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.
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.
Metres Climbed: 169
Avg Gradient: 10.5%
Road Surface: Good
This is probably the most difficult climb in Adelaide. The only climbs that come close are Woodland Way https://adelaidehillclimbs.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/coach-house-drivewoodland-way/ , Sheoak Road, and Coach Road (soon to be added). Down near Victor Harbor, this climb is hard to get to, and harder to ride. I did it as a part of a two-day trip down to Victor and Back, and we started our return journey at the base of Mt Alma. To reach it, take Inman Valley Road from Victor Harbor, and turn right onto Mt Alma Road. Quiver in fear at the signs reading “Not Suitable for trucks/busses” The Google Streetview Car didn’t go up this road, and I can only assume this was because the driver saw the sign and was too terrified to try.
Before the proper climb, Mt Alma Rd gives you an excellent warm up effort in the form of 1.7km at 6.6%. Normally I’d write up a post for a climb that worthy, but compared to what you’re going to face after, you’ll have to make do with the strava segment: http://app.strava.com/segments/744556
Having covered the warm up, you have a couple of km of flat roads to prepare for the climb. You’ll be able to see the road rise up on the hill ahead of you, as it runs along the top of a ridge. The Climb starts at a bunch of signs saying things like “steep” and “17%”.
The first part is the hardest. You’ve got about 700m at around 18%. The smallest gradient during this time is 17%, and it regularly hits 19%. If you’re foolish enough to take the inside line around the corner, you’ll be climbing at well over 22% for several hundred metres. Don’t do that.
Once you make it past this part, the road flattens out, to about 6-7% for a few hundred metres, and even briefly going flat. Then you’ve got another ramp, shorter this time. Approximately 150m at about 17%, but reaching 24% briefly. Suddenly, you’ll hit gravel, and the climb is done.
I’m the one hunched over my bike in the middle, once we reached the top of the hill.
If you’re feeling brave, you can keep going along the gravel for about 4km, which is a bit of a shortcut on the way back to Adelaide. If you’re feeling braver, you can bomb back down the hill.
Metres Climbed: 222
Avg Gradient: 7.4%
Road Surface: Good
Old Willunga Hill, famous for it’s position in the Queen Stage of the TDU each year, and a part of Amy’s Ride this climb is often somewhat overhyped, and even feared, but it’s not actually that difficult. Down south in Willunga, you’ll have to ride 50km or so from the CBD to reach the climb, but these can be done along bicycle paths, and it’s a rather pleasant ride. There’s not much traffic on the climb, because most cars take the new road, although there can be a little. The best way to think of this ride is a smaller version of Greenhill Road https://adelaidehillclimbs.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/greenhill-road/
The Climb starts on High St, as you pass St James St. There’s a pretty large gumtree on the left that signifies the start of the climb.
From here, you climb quickly out of the Willunga township, as you wind your way up the right hand side of a valley. The first part of this climb is the hardest – averaging around 8%, and reaching 9 or 10% in parts. This keeps on going for about a kilometre and a half, until the road nears Victor Harbor Road. You can see the cars racing past, and be glad they’re not trying to race past you.
From here on in, the climb is a little easier. The average settles down to about 6%, and the road becomes windier. At this point it really does resemble the middle section of Greenhill Road, albeit with a better road surface, and much dryer vegetation. Once you start seeing more graffiti on the road, you know that you’ve nearly reached the top, and it’s time to put the hammer down. The gradient gets shallower, and you’re finished when you cross the giant crown painted on the ground.
You can almost imagine that you’re racing up the hill, even if there aren’t any crowds. From the top, you can follow the road onwards, and it links to Victor Harbor Road, which is heavily trafficked and unpleasant, but can quickly turn off onto quieter roads (Such as Pages Flat Road, if you’re trying to get to Victor Harbor. Otherwise, turn left at the top to go towards Meadows, or descent back into Mclaren Vale.