Stephen Cunningham, ambassador for our Boileau Velo Coast to Coast ride, tells us his 3 favourite routes to ride in the Adelaide Hills.
I think it’s safe to say that we have the very best cycling conditions in Australia and just one reason why we now see so many taking up the sport in this state. From the CBD, we have the luxury of having access to the coast to one side in 20 minutes and the stunning Adelaide Hills to the other, there’s no city quite like it.
OK so here are some of my favourite training routes, in the Adelaide Hills for those rides either before or after work. Don’t be intimidated by the hills, they’re here to enjoy and just think of a climb as a scenic road that meanders along with a gradual gradient that you can ride as hard or as easy as you like!
RIDE ONE Norton Summit – Ashton – Basket Range – Deviation Road – Uraidla – Piccadilly Valley – Crafers – Old Freeway
Most cyclists enjoy the classic ride of Norton Summit and down the Old Freeway, via Mount Lofty. But why not take this ride one step further by introducing Basket Range into the mix. The Tour Down Under is using the Adelaide / Lobethal Road to Basket Range as the King of the Mountain, so it has to have something about it! This extension will take about another 30 – 40 minutes from your usual ‘over the top’ ride, but the benefits are HUGE as you need to ride up and down a number of climbs on some incredibly beautiful landscape before finally arriving into Crafers and enjoying the effort with the greatest descent down the old freeway. Just be very cautious on the bike path toward the bottom and call out to wobbly riders on the up track!
RIDE 2 – Montacute Road – Marble Hill – Ashton – Norton Summit – Magill
For those a little pressed for time, why not try this route instead of your normal ‘up norton, down greenhill’ ride. I think Montacute Road is as close to an alpine climb as we have in Adelaide, it throws a few curve balls at you along the way, but it’s well worth the effort. Don’t use too much energy when riding the lower section of Montacute Road. Save yourself for the more challenging sections later on. For those with confident descending skills, going down New Norton Summit is a great chance to concentrate on riding with higher cadence so to try and keep your heart and lungs ticking! Turn half a ‘hit out’ into a full one by also pedalling (when safe) on the gradual descents.
RIDE 3 – Windy Point – Belair National Park – Upper Sturt – Lower Sturt Road – Stirling – Crafers –
I used to take this ride route a lot when riding home from the CBD. After climbing up Belair Road, head for Sheoak Road, but don’t climb it – now that’s a brute of a climb and should only be attempted with anger! Instead, enter the National Park on your right, by going through a small gate and over the railway line, then meander your way through the national park, around the lake and then up the guts of the park – feel the stress of day to day life fizzle away and enjoy catching a glimpse of an emu or roo. At the end of the park there’s a short and sharp climb that sees you pop out onto Upper Sturt Road where you will turn left. After 1km, turn right along Sturt Valley Road which along the valley floor has been resurfaced and widened and is one of the nicest roads going around! This then climbs up to behind Stirling where you can then decide to push on to Mount Lofty or head down the Old Freeway.
So there you have it – 3 great ride routes that are a little outside the norm, but I’m sure you will love. Of course you can ride yourself along the beach front, but hey – you can do that in any city!
As well as being the Boileau Velo Coast to Coast ambassador, Stephen Cunningham operates 1 on 1 and small group technique sessions through the summer months in Adelaide. Sign up for his free training tips here as well as a chance to take part in a free group ride.