Category Archives: South Australia Cycling

South Australia Cycling

Flinders Ranges By Bike – Day 5- The Final Section

DAY FIVE  – Flinders Ranges By Bike.

Wilpena Pound to Rawnsley Park, approx ~ 25 km

Its our last day on the bike and the shortest. We have a leisurely coffee and write a few postcards, stretching out the moment, but all too soon, we have to say good bye to our new friends.

Kangaroo
FRBB Kangaroo at Wilpena Pound

Its slightly déjà vu time as we bike down the road, for the second time on this trip, but today we turn right onto the Telegraph Track, rather than left to the Cazneauz tree.

Solar Farm
FRBB Solar Farm at Wilpena Pound

The Solar farm is on our way and we discover that it’s the largest off grid solar electricity system in Australia, contributing 40 % of Wilpena Pounds power annually. This is what we need at home.

Mark on the Telegraph Track
FRBB Mark on the Telegraph Tack.

The telegraph track is a station 4wd, and easy going with many abrupt watercourse dips. Fun to blast though with a bit of speed. The trail takes us around the the many small peaks that make up the pound and I want to sit and sketch them,  but discover that what looks like grass is actually very sharp and prickly.

Not grass, just prickly
FRBB Not grass just prickly

The bike trail then hits the main road for 6 k, with a limited shoulder and cars buffeting us at 100 k plus. Not much fun, but it is downhill. We keep a look out for the turn-off to the Arkaroo cave paintings, it’s only a short ride and then a walk up to the caves.

Akaroo Rock drawings
FRBb Akaroo Rock drawings

The FRBB turn off from the main bitumen road is hard to notice, and we almost miss it. The trail heads up a gentle but demanding rocky gradient. It’s rough going, skirting the famous Rawnsley bluff, with many more watercourses and stony patches. By now we are expert at picking a line and rattling through dry bouldery riverbeds.

I keep wondering what it would be like with water flowing though, except for Sacred Canyon’s waterhole and Wilpena Pound’s spring, we have seen no water at all in any creek or riverbed, the last five days.

Near Rawnsley Bluff
FRBB Looking down on bike path from near Rawnsley Buff.

Rawnsley Park feels like a homecoming, we can see the campsite stretched out down the wide valley. The wonderful staff at Rawnsley Park retrieve our car and camper and we hand back the UHF, thankfully not used.

Bush Camping Rawnsley Park
FRBB Bush camping at the end of bike trip

As the sun sets on Rawnsley’s famous Bluff, we celebrate with a bottle of wine and a non-dehydrated dinner.

It feels rewarding to have completed the track without mishap but the experience of spending the entire five days, immersed in the landscape with all its smells, dust and rocks, weather torments and limitless photo opportunities is one that will stay with us.

Have we come to any conclusions about the allure of the outback? I don’t think so, but I do think that we have embedded this ancient landscape into our psyche even further.

220km of track ridden, 15km of unintended detours. Not one puncture. No breakdowns. No snake or spider bites, no sunburn.

Would we do it again.?

Yes. In a heartbeat.

 

Things you might need to think about…

 

If you’re doing this outback epic like us, by yourselves, there is a bit of paperwork to do before you arrive and fees to be paid, as the Flinders Ranges By Bike trail is maintained by an association of the Station Owners with the cooperation of the Department of Environment and Heritage.

We decided to bike as lightly as possible and had two bags with – sleeping bags/tent/cooker/food/ transferred from camp to camp for a fee, rather than have full panniers. For the unsupported – it’s wonderful.

 

Our Kit…

Bikes – both Giant MTB. Recently serviced.

Toppeak carrier / bags.

UHF (compulsory)

Garmin 500 GPS bike computer

Mobile phones – only good for taking pictures as no reception.

Tyres with slime – we didn’t have one puncture! Or if we did, the tyres didn’t go flat.

Bike and tyre repair kit, chain breaker and spare links/chain lube/ tools / spare tyres/tubes.

First aid kit (including: emergency blanket, strapping, bandages (for snake bites), anti diarrhoea, painkillers etc ) 30 + sun block, insect repellent.

Cannon EOS60D DSLR camera, sketchbook.

Water – I had a backpack with 3-litre bladder, plus bottles on the bike. Mark carried 6 – 8 litres in liners in his panniers as well as two bottles on his bike.

Dry Sacs – for camera etc, more for dust than rain.

Cable Ties

Gaffer Tape – I put stripes of this on the bar of bike, one on top of the other, as it saves taking the whole roll and is ready to be used.

Head torches/spare batteries.

Swiss army knife

Food:

Breakfast: Porridge – pre mixed with milk powder, brown sugar. Coffee / Tea.

Lunch: Hard boiled eggs for first day / cheese /tuna / salami / pita bread and crackers.

Dinner: Back Country dehydrated ready meals. Just add boiling water.

Snacks: Carmen museli bars / bite sized snickers /nuts/ bananas.

Drink: Hydrate for bottles /Coffee / Tea /

Clothes:

Maree – cycle shorts by Ground Effect Women’s Mojo’s ( best ever) UV protective shirt by Berghaus. – Gel gloves – Windstopper pullover by Mountain Hardwear.

Mark – cycle shorts by Ground Effect, Ozone bike T-shirt.

Change of clothes for chilly evenings. Montane jackets – lightweight, incredibly warm without the Michelin effect of down.

//

Flinders Ranges By Bike – Day 4 – Camping at Wilpena Pound

DAY FOUR – Flinders Ranges By Bike

Gum Creek Station to Wilpena Pound, approx ~70 k.

We stretched our legs in the cool of the morning, surprised to find, no sore muscles after yesterday’s hard slog. Our stomachs were full of porridge, the water bottles full and bike packed, it was time to ride.  We left our bags in the woolshed, crossing our fingers that they’ll get to Wilpena Pound. Would we?

Gum Creek Station Woolshed
FRBB The woolshed – an alternative to the tent.

The smell of sheep, grass and earth permeated the stillness and we hoped like hell, that yesterday’s blistering headwind, would not come back to torment us.

Gum Creek Station
FRBB Gum Creek Station

The easy going and well maintained station tracks meant we could relax on the bikes, and take in the scenery without focusing on ruts, drops and other nasties. We were heading into Hans Heysen landscape country,  Heysen called the Flinders “the bones of nature laid bare” and I was keen to see for myself the inspiration for much of his landscape painting.

Old Stock Yards
FRBB Old stock yards, put together without nails.

The ABC range rose in front of us, leading the eye into the far distance. In this morning’s light, the undulating red cliffs were simply stunning. Up close, even more impressive and mysterious with numerous gullies and ragged escarpments, that begged to be explored.

ABC range
FRBB ABC Range, made famous by Hans Heysen

Just before Red Hill lookout, we said goodbye to Gum Greek Station pastoral land and crossed into the National Park. Its here that we join onto the Mawson Trail, which has skirted Gum Creek station from Blinman in the north and the track, becomes wider and well marked.

Maree on Mawson Trail.
FRBB Maree on Mawson Trail.

Sir Douglas Mawson, Australia’s famous Antarctic explorer and geologist, studied these ranges in 1910  and this red, flinty and fine packed trail has been named in his honour. We expect to see walkers or other bike riders, but so far we have it all to ourselves. The absence of any sign –  both visible and audible of other humans, adds to our sense of isolation, and makes the beauty all the more powerful.

On the Mawson Trail
FRBB on the Mawson Trail

Brachina River, is a welcome stop. I break out the sketch book and  Mark, explores. The many ancient and gnarled river gums invite a closer but cautious look. We’ve been warned that gums can drop their hefty limbs at any time, and as the gums offer shade its a big dilemma.

The Gorge
FRBB Drawing in the Gorge.

Gentle rolling land brings us to the Bunyeroo Valley Lookout, and after a climb we take in the views back to Wilpena and west across to Willow Springs in the far distance. The bike path joins the road, here, winding down to the Gorge. We wait for a few cars trailing dust clouds to disappear before making Razorback ridge ours. The steep descent is a curvy high speed, high adrenaline ride. Mark is in his element and soon disappears from my view.

Razorback Ridge
FRBB Razorback Ridge

The gorge itself is bouldery and slow going, red fractured rock rises on both sides of this narrow gorge, giving us some welcome shade for lunch.

There is a geological walk here, with sign posts telling a story so ancient that we feel very insignificant, and reflect on our own tiny timeline in the Anthropocene age.

Gum in Bunyeroo Gorge
FRBb Gum in Bunyeroo Gorge

We are now on the other side of the ABC range and in a valley with the Heysen Range on our left, there’s also no wind here and it’s much hotter. Our water supplies are doing better than yesterday though and we don’t need to ration.

The red cliffs of the Heysen range make a fantastic backdrop to the greenery of the native cypress ( Callitris columellaris)  and Sheoak and its hard not to stop and take photos every five minutes. We met a group of hikers – our first meeting with any other track users.

The ABC Range
FRBB The Heysen Range

The valley broadens out a little and we start a descent on a stone hard, water rutted dirt track. With a few k’s to go to Wilpena Pound, there’s more sign of use here, and its not long before we met day walkers.

Local Wildlife
FRBB Wilpena Pound local wildlife

As the setting sun turns the rocky cliffs a stunning orangey red, we  go for a short walk into the pound to stretch out our legs. The Pound is about 18 k long by 8 k’s wide and was an important Aboriginal ceremonial site until it was taken over by europeans for grazing stock. A homestead built by the Hill family, and now restored, lies at the end of the gorge, where it opens to the pound.

Wilpena Pound Campsite 2
FRBB Wilpena Pound Campsite tonight

We treat ourselves to a beer and a meal cooked by someone else at the Resort Bistro. The end of our trip is in sight and its disappointing that tomorrow will be a short day. We are now into the groove of spending the whole day biking in this stunning landscape. Its such a fantastic way to absorb what the country offers on many levels.

190 k done, with only 25 k to do.

Read More – Day 5…..

Flinders Ranges By Bike – Day 2 – Deep in the Ranges Now

DAY TWO of the Flinders Ranges by Bike.

Wilpena Pound to Willow Springs,  approx ~40 k.

A short biking day, or so we thought ! so time for photos, a short walk and coffee of course – Wilpena Tourist office makes a mean brew. Our camping gear was packed and Dave reckons it will get to Willow Springs well before us. We got on the bikes with high expectations of a great day exploring the country by bike.

Bikes on fence
FRBB Bikes ready and waiting. Wilpena Pound.

Caffeine fuelled, we pedalled down to the Cazneaux Tree – made famous and named after the photographer who exhibited a photo of this River Red Gum, entitled “ The Spirit of Endurance’ in 1937 at an International Exhibition.

Cazneaux Tree
FRBB Cazneaux Tree, near Wilpena Pound.

Our enthusiasm for biking on dirt after 9 kilometres of the main bitumen highway meant we missed a crucial turn off! Those small FRBB signs are hard to see when you’re blasting down the road, keeping an eye out for rocky bits and the other eye out for Kangaroos. So we added a further 15 k, to our days total. From this point on, we kept a close watch on the Garmin working out the kilometres to the next turn-off.

Farm Track
FRBB On the right track now

The farm track was easy riding as it wound though bush and then up into Dr Seuss country with tufts of greenery dotted randomly over red dirt hills. Our upwind progress surprised a few kangaroos, they either stayed still and pretended we couldn’t see them or bounded away gracefully at an enviable speed over rough ground.

The power of water
FRBB The power of water

The Appealinna Ruins provided a tumble of flat split rocks to sit on for lunch. Enough of the walls remained for us to work out the layout of the houses, and seemed to speak of the hope and heartbreak of the early white settlers. A sparse landscape with a big sky, would have offered many of the now familiar starry nights, but living through the drought in the 1880’s must have been devastating.

Appealinna ruins
FRBB The Appealinna ruins – a quick sketch.

A tail wind pushes at our backs as we bike over flat pastoral land, grassy areas and many dry boulder strewn riverbeds before we cross the main road and head down between low hills to Willow Springs Station.

Radio Transceiver
FRBB Communication system, not so long ago.

Nestled next to the Bunkers Conservation Range, Willow Springs is a working sheep station, home to 4 generations of the Reynolds family. Famous for SkyTrek ( a 4wd challenge ) it also holds great appeal for bush walkers, photographers and artists. And mountain bikers. It was long on our must see and do list.

It was also great to finally met Carmel, who was so helpful and encouraging when I started preplanning this trip. She is definitely the go-to person. We even scored a hut for one night (minimum stay is three nights) as there was one night spare between bookings. Lucky us.

Overseers Hut Willow Springs
FRBB The Overseers Hut at Willow Springs

It was lovely to walk around, explore and stretch our legs, basking in the late afternoon light and warmth. Our one night of luxury was appreciated, although we weren’t saddle sore yet, the next day was going to be our longest and a good nights sleep was a definite bonus.

Only 140 k to go.

Read More – Day 3…..

Flinders Ranges By Bike – Day 3 – The Longest Day

DAY THREE on the Flinders Ranges By Bike.

Willow Springs to Gum Creek Station. Approx 75 k.

It’s our longest day here on the Flinders Ranges ride and we feel a little anxious at what lies ahead. Our bike panniers and backpack are heavy with water, as the next refill is, well, 75 sweaty kilometres away. The gentle gradient becomes steeper and the rocks, rockier as we head away from the station. The view from the ridge is spectacular. The distant hills a violet blue, the sky above a clear cobalt blue and the promise of heat presses on us.

 

Looking toward Loves Mine Range in Flinders Range
FRBB – Willow Springs station, looking toward Loves Mine Range

Our technical skills are put to the test on the station 4wd track, which is incredibly rocky in places. Speed, we discover can overcome a lot ! The up and down though watercourses continued to Skull rock, but we find the final walk around a rocky cliff is too slippery in our clips, so we turn back without seeing the Skull. Another time. The heat increases and with little wind, the flies clamber over my glasses and up my nose. With two hands needed, when hitting the rocky patches at speed, there is no way you can wave them off.

Loves Mine Range in Flinders Range
FRBB Coming down from the Loves Mine Range

The route skirts the Loves Mine Range with its intriguing name and all those up and downs that have gradually taken us up hill come to an end, as we head nor-east and downhill. The loose treacherous rocks give way to compact dirt. Yah. Speed rips the flies from our faces, but they discover the wind eddy and simply ride our backs. No getting away from these little beggars.

We are now back in the Flinders National Park and a gusty wind head develops giving us a tough time biking,  the scrubby bushes offer no shelter as the wind blows uninterrupted across this now flat country. The ranges which barely reach 1000 meters above sea level are too far away now to have an impact on the winds fierceness.

Spider Nests
FRBB Are any spiders still at home?

We become lost at a dry river bed that shows signs of recently being flooded; when we can’t find the expected FRBB sign. There are many car tire tracks in the silt, but no obvious route and after biking up and down some of them; we have to rely on map reading and dead reckoning. Probably should have brought the compass!

We stay in the riverbed and pop up the bank now and again to see if there is a track nearby. After a hard slog in the sand, we do come across a promising track and get back on the bikes hoping for a FRBB sign. We are relieved to find one a few kilometres on. It is a high water use day.

Guide Hut in Flinders Ranges
FRBB Guide Hut, perfect for lunch without flies.

Guide Hut, is a late lunch stop and a welcome respite from the wind, the sun and the flies. This hut was fully restored by the Friends of the Flinders Rangers, www.friendsof flindersrangers.org.au    – a volunteer organisation. We offer big thanks for their effort. Eating without flies is wonderful. Even if it’s just Hardtack, (cheese & pita).

The blustery head wind continues to batter us, as we follow the dusty river along large open paddocks on a 4wd track before we cross at Yakipena. It was thirsty and tiring work to maintain even a resemblance of pace.

From a small ridge, there’s a view of Mt Emily – a hill really – before a descent to another little dry creek. It’s late afternoon and we’ve been riding for many hours, pushing into a fierce headwind, so the uphill gradient and small rises test our stamina and thighs. We resort to an emergency sugar hit. Chocolate never tasted so good.

Gum Creek Station
FRBB The road into Gum Creek Station

Empty sheep yards are a welcome sign that we only have about 8 K to go before dropping down to the Gum Creek station homestead. The head wind also drops, adding to our relief of the end in sight.

We met up with Jane our welcoming host. To our relief, our bags were here in the Woolshed. “ Would you like to stay in the Woolshed, rather than tent”? Another lovely offer and of course the novelty of the woolshed won. Although shearing was over, the camp beds were still up, and the smell of lanolin still lingered. We brewed tea for two in a huge kettle meant for 20 and explored.

Gum Creek Woolshed Interior
FRBB Camping in the woodshed for the night.

We discover that reading in bed; with head torches attracts far too much large flying nightlife, the woolshed being large and open. It’s the only time I used my New Zealand Sandfly head net. In the dark, we listen to what might be cats or possums screeching, the woolshed creak and nameless things rustling, before sleep claims us.

Only 95 k to go.

Read More – Day 4…..

Flinders Ranges By Bike – Day 1 – To The Sacred Canyon!

Rawnsley Park to Wilpena Pound, anti-clockwise via Sacred Canyon.  Approx ~ 53 K.

Reception staff took away our car and camper for safe keeping and gave us, a loan UHF for keeping safe.  It was amazing and a bit daunting to realise that for the next five days, it was just us, the bike, under pedal power in this big country. The paper map provided, states in huge letters: “Warning, plan carefully before riding the Flinders Ranges By Bike trail”. Yes, we had planned, but were we fit enough? The Sacred Canyon beckoned.

The route took us toward the distant Chace Range on a well-formed dirt road, it was easy going with no wind, and those small fears were fast evaporating. The Pugilist Hill lookout beckoned; a steep bike up that soon became a strenuous walk and push for the last 100 meters but the reward was stunning.

Looking toward Wilpena Pound
FRBB Looking toward Wilpena Pound.

It felt as if our worldly worries were slowly dissipating in the peace and the stillness. And the next turn-off, took us onto some lovely single track, where we could smell eucalyptus and damp earth as we biked along the riverbed. Could it get better?

As the sun rose, it was getting hotter. Shady spots were rare in the scrubby pastoral country and judging by the poo, it’s where the local kangaroos and sheep hung out. If we wanted shade, we had to stand in it. I was sure we would smell the poo all day as it clogged up our cleats.

Another turn of the track.
FRBB Heading toward Wilpena Pound.

We began to get worried about our water supplies as we biked past skeletons or parts of, and kept our eyes out for snakes as the low scrubby country continued to evolve, with small cliffs of red dirt, sage green bushes and surprising patches of green grass.

Our idyll was not to last. We joined with a dirt road at about the 20 k mark that led to the Sacred Canyon and discovered that it is a popular spot with day-trippers. A short walk down the dry riverbed, past indigenous symbols (the circular ones mean waterhole) and hidden within ancient waterworn rock walls, was the waterhole.

Scared Canyon quick sketch
FRBB Scared Canyon quick sketch.

A sign tells us that the local Adnyamathanha people believe that the engravings were not made by people but were created for them by ancestral beings during the dreaming.

Our bike route continued on the Sacred Canyon access road – a wide road, that rolls up and down, on and on through a thick cypress pine forest. It was busy and the dust thrown up by fast traffic stayed in the air, the odd stone pinged our bikes making 13 k seem very long indeed.

Wilpena Pound
FRBB Wilpena Pound

After hitting the main bitumen road, we turned toward Wilpena Pound, the late afternoon light intensifying the red ochre of the jagged cliffs against the fading blue sky. I learnt that Wilpena means ‘place of bent fingers’ and it’s believed that this references the pound’s resemblance to a cupped hand. The resort lies at the only entrance to this enclosed valley, and the gorge is a great walk. It was also Kangaroo time, and surprisingly easy to get up close and personal with Skippy.

Wildlife at Wilpena Pound
FRBB The not so wild life

Our two bags of food and camping gear had been transferred (for a fee) and now we wondered if it had arrived. But Dave (a local to the country) found us and we had dinner accompanied by noisy birds and another starry night, glimpsed through the trees.

Our campsite at Wilpena Pound.
FRBB Campsite at Wilpena Pound.

Getting into bed, we were both delighted to find there were no sore muscles but the mattresses did seem a bit thin, for this hard ground. Only 190 kilometres to go!

Read More – Day 2

 

Flinders Ranges By Bike (FRBB) South Australia – Introduction

The Flinders Ranges by Bike (FRBB) is a fantastic five-day mountain bike ride in the Australian Outback.

 

FRBB -Gum trees can drop branches at anytime
FRBB -Only place to prop the bike up, but Gum trees can drop branches at anytime !

You can of course bike the FRBB in four days or less depending on your fitness and speed or blitz the 210 k route non-stop as part of an annual race.

We wanted to take our time, take photos, draw and really immerse ourselves in this 540 million-year-old, awe-inspiring landscape. To try and define what the allure of the outback meant for us and why we kept returning.

The Mawson Trail
FRBB The Mawson Trail – for those who bike and walk the Flinders Ranges

The Flinders Ranges is the largest mountain chain in Australia and the FRBB track would take us though a very tiny loop, but one that promised jagged escarpments, ancient gorges, gum lined river beds, rich red dirt and wildlife. It also promised outback remoteness and the challenges that come with that.

The Flinders Rangers By Bike, trail we were told is in part – bitumen road, dirt road, station 4wd and some lovely single track; it also follows part of Australia’s most famous cycle trail – The Mawson. But how rideable is it –  easy, technical, demanding ?

Rawnsley Park – our start and end camp for the FRBB.

Bush Camping at Rawnsley Park
Bush Camping at Rawnsley Park, Flinders Rangers.

We did a final sort of our gear and wondered if we had prepared for all eventualities – bike breakdowns, sunstroke, no water en-route, thorns that would pierce an armoured tank, no cell reception, unpredictable kangaroos and emu’s plus of course Aussies famous venomous snakes, spiders and things that bite, sting and suck.

We went to sleep under a vast starry nightscape. It was clear and cold and boded well for bike riding the next day. It was also deeply quiet, our ears strained to hear beyond our breathing.

Read More – Day 1

Adelaide to Willunga and back by Bikepaths.

An overnight cycle trip to McClaren Vale via established bikepaths  – a wine drinker’s paradise and Willunga Hill – a famous stage of the Tour Down Under.

The Indian summer gives us a perfect excuse for two days of fine weather riding, and we hope to link up bikepaths for the entire 100km return trip from Adelaide to Willunga. Well thats the plan!

Grade: Easy, mostly rolling country,  sealed paths, one steep (2.5km) uphill.

With no need of cold and wet gear and a room booked, our light pack comes in well under the maximum for our Topeak bags.

Packed and ready to roll
Packed and ready to roll

Mike Turtur Bikepath – Sturt River Linear Park

The Mike Turtur Bikepath, gives us an easy downhill to hook up with the Sturt River Linear Park path. Its not clearly signposted but easy to find, – just after Marion Road, near the Tram depot.

The route follows the river ( really a concrete floodway at this stage) moving from side to side over bridges and crossing a few busy roads, passing though small reserves and the backs of industrial and residential blocks. There are useful signs at each road crossing giving more info on the next stage of the ride.

 

Cockatoos enjoying the shade
Cockatoos enjoying the shade

We have been gently heading uphill getting nicely warmed up and finding the many wetlands and trees providing welcome shade as the day heats up. The path tunnels under the Southern Expressway and we turn Right onto the footpath of the Sturt Road and 100 meters ahead, is the start of the Veloway and the end of our shade.

Veloway bike path –  Sturt River to Noarlunga

It’s a hard and hot 2.5km climb to the top of O’Halloran Hill, but we are rewarded with great views and a wind that helps ease the humidity and heat. From here, the Veloway follows the Southern Expressway; surprisingly not noisy thanks to well designed landscaping.

Looking south from the Veloway
Looking south from the Veloway

The veloway comes to a T junction end with another bike path. With absolutely no signs anywhere, we take an educated guess and turn right, to discover that we are now on the Coast to Vines path.

Coast To Vines Bike Path – McClaren Vale

This route continues down a wide gully – with housing estates sprawling down the tops – where we find the first shelter, seating and much needed drinking water before it flattens out and we cross the Onkarparinga River.

Paddle boarders on the Onkaparinga River
Paddle boarders on the Onkaparinga River

Once past the Seacliff train station (a possible start point for those who want a shorter route) the path makes for easy riding though reserves and residential areas before plunging down though an old railway cutting, offering a cool pine scented respite from the heat.

Pedlers Cutting - all cut by hand in around 1914.
Pedlers Cutting – all cut by hand in around 1914.

Leaving the cool, it’s a railway gradient downhill to McClaren Vale, ducking under the highway to find vines forever leading the eye astray. Known for it’s consistently stunning vintages McLaren Vale is one of the top Shiraz wine regions of the world. We leave the path temporarily for a ride though the main street, in search of water and a late lunch. Best veggie burger at the café beside the old church – home of Dave Clark and the Singing Gallery.

McClaren Vale – Willunga, via The Shiraz Trail Bike Path.

Fuelled, and back on bikepaths, now called the Shiraz Trail Bike Path  we follow the old railway line to Willunga (and our accommodation) a further 7kms of gentle uphill gradient.

Shiraz as far as the eye can see.
Shiraz as far as the eye can see.

The heat (36 + ) and humidity has sapped our remaining energy and enthusiasm to ride Willunga Hill, but we console ourselves that we did grind our way up it last year, before watching the riders of the Tour Down Under, flash their way up.

Our room for the night is wonderfully cool, the shower strong and bed comfy. Heading out for dinner we notice huge black clouds forming over the hills begin to regret the lack of wet weather gear. However the publican reassures us, that, the clouds will just sit there. The next morning he is proved right and we get the benefit of a gusty tailwind as well as a cooler day.

Mark uses the Garmin 500 bike computer – the map, details and profile can be found here on the Garmin site.

The Return – The Shiraz Trail once more.
Old carriages from the railway's former days, provide a welcome coffee now.
Old carriages from the railway’s former days, provide a welcome coffee now.

Flying into McClaren Vale, we pause for coffee at the Almond Train, and then check out the Info place, to find a family fair in full swing. We resist adding more bottles to our panniers and head back up the railway cutting, taking the same route back to the T Junction.

Coast to Vines bike path – Noarlunga to Hallett Cove

This time, we continue on the Coast to Vines path when it meets the Veloway at the un-signposted T Junction, discovering that this is the old Hallett Cove to Noarlunga railway line – which proves to be a lovely tree lined route through residential areas. Great gradient too.

 Noarlunga to Hallet Cove railway bike path, provides shade and a gentle gradient.
Noarlunga to Hallet Cove railway bike path, provides shade and a gentle gradient.

The Coast to Vines path leaves the old railway line, crossing a major intersection before dropping under Main South Road – keep an eye out for the cardboard sign! – This directs you to the right bike path that curves over the Veloway and Southern Expressway to Sheidow Park.

Residential reserves link up and soon we are greeted with sea views crossing over the new railway line at Hallett Cove Station. From here, it’s a downhill coast to Kingston and the end of the Coast to Vines path.

End or start of the Coast to Vines.
End or start of the Coast to Vines.
Marion Rocks to Glenelg Bike Path.

The next 2 kms of road travel bike lane is unavoidable, but we did descend to the Brighton Caravan Park to pick up the Esplanade and the start of the Marino Rocks to Glenelg bike path.  Although today, the sand is firm and the tide out –  a great choice for our MTB bikes all the way to Glenelg and our favourite café – The Broadway Kiosk.

Beach riding at its best.
Beach riding at its best.

A late lunch fuels us up for the last 10k leg home, on the Mike Turtur bike path, bringing to an end a great two days cycling – all on bike paths, with a 2km exception. Fantastic.

The stats: 54 km, – out, 55 km back.

Garmin stats for the second day ride can be found here on the Garmin site.

 

Mike Turtur Bikeway and Marino Rocks Circuit – Adelaide

A 38.9km ride on a very pleasant spring afternoon in Adelaide takes me along the Mike Turtur Bikeway to Glenelg, then south to the start of the Marino Rocks Greenway ride back to the city.

Check out the stats and map on the Garmin Website here.

The bikeway is sprinkled with quirky works of art along it’s length that keep riders entertained.

Mike Turtur Bikeway Chain Link People and Dog 29-11-2015 12-43-10 PM

A “chainlink” couple take their “chainlink” dog for a walk above.

Mike Turtur Bikeway Bicycle Art 29-11-2015 12-55-10 PM

This collage can be seen in the section just after the Morphetteville Race Track.

Gene The Giraffe
Gene The Giraffe

Standing Tall On Surf-Ari – A Sculptor by Chris Murphy

I still have no idea why this giraffe is here. The plaque reads….

“Hi my name is Gene The Giraffe. I was created on 20th January 2014 at Blue Temper Ironworks Middleton. My internal frame is made of round bar and 215 patches were hand cut and shaped to make my legs, head, body and my cheeky smile.” 

Mike Turtur Bikeway Bike Service Station 29-11-2015 1-00-57 PM

The cycle path ends at the junction of Brighton Road and Jetty Road at Glenelg some 15km from the city centre. From here follow Jetty Road down to Mosley Square where the tram terminates. Here you will find a vibrant cafe and resturant pedestrianised square perfect for a rest before tackling the beachfront path south to Marino Rocks.

At this point you can of course point your front wheel north and follow the cycle path some 25kms as far as Port Adelaide. We will leave that for another day though as we continue south.

Mike Turtur Bikeway Mosley Square Glenelg 29-11-2015 1-05-54 PM Mosley Square

Mike Turtur Bikeway Glenelg Beach Jetty 29-11-2015 1-08-09 PM Glenelg Jetty

Approximately 2km south of Mosley Sq will bring you to a funky little cafe situated right on the waterfront. The cafe is popular with cyclists and dog walkers alike. Very popular on weekend mornings, I can vouch for the quality of the coffee.

Glenelg Esplanade Kiosk Cafe 29-11-2015 1-14-56 PM

The beachfront esplanade ride south of the cafe is very pleasent and offers stunning views along the coast as far as the Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia.

Glenelg to Brighton Looking South 29-11-2015 1-21-00 PM

You can of course elect to drop down onto the sand if the tide is out. Not recommended on a swish road bike however. There is something extremely satisfying about riding on the sand with a warm breeze at your back.

Glenelg to Brighton Beach Ride 29-11-2015 1-27-05 PM

The area around Brighton Jetty offers good value cafe and resturant dining with a fine pub (or hotel as the Ozzies say) right on the front. You may even be rewarded with a sighting of local dolphin cruising past the end of the jetty.

Brighton Jetty
Brighton Jetty

From Brighton Jetty the bike path turns inland through back streets of Brighton and Marino but as no less interesting.
More to come…….

Short But Rewarding Rides

Not all immensely satisfying “tours” need be long in both time and distance. The pleasure of having a bike with panniers setup ready to go means spontaneous trips can be taken to shops on the bike instead of the car.

This weekend the weather here in Adelaide has been a pleasant 24 degrees during the day with light winds – perfect for a quick trip out on the bike.

We are fortunate to live in a city that cares about open spaces and cyclists, resulting in many bike paths running through parks or alongside tram, rail and road routes.

The picture below shows my bike outside our favourite Pub here in Adelaide, “The Earl of Leicester” in Parkside. The pub was built in 1886 for the 1st licensee Henry Pope who ran the pub until 1894. The external features of the pub still remain whilst inside you will not find the awful “chrome and tiles” decor of many modern establishments. The staff pride themselves in their knowledge of the many local and guest beers available, the selection of guest beers is changed frequently meaning one can try new brews on every visit. The famous “Liar’s Bar” has amusing photos and quotations from some of the most famous (infamous?) liars in history (think mostly politicians) and the Schnitzels are legendary amongst Adelaide foodies. A highlight for me is the “Beer Legends Club” – a right of passage that will take me through 100 hand picked brews and when finished will see my name displayed on the “Beer Legends Board”.

Friday Evening at the Pub

 

I mentioned above the cycle paths that criss-cross Adelaide. I use the Mike Turtur Bikeway everyday for either commuting to work or for pleasure rides to Glenelg Beach. Yesterday morning I picked up the bikeway at the the junction of Albert Street and Goodwood Road and followed it’s pleasant course alongside the City-Glenelg tram to the beach suburb of Glenelg. There is a favourite cafe of ours – The Broadway Kiosk – just south of Glenelg Jetty that is a favourite spot for cyclists, joggers and dog owners. The dog friendly cafe, excellent coffee and delicious cakes (as well as fine cafe style main dishes) ensure the cafe is popular on weekend mornings. The picture below shows a rather grey and chilly scene as I took a strong flat-white and contemplated life yesterday morning. A very comfortable and pleasant 24km round trip and yes I did use the panniers to pick up fresh bread and mushrooms on the way home.

Sometimes those short rides and as rewarding as multi day trips.

Glenelg Beach Cafe 20-11-15

You can check out the Glenelg Beach ride here.