Metres Climbed: 118
Avg Gradient: 2.5%
Road Quality: Excellent, then Mediocre
This Climb is very similar to Waterfall Gully https://adelaidehillclimbs.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/waterfall-gully/ and Aldgate Valley Road https://adelaidehillclimbs.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/aldgate-valley-road/ in that whilst it’s not very steep, you need to work hard if you want to go fast, and it’s very scenic. The climb can be divided into two parts – the first part has a near-mint condition road, and is an absolute breeze to ride on. The second part, the final kilometre and a half, is pretty rough and bumpy, and is like climbing along a narrow laneway.
To start, turn off Old Belair Rd, onto High Street, and then immediately onto Brownhill Creek Road
Unfortunately, the streetview cars didn’t go up the road, being a dead end, but here’s the start of the climb. The first three kilometres are fantastically smooth, slightly uphill, with a couple of dips, and a couple of slightly steeper parts. For all of this, the average is about 2%, and it never really gets difficult.
Once you pass the turn off to Tilleys Hill Road the second part of the climb begins. This is a little bit more difficult – averaging about 3%, and the road is far rougher.
After a while you’ll pass a couple of signs saying ‘last turnaround spot’ and ‘local traffic only’. Keep on going, the road narrows a little, and basically becomes a single lane. You’ll finish the climb at a dead end, with a turnaround space. I suppose the sign earlier was lying. The only option here is to turn around and go back down the hill, but I suggest you turn onto Tilleys Hill Road on the way back, for a far more challenging climb.
Metres Climbed: 244
Avg Gradient: 4.7%
Road Surface: Variable
The Fearsome Sheoak Road. Doesn’t look so bad if you consider the stats above. That’s just because a good section of the climb is covered in 500m – at an average of 15%. Near the start of the climb, this ramp maxes out at 23% – making it one of the steepest sections in town. However, other than this really nasty pinch, the rest of the climb is quite enjoyable.
There’s not all that much traffic, because it’s quite a slow road – there are lots of man-made pinch points, where only one car can pass at a time. To start the ride, turn onto Sheoak Road from Upper Sturt Road/James road, or if you’re coming from that direction, off Belair road.
For about a kilometre, you’ll ride along a pretty flat, pretty straight road. It even goes down hill a little bit. I reckon it’s to lull you into a false sense of security. Don’t start to worry until you make a slight left hand turn, you’ll see the road rising up in front of you, and a sign “20%”
It’s time to enter the pain cave. Fortunately, it’s just 500m long. Unfortunately, this is up there with the most challenging 500m in the state. Once the road (finally) levels out again, you’ve still got some climbing to do, but it’s mostly pretty easy. You’ve got a couple of undulations, where you go down hill for a little bit, and then climb at about 13-14% for a couple of hundred metres. After this, it levels out to about 3% for the next kilometre and a half. Then you go up at 12% again, drop down a bit, and have one final climb up to the top of the hill. This one is about 300m long at about 14-15%, so hard enough, but nothing much compared to what you’ve already done.
You’re finished climbing at the intersection with Upper Sturt Road
Keep going to the left to reach Crafers and Mt Lofty, or right to go back to Belair. To do a real hard hill climb, start this ride by going up Old Belair https://adelaidehillclimbs.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/old-belair-road/ and finish it by going up to the top of mt lofty.
Metres Gained: 101
Avg Gradient: 2.6%
Road Quality: Average
A bit like Aldgate Valley Road https://adelaidehillclimbs.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/aldgate-valley-road/ this one isn’t a particularly steep hill. The road is pretty narrow, and there’s some traffic – mostly people driving up to the top of the gully so that they can walk to Mt Lofty. This is a good hill for efforts though – it’s consistent, and lets you push a pretty big gear if need be. To Start the climb, Turn left off Glynburn Road onto Waterfall Terrace, and then immediately right. It’s pretty well signed.
The climb is really quite steady the whole way up. The first 500m or so are a little easier, at maybe 2%, and then there’s one trickier bit, which briefly hits 7%, followed by a short downhill. From then on it’s pretty much 2.5-3% the whole way up. You’ll pass Chambers Gully Road, which is unfortunately blocked off, at about half way, and you reach the end when you go through the gates to the carpark.
That’s pretty much it. An easy little climb in between Greenhill Road and Mt Osmond. It’s very pretty, and getting a good time is quite hard, but if you just want to tootle, it’s an excellent choice. Similarly, if you need something to turn the legs over, between harder climbs, this is a good one.
Metres Climbed: 233
Avg Gradient: 9.8%
Road Quality: Good
This is a really tough climb. I’ve been avoiding it for a while, instead opting to do the easier Knox Terrace (https://adelaidehillclimbs.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/knox-terrace-coach-road-linked-climb/) but the other day I was feeling good, and I smashed out some difficult hills. Coach Road starts at the top of the Parade – after passing Penfolds Road, turn right onto Coach. There is rarely any traffic to deal with, as it’s a dead-end up a steep hill.
The first 300m or so average about 12%, until you go around the first corner. From there you’ll have a brief respite (about 5%), before the road kicks up into the first long, difficult section. For about 900m you climb at a pretty consistent 15% or so, with a couple of steeper kicks up to 17%, and for this part you really just need to grind it out.
Eventually you’ll reach a right hand turn, and finally get a bit of a rest. The climb’s not finished, in fact the hardest part is still to come, but for about 250m the road is pretty well flat, and even dips down a little. Use this as a chance to enjoy the view, and let your legs recover a little, because up next is pretty much a wall.
Once you pass McBeath on the right, you’ve got 250m at an average of 19%. Yep. 19%. It peaks pretty early, at about 24%%, and once you hit the top, you’ve almost finished the climb. The road goes on around the bend to the left, you go down a little, and then there’s a tiny little bit of climbing to the finish.
Apparently it’s possible to keep going through and link up near the top of Greenhill Road if you have a cyclocross or mountain bike, but I don’t, so I took a few minutes to recover my breath and let the heart drop to a reasonable rate, and enjoy the views from the top of the hill.
There aren’t a lot of options from here on out. The only way to go with a road bike is down. I hit 93km/h. It was terrifying. If you don’t want to deal with such a steep descent, turn left onto McBeath and right down Knox for a slightly windier, more technical descent.
Metres Climbed: 76
Avg Gradient: 5.6%
Road Surface: Average
Arkaba Road is a really convenient climb if you want to go from Aldgate to Stirling, but don’t want to deal with the traffic of Mt Barker Road. Start along Mt Barker Road, turn right after going under the train tracks, and make your way up this suburban street to Old Mt Barker Road.
This one goes the entire length of the road, and can be divided neatly into two parts. The first part, about 800m long, averages 10%. After that, the road levels off, drops a little, and keeps going at around 3%. 800m at 10% sounds like a fairly hard task, but you can quickly get into a rhythm, and it’s not bad.
As I said, you’re finished when you reach Old Mt Barker Road. To get to Stirling or Crafers, turn left up the hill and follow it to the intersection. To go out towards Uraidla and Carey Gulley, follow Old Mt Barker Road to the left, then turn right down Rangeview Drive https://adelaidehillclimbs.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/rangeview-drive/
Metres Climbed: 104
Avg Gradient: 2%
Road Surface: Good
2%! that’s not a climb! (That’s what I imagine you’re saying right now, and you’d sorta be right) Aldgate Valley Road isn’t really much of a climb, but it is one of the nicest pieces of road in the hills, and it does kinda go uphill.
But for real, go and ride up this road. Or down it. Or both. You could just go back and forwards all day, it’s so pretty. The road winds it’s way up from Mylor to Aldgate, and constantly twists back and forth. There’s not much traffic, excepting people riding their bikes or walking their dogs. Every now and then a local uses the road, but I suppose that’s fair enough.
To get to this piece of cycling manna is a little tricky. First turn off Strathalbyn Road onto Stock Road, and then immediately turn right onto Aldgate Valley Road.
Yes, this climb starts on a downhill. Don’t worry though, you do in fact go upwards. This is a really good road to practice keeping your cadence up, or climbing in the big ring, and it’s also just a pretty road to cycle along. There’s a brief 500m section roughly in the middle of the climb that rises to about 5% or so, but otherwise you’ll be moving along at around 1-2%.
The climb finishes at the intersection with Strathalbyn road.
Yes, you finish on a downhill too. Turn left to go into Aldgate, or right to go back down to Mylor.
I’ll stop gushing now.
Metres Climbed: 181
Avg Gradient: 8.9%
Road Quality: Mediocre
The Less popular cousin of New Belair Road https://adelaidehillclimbs.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/new-belair-road/ Old Belair Road is both steeper, and more heavily trafficked. In fact, the traffic on this one can often make it quite unpleasant, and I’d suggest you only bother with it early in the morning, or on weekends.
For all of that, this is an incredibly satisfying climb, in the same group as Mt Osmond or Pound Road. You’re quite protected from the prevailing winds, with hills all around. In fact the only wind you’ll get is a tailwind, and that if there’s a raging northerly. Start timing once you’re through the roundabout intersecting Blythewood Road
The first kilometre is really steady at about 9%. The road surface is fairly rough though, so it’s quite draining. Eventually the road will start to flatten out, and to your left you’ll see James Road. This is your one chance to catch your breath, and James Road is a worthy finish to the climb as well, particularly if you intend to go and tackle Sheoak Road afterwards.
But this time keep going past James Road, and the gradient ramps into the first of two steep sections. This one is just 100m at about 12%, as you go through the first switchback. It then levels off briefly through the second corner, before ramping up again for the rest of the climb. There are about 250m to go at 12-13% before you’re finished climbing at the intersection with Sheoak Road.
Luckily, you have right of way, and if you continue on to the right you’ll link up to New Belair, and from there you’ve got hundreds of options. As I alluded to, a better option might be to turn left, and go up Sheoak Road, or through Belair National Park. Both of these provide plenty of steep and interesting climbing.