Day 1: Bicycle can’t always follow in the footsteps of horses
Adelaide – Jupiter Creek (approx 80 kilometres).
The fact that it is promoted as a cycling trail led me to believe that it was similar to other trails I had ridden and so thinking I could average at least around 70 kilometres a day, I set out last weekend to ride its length over the four days.
And to add a little extra pressure, I decided to ride the 50 kilometres to the start of the trail, rather than get driven there.
My thought was that even with this extra distance I could make it to Kapunda over the three days and then get collected from there.
So at about 11am, I turned off the Sea to Vines Trail onto Rifle Range Road and the start of the Kidman Trail.
The road was gravel but the gradient was gentle and so in high spirits, I began my solo journey.
I knew that the ride up the Willing hill-face would be steep but for the next four or five kilometres the road was either good gravel or bitumen. Life was looking pretty good.
But then it changed when I started up Thomas Hill Road!
It started off gently but very quickly, I was standing next to the bike dragging it up the road, stopping every 100 paces or so to rest. The steepness was ridiculous and carrying 31kg of stuff in the panniers did not help.
This first test went on for about 1,5 kilometres but it seemed like ten at the time. Little did I know that this was the way it was going to be for the next two days.
Reaching the top, the scenery was fantastic as the trail alternated between back roads, fire trails and sections where roads were designated but had never been built.
A late lunch was taken in Kuitpo Forest and the shadows were getting long as I passed the information centre where I topped up my water before heading on to Meadows and a pub meal.
Refreshed, I picked up the trail again, dragged the bike over a couple more dates with low rails to stock motor bikes using the route and as the sun was heading for the horizon, I set up camp on the edge of the pine forest. It was a warm clear evening and I took the opportunity to leave the fly off the tent so that I could watch the stars rotate over my head during the night.
It was a tired, but happy cyclist that had fallen asleep by 8pm, dreaming of easier roads the next day.
Day one I covered eighty kilometres (Adelaide – Willunga – Jupiter Creek), but only thirty of this was on the Kidman trail and day two only realised fifty kilometres (Jupiter Creek – Echunga – Macclesfield – Mt Barker).