Hi all,
I'm extremely new to this whole road bike thing, and really just trying to get over the jocks/no-jocks thread!
I live in Blackwood and would love to be able to ride to and from work in the city. Just wondering if anyone has recommendations for roads to use or avoid? Is that newly sealed fire track to Belair any good?

I can't begin to imagine trying to get up Belair or old Belair road safely in peak hour...!

Thanks in advance. 

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Hey Newbie

Firstly the disclaimer. I don't live in the hills and rarely commute, but I'm usually happy to throw in an opinion.

The Lynton trail is fine. I love the bushland setting, but it's short and very steep. Which means a wild ride down hard on the brakes, and a tough climb to get back home. Maybe not so bad if you ride a compact or have a MTB with a triple ring. Depends on your legs, so give it a go. I've never had any bad moments on new Belair. It's busy of course, but a lot better than old Belair Rd, which I avoid because it's narrow, has lots of blind corners and no room on the shoulders.

 

Apologies on behalf of the group for any over-share on the 'no jocks' thread. (I haven't opened that one) Once I had my stomach turned by reading a long thread about chamois cream, which taught me to be selective about which topics I read :-0

New Belair road would be the tip for heading into work, but if your leaving home no later than 7am you could do the old Belair road. Much later than 7am and the traffic gets a little heavy for such a narrow road.

On the ride home, I would take the New Belair Road up around Windy point or if you have some legs and gears try the Lynton trail as mentioned by snappy.

I commute daily from Upper Sturt, I leave home around 6am & use the old Belair rd via the national park, then to head home I go up the freeway. (it will be warm this arvo)

Be visible, don't ride like a ninja or natural selection will get you!

I some times take the long way home and commute via Belair. My preference is to ride to Mitcham station and catch the train and get of at Belair. The lynton bike trail is a really too steep to be enjoyable and the connecting roads are just as steep. Definitely a triple chain ring hill. I would prefer to ride up Belair Road, at least it is a gradual climb. 

 

Thanks every one. I think the train back up the hill may be the go - at least until I get my pedals sorted out!
I'm also guessing busses near bike lanes during peak hour are exciting...

Just treat buses with total suspicion, ride aware and ready for any action!

I had one early in the morning on Unley road outside the shopping centre parked in the bus stop with his left indicator flashing, pull out to the right with no indication!!

Same with side streets and driveways, look for heads in cars, exhaust noise or fumes and be prepared, same in the bicycle lanes when a side street appears, cars like to put the front bumper into the bike lane, so ride with awareness, don't be scared, just try to be prepared for the idiot that might collect you...

Welcome.  One other suggestion to get home without having to climb too steeply (Lynton-Belair) or climb in traffic.  Go up through Flinders Uni to the top carpark - there is a sealed path from there into Bellevue Heights.  Can stick to back roads there for a bit by turning right to the Resthome, left there and then a little later head back to Shepherds Hill Rd.  Bike lane there for most of the ride to Blackwood Roundabout.

Full route home could be Peacock Rd, Mike Turter Bikeway (along tramline) from King William Rd, then from the trainline follow the bike direct route that leads to East Ave/Winston Ave to Daws Rd.  Right there, then left into Doreen and up through St Mary's.  Little bit of South Rd to get past the lights, left then right on back streets to Sturt Rd, then left and right at the lights into Uni drive, left up the second road - Ring Road.

There's even a little 'secret' way with scenery to shake any work blues - just don't jump off the bridge.

If you want to give it a crack but would like company first time, I'm happy to try and arrange a day to do so.

Thanks again for all your hints. I'm yet to get my bike (pick it up tomorrow), but looking forward to many years of cycling. 
Next obstacle...the Blackwood roundabout... Eeeeek!

The Roundabout.....not trying to scare you, but my near misses happen at roundabouts more often than other intersections...

"Take the lane" another words move towards the centre of the lane prior to entering the roundabout or risk having a vehicle try to squeeze past you, and keep your eyes on all others.

Do not assume they have seen you, they don't seem to look for cyclists, their focus tends to be on other vehicles, we cyclists tend to become invisible to them and more so at roundabouts than any other areas on the road...

Just my opinion, but I have lost count how often I have almost been collected by vehicles coming through from any side on a roundabout and I prefer to slow down!

I lived at Belair for 9 years and have ridden all routes from the plains to the hills, with the exception of the one that BJ has identified.   Didn't know about that one.

I would echo what others have said, and suggest that new Belair Rd (ie. via Windy Point) is by far your best bet.    Not many cars prefer it, as it is at least 2km longer than Old Belair Rd.  The gradient is relatively benign too. Of the other options:

  • Old Belair Rd is relatively narrow and dangerous in comparison - too many cars and blind corners.  It's also steeper, especially near the top;
  • The Lynton bike track is even steeper and quite difficult unless you have compact cranks and/or triple chainwheel and/or really strong hill-climbing legs;
  • Shepherds Hill Rd is not as steep as the Lynton bike path but it is still pretty steep between South Rd and Bellevue Heights and probably further out of your way.  It does, however, have a dedicated bike lane (some of the time) and would therefore be my 2nd choice.

 

Blackwood roundabout - eek indeed!  It's a 2-lane roundabout but a fairly tight one.  I'd strongly recommend not using it to turn right other than when there's very little traffic.  When turning right, you have two legal choices - use the left lane, or the right lane.  The right lane leaves you in the right lane when you're turning into a two-laned road (as two of them are up there) - and that's YUK with traffic passing you in the left hand lane.  The left lane means you exit into the left lane (that's good), HOWEVER, you must give way to any vehicle leaving the roundabout from either lane.  This means any vehicle coming from behind you in the right hand lane and exitting straight ahead (while you're wanting to continue right) has right of way.  To be safe, you're checking cars coming in from your left have seen you, and looking behind you at the same time.  That's OK if you're Zaphod Beeblebrox, but pretty tricky for us earthlings.  An AC member came to grief up there some months ago.  So if going right is your direction, recommend that you find a way around it.  E.G. when I come up Shepherd's Hill and am going right, I'll turn right before the shopping centre and head down to the trainline - then left and right.

I'm familiar with riding up all the ways to Belair as well (except the Ryan F specialty, Pony Ridge Track!!).  As well as the climbs, Main Rd north of the Belair Hotel is not much fun in traffic.  If you are down the main roundabout area, again recommend the Flinders Uni way.  It's not a lot further, the climb is broken up, is all on good sealed surface, and all climbing is on bike/pedestrian track (no cars) or wide single lane, with light traffic and occasional slow moving bus - which still has ample room to pass.  Offer still stands, but if you're OK, all the best.

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