This year I’ve put more effort than usual into planning and mapping routes because I’ve been running a women’s training group (WMNtrainADL). While going through my rides I realised that I rarely put a ride together without at least one gravel road. We are spoilt in Adelaide, our gravel roads are in great condition and they link together so well. I would love to see gravel roads feature in the WTDU/TDU one year – get some Ochre dust on the Ochre jersey.
I’ve put together five of my favourite rides from the year so you can get some inspiration for your next ride. If you try out one of these rides or decide to ride some of the roads that feature in these routes, let me know what you think 🙂
1. Short and Steep Gravel CXplorer
I put this route together when NZ cyclocrosser Kim Hurst visited me in June for the first rounds of the National CX Series. Kim rode a CX bike, I rode a road bike.
The route contains seven gravel sections: Colonial Drive (partially), Mores Road, Collins Hill Road, Sprigg Road, Ridge Road, Haven Road, finishing with the rough walking trail between McBeath Drive and Skye Lookout (~200m of rough gravel to a stunning view of the city).
I think that the condition of all these gravel roads are suitable for road bikes but the final gravel section across to Skye Lookout is quite rocky and rough on a road bike.
2. One hundred via Macclesfield
I like this route because I don’t often explore the roads around Macclesfield. This route features a few interesting gravel roads: Saddle bags and Razorback Road after Kangarilla, and Shady Grove Road after Paris Creek Road.
I’ve done a two other variations of this route this year, one variation included a gravel road (Frith Road) around Clarenden but that road wasn’t in great condition so I wouldn’t recommend it. Another variation included a loop off Stamps Road through the Bugle Ranges (along Bugle Range Road and Bonython Road, all fairly rough gravel roads). It would be easy to add that section onto this route. The cover photo above is from the Bugle Ranges.
3. Hahndorf Cake Loop
I’ve done many variations of this general route shape this year, here are two variations, one in each riding direction.
Obviously this route requires a stop in Hahndorf for coffee and cake.
Route 1 contains one of my favourite gravel roads I discovered this year, Western Branch Road between Lobethal Road and Tiers Road. It’s a nice hard-packed gravel road. If you don’t want to include the gravel section you can just turn onto Tiers Road in Lenswood, I’ve also linked that variation below.
Route 2 doesn’t have any gravel but features a few fun short steep climbs: Woolcock Road around Bradbury, Tischer Road which was the finishing climb in a stage of last years Women’s TDU, and Collins Hill Road near Lenswood. I like climbing Lobethal road towards Norton Summit because I don’t do it too often.
4. Gum Flat and Belair National Park
Another route that features a bunch of my favourite roads: Western Branch, Tanamerah Road, Gum Flat Road and then finishing by rolling through Belair National Park and down Windy Point. Last time we did this route we kept the pace on all ride until we got to Tanamerah Road where half the group just ran out of legs. We had to stop and refuel at the Uradila Bakery.
5. Wriggle route finishing down the Gorge
This route would be good in either direction but this is a typical Nat ride where you wiggle across the hills to fit in extra kilometres. I recommend stopping at Cudlee Creek Café on the way down Gorge.