Metres Climbed: 187
Avg Gradient: 6%
Road Quality: Pretty good
Traffic: A fair bit during peak hours, but mostly ok. I’ve only done this one on a bunch ride with 200 other people, so this is second hand info
Anstey Hill starts near the top of Lower North East Road, at the roundabout-intersection with Grand Junction Road. The climb is pretty steady, with the first part and the third quarter being the hardest, and easing off towards the end. To get there from Adelaide takes about 12km along Lower North East Road, which is fairly unpleasant, which makes this hill a less popular way to access the hills. That said, it does open up onto some lovely rolling roads, which make the effort worth while.
The strava segment for the climb starts on Lower North East Road, just as you pass Perserverance Road
The road goes straight up for a couple of hundred metres before you swing left, and start to get views over the city and countryside. The first half of the climb tracks around the side of the hill, and on the left is Anstey Hill Recreation Park. About half way up the road switches sides of the hill, and you spend about 700m going up a little more sharply – around 7-8% before the road flattens off to around 4% in the last 500m to the finish. The climb ends at the intersection with Range Road.
From the end of the climb you can take either Range Road or continue along Lower North East Road until you meet North east Road, or you can turn right a couple of hundred metres along onto Paracombe Road. Following North East Road further into the hills gives you some great views and decent riding – so long as you don’t do it during busy times of day. Eventually you’ll meet the top of Gorge Road, or you can continue on to Gumeracha.
Metres Climbed: 88
Avg Gradient: 4.3%
Road Quality: Average
Traffic: Light, often fairly fast
Not a mighty hill in it’s own right, Range road is one of a number of connectors from Lobethal Road to Greenhill Road. It’s also a fantastic option if you’ve just climbed up Little Italy, to combine into one longer, more challenging climb. There is a significant downhill segment near the end of the climb, so the average gradient is a little misleading. It’s probably closer to 6%. Start at Lobethal Road, at the five way intersection in Basket Range. Range road is easy to find – it’s the one that ramps up steeply.
This doesn’t really set the scene for the climb though. Once you get round the corner, it levels out pretty quickly back to 6%. After a couple of hundred metres there’s a dip, which very briefly goes downwards, and then you’re back to about 6% until you reach the Cricket Oval. You’re pretty exposed for the middle part of the climb, but the payoff is that you get great views over Ashton and Mt Lofty to the right, and Basket Range to the left. As you pass the oval, you’ll have a pretty easy 4% for a while, before a short ramp at about 8-9%. Then, you go downhill quite quickly, and you can see the final wall ahead of you.
Keep up as much speed as you can get from the downhill, because this last section is steep. As you go round the corner, you’ll hit 20%, and if you don’t have any momentum left, you’ll feel it. That said, it’s pretty short, and then the last couple of hundred metres are pretty relaxed. The climb ends at the intersection with Basket Range road.
You’d think they could have been more creative in street naming, huh. Going left will take you back down to Lobethal Road, Right to Greenhill Road in Uraidla, and straight on to Greenhill Road without going down the hill. Left then right will take you to Nicholls Road, which is a rather nasty short climb, so that’s an option too.
Metres Climbed: 147
Avg Gradient: 8.1%
Road Surface: Awful
Turn off Brownhill Creek Road https://adelaidehillclimbs.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/brown-hill-creek/ about half way up, and you’ll cross a small ford, and start climbing up a particularly nasty one-way hill. An average of 8% doesn’t really convey how hard this climb is, The first 900m average 11%, with a couple of sustained sections over 15%. Even worse, the road is incredibly rough. About as rough as it gets whilst still being tarmac. I imagine that somebody paved it forty or fifty years ago, and then seeing as only a couple of people live on the road, nobody every thought about it again.
The streetview cars didn’t even go up Brownhill Creek, let alone Tilleys Hill, which is a pity, because it’s very pretty. I suppose you’ll just have to go and climb it yourself.
Anyway, on to the second part of the climb. Once you’ve covered the first kilometre, life gets a lot easier, even if the road gets rougher. There’s a brief dip, and then the last 600m or so are comparatively easy – at about 7%.
This climb ends at a dead end, so you’ll have to turn around and go back down the hill, which can be a little hairy. I was getting muscle cramp in my hands keeping myself to 30kph with brand new brakes.
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 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.