In the lead up to Coast to Coast, cycle coach Stephen Cunningham shares his two favourite Adelaide loop rides. 

As we all know, we’re blessed with some of the nicest roads in Australia. When it comes to doing a training loop, we have the Adelaide Hills at our doorstep. Over the past year, I’ve been running a Thursday morning before work ride, where riders who normally train solo, get a chance to ride in a social group, get access to some training advice and enjoy a good chat over coffee.

So I thought I’d share with you a couple of rides that I’ve used with the group which I think will get you in good shape for the upcoming Coast To Coast bike ride.

RIDE 1 – MONTACUTE / MARBLE HILL / POUND RD / BURDETTS RD / RANGE RD / URAIDLA / GREENHILL RD 40km & 900 vm.

My group rides start and finish in Hazelwood Park at Basecamp Cafe, this ripper loop being 40km and you can get around it in about 2 hours. I like it as it incorporates 3 climbs in the 1 short ride, a long climb, a shorter steeper climb and a gradual power climb to finish.

Heading over to Marble Hill Road via Norwood Parade and the start of Norton Summit, turn left past Rostrevor College and meander through to the roundabout that starts the climb. 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 easier section of Montacute Road, start your effort when it begins to ramp past Corkscrew Road and beyond! It’s a 450 metre vertical metre climb and probably my favourite.

Once at the summit over Marble Hill, take a left down Pound Road. This needs to descended with respect, particularly the lower half of the climb. Once at the base, it’s an immediate right on Burdetts Road, which many call ‘Little Italy’. You’ll see why as you climb up this narrow, quiet road, something right out of Piedmont Region! Once at BasketBasket Range, continue the climb on Range Road, which again is another fantastic road with great views over to Ashton, Summertown and Mt Lofty.

From the base of Burdetts to the top of Range, you climb 200 vertical metres, and it’s one of the great climbs of the hills. Descend into Uraidla and start your final climb to the top of Greenhill Road. It’s 120 vertical and gradual, so this is the climb to give it everything you have – or whatever you have left! Don’t under gear here and work deeper into your legs. Finish the ride with a descent down Greenhill Road. Remember when heading down Greenhill, always understand what traffic you have behind you and if there are a few cars wanting to get through, find a safe place to pull over.

If you’re a little shaky on Greenhill, take a right on Woods Hill and make your way over to New Norton Summit Road where the traffic is minimal. This is a great loop, especially when you wash it down with good coffee and toasted banana bread with maple syrup, yum!

RIDE 2 – MT OSMOND / OLD FREEWAY / OLD MT BARKER RD / RANGEVIEW ROAD / URAIDLA / SWAMP RD / SPRIGG RD / GOORES RD 50km & 1100 vm.

I love this loop. We’ve all ridden the Freeway before, (if you haven’t and plan to ride the Coast 2 Coast, get cracking and give it ago!). This ride takes in a climb before the climb, one of Adelaide’s hidden gems and a climb I’d love to see it feature in the Tour Down Under one day. Hayward Drive to Mt Osmond isn’t long, but what it lacks in length, it makes up for it in gradient! Rest assured, you WILL make it and be rewarded with one of the finest views of the Adelaide, well worth stopping before reaching the summit and grabbing a quick snap.

You’ll then ride along the golf course and descend to the old freeway. Climb the Freeway with steady tempo, knowing you still have more climbing to come! Once at the top, make your way through Crafers and on to Old Mt Barker Road. Take a right onto Old Carey Gully Road and descend down past the Stirling Golf Club before climbing up to Range View Road. Some steeper sections here, but the views at the top are worth the effort! Follow Range View to the end and left to Uraidla, then a left again onto Swamp Road. I don’t know any road that showcases the Piccadilly Valley quite as well as Swamp. Enjoy this sweeping road that will turn into Piccadilly Valley Road where you make your way back towards Crafers.

In Piccadilly take a left onto Sprigg Road, another hidden gem of the hills which I know you’ll love. This climbs you back up to Greenhill Road and includes a section of dirt. If you’re not a dirt road fan, turn right onto Gores Road and meander back to Greenhill via Summertown, but if you do enjoy the serenity of what a Dirt Road brings to a ride, get on it! Remember to relax your arms and upper body and let the bike do it’s thing. The more you tense your arms the more chance you have sliding around. At the top, you have the option to head over Mt Lofty or descend down Greenhill Road for another slice of Banana Bread ;).

OK get cracking! Enjoy what the Adelaide Hills has to offer this time of year and you’ll hear back from me with some other riding tips leading up to the most iconic ride of the year, Coast 2 Coast!

Stephen Cunningham is the ambassador for Coast to Coast. If anyone interested in joining his Thursday morning sessions, known as Cunno’s Group Ride, let him know and he’ll give you all the details! steve@polkadotcycling.com