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Morning delight

Is there any better way to start the day than getting on a bike and going for a ride? This 40 kilometre trip incorporates a run up to Majors Road, south of Adelaide, before heading west and visiting a very pleasant stretch of metropolitan coastline.

Starting at Cross Road, near the intersection with Goodwood Road, riders will enjoy some easy cycling as they pedal down the gentle downhill slope. After passing through the South Road intersection, a left turn onto Railway Terrace is required. Follow the train line before making a right turn at Raglan Avenue, and continue on to Marion Road. From here you will head south. Traversing this route on a Sunday morning means that this usually busy road is all but free of traffic. The bike lane helps.

route map
route map

The road gently inclines as riders make their way towards South Road, and riders will find the start of the Southern Veloway on the right, shortly before the intersection.

The cyclist-only veloway is a 3.5 kilometre climb with an average gradient of approximately 4.3%, although that includes a 1 kilometre flattish section at the top. Most of the climbing takes place at a 5.6% average, and hits 9% at its peak. It will take around 10-15 minutes to reach the top at Majors Road, depending on the type of bike. Fit riders will get up without too much stress, but those who are at the other end of the continuum may find it a bit of a lung-buster. It is actually made up of three shorter climbs, with a little breathing space between each. The first section is the longest, but the gentlest. The middle climb is short but fairly spiky, while the last is a decent length and takes a little effort if it is to be negotiated with a smile on one’s face.

Majors Road is the turnaround point of this ride, so the climb becomes a super fast five-minute downhill. The fact that you are riding on a dedicated bikeway means there’s little to worry about, apart from the odd rider struggling up the hill, straying into the down path.

At the bottom, riders head back down Marion road for a short distance, before turning left along Sturt Road. From here it is a westerly ride to the beach, continuing along the aptly named Old Beach and Beach roads. Emerging at the seafront at Brighton, it’s a lovely coastal ride all the way to Glenelg.

There are a few options for a break and a coffee in Glenelg, and it would be a shame to pass up the opportunity.

After a restorative beverage it’s time to take to the roads again, and the next stage heads along Adelphi Terrace, past the King Street Bridge, before turning right onto McFarlane Street and crossing Tapleys Hill Road. There are pedestrian lights here if it is busy. A little more weaving and wending through suburbia is required, traversing Alison Street, Fisher Terrace and David Avenue, before negotiating the footbridge across the Sturt River. Shannon Avenue and Coorilla Avenue are next, and then it is onto Saratoga Drive. Crossing Morphett Road, riders join the Westside Bike Path.

top of the climb
top of the climb

looking towards Glenelg
looking towards Glenelg

The Bike Path is a shared path, so walkers are common. The only real threat to the rider comes from unleashed dogs that occasionally stray across the path. Traverse this route until the converted railway line’s penultimate section, and turn right at Barwell Avenue. Again, there’s some more pleasant suburban riding to be had, taking riders in a straight line across South Road (again) and onto Everard Avenue. Cross Anzac Highway and continue up Maple Avenue, turning left onto Leader Street. The Sunday Farmers Market at Wayville Showgrounds, usually teeming with cars, pedestrians, shopping trolleys and bicycle commuters, provides a bustling and colourful distraction. Turn right from Leader Street onto Goodwood Road before heading back up to Cross Road to finish off the ride.

This ride is a great way to blow out any Saturday night cobwebs and makes for a great start to the day. If you stop for a coffee, it will keep you busy for about two and a half hours. It provides a decent climb, a pleasant ride along the beachfront, a great downhill, and a glimpse of Adelaide’s sleepy early morning suburbs.

© Copyright David Robinson, 2011

Not to be reproduced without the permission of the author