From the B37 to Willunga

I cycled past the turn off from the B37 to Willunga twice already so I didn’t need to cycle up out of Goolwa to get here. Rather Sue drove me and Maggie and left me at the junction.

The day starts here. About the only flat bit of road travelled

I knew it was going to be an uphill sort of day. There is no way to get into Adelaide without hills. My plan is to slip in from the south and miss out on the big hills of Mt Barker and Mt Lofty.

The route today included a climb of Mosquito Hill followed by Beef Hill and Mt Compass. The roads were quite busy and a lot of drivers seemed to be in a rush. The hard shoulder varied in quality and at some points was covered in pine needles and pine cones. Once again there was a fair amount of shrapnel on the shoulder and I picked up an undamaged size 14mm socket at one point. I have one at home already but a second will not go amiss.

Don’t you love it when you find you are riding through an accident black spot?

Mosquito Hill was a 3 kilometre climb in bottom gear. It took a while. Then there followed a dashing descent for about a kilometre before we tackled the second part of the climb – to reclimb the height just lost.

The start of the serious part of Mosquito Hill

That set of climbs over, the road settled down a bit and we were able to make some distance. Then the road joined the main Adelaide – Victor Harbour road. Things got very busy here including all the way through Mt Compass village, complete with road works.

After Mosquito Hill and before Mt Compass.

Through Mt Compass and up to the turn off point for the Old Willunga Hill it was a case of blinkers on, focus on the hard shoulder, avoid the crap and avoid placing the offside wheel on the carriageway side of the white line. The left wheel rode through gravel, glass, over wood, branches, pine cones and bits of vehicle and did not puncture. Well done tyre.

At last, the turn off to the the Old Willunga Hill. This is the hill used in the Tour Downunder where the riders have a loop to ride that takes them up the hill a number of times before a hilltop finish. Today I am going down only. Unfortunately only once!

This is the top.

It was off with Da Brim – I didn’t want that to come off at speed.

What can I say about a 4 kilometre downhill nicely graded for a Magnum. A lot of tight bends added to the interest. I hadn’t time to look at the scenery but one glimpse showed there was a great view off to the side. The straights quickly built up speed into the 40s, brakes applied only before bend entry kept them cool (no fading) and much leaning was needed to keep the inside front wheel on the ground. No traffic, smooth surface, good grip = a very enjoyable descent. At the bottom I was shot out into the Main Street of Willunga. At the 50k speed limit sign I was over the limit. By the time I reached the bottom of the Main Street I was cruising at 40 and keeping an eagle eye out for parked cars that might decide to back out without looking. I shot past the Cafe Sue was waiting in and she didn’t spot me and I didn’t spot her. A phone call at the bottom linked us up and I returned up the street to the Cafe.

A good climbing day with a good payoff. I am just glad I didn’t have to climb those hills with camping gear on the back of the trike.

We finished by locating the start of the Shiraz Rail Trail which I will ride tomorrow. It leads to the Coast to Vines Rail Trail which will take me to Marino Rocks from where I should be able to get to Glenelg beach. That will leave one more day to ride to get into Rundle Mall, Adelaide.

Author: antc1946

Born in 1946 I learnt to cycle about 10 years later. On a bike with rods connecting brake levers to the brakes - anyone remember those? I emigrated to Australia (from the UK) in 1974 and moved to Tasmania in 1984. Bicycles were in my life for most of that time although sometimes they were replaced by motorised two wheels for a bit more excitement. On reaching 70 I decided to stick to pedal power but in 2019 an electric recumbent made an appearance. it's now 2023 and I have 3 bikes. 2 e-recumbents and the Brompton.

4 thoughts on “From the B37 to Willunga”

  1. Well done on those hills, Tony. I cannot imagine doing that ride with one wheel off-road. I loved your description of coming down Willunga Hill and leaning to keep everything in contact with the ground. Nice job! Have a safe ride into Adelaide.


    1. Hi Emily. Yes, downhill on a trike is great fun as long as you restrict the speed to under 70kph. Then it gets a bit scary. We hope your shoulder is not getting any worse. As it will take so long to get better I am guessing that’s the best we can say. Of all the shitty luck, you had to get that too. Just keep planning that future tour and looking forward to it.


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