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  • Vela Georgiev

How I Circumnavigated Australia On A Stationary Bike

In early 2020, at the behest of my doctor, I purchased a cheap stationary bike.

There were rumours that Melbourne was about to enter its first hard COVID lockdown, and she was keen for me to continue with my knee rehab. The success of the latest medical procedure was dependent on my being able to rehabilitate properly.

When I bought my stationary bike, my rehab exercise program was to build up to cycling for 20min without pain. Fast-forward 21 months, I ride my stationary bike daily for 60-90 min without a break, occasionally longer. I have cycled 14,600 kilometres!

To put that in context, to circumnavigate Australia on Highway 1 is 14,500km, so I am now on my second lap around Australia!

Here is how I did it.

❓ Know your why

At 40, I have osteoarthritis. Some days it aches to walk, and some nights, I wake up in pain. I may need a knee replacement at some point, but not yet.. I’ve still got some fight left in me!

Recently, someone asked me why I am cycling so much; what am I training for? My answer: I’m not training for a competition; I am training for a better quality of life.

🧠 Mindset

High-impact exercise, or even moderate impact exercise, stopped being an option for me in my late 30’s. It was a harsh reality to face. For many years, leading up to this, martial arts was my passion, and I was routinely training 10+ hours a week. It took me a long time to accept that I could no longer do the activities I love or be as active as I once was.

These days, I apply the same discipline and commitment to riding the bike as I did to my martial arts. I’ve stopped viewing it as rehab or a stopgap and started thinking of it as my preferred form of exercise.

🐢 Easy does it

I started off with: 10min cycle / 5min break / 10min cycle. Gradually, as my knee improved, I was able to ride 20min non-stop. From there, I added more minutes to my daily ride every couple of days. Slowly but steadily, my knee improved, and my fitness improved.

But I’ll let you in on a bit of secret; 14,600 kilometers later, I’m still riding at the lowest resistance settings. This is because anything more than that aggravates my knee. And once that happens, even simple things in life, like going for a short walk, are painful and impact my quality of life.

📺 Activity pairing

Riding a stationary bike is incredibly dull. Lucky for me, I anticipated this and purchased the cheapest bike with an iPad stand. So, as I cruised around Australia, I watched movies, read books, did online courses, and surfed the web. As long as my mind is occupied, the peddles keep turning.

👊 Accountability

For a bit of fun and to visualize my progress over time, I started charting the distance cycled on a map of Australia, and I shared this with friends and family. It wasn’t long before they started checking in on my progress, curious to know where I was up to in my virtual travels, which helped me maintain my momentum and motivation.

"Your habits will determine your quality of life." - Denis Waitley


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