Metres Climbed: 440
Avg Gradient: 5.9%
Road Quality: Excellent
This is one you’ll only get one chance a year to ride, so make the most of it! In Mid March Bike SA puts on the Boileau Velo Adelaide, a community ride through the hills, where they close off the freeway to cars. Apparently enough, the climb is then free from cars, which is nice, but you do have to negotiate your way past a couple of thousand other cyclists. If you’re planning to go fast, try and start at the front. I was about half way back this year, and getting through the first 500m was chaos, even with such a wide road.
The ride is paced up Glen Osmond Road, and the real hill climb starts almost as soon as you get onto the freeway. This climb is really really steady. Once you get into a rhythm, you’ll find that the road does get steeper and shallower, but not by much. It’s basically 6% the whole way. You may get faster or slower by a k/h, but it’ll never be stupidly steep, and nor does it let up. The relentlessness of the climb does get to you after a while, and there is almost always a headwind that funnels down the valley below the tunnels.
The Tunnels are pretty exciting, and some years they’ve had a DJ at the top, blasting music to echo through them. However the most exciting thing about the tunnels is that you’ve now passed half way. On the other side the road continues in much the same way, it might be slightly steeper, but there’s also less of a headwind. You win some, you lose some. The climb finishes as you reach the Crafers turn off.
Of course, you’re not actually finished climbing yet. You’ve still got to go up the road to Mt Lofty, and the ride includes a whole lot of little nasties to tire you out. My suggestion: make use of the refreshment breaks, eat all the bananas, and enjoy the rest of the ride.
Thanks to google for the photos.
Metres Climbed: 81
Avg Gradient: 5.1%
Road Quality: Mediocre
This is one of my favourite little climbs in the Blackwood area. It’s a tiny winding road without much traffic, that has a couple of pinches, even if it’s not all that steep. Like a lot of the nearby climbs, this is pretty quick, and good for repeats. The climb starts where Coromandel Parade turns left into Craiglee Drive, but confusingly, when you turn off to the right, you’re also on Coromandel Parade.
The Climb is pretty easy to start with, with an average of about 3% for 500m. After that, you go round a corner, and then it quickly jumps up above 15%, for all of 50m. It evens out back to around 6%, where it stays for a while, before another jump up to around 10%. After this, it flattens out again, and you finish at the intersection.
I tend to use this one as a connector hill, turn right at the roundabout, and you get a nice easy, dead straight run back into Blackwood, from where you have many options.
Metres Climbed: 141
Avg Gradient: 5.5%
Road Surface: Poor
The Norton Summit of the South, this climb is very similar, albeit much shorter than the most popular hill in town. There is similarly little traffic (perhaps a couple more cars), and the road winds up the side of a hill in a very similar way. The climb is very steady, with little to get the heart racing at any point. This is a good hill for repeats. The start of the climb is at the intersection of Main Road with Black Road
From here, the road quickly settles into a gradient between 5 and 6%, where it stays for the rest of the climb. The road is pretty shite – there are cracks and potholes all over the place, where trucks have made grooves in the sides of the road. But it’s not so bad you can’t avoid them, so it’s actually ok.
The climb ends before you even know it, at the intersection with Cherry Gardens Road.
From here you can continue along a gentle descent into Clarendon, turn left to (you guessed it) Cherry Gardens, or take a right along Oakridge or any of the other roads to the right, to descend back towards town.
Metres Climbed: 132
Avg Gradient: 9.4%
Road Surface: Average
Believe it or not, this is the easy way up the hill. That said, it’s still a nasty little climb. To even get to the start, you’ve got to go up a fair bit of Coach Road, at about 10%. Once you go around the corner, Knox Terrace turns off and goes down hill to the right. The climb starts after the hairpin when the road starts to go upwards again. There’s very little traffic, because this is just a linking residential road that is slower than the other ones. And the views over the city are fantastic.
The climb starts pretty easily, and you can use your momentum to get up the start of the hill. However, once it turns around to the bend, the climb quickly becomes more difficult, topping out at around 20% just before the hairpin. After this it’s all a little easier, but still a fairly sharp 15% until it levels out just before the T-intersection with McBeath Drive
At this point you’re not quite finished. Go round to the left, and keep climbing to the top of the hill. It’s all much easier through here though. Closer to 10%.
Once you reach the top, you’ll link back to Coach Road. You can turn right and go up a very short, very steep hill, or turn left, and fly down the hill incredibly quickly. You can hit some of the fastest speeds possible on a bike in Adelaide down this hill, It’s straight and bloody steep but make sure to slow down before the corner.
Avg Gradient: 5.9%
Metres Climbed: 114
Road Surface: Good
This Climb is much harder than the raw stats make it look. It’s a decent connector from Stirling through to Uraidla or Carey Gully, but isn’t ever going to be a major part of your ride in it’s own right. Whichever way you go, the road descends one side of a valley, and climbs out of the other, but I’ll focus on the northerly ride. If you’re going south, the climb is straight and even and not very exciting. The Northward climb starts just past Spring Gully Road, as the road begins to point upwards.
You should have a decent amount of speed coming from the downhill, and you can use your momentum to your advantage, getting most of the way up the first rise. This climb is not even at all. After about 500m of climbing at 5-6%, the road dips down briefly, before jumping back into a steeper, nastier bit of climbing. For the next 700m, the road goes upwards at an average of about 9%, but varying between 4% and 12%. The constantly changing gradient makes it tricky to find any rhythm, but eventually it evens out again.
After that, the climb evens out again, and undulates for about 500m. You could be forgiven for thinking that you were finished. Chances are your legs wish you were finished. But you’re not. There’s one more climb before you’re done, 200m at about 13%.
Best to treat this as a power-climb in it’s own right. If you can gain some momentum through the undulations, this is pretty easy to power to the top of. If you can’t, you’re going to have a bad time.
Once you make it to the top of the power-hill, you’re done. From here, you can go on for a bit and then turn right towards Bridgewater down Carey Gully Road, or keep going until you hit Greenhill Road. You’re right near Deviation Road, or if you want some short, sharp climbing, go down Nicols Road.
Avg Gradient: 7.0%
Metres Climbed: 118
Road Surface: Poor
This hidden little climb is more difficult than it looks from the stats. This is partly because the final 500m are basically flat, and so you’re left with a 1km climb at about 10%, on a very rough surface. This is also one of the most picturesque climbs in Adelaide, and gets it’s nickname ‘Little Italy’ because you could almost imagine you’re climbing past vineyards somewhere in Italy, as you wind up a tiny country lane. The Climb starts at the bottom of the valley – at the intersection of Burdetts Road and Knott’s Hill Road. It’s an easy place to find yourself at the bottom of, and steep as heck to get out of. There is very little traffic, but the road is very narrow, so stay on the left, just in-case one of the locals come flying down the hill in a ute or tractor.
The hill itself is comprised of three steep sections – each around 13-14%, whilst the rest of the climb is between 5 and 7%. On both sides you’ll see orchards and hobby farms and European trees. Enjoy this on the flat parts, because you’ll be pushing too hard on the steep bits. The road is very rough – I doubt it’s been upgraded in over twenty years, and so take this into account when climbing, it’s more like a hill that is 1-2% steeper than it really is. The final part is basically flat, climbing up at maybe 1%. Time to push hard if you want a good time, or otherwise just enjoy the stunning view over Basket and Forest Range.
The climb finishes at the intersection with Lobethal Road at the monument.
From here you can go left or right down Lobethal Road, or straight across to climb up Range road to Uraidla. These are all fantastic options. Come back many times so you can do them all.
Photos are from google. Thanks google.
Avg Gradient: 10.4%
Metres Climbed: 285
Road surface: Good
This is one of the steepest, most difficult climbs in Adelaide. Despite (or maybe because of) it’s proximity to Norton Summit, it’s not particularly popular. This is probably because it runs along the ridge of the hill face, rather than winding up the side. There is a little more traffic than Norton Summit, but it’s still relatively quiet. Unless you’re really worried about zig-zagging up the hill in front of cars, you should be fine to do it, even at peak hour. Start the same way as Norton Summit (https://adelaidehillclimbs.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/norton-summit/) and then turn right at the first opportunity – onto Coach-House Drive. The climb starts off pretty easily, at about 5 or 6 %, but then after about three or four hundred metres, jumps into a section of about 12-3%. It flattens out a little as you reach the intersection with Woodland Way (turn right, up the hill), and from then on, it continues in a similar manner – hard climb for two or three hundred metres, followed by a short respite. Most of the time, you’ll be climbing at about 10%, and recovering at about 6%. But for the last two serious climbs, the gradient really increases. The second last spends a fair while at about 15-16%, and the last, longest section averages about 15%, hitting 20% in parts.
This is all kinda hard to show in photos, they don’t really do the gradient of the climb justice. But here’s one from street-view that maybe provides some idea. That flat looking bit is climbing at about 6%, and that steep bit ahead isn’t the most difficult part of the climb
The climb ends at the intersection with Ridgeland Drive. You’ll have to go over a bump designed to slow cars down, and that’s the finish of the climb. Once you’ve sufficiently recovered from the climb, you can descend rapidly down Ridgeland Drive, which will take you roughly to half way along Norton Summit Road, or you can follow the road up a little further, and turn right down Teringie Drive, which will take you to the top of Norton Summit. From there the choices are endless.