Cycling on gravel roads for me on this trip has been all about finding the right line. I do not like corrugations… I suppose if I had a bike where the seat was responsive to the conditions – maybe I might find it more enjoyable.
The above photo has some good options… I say go on the right. I know it’s wrong but…
…. And they call this a re-done road. This infact is the most unpleasant surface. Sigh. Okay I know I shouldn’t complain- but trust me I said worse while cycling it.
Oh… I have one more request- if you are a driver out on one of these types of roads and you see a cyclist – please slow down. Nothing worse than giving your fellow road user a cloud of dust. lastly if anyone knows the people who own a trailer with “Tilly turtle” as it’s name – these guys get the gold star award. They stopped about 500 meters in front and waited until we past before driving again. That’s gold standard!
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.
Technically we only had to cycle 12 km to move locations – and this is what makes it a rest day. But given we were in Marion Bay it was best to take advantage of our location and go through Innes National Park.
As we had done this park of the ride before… we knew where we were heading. We entered the park the back way… and these bikes were certainly perfect for the terrain.
As expected- the views were stunning…
The dirt roads were smooth (oh if the whole ride was like this..)…
And then the wildlife also did not disappoint…
… and the a proper road on the way back – just bliss!
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
I can say the south coast road is certainly worth cycling. Not much traffic. However there are corrugations – so if you can cope with that (and I know many of you can) you would enjoy being on the road with your bicycle.
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!
We attempted to leave early today knowing there would be a head wind… at least it was 30+ minutes earlier than yesterday. Started off with a nice tootle along Port Moorowie.
Ironically enough we took Greenhill Road… and there was slightly less traffic at the same time of the day as there is back in Adelaide.
.. there were also less corrugated roads – so another bonus for the day! although I do tend to drift to wherever there is a clean line and less bumps. There some elements which are frustrating… due to too many small stone being on the road.
As you can see by the photos the weather was really outstanding- apart from the wind. I know, and understand the reason for head winds, but if I can avoid them on the bike that would be great. At times the wind was so strong we were only going a few km’s per hr. When it’s like that you really doubt how long it’s going to take to reach the destination.
… but as long as there is an ice cream waiting for me I guess it’s worth it!
After years of bike touring I know this to be true. You realise you are on the seat for a number of hours.. and you haven’t quite adjusted to the pace. This is how I felt today – but the weather certainly made me feel better.
Just look at the road.. it was like this for the majority of the day
But despite the corrugated roads… of which there were many (seemed never ending) it was good. I made it up this hill without stopping… not that you expected anything less from me.
As you can see there certainly was not many people around. But on the ride we did manage to meet another cyclist on the road who was in an ebike. Brian was cycling from Edithburgh to the lighthouse and return. He stayed with us for a bit and we chatted about bikes and past rides. always good to meet a fellow cyclist on the road!
The cyclist route separated from the walking route… and rejoined for shelter, and it was where we ate lunch early afternoon…
Thankfully.. after this we had about 8+km to go… but it felt longer with all the corrugations! Apologies to my ride companions for the complaints today – here’s to a better ride tomorrow!