So I am in the mood for trying out a longer ride and Gawler seems like a good destination because it means I and my bike can take a train back home afterwards!

Is it a crazy idea to ride from the CBD to Gawler? Has anyone done this before and has a few tips on the route for me? I have looked it up on Cycle Instead, but it's hard to tell which roads are safe for cycling or not just from looking at a map.

Any hints are appreciated. Thank you!

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You'll enjoy the eastern route in that case, plenty of unsealed track along the easement and further north, and gravel on Bentley Rd.

If you look on maps, you'll find the powerline easement starts on Shandon Ct becoming Blackburn Rd and a couple of fragments of Adams Rd before it becomes a proper road after Yorktown Rd with rideable tracks sometimes running alongside. It would make a great cycle route with some $ spent on it. It's a pity that the Bentley Rd route is discontinuous after you pass the edge of suburbia, some creeks have clearly cut off the surveyed route and not been repaired since Main North Rd became the major route. Otherwise you could have ridden all the way to Potts Rd in Gawler! Many years ago I portaged my MTB through one of those creeks, a 2m sheer drop on each side made for a bit of adventure. It's mostly shut off from the public now.

When the Northern connector finally opens (in a few days/ weeks), I gather it has a dedicated shared pedestrian/cycling path. Don't think there will be too many pedestrians out there over the salt flats and shallow waterways. The path will link onto the Stuart O'grady path that runs beside the Northern Expressway to Gawler at one end, and a pathway that runs along the Port River expressway at the other . In theory, this should be about 42km of simple, easy to follow route from the Port Area to Gawler. I realise that this is a stretch as you have to get to the Port area first of all, but there are routes from the city to do this.

It also looks like there may be a means to pick up the Northern connector by bike from  around the Wingfield area, which can be accessed by the bike route along the City to Gawler train line to Regency Road at Islington (is there still an Islington?), then Gallipoli Drive to Grand Junction Road. The bit after that i'm not sure of at this stage.

I live at Mile End, and when the connector does open, I hope to be among the first to give it a try and ride from home to Gawler. Certainly the Stuart O'grady bit is a pleasure if its not too windy. I'll report my findings soon after

When you use Gallipoli Drive to Grand Junction Road, just cross at the lights onto Rosberg Rd, right onto Johansson Rd then either left or right at Cormack Rd lights to pick up the trail of your choice. New trails in the area should be well sign posted judging by what I saw recently.

I rode that bit today from Mile End. it served to remind me why I don't much like riding on busy roads. Following the Adelaide/ Gawler railway route from the city, I crossed the railway tracks and went through the tunnel under Regency Road on the bike path, which continues along Regency road, then  turned right onto Naweena Road, which joins onto Gallipoli Drive. For the most part its a pretty wide bike lane on Naweena /Gallipoli, but loads of trucking, as you'd expect. Just before the lights on Grand Junction road, there is a short access road from the left, over the canal. The canal has a high-ish safety barrier which would limit visibility a little, and a ute came out from this road without initially seeing me. There was a squeal of brakes (him) and a swerve (me) and I just got past the ute without a collision. So, in short, I would not like to ride this route through Regency Park/Wingfield on a regular basis.

A mate who uses the Port Expressway had a look for me today, and reckons the bike path is about 95% sealed along that stretch- just a bit to do outside of the Mt Wingfield rubbish dump section. He couldn't see how it will link up with the Northern Expressway though, but that was only at a glance.

Good to here that its mostly complete. I'm looking forward to being able to cycle all the way to Gawler on a sealed path away from vehicles.

The DPTI Northern Connector Map shows the connector shared path in purple - the bit I'm unclear about is the bit near the new Bolivar interchange. I saw some video footage from the connector open day on Sunday & it looked like only a small section of the path has been sealed so far, so its probably still a few weeks away from being ready.

It looks like they've saved some money by using the existing Little Para Trail between Globe Derby Park and Bolivar, going under Port Wakefield Rd. I noticed the new path works around Bolivar Rd the last time and wondered how they fitted in. They weren't quite done yet so I skipped around the roundabout with Kings Rd and continued north through Paralowie via Liberator Drive, my regular route to Gawler.

Well that is exciting! Would that be what is referred to as the Gawler Greenway? Upon doing some research, it appears that the first park (to the Port River Expressway) is technically the Greenway. Hm.

Anyway I plan to do the ride tomorrow, so it looks like I might have to go again to try the new path when it opens!

Thank you for your replies and suggestions everyone. 

Well, today was a fine day so with the wind at my back I made the ride to Gawler! I ended up following BJ's route and it went well, for the most part. It was such a beautiful ride and I really enjoyed the transition of scenery from North Adelaide, to the view along the escarpment at Enfield, to the buzz of the planes at Parafield Airport, to the straight-out countryside once I had left Elizabeth. Speaking of Elizabeth, my wife happened to be working there today so I met her in time for lunch, much to the amusement of her colleagues. Gawler itself is very beautiful - I would definitely visit again.

Anyway the only hiccup on the ride was my own doing. I thought I could avoid riding on Main North Road to enter Mawson Lakes by following the Dry Creek trail under the road. Well, I did, but it involved quite a bit of bike-lugging. That's the beauty of riding a bike I suppose! (see image below).

Gravel sections along the route were no problem with my bike - in fact, they were fun! My least favourite part was the stretch of 80km/h Coventry Road right at the end, but being the middle of the day it wasn't busy and everyone gave me a wide berth. 

All in all a great ride and one I would do again!

Neat trick, using that underpass. It's not too bad using the surface path, just tedious waiting for the lights to cross both roads. Anyway, good to see you did it.

Thanks for letting us know how your ride went Daniel.  That picture would have been a good one for Where In The World Is My Bike!!

Coventry Rd has plenty of room for wide sealed shoulders was what I kept thinking riding along.  Alternatively having that end of the Gawler Greenway done.

Having read that some of the Northern Connector bike path was open for business.... I thought I'd check it out today. Imagine my cynical thoughts when I saw that two sections of the brand new track were under water after what would have to be a perfectly ordinary storm. Add to that the two soggy underpasses at Port Wakefield Rd that have been reused, it was an interesting challenge. Oh well, this is Adelaide after all, cyclists don't need functional all weather trails between major destinations. Just ride the shoulder of Port Wakefield Rd as the traffic is now a little lighter than usual.

That's a big shame! From what I have seen on these forums though, it's not entirely unexpected. One can only hope that the water issues on the new parts of the track are merely teething problems on a piece of new infrastructure...


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