Hi all,

I'm moving to Adelaide in a couple of months and trying to figure out whether an Adelaide CBD to the Noarlunga interchange commute is doable on a consistent basis? It seems to be about 31kms each way, which seem like a fairly substantial commute.  

Do people have experience with it? E.g.  Best route, how long it takes, are there any particularly grueling hills? etc.  

I'm not much off a cyclist (I'm currently in the Netherlands and have an old Dutch city/tank bike) - so any advice on the type of bike that would be needed to do the job would be great (without costing an arm and a leg).  While I'm not a cyclist,  I am a long-distance runner, so I am hoping the cardio fitness will translate on to the bike, but assuming my legs will get be trashed for a while. 

Any other advice and considerations welcome!


Thanks,

Chris 

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Hi Chris,

Best not to commute the whole distance straight away, just take your bike on the train and do the flatter bits first. There is a 200 metre rise at O'Halloran Hill. Use this route planner to explore different ways to get to and from the city. There are a number of excellent sealed off road bike trails in the area.

https://maps.sa.gov.au//cycleinstead/#

Thanks Jilden! 

Cycleinstead looks like a super useful resource. Good to know about the O'Halloran Hill. I'm sure it will take a while for me to get fit enough to do the commute. 

As Jilden says, a good option is to take your bike on the train.

Here in Adelaide, bikes are allowed on trains at any time. (In some other states in Australia, they are not allowed in peak hours). A bike fare is the same as concession fare, which is about half of an adult fare: https://www.adelaidemetro.com.au/Tickets-Fares/Fares . That train line (Seaford line) is well serviced in peak hour, https://www.adelaidemetro.com.au/routes/SEAFRD

What I do is I take my bike on the train in the morning, and ride home after work (though not as far as Noarlunga). I sometimes find the train is so full I cannot get my bike on, but you shouldn't have that problem at Noarlunga because it is one of the first stations on the line.

Cheers Peter,

Thanks for the tips for the train, I think I'll end up doing the bike the train/bike combo like you. 

Agree with Jilden and Peter B.
Once you get used to the commute, you could plan on cycling the whole length more often, with the knowledge that a back-up train if inclement weather or long day at work.
Eventually you might be tempted to buy an electric mountain bike, for commuting and leisure.

There was a time when I irregularly travelled from Adelaide to Lonsdale (28 km on the line to Noarlunga). In the morning put the bike on the train at Adelaide Railway Station. From Lonsdale Station rode the last kilometres to my destination.

In the afternoon a leisurely ride home while avoiding most cars, via the Coast to Vines Rail Trail shared path, Veloway bikeway (sometimes illegally used by non-cyclists), the Sturt River Linear Park shared path, and Westside shared path. I have not named the connecting streets for this route.

The Veloway is through the countryside. Expect to see creatures like bird, rabbit, hare, fox, lizard or snake. Maybe pack something that can be used as a compression bandage, although I managed to avoid the one snake I saw. Pack the usual drinking water, spare tube, took kit and mobile phone with GPS.

When learning the route, unless info on a smartphone, pack a printed copy of your cycle route plus a street directory. The bike maps do not show or name streets, and a street directory will help you re-find your way if lost.

In an Adelaide winter, it is dark by 5.30pm when you exit the office. Do not assume good lighting on this route. You will need a decent mountain bike light on your helmet. Buy a light with at least two modes, to cater for the countryside and the city streets.

I expect a commuter cyclist from the Netherlands will own suitable rain jacket and pants, in case you get caught mid-route in the rain. If the weather forecast is too dismal, there is always the train as back-up. Some summer or windy days you will be glad of the train.

It is actually a pleasant ride. One Adelaide Cyclists member commuted this route, on an electric cargo bike.

Hi Heather!

Thanks for the detailed route info. I had a quick google of Coast to Vines Rail Trail and the Velloway bikeway - they look great. But oh god snakes, I had pleasantly put them to the back of my mind here in Holland! (I'm originally from Canberra). Excited to explore the Adelaide region by bike, looks like there are loads of great routes.  Cycling has become such an ingrained part of my life here, I want to keep it up as much as possible back in Australia. 

Do you do group rides? Could be a good way to get to learn the cycleways of the city. 

For bike suggestions I'd recommend some kind of endurance road / adventure / gravel bike, preferably with mounts for a rack, and mudguards too if you're planning on riding when the sun isn't guaranteed to be out. For a model reference, something like the Avanti AR line, but many brands make bikes like that. You'll want a good range of gears and reasonable light weight. Maybe e-assist as well but that bumps the price way up...

Riding the whole way is definitely not be for the faint hearted, would easily take 1hour+ and probably more coming back up the hill.

Hi Adam!

Thanks for the tips. From my little bit of research, I had come up with a gravel bike/cyclocross bike - good to have it confirmed. I have considered the e-assist, but that will be something for later down the track. I plan to pick up an all-rounder bike - because if the commuting option falls short, I'll still  have something decent to use on the weekends.

But yeah, just trying to see the long commute as a positive. Since becoming a Dad in the last year, I don't have the opportunity for many long runs. So I am hoping the cycle/train commute may be a smart way to squeeze in the exercise.  Thanks again!

It is doable on a bike, but to do 62km every day, climbing O'Halloren hill from both directions is definitely gruelling.

There is a bike path along Beach road to the Southern Expressway path that goes all the way to Darlington, after which you'll be on the road most of the way to the city, with perhaps a bit of a detour along the Marino Rocks Greenway.

I've done it a few times (return) but only by e-bike.

Chris, so you are not a newbie to Aus cycling and weather. 

Bikes on Board adelaidemetro.com.au/Using-Adelaide-Metro/Bikes
When there is space, bicycles can be carried for free on trains Monday to Friday between 9.01am and 3pm or between 6pm and the last service, and on Saturday, Sunday & public holidays all day. At all other times a peak concession fare must be purchased for your bike. 

You might consider using a secure bike cage at Noarlunga Interchange, provided by DPTI (SA transport dept):
— Enough exercise from your home to Noarlunga Station
— You have a good lock and an old bike you would not miss if stolen
— Avoid paying concession ticket for your bike – do not know cost of using a bike cage
— A short walk from Adelaide Railway Station to your City workplace
— Avoid hassle of finding space for bike on train from Adelaide Railway Station

To arrange access to the bike cage network, either visit an Adelaide Metro InfoCentre or call the Adelaide Metro InfoLine on 1300 311 108 to add the 'bike cage product' to your registered metroCARD.
More info at the above link.

Regularly commute from McLaren Vale to North Terrace CBD along the Southern Expressway veloway - 86km-ish round trip.

I originally use my mountain bike, but it took too long to get to/from work, plus the weight of the bike and work gear was just a bit too much - despite cycling regurlarly about 100km a week (at that time). Using my CX bike and/or road bike, the commute was much more palatable and obviously faster.  I would prefer using my road bike, but secure parking is limited at my work

I would suggest panniers rather than backpack - I started with the latter and moved to the former and again, it made the commute more enjoyable. 

Good lights for dusk/night/dawn - it gets dark on the unlit track. Plus handy for when you have a puncture.

For the hot weather, two bike cages is a must. The veloway radiates heat in the summer, and it's often better to swing off onto the Reynella fork which is shaded. Albeit for your commute a small diversion. 

Winter, it can be cold (and dark), but being from the Netherlands you'll be okay :p Just wrap up warm. 

Dank U wel,

Nic

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