Bedding in: Angaston and Eudunda

I’ve been bedding in a new bike or, more correctly, bedding myself in after going back to drop bars after 12 years riding flat bar bikes. I’d done 80 or 90km at a time and was now concerned to see how my back stood up to longer distances, and how the new bike handled gravel.

Angaston
angastonthumbThe first trip included a gravel loop out from Angaston through the high country to the east, coming back into the bottom end of the Barossa near Lyndoch. (Click to enlarge map.)

Because we no longer live in Elizabeth there is now an extra 30km of metropolitan area to cover before I begin to hit the edges of suburbia.  I eased the pain by heading into the Torrens Linear Park, which gave me about 10km along the river and the busway, before climbing over Kelly Road and taking the plummet down Kiara Crescent into Salisbury. After another 7km of quiet streets I joined the  West Avenue bike-way which runs behind DSTO, and then the Stuart O’Grady Bike Path at Petherton Road.

The SOG took me to Gawler.. With a break of less than a kilometre you can get onto the South Para River path and stay off the road until the final climb up into Calton Avenue.  I split the difference and took the streets to the railway station and across to Dead Man’s Pass, where I took the bike path  around to Calton Road. It’s not any less of a climb than going through the centre of the town, but there’s no traffic, and the creek is a nice ride.

It was then a matter of following the Barossa Bike Path all the way to Angaston although, as usual, I avoided the crazy creek section of path just north of Rowland Flat. I also took a short cut from Tanunda, out along Diagonal Road, meeting the bike path half way between Nuriootpa and Angaston. Tip: Diagonal Road does not run uninterrupted to the bike path, despite what a number of maps say. You will need to detour around a vineyard.

However one chooses to go, it is possible to ride the 93km from Port Adelaide to Angaston on bike path with the exception of a couple of kilometres through Tanunda, and 4km in Gawler!

From Angaston I took the Menglers Hill Road, which is a bit more serious climb out to the south east. Tanunda Creek Road and Heggies Hill Road continue as bitumen, turning to gravel about 15km south of Angaston. Heggies, and Brown’s Road continue to Trial Hill, all metal, before the drop back down into the Barossa.

20211209AngastonLoop Menglers Hill Road

The new Bombtrack proved to be a bit twitchy on gravel.  It is incredibly quiet, no rattles at all, but the slightly narrower bars, and less tread on the tyres, certainly made a difference to controlling the bike.  (I found  by the time of the Eudunda trip, apart from some sandy patches, that I had become quite used to the change.) I also found the lower bottom bracket becomes significant on gravel, with small rocks thrown up and hitting the pedals more often. The drop bars shift my weight closer to the middle of the bike than my old Sub30, and seem to give me some mechanical advantage on climbs. The whole unit feels lighter and faster.

It is also a bike which steers much more smoothly with the body at low speeds. The Sub was designed with urban couriers in mind, and is great for steering around tight sections of path, by using the handlebars. It’s much happier doing this in tight spots than being driven by the body.  The Bombtrack is happier leaning around all but the tightest bends instead of being steered.

Coming down Trial Hill, there is a short patch of bitumen which reaches -12%, at least. I topped 75km here, not willing to go higher, as I would then hit the gravel at the bottom at far too high a speed. I hit the gravel somewhere above 30kph as it was, but the Bombtrack is very stable at speed. The lower profile riding in the drops helps this.

I returned to Gawler via the Barossa Bike Path, but this time followed it all the way to Salisbury Highway. This avoided the longer trip out to Port Adelaide, and directed me down to the Torrens Linear Park, mostly on path and back streets. Total ride was 203km. After this distance I could feel my back more than I would have expected with the Sub30 flat bars, but had no ill effects the next day. The back stretching routines I've learned from my physio have been well worth it.

Eudunda

eudundathumbThis route (Click to expand the map.) covered around 40km of gravel, compared to the 18km or so of the Angaston loop. It was a longer ride overall at 258km.  I took the shortest quiet route out from Magill. This meant a fast roll down into the Linear Park, where I joined the Levels Bike Route to Mawson Lakes near the ABC building in Collinswood.  These days this allows you to ride under Main North Road at Pooraka, and is always a very low traffic route. I took my old commuting route on the path behind Parafield Airport and up Cross Keys Road north as far as Frost Road. Cross Keys North is a relatively busy secondary road, but most traffic is familiar with bikes, and you get treated with respect. At Frost, there is a shortcut across the railway line, where the quiet Yorke Terrace and equally quiet Longford Terrace (with a bit of path in the middle) deliver a rider through Salisbury onto the bike path up through DSTO. 

From the end of West Avenue, a rider could then go out to Andrews Road and get onto the SOG at Petherton Road, but I chose to go straight up Stebonheath Road (quiet) and take a few doglegs through Smithfield Plains onto Coventry Road. Coventry Road is the back way to Gawler if you don't want the hassle of Main North Road. It's relatively quiet, and even at its busiest, riders get plenty of room.

There is a new road into the Gawler East area, called Gawler East Link. It has three long swoops and climbs for about 6km until you join Calton Road. If you were unlucky enough to hit it during peak commuting period, there is a good path alongside (you'll use the brakes on the downhill bits) that would work well for a bike.  I took this both ways and found it a pleasant change to going through Gawler.

The East Link route passes an OTR where it crosses Main North Road, so it would be a 24 hour good stopping point on the way home from a very long ride. I chose to grab water at Lyndoch and then continued up the Barossa Bikeway to Tanunda.

One of the really nice Barossa rides is Research Road, which begins just east of Tanunda. It is bitumen for the first 8km, and then provides another 6km of good surface gravel up to the Truro-Kapunda Road.  If you keep going north, it will deliver you to Eudunda and other locales via a network of gravel.

20211227Research RoadResearch Road at the top end near Warwick's Vineyard

Tips:  North of the Truro road, Research Road is a definite dry weather road. In the first instance, you have a creek to cross. If things have been dry for a few days this would probably be passable.  But after even a short period of light rain, I would expect very sticky clay to be clogging up mudguards and forks. (See here for what the roads in this area are like when wet!) On this midsummer trip everything was very dry, although the results of someone's being very bogged are currently very obvious. There were patches of sand here, and they required close attention and the occasional dismount to traverse.  The moment I passed the last of the vineyards (Warwick's) I entered fly territory.  Should have brought a fly net!

20211227StKitts2  20211227StKitts

The road at St. Kitts.

The route is picturesque, mostly good gravel, and climbs about 230 metres from the beginning of Research Road—with plenty of ups and downs in between. There is then a fast descent into Eudunda. The views from the highpoints above Eudunda are simply stunning. On a clear day...

20211209Eudenda1thumbClick to expand

 It is also quiet! I would expect to be passed by a few cars on Research Road, but on this day I didn't see a vehicle from the beginning of Research Road until I reached Eudunda. Somewhere past St Kitts a farmer passed me on her quad bike which was kitted out as a weed-spraying unit.

2011209Eudunda2thumb

Click to expand

 

To get home, I took the back road to Truro, and then a bit of gravel as a short cut to Angaston. From there it was simply a matter of my route up, although I followed the Angaston Bike Path right into Nuriootpa. 

[For "out of hours riding," be aware that the toilets at Lyndoch and Angaston will be shut. They used to be open 24 hours at Eudunda, but I'm not sure what the situation is now, since they have been upgraded. There used to be a tap with drinking water at he BBQ adjacent to the toilets. There is a tap outside the toilets at Lyndoch, and behind the rotunda in the main street of Tanunda. Gawler and Nuriootpa have 24 hour On the Run service stations.]

(January 2022)

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