In the gloomy surrounds of the Sydney Cricket Ground’s ‘dungeon’, Alex Johnson had a lightbulb moment.
Rehabilitation was lonely, and often mundane, for the former Swan who played 47 games from 2011 to 2018 with the Swans, including the 2012 premiership.
But through it all, a love for cycling was ignited in Johnson.
“It became a really big passion of mine throughout the knee injuries,” Johnson, whose career was impacted by a total of six anterior cruciate ligament knee injuries, told aflplayers.com.au.
“There was a period there where I didn’t run for two-and-a-half/three years, and the only thing I could really do was cycle to keep my fitness up.
“When it’s still your job to try to keep fit and play footy again, you’ve got to find those other avenues to be able to do that, and that’s what cycling gave me.”
Now, three years after announcing his retirement, the 2012 premiership player is providing a cycling environment which offers a strong sense of the one thing he dearly craved through all those years in rehab: companionship.
“Being able to create something that is 21 bikes in a room, so you are all actually doing it together, I think it’s a lot more enjoyable,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s new Infinite Cycle studio, which is based in the Melbourne suburb of Armadale, caters for all.
“I want it to be a really welcoming and friendly environment,” Johnson said. “The studio is all blacked-out, no-one is really looking at anyone else. You’re just focusing on what you’re doing.
“I’ve been surprised at how vast the variety of people is. I’ve got people in here who are in their 50s who are saying, ‘I’ve put on ‘x’ amount of weight during COVID, I couldn’t get to my gym, I want to try something different’.
“The other thing is the rehab side of things. You could come and do a spin class every day and your joints wouldn’t be sore and all those types of things, so I think that is a huge drawcard of what spin is.”
Infinite Cycle also offers keen cyclists the opportunity to maintain high training standards during the unfavourable Melbourne winter.
“I’ve got a few people training for road biking events that are coming up, and they want to get out of the cold,” Johnson said.
“It’s not very conducive in Melbourne at the moment at 5am or 6am in the morning when it’s still pitch-black and two or three degrees to actually get on a bike, so if they can come into a studio and not have to rely on the weather, it’s a massive drawcard for them as well.”
Infinite Cycle is no ordinary spin studio. With a slick design and high-tech bikes to match, it promises a smooth, user-friendly experience and provides customers with a more realistic ride when compared to regular spin bikes.
“There are a few people that have come and have previously done spin at other studios and can’t believe the difference.
“We are technology driven — our bikes aren’t available at any other place in Australia. They move, which gives you a realistic feel.
“Gone are the days that people just want to sit on a normal spin bike that’s 10-15 years old and just have someone telling them to turn their dial up.
“With us, it’s all connecting to the screen at the front of the room. It’s all data driven, which everyone loves.
“The majority of people, these days, have some sort of smart watch which manages all their steps and calories, so we can do that, too.
“With the technology that we’ve got on these bikes, people can easily meet the goals that they want to and hold themselves accountable.”
But above all, Johnson hopes to facilitate a sense of community and belonging.
“You take for granted how much of the community feel and the community aspect of it brings about that sense of belonging.
“Speaking to a few of the members who have signed up here early days, they love the fact that they can build it as a community.”
To sign up, simply follow this link: https://www.infinitecycle.com.au/armadale/