Away from comfort zones

Lithuanian motorcycle rider Karolis Mieliauskas, who is on his India tour, speaks to CE about the crazy rides he has been on, including an expedition to the coldest habitable place on earth

Published: 09th November 2019 06:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th November 2019 06:31 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Karolis Mieliauskas was six when he first saw someone travelling on a motorcycle. The rider was from Germany, had big suitcases attached to his bike and relied on a physical map as he made his more than 1,000 km journey. And it was then that the Lithuania-born Mieliauskas knew he too wanted to travel on a motorcycle. “I will start crying now,” he quips as he recalls his days growing up in Druskininkai. Currently in Bengaluru as part of his India tour of the Spice Route – where he aims to ride the West coast of the country till he reaches the South, before going back up the East coast – Mieliauskas says he’s truly living the dream life he saw for himself all those years ago.

Mieliauskas, who has 12,000 followers on Instagram, arrived in the city on Friday, having embarked on a bike ride from Hassan at 5:45 am. One would think the motorcyclist would be run down, given his early start to the day, and the city’s traffic that he has just braved, but instead, he looks like he’s raring to go as he talks about biking and his initial experiences with it. “I rode my first bike, a 50cc Russian motorbike, at the age of 12,” recalls the 37-year-old. Since then, Mieliauskas has been on many a expedition or “crazy trips” as he calls it, and says when he isn’t riding, he’s speaking about biking or dons the hat (helmet?) of a motivational speaker to share his experiences with others. “I don’t have a hobby or work. Since there’s no separation, there’s no looking forward to weekends or the end of a working day,” he says.  

The journey thus far has only been full steam ahead. In February this year, Mieliauskas rode to Oymyakon, Russia, which is said to be one of the coldest habitable places on the planet, where temperatures fell to -60 degrees Celsius during his ride. “I had seven layers and shoes that were designed to climb Everest. But it still wasn’t enough,” he says, adding that he considers biking to be active meditation. “I like to explore what lies beyond my comfort zone and gauge how my mind reacts to things.”  

This quest also led Mieliauskas to take on a multi-country ride [Druskininkai (Lithuania) – Moscow – Irkutsk – Vladivostok – Los Angeles – Chicago – New York – London – Berlin – Druskininkai] that was completed in 40 days. “It was completed two minutes ahead of schedule,” he adds with a smile.
Speaking about his India tour – which is in partnership with Wellman, Royal Brothers and Big Biking Commune – he says he would also like to encourage people to live a healthy life and leave behind their comfort zones.

While this tour is slated to end on November 14, the motorcyclist already knows when and where his next ride will be. “I’m going to Finland in December for a shakedown test with other riders. This is a trial for a trip in February, where we want to try to make a world record for the longest motorcycle ride on ice.”

Cross country connection
Though part of two different continents, India and
Lithuania do share similarities, says Mieliauskas. “We have a specific language and only a few languages are similar to ours. But there are so many words similar to Sanskrit. For example, agni is fire in Sanskrit, and in Lithuanian, the corresponding word is called ‘ugnis’,” he says, adding that he is facilitating an exchange between the two countries through his trip.

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