Biker Girish Mylandla attempts the longest solo bike journey across the country to enter the Guinness World Records

Sylvester Stallone played pugilist Rocky Balboa on the silver screen. Adventure biker Girish Mylandla plays Balboa in real life. At 59, the reel boxer made a return to the ring. At 49, Girish returns to the road for an ambitious long-distance ride that is aimed at the Guinness World Records.

On September 12, this year, 10 days after he entered the 50th year of his life, Girish set out on his 1994-model standard 350cc Bullet for a 50-day ride that is expected to clock around 18,500 km, covering 28 states and five Union Territories. “That will put me ahead of Mohsin Haq from Mumbai, who did a similar ride, covering 18,301km in 56 days,” explains Girish, sitting relaxed at his house the day before he started the odyssey from Elliots Beach. “I admire Haq. But for him, I would not be doing this.”

Girish is fascinated with the Rocky series, especially protagonist Balboa’s never-say-die attitude in the wake of failing physical powers. In an attempt to emulate his idol, Girish embarked on an exciting one-day East-to-West ride on August 15 last. He was going to chase the sun from Madras to Mangalore. The adventure was an effort at shrugging off a decade of motorcycling inactivity. Due to a burnt rectifier, the ride ended prematurely at Yediyur and his comeback proved unsuccessful.

Mylandla’s last spectacular long-distance solo ride was in 1999, when he covered 14,230 km in 67 days, going from Madras to Kargil and riding across the Trans-Himalayas up to the Burma border and returning to Madras.

Girish points out how much has changed since those days when he was a younger man and an active biker. “In the mid-1980s, I relied on paper maps. Now, navigation is by GPS. With my perfect eyesight, I comfortably read those maps. Now, I need glasses to peer at the screen of a GPS unit,” he says.

To deal with the challenges posed by advancing age, he has not pumped iron and worked on his fitness. “I would rather rely on my mental strength and, of course, my reliable 18-year-old Bullet,” says Girish. “That is not to say I am unprepared — I am carrying a spare rectifier with me!”