Every tour needs one of those days to remind fellow riders how tough and competent they were. Well … the final day of the Southern Yorke Peninsula was going to deliver. After all thus far we had pretty good weather, some amazing tailwinds, and even the corrugations were manageable.
Today an Antarctic wind was blowing – good news was we rode with it behind us most of the way – bad news it brought with it random showers and some light hail!
I ended up riding with two pairs of pants on (the water repellent variety and the wet weather pants) and two jackets on (my regular rain jacket and a spray jacket). Without my think thermal I am sure I would have frozen to near death. I can also vouch for the fact that walking into light hail is not a pleasant experience.
On this day, I put in practice lessons from M & D about riding into gravel. Go fast and don’t thing about steering – I reckon thats what they said and that what I did. I seemed to skim over the tops of the corrugations. I am not sure all the parts of my bike are still on it – but enough to get home were!.
There is not too much accomodation available on the South Western part of the Yorke Peninsula so it’s difficult to have a reasonable length ride and go through the national park. That’s why we chose to have the national park on ride on the rest day and take the sealed (but only since 2002) Marion Bay road most of the way.
We left early (8:00am) to avoid traffic – although it was hard to imagine too many people leaving Marion Bay that early on a Saturday. The road itself is quite wide with pretty good sight lines most of the time. It also helps that there was wind behind us and not in our faces. We flew up that road!
Our route couldn’t just be direct there had to be a scenic bit thrown in! We achieved this by following West Coast Road to Corny Point past Gravel Bay and Berry Bay. Unfortunately the turn gave us a big head wine and dirt road. But it was worth it with lunch overlooking Berry Bay South with the added benefits of toilets. (hey YP council why not proper shelter?)
Corny Point lighthouse was a highlight of the day. It looks good from so many angles.
Every organised bike ride plans for a rest day. Sometimes people ride more on the rest day than they do on a normal day.
This ride was no different! But to make sure we actually scheduled in a short 15km ride from Hillocks Drive to Marion Bay and then offered a option to riding into Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park.
There we so many options – we explored Hillocks Drive (by car). We also cycled to Meehan Hill Lookout before even getting to Marion Bay!
We arrived at Marion Bay in time for lunch, but all we wanted was Golden North Icecream! No photo from me because I ate it too quickly. Everyone was keen to take up the optional ride – a nice easy trail through the National Park to Stenhouse Bay and then a doodle back on the bitumen to Marion Bay. If you’re lucky Helen will share her Emu photographs with you.
The GPX route gets you to Marion Bay and beyond. But I can’t say that has all been ridden and proven today. Give it a go, but with you risk assessment brain on. Day 5 – Hillocks Drive to Marion Bay
This was a new adventure for us – we hadn’t checked out this part of the ride. It was pretty simple however, follow a couple of dirt roads (Greenhill Road and then South Coast Road) for around 46 km along some of the least populated areas of the Yorke Peninsula.
Perhaps because of its isolation the ride was quite pleasant with next to no traffic and fewer corrugations compared with the previous day. It was not enough to save our companion from having a tyre blowout. Without the support vehicle it would have been another 20 or so kilometres of walking. There wasn’t much chance of getting that going.
A word of wisdom, just because Google doesn’t show a bike shop on the Yorke Peninsula doesn’t mean you can’t get tyres. Your friendly sports store in Minlaton might have some? Perhaps the hardware store? Or even a Hardware store. In any case, the support vehicle managed to buy tyres and bakery goods and meet us again before the end. Amazing eh?
There are NO shops along this route, so you need to plan. There are only a few shelters so you need to plan to stop at them!
This is where cosmopolitan Yorke Peninsula ends and the rugged south starts. There were two public toilets en-route – but under construction much to the dismay of my fellow cyclists.
We planned to deviate from the Walk the Yorke cycle route at a couple of spots because despite the intentions of the Yorke Peninsula Council for all intents and purposes these sections are unpassable for most cyclists. The path from Sultana Point to Heel Road and the path along “Diamond Lake Road”. We took road route alternatives, which are on our GPX files.
Having said all that, we even deviated from our own GPX so we could check out the wind farm visitor centre.
This is one of my favourite parts of the tour. It is very exposed and very beautiful coastline supervised by the modern 1980 brick Troubridge Point lighthouse. Along this segment we met Brian who rode with us for while – even though his extra electric horse power meant he had to cycle very slowly to keep up with us.
Not only are there no toilets but there are no places to eat lunch. So we brought our own supplies of snacks and had lunch at a delightful shelter between Troubridge Lighthouse and Port Moorowie as recommended by Brian. Vivienne’s Anzac biscuits are the best.
Hopefully Helen can find a photo of our lunch spot and post it tonight!!
Tomorrow will be a big adventure – roughly 45 kilometres along a route we have never ridden or driven. What could go wrong. Today’s GPX can be downloaded from Strava – Day 4 – Port Moorowie to Hillocks Drive
This is undoubtedly this most cosmopolitan part of the Southern Yorke Peninsula Tour. We start at Port Vincent and visit the towns of Stansbury, Wool Bay, Coobowie and Edithburgh.
The morning segment of the ride did have some lovely cliff top views, but also involved some riding along the Highway. Fortunately only a very small part of it was on the Highway. Other parts were on a gravel track next to the highway,
The morning segment finished at Stansbury where we ate at the excellent Dalrymple Hotel. I would highly recommend a stop here.
The PM part of the ride involved a ride on good quality dirt roads that connect to the Klein Point mine, good quality bitumen into Wools Bay and next to Port Giles. You can ride on the track next to the road near Port Giles it is a bit hit and miss. The road seems to be pretty quiet. But this wouldn’t be guaranteed during harvest.
This tour is planned as a weeklong tour from Port Vincent to Point Turton on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia. While we have ridden Brompton’s on the Yorke Peninsula this time we opted for bikes more suited to corrugated gravel.
The first day is a “transition day”. We left Adelaide at 9:00am and enjoyed the North-South Motorway – especially the bit between the T2T and the “Superway”.
The first ride was the prologue – not really part of the tour, but fun nonetheless partly because it starts at Tiddy Widdy Beach and ends at Rogues Point and partly because Ardrossan is a nice part of the world. It was only around 15km.
Given the short prologue, we were meant to do a second ride in the afternoon from Port Vincent – a loop ride through the golf course! But it was wet, so instead we just tootled around town. Luckily getting to see some sea-lions (or seals?) at the marina.
Tonight we are staying at Port Vincent and have just eaten garfish and chips at the famous Port Vincent Kiosk. We were hoping for the world’s best pineapple fritters – but circumstances conspired against us – like many things these days – there appears to be a shortage of slice pineapple rings!
Whenever we are in Japan we try to attend Brompton in Palace meets. They are wonderful group of people with a common desire to ride their Brompton bikes. Brompton in Palace used to meet during Palace Cycling, which is when roads near the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo are closed each Sunday to enable safe cycling.
Disappointingly, bureaucratic intervention has meant that Brompton in Palace had to move to a new location in western Tokyo. It is a great shame that Palace Cycling has lost a group of supportive and friendly cyclists. But, I am here to report that Brompton in Palace is still going strong and as enjoyable as ever!
Meeting in western Tokyo opened our eyes to some of it delights that, despite of our many visits to Tokyo, we have never seen including Showa Kinen Koen. On day 5 we rode (and walked) around 17km.
Show Kinen Koen is:
a massive national park in Tachikawa.
known for its beautiful ginkgo row of trees.
the most beautiful in autumn, with the maple and ginkgo trees blushing in fiery red and yellow.
located a few minutes on foot from JR Tachikawa and Nishi Tachikawa Stations.
one of the nicest park I’ve ever seen in Japan.
a lovely park with bike and walking paths, a lake for boating, a formal Japanese garden, water parks and, in winter, an outdoor skating rink and Christmas light show.
Tachikawa Cultural Factory
The formal part of the Brompton in Palace Meeting is held in the grounds of the Tachikawa Cultural Factory.
Tachikawa Cultural Factory is an activity base for cultural creation where professionals gather using valuable resources such as the school building and gymnasium of Tamagawa Elementary School, which was closed in 2004.
Utilizing this wonderful environment and the place of learning of a former school, Tachikawa Sogoya has four businesses: Incubation Center Business, Film Commission Business, Cycle Station Business, and Community Design Business. As a pillar, we will develop a wide variety of programs while walking with people in the Tama area and people who are responsible for the culture, as well as local people, and will disseminate them widely in cooperation with each facility.
This formal part of Brompton in Palace is about meeting people and learning how they adapt and use their Brompton. This meeting also had important briefing about insurance and riding in Tokyo. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand too much of that briefing!
Informal part – lunch and park
Following the formal meet, the group breaks up – some stayed at the cultural factory for lunch others went to good fast udon (I want one of these restaurants in Adelaide PLEASE!). The group that remained then went to Showa Kinen Koen, which as the internet quotes earlier in this post points out is one of the most amazing parks I’ve seen in the world.
The park comprises of a number of different parks within a park, which is connected by both walkways and dedicated bikeways. It is a fantastic place for a family to safely go cycling.
Mayumi is the key instigator of Brompton in Palace. I know that everyone values her effort and dedication to Brompton in Palace. Helen and I thank her for making us feel welcome.
I say Hostel. You don’t think gourmet breakfast, do you? Well let me tell you Ikidane Cyclist Hostel had a great breakfast. The perfect start for any cyclist doing any part of the Shimanami Kaido. Please note the shoes left outside of the sleeping quarters.
On this day we were completing the ride from Imabari to Onomichi and then taking a Shinkansen to Tokyo. Onomichi is:
a quaint town located along the Seto Inland Sea.
known for the Temple Walk, a network of paths connecting 25 temples.
a famous sightseeing place that is characterised by a townscape that is brimming with a retro vibe.
probably most well known as the small port town at the starting point of the Shimanami Kaido.
The blue line is the official route, but some times going off-piste provides rewards. This is certainly true this day. I found it hard to limit the pictures in the gallery below. Because we:
discovered a mikan inspired toy capsule vending machine on the side of the road.
were alerted to the possibility of a close encounter with a wild boar.
were encouraged to have a beer by a portly statue.
became reacquainted with Cafe Via, who you might remember lost their Tokyo cafe in the recent typhoon.
discovered a famous korokke artisan.
This was all before lunch!
Again Takero used his local knowledge and language to find a unique lunch spot just a little bit of the blue line. On Innoshima island went to Manda Fermentation an international company, that unsurprisingly, specialises in fermentation.
Manda Fermentation at its headquarters has a garden, foot bath, store and cafe. I personally believe that all cycling routes should have a foot baths to revive cyclists tired feet.
We had lunch in the Cafe and a tried Manda’s amazake. Wikipedia tells me that amazakeis a traditional sweet, low-alcohol drink made from fermented rice. It is part of the family of traditional Japanese foods, made using the koji mould, that includes miso, soy sauce and sake. I say oishiii!
On the way to our final destination we came across the wonderful 70 Cafe with a beautiful view. At that point, I seriously contemplated resigning and opening a cafe…. It can’t be that good all year round can it?
I thought the name of 70 Cafe was because there was about 70kms to Imabari. But, its named after the owner’s pride an joy – the Toyota 70 Landcruiser.
It is surprising to learn that after all those amazing bridges the “New Onomichi” bridge does not have a lane for cyclists! But it does not matter because there is a frequent and cheap ferry service that is available for pedestrians and cyclists. When we arrive there was a small market along the foreshore. The foreshore does have a converted warehouse with food, accomodation and wonderful local goods.
We didn’t have enough time to explore much more of Onomichi as we had to catch the train. Perhaps next time we visit!
Takero, arigato-gozaimashita. Helen and I look forward to riding with you again.
Day 3 saw us start from Imabari on the Shimanami Kaido. Once again no GPX file is required because all you need to do is find the blue line and follow it. Although, we did take a nice quiet detour along the shoreline.
The Shimanami Kaido route involves seven islands, six bridges and one ferry. The islands we visited were:
O.k. you say its a bridge, so what? Well, I respond that the bridge is 4105 metres long , it crosses a beautiful part of the world, and has a special cycling lane! This is certainly one of the highlights of the ride – and it was the first thing we did out of Imabari.
Just to emphasis how good the bridge was we took a 7km diversion up and down and a mountain (o.k. maybe it was a big hill) to get some good photos for you.
We had plans to visit a special pizza restaurant, but our hilly excursion meant that we were running a little late. Fortunately we called ahead to find out that were out of pizzas in any case!
Quick consultation of Google found a lunch place that was open. When we arrived it look like a run down cabin. But as the doors opened and classical music poured out a gentle woman greeted us. On the menu was one item only – Keema Curry. The setting was perfect. She prepared our curry and collected cut herbs from the garden for our curry and our drinks. We sat outside enjoyed to good food, good weather and good company.
To Ikidane Cyclist Hostel
Fortunately the rest of the ride was not as hilly or as hard as the first part of the ride. The Ikidane Cyclist Hostel should be renamed Cyclist Heaven. It only opened in May and provides great facilities. Most importantly, it offers wonderful food! It is, in my mind, closer to a ryokan and than a western hostel.
Just before the Hostel is a the local Cyclist Sanctuary with food, gifts and orange juice. You might not know but this region is famous for mikan (oranges) and salt!