I hooked up with the Gully Grinders last Sunday as they were touring the Barossa and I was going to ride up to Tanunda to check out the Cyclocross. We rode up Main Nth Road to Gawler, onto Sandy Creek and then just before Lyndoch we got onto the Jack Bobridge bike path. The first 100 metres was differant in a weird way in that the path has a line of Stobie poles in the middle, I think theres a photo of the path with poles somewhere on AC and there has been some criticism of the design, however the path is more than wide enough to avoid a collision. After the 1st 100 metres one has to cross the Barossa Highway to regain the path and it's at this point that one starts to enjoy the benefits of the path. The path bitumin is brand spanking new and billiard table smooth, the path meanders a little so sometimes you are alongside the main road and sometimes you wouldn't know the road was there. Whilst on our way in to Lyndoch we saw a mum and 2 kids using the path and as there are very few undulations at this point all were coping well and enjoying the ride.
As one enters Lyndoch the path deviates to the left through Lyndoch winery but is poorly signposted so the lead riders missed the turn and continued through the town. Soon enough the path is back in view and we rejoined it. It's at this point that it gets interesting. I've heard a number of cyclists have been critical and in my view the criticisms have been unfair. From Lyndoch to Tanunda the path deviates considerably away from the road and it's surprising how many gullies and valleys there are, so if you're looking for a fast ride to Tanunda stick to the road. However if it's a busy weekend in the Barossa and traffic is heavy or if you are traffic shy then take the path. But be aware that it won't be a fast ride, as I said there are lots of gullies and valleys and the path is like a roller coaster at times, the downhills are steep and often have sharp turns at the bottom and the uphills are steep, if you're not in the right gear for the climb you will have to stop and may well have to walk. If you're taking the family for a ride you will find some of the short uphills way to steep for the kids so expect to do "a little" walking. As I mentioned some of the corners are very sharp and one in particular turns sharply onto a cattle grid which would probably be very slippery when wet, so much so I think the grid could do with a coat of anti slip paint. We did see a few other cyclists on the path including a group of 20 or so supervised children (under 12's) and with the exception of 2 or 3 all had to walk the steeper climbs.
As we entered Tanunda we left the path again as we were unsure how close it went to my destination however my ride buddies continued to ride the path up to Nuriootpa and commented that it was a lot flatter on this section.
My ride for the day was a round trip of just over 100kms, we rode back to Gawler via the road and at least 2 of us were feeling pain in legs and I've no doubt that it was the Trail undulations that caused the pain so if you're looking to strengthen your legs the Jack Bobridge trail could be a good training ride. Oh and of course the day wouldn't be complete without at least one nobhead motorist. As we were riding back toward Lyndoch we were riding where the trail could be seen from the road so the nobhead just had to give each of us a blast on the horn and raise his arm out of the window to point to the trail, probably the most vigourous exercise he had all day.
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