More than 600,000 cycle trips are made to and from The University of Queensland each year, but it’s unlikely any have come from as far afield as London.
Former School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences student Aaron Austin-Glen will finish a 15,000km bike ride through 20 countries when he visits his alma mater on Tuesday 7 July.
Mr Austin-Glen is scheduled to arrive back in Brisbane on Saturday (27 June) before the final stage to UQ for a scientific assessment of his fitness level.
“The last time I did a VO2 max (maximal oxygen uptake test) at UQ would have been 1999,” Mr Austin-Glen, 34, said.
“I was into running half-marathons and triathlons in those days, but I have been living in London for the past decade, going to gigs, enjoying life…and you can let things slide by the wayside.
“I obviously feel great physically after cycling all this way, and the VO2 max will be a nice test of where I am at.”
Mr Austin-Glen’s trans-global trek has taken him just under a year and seen him pass through The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, the United Arab Emirates and India.
Educated at Mitchelton Primary School and Kelvin Grove High School, the music event manager undertook the cycling challenge to meet new people and refresh his perspective on life.
He says his favourite place overseas was Iran, while Western Australia, where he began the final leg from Perth to Brisbane, was his favourite domestic destination.
“The Iranians were super-friendly and it’s a shame we are fed this story that things are otherwise,” Mr Austin-Glen said.
“In saying that, I’m also pleasantly surprised by how nice the people are back in Australia.
“When I left for England, I felt I didn’t connect with being Australian and I was worried I would have a clash of ideals when I returned, but that hasn’t been the case.
“What has been funny has been the number of times one place has reminded me of another. When I was on my way here I was comparing places to Australia. Now I compare places to where I’ve been in the past year.”
Along the journey Mr Austin-Glen has been filming his exploits and raising funds for the Lightyear Foundation, which promotes science education and innovation in developing countries.
His VO2 test at UQ, to be conducted by a team under Professor Jeff Coombes, will be one of a dozen such tests the facility conducts each week for both performance and research purposes.
You can read the full article here on the University of Queensland website