Contrasting conditions.

It was a weird start to the day, the forecast predicted possible showers and the radar looked fairly clear with scattered cloud. For the 15 that turned up, it was a decision made on balance that it wouldn’t rain. Sometimes you just need to roll the dice.

The rides on offer took in the Barossa including Cockatoo Valley to Lyndoch. From there the longer ride took in Menglers Hill, before heading up to Angaston and then Penrice. The return trip via Tanunda, for 87ks and 1040 m of climbing. The medium ride, from Lyndoch took a straight run to Tanunda, before the bike trails via Nuriootpa to Angaston. This was their turn around point, before returning via Bethany and Lyndoch, 78 km and 782m of climbing.

At the safety brief everyone took note of the wet roads, and that we would be crossing over rail lines multiple times, needing to be very cautious as they would be slippery.

The long ride headed off first with eight riders. The ‘warm up’ section was up Cheek Ave, then Calton, Balmoral Roads, before Pimpala Road to Lyndoch. After a quick break it was up toward Tanunda and turning right to run though Bethany. Once through Bethany there is a steep left hander and another short rise. Unfortunately there was a slight clip of bikes, with one rider coming off. As it was a slow section the rider was not injured and quickly got up again, but there was one broken spoke, with luckily only a slight wobble in the back wheel, so they were able to continue on. It can happen so quickly. Once everyone was refocused, it was off to tackle Mengers Hill. Everyone was fine getting up it, and of course to enjoy the wonderful scenery from the top.

Here is Simon with all the crew.

From there it was a quick descent down the back of the hill and a climb back up to Angaston for a quick stop. Up to now the weather had been fine, with some thinking about taking off rain jackets. The next section saw the weather take a turn for the worse, with the clouds opening up with rain and stinging hail coming down. The group steeled themselves against the conditions and after reaching Penrice headed back to Tanunda for a quick regroup, not stopping too long as people would get cold. From there it was a cold hard slog into a head wind all the way back to Gawler, and the Exchange Hotel where the heaters were on. Apart from the weather turning pear-shaped, and the mishap, it was a great ride. Thanks to Simon for being Ride Leader and keeping it all rolling along.

The other ride also had a good time, although the nasty weather conditions put a bit of a dampener on it.

The first section up to Lyndoch was very pleasant, in particular riding up Pimpala Road and through some very nice natural areas with the vegetation coming right up to the road. There were plenty of kangaroos to see, but they were all well away from the road grazing in the paddocks, so that was good.

There was a quick stop at Lyndoch and then off to Tanunda.

Here is Ian, Cindy, Mark, me, Peter, Kate and Brad.

Given it was a bit cool, the main topic of conversation was how to keep your feet warm. Some people liked the covers over their toes, while one person demonstrated how they used chip packets over their socks, so an extra layer in their shoe. There was some talk about whether barbeque flavoured chips would be warmer, although it was agreed that chilli flavoured would be the warmest. In the end though it was felt the full covers over the whole shoe and socks would be the best way to keep your feet toasty warm.

The next section included the bike path between Tanunda and Nuriootpa and then the trail between Nuri and Angaston, along the old rail corridor, which is always pleasant to ride.

As part of the corridor is a cutting. Once through the cutting the weather started to turn. Up to now the group had enjoyed a tail wind, and just an overcast sky, but things were about to change.

The rain started to come down and once everyone reached Angaston it was under shelter as quick as possible. The rain got heavier, and there was a bit of a balancing act deciding on how long to wait before heading off again, as you don’t want people to cool down too much.

After a short while, the rain eased up, and with a few patches of blue sky, the group headed off. The temperature had dropped and with a bit of chill factor added in, it was a cautious start as everyone headed back down the hill. At the bottom the sun broke out so that was promising and the group turned left, but straight into a strong head wind! Everyone put their heads down and got on with it.

Once through the vineyards there was as quick regroup just out of Tanunda, and given the conditions it was agreed to go straight through to Gawler with no stops. This looked like a good strategy, although just as everyone was reaching Rowland Flat, some pretty angry clouds were building, and then the rain and hail came down. There was a quick scramble and everyone got together under a veranda to get out of the downpour.

Just as we were leaving Mark noticed he had a flat, so that needed to be repaired. Luckily it was discovered while under shelter and not out on the road in the rain. Now that would have increased the level of difficulty repairing that.

From Rowland Flat it was a run straight back to Gawler, including the last few final climbs to test out the legs

Everyone rolled in to the Exchange Hotel, a bit wet and sore although happy with the ride. It was a ride of two contrasts, so the warm drinks and food tasted that much better.

A big thanks to Peter for TEC duties. He supported everyone along the way and thanks for the jelly snakes, yumbo.

So a day where everyone was challenged, and on balance a good morning out on the bike.

Until next week,

Stay safe


Paul K.


Gawler Wheelers: Winners of the Gawler Australia Day Community Group of the Year Award 2013


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