SA is a cyclists' paradise, and some of the best riding spots are closer than you think.
SOUTH Australia offers every kind of cycling holiday, from gentle rides between vineyard cellar doors to challenging off-road trails. Bicycle SA CEO Christian Haag says South Australia presents an ideal cycling environment for a weekend getaway or a longer escape.
“Adelaide’s flat topography and Mediterranean climate means there are many bright and sunny cycling days ahead,” he says.
“And it’s the only capital city in the country that provides free bike hire seven days a week.”
"Good times aboard your bike canstart in the heart of Adelaide and can continue throughout the state.
“Within 30 minutes of the city we have the wonders of the Hills, with over five dedicated mountain biking networks along the Mount Lofty Ranges providing a diversity of mountain biking experiences from pine forest to arid bush,” Haag says.
But the great riding doesn’t end there, so prep your bike and get ready to explore everything SA has to offer...
THE Barossa has something for every cyclist, says economic development
manager at Regional Development Australia Barossa, Craig Grocke.
“The region has an extensive network of sealed roads over a variety of terrain,” he says. “Choose a flat ride around the Valley floor or venture to the rolling hills of the western ridges around Greenock and Seppeltsfield.
“For more serious climbing, there is the Barossa Ranges with Menglers Hill, Sedan Hill and rides like the Seven Steps along Flaxmans Valley Road.”
Many cyclists who visit the Tour Down Under come back for holidays and bring their bike with them to explore the region’s food, wine and heritage attractions, Grocke says.
LOOKING for a quick escape from the city? McLaren Vale's wine country is just an hour away. A popular tourist destination, its Shiraz Trail is a favourite with cyclists. Taking riders from McLaren Vale to Willunga and back, it takes about 45 minutes to complete, passing vineyards along the way. Be sure to stop at eateries Bracegirdles or Blessed Cheese. Wineries not far off the trail include Primo Estate, Serafi no and Shingleback, to name a few. Bike hire is available from Oxygen Cycles, McLaren Vale.
A FEW hours’ drive from Adelaide, Naracoorte has much to offer cyclists. While there is lots of open-road riding available, mountain bikers can hit up the Naracoorte Creek Walk dirt tracks.
The Naracoorte Caves is another exciting cycling destination, says
Nigel Nisbett of Naracoorte Visitor Information Centre.
“It’s a wonderful ride out to the caves that could be a 30km ride all up by the time you get out there and follow the trails around,” he says.
After a long ride, tourists can check out Sheep’s Back Museum or peruse the art gallery. For those who have worked up a sweat, the Naracoorte Swimming Lake is a nice place to cool off after a ride.
“It’s about the size of eight Olympic swimming pools, it is fully chlorinated and it’s totally free,” Nisbett says.
MELROSE is all about off-road trails. While there are some easy rides for beginners, Richard Bruce, of Over the Edge Sports, says Melrose’s mountain bike tracks are aimed at enthusiasts.
“We’re starting to see a lot more people coming up here and it is enthusiast driven,” he says.
“I think that is the big difference for us as opposed to the Barossa and the Clare Valley... anyone can go and ride those trails. A bit of technique is needed for some of the trails [in Melrose].”
“I think between Wirrabara and Melrose and surrounding area there would be somewhere above 100km of trails,” he says.
“There’s about 30km of dedicated quality single-track in Melrose, then there’s the Rail Trail, which takes you out of Melrose to Wilmington.
“Then there’s another property about three or four kilometres away from the town itself, which has got 40km of trail out there, it’s also a four-wheel driving place that you can go to and there’s a cellar door where you can go buy and taste wine as well.
“A little bit further than the road you’ve got Wirrabara Forest, which has got trails for walking and riding.”
Over the Edge Sports also offer regular “shop rides”, which gives visitors an opportunity to ride the trail network with a local.
IF YOU love a good drop and stunning scenery be sure to explore one of Australia’s best-known wine regions — the Clare Valley,
The popular Riesling Trail is a must see, with the 35km trail following the curves of the former railway line.
It can be ridden one way in about two-and-a-half hours.There are also three trail loops, ranging from 9km to 16km. Starting your journey is as easy as following the signposts.
KEEN mountain bikers seeking gutbusting, muscle straining ascents needn't travel far from Adelaide. Haag says there are some great mountain biking areas within 30 minutes of the CBD.
“The Cudlee Creek forest cross country and downhill network offers some of South Australia’s best mountain biking, from beginner to advanced,” he says.
“A newly completed 9km green loop there showcases why this is a truly unique MTB destination, set in some of the most beautifully scenic country within the forest.”
The Mitcham Trail Network is another cross-country and downhill area, traversing the “magical hill face zone in Mitcham” and Craigburn Farm has a tightly packaged network offering a diverse range of technical and fl owing single-track.