa is back. Partly inspired by the fictional life of Rocky Balboa, a boxer who emerges from retirement to prove his mettle one more time, adventure biker Girish Mylandla is donning his biking gloves once again, after a hiatus of 11 years.

Following a series of successful solo and two-way Madras-to-Himalayas trips, via different routes, Girish attempted an ambitious 720-km ‘East-to-West Millennium Ride' in 2000. The plan was to chase the sun on a 500cc Royal Enfield Lightning from Madras to Mangalore, on the first day of the new millennium. He started from the Eastern Coast, together with the rising sun, and hoped to wrap up the ride on the Western Coast with the sun sinking into the Arabian Sea. With his bike developing mechanical problems mid-way, Girish had to give up the chase.

This truncated journey was the last in a line of daring rides by Girish; but, at that time, he did not know it. During the decade that followed, he was constantly set back by a few paces in his interior design business; and as he tried to regain lost ground, his return to biking was getting deferred, again and again.

The new year has brought much hope into Girish's life. His business finally on an even keel, he is determined to get back on the adventure trail. Before February ends, he wants to accomplish the single-day East-to-West ride. He has also pencilled in a “Chennai-Siachen-Ladakh-Chennai” expedition for September. Following this, he will attempt rides across international borders.

At 47, Girish is no spring chicken. But he does not think age has anything to do with his adventure trips. He's adequately prepared for the expeditions, and knows he can handle the unexpected. He will take his trusty 17-year-old 350cc Bullet, restored by Southern Motors, into his second innings as biker.

Girish says adventure biking is no different from the rest of what he does. “When I faced tough times in business, I dealt with them by using my experiences on the road.”

These are not run-of-the-mill experiences. From 1985 to 2000, Girish has ridden into lands overrun with terrorists, scaled the highest passes in the Himalayas and has had ringside views of the worst natural calamities in the country. His exposure to the cyclonic ravages in Orissa forever changed his views about life.

“When you come out of such difficult and harrowing experiences, unscathed, you are charged with energy to take on the world,” says Girish. “It gives you the confidence to face the future. I tell youngsters lacking in self-belief: Mylandla has scaled Khardungla (18,380 ft), Tanglangla (17,582 ft), Lachulangla (16,616 ft), Baralachla (16,500 ft), Fotula (13,479 ft) and Zozila (11,649 ft), but he is just 5 feet and six inches tall.”

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