Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Cycling from West Beach to Mount Lofty summit with (almost) no traffic to contend with.

Distance 70 km (round trip)

Height 727m. approx.

Need a challenging ride in Adelaide but are acutely aware of the problems associated with cycle/car interactions - read more for details

START - Where Seaview rd. at West Beach crosses over the River Torrens.

Get yourself on the North side with the river to your right and from here just follow the track about 12.5 kms into town.
At one point, shortly after the graveyard, the track appears to end in a road but if you follow the dirt footpath overlooking the river to the right you'll be back on the track again in about 15 metres(been fixed, now a sealed track).
After going under the big bridge, turn left, then after a couple of metres, turn right and keep heading in that direction until you come to the railway line.
Here, cross the bridge over the river then go through the tunnel under the railway and follow the path, keeping the river to your left until you see a sign on the wall stating "Grundy Gardens". Turn right here and go up the path to Frome rd. where you can cross at the traffic lights.
Now comes a "warm-up" climb. Heading right, up Frome rd, there is a bike path painted onto the footpath that pedestrians are oblivious to, so exercise caution - especially outside the medical school from where groups of young trainees often spill out with no regard for their own safety.
At the top turn left - you can play with the traffic or make your way along the footpath for 500 m. before crossing North tce. and East tce. at the traffic lights.
Follow the bike path through the Eastern parklands heading South and crossing Rundle, Bartels and Wakefields rds to Victoria Pk. racecourse.
Keep the racecourse to your left and stay on the track until you come to the corner of Greenhill and Fullarton rds, then cross both at the traffic lights.
The bike path continues along the outskirts of Glenside Hospital until you reach Glen Osmond rd. where you turn left and head upwards. There is no more bike path for the next 2.5 kms, you can ride in the traffic or make your way slowly along the footpath, reserving energy for the big climb.
After crossing at the traffic lights at the top of Glen Osmond rd you'll find the start of the Crafers bike path a little further up on the left.
Next follows about 10 kms of pretty steady climbing and great views.
Just before getting to Crafers where you'll need to turn left onto Mt Lofty Summit rd there is a steep decline, watch carefully for opportunities to make the most of the momentum you gain.

Now on Mt Lofty Summit rd you have two choices
1: you can ride on the smooth road with traffic driving 60-80+ km/h on thin lanes around winding, blind corners.
2: Stay to the left of the white line on the side of the road and out of the way of traffic. Here, the surface isn't loose or particularly slippery but very rough. It was designed by a cyclist hater to sap what energy you have remaining.
I'd recommend option 2. Let's face it, the only reason you're here is because you like a challenge and it is always good not to scratch the paint on the car of a 'would be racing driver' with your compound fractures.

It is tough going for a couple of km, but once you see the transmission towers on your left, the worst is over.
From here it is a gentle ride until you see the signs on the right, go through the gate and either way around the car park.
The summit is behind the large building, which, if I wasn't hallucinating by this time, is an odd colour of light pink.

At this point, if you're reading this, I'd like to unreservedly apologise for being somewhat brusque to the young lady in blue lycra that tried to strike up a conversation with me at the summit. Whilst there is no excuse for impoliteness, in my defence, my body had used up its last reserves of glucose and caffeine about thirty minutes ago and the tattered remains of my brain functions were too busy getting confused about the best way to stay conscious to respond appropriately.

 Getting down is much easier.
Follow the same route in reverse except...

At one point, even though the bike lane is wide enough to drive a small truck through, the signage indicates that you MUST ride on the old freeway for a while.
This isn't really a problem, the lanes are wide and traffic is very sparse - and you can keep up with what there is of it too.
Or you can just stick to the bike path where you'll meet those idiots that insist they need all of the path to go up and grunt as they gesture towards the signs. If you show fear, they'll try to block the path - adopt a determined look, make a bee-line for the largest of them and accelerate as fast as you can - they grunt some more as they get out of the way.

Having left my peak physical and cognitive performance in a heap by the roadside half way up that mountain, I chose to come down under brakes and enjoy the view.

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