Willunga to the outskirts of Adelaide

That’s right – not at Rundle Mall yet!

Sorry, there is no route map ‘cos I couldn’t make Ride with GPS acknowledge the rail trails yesterday.

Riding the Coast to Vines Rail Trail. Or, in my case, the Vines to Coast RT.

Things weren’t very well organised today. I had left the trike in the car after yesterdays episode and forgot to charge the lights. Not only that, when I got to the start of the trail – I had no water. So it was back into Willunga, find somewhere open that sold water (there was no free street water equipment to use) and begin again. I also had no food, snacks etc as I expected a flat ride out to the coast.

There were some remnants of the railway along the track including rest points at the station sites. Unfortunately the signs at most of these stops have been damaged and are not readable.

The Shiraz Track and the Vines to Coast were indeed pretty flat. They passed through delightful country initially with vines and gum trees making a nice picture. The birds were busy up in the trees and a number of riders I saw had the cable ties sticking up above the helmet – a sure sign Magpies swoop around here. This is not the season, so no swooping today.

I like riding through cuttings. Doesn’t take much imagination to picture a small steam engine chuffing up here pulling its train.

The trail crosses a number of roads, most of them quiet. One was very busy and there was a controlled crossing for us cyclists. I couldn’t see the button to press then realised all vehicles had stopped. The crossing had permanent flashing yellow lights and I assume this means stop if cyclist appears. It worked and everyone was happy.

There were also a number of tunnels under roads and rail. I also enjoy cycling through tunnels. In this one a bunch of kids on bikes has just gone past and they did all manage to get past without accident although some were decidedly wobbly.

At the beginning of the day I decided to ride along to the Patrick Jonkers Veloway junction and then decide whether or not to take it. At the junction was a post with nice things to say about the Veloway. Dedicated to cyclists, built with the M2, follows alongside the M2 with great views of the city. So I thought “It is billed as the safest way into Adelaide. This description makes it sound good. Let’s go that way”. Bad decision !!

Riding the Veloway.

It does run alongside the motorway but does not benefit from the cuttings and embankments which make an easy gradient for the vehicles. Rather it follows all the ups and downs that were ironed out for the road. As with riding in southern Tasmania (lots of hills), a rider goes down the hills quickly but spends much more time climbing up the other side. So at the end of the ride you realise most of the time was spent climbing hills. In this case most of the climbs were bottom gear work. The temp was now up to 32°C and the roadworks either sheltered you from the wind (hot – no shade) or there was absolutely no shelter from what was by now a strong northerly wind. I was travelling north!

Little shade, little water left, the writing on the trail advising 10ks to Darlington, 9ks to Darlington etc were not passing very quickly and it was, basically, an unpleasant half of the ride. On the Vines to Coast were a fair number of other non-elite cyclists out enjoying the day. On the Veloway there was only a few road warriors and warrioresses out taking their serious exercise. I got some encouraging looks from the ladies and told to “go harder” by the men.

At 3.5ks to the end the downhill began. That was nice but bumpy. Very twisty and quite fast I enjoyed limiting braking and keeping up in the 30s while once again leaning to keep weight over the inside wheel to keep it on the ground. Over pot holes, glass and pine cones we dashed – down to a sudden stop at a major road junction. South Road and Flagstaff Gully Road but no sign of anything like a cycle lane or where to go to find one. So I called Sue who was exploring the Adelaide Markets and she drove over to pick me up. I had to ask someone what suburb I was in. “Sturt” he said. I gave Sue the name of a road crossing South Road (a very busy multi-lane road), told her the suburb was Sturt and cycled up to the road on the footpath. Around the corner a sign told me I was now in Darlington and Marion. No matter, Sue found me.

So, now I have to work out how to get into Adelaide from that junction and cycle the final leg. That will not be until Thursday. Tomorrow we have to be in Milang to open the house for Paul the Handyman who is coming to fix a few things.

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.

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