(Updated 8 September 2013, see below)
(Updated 30 December 2013 as well)
(Final update 25 March 2014)
Well I decided to combine an opportune car trip to Tanunda with a look at the new trail works. Starting in a car park on town I rode south to find the first sign of cycle infrastructure at the caravan park entrance.
Line markings indicate that the footpath alongside (on the eastern side of) the main road into town is going to be a shared path.
Anyway, the path starts well, straight, wide and smooth,
But suddenly develops a narrow humpback bridge with safety hazards galore:
Shortly afterwards the track veers off the main road at Krondorf Rd (looking back):
Down Krondorf a bit the first sign post appears:
And then the track gets in touch with nature:
And then gets properly rural with a gate and some sheep:
Followed by a steep S bend complete with gravel wash:
And a nice new bridge over a famously named local creek:
Followed by more steep twisty bits with soil wash:
And suddenly we’re back on the main road at Rowland Flat:
Shortly after this I experienced my NDE (Near Death Experience) when an elderly gent nosed his ute across the track which at this point is hogging the hedge in front of his property preventing him from seeing any cyclists before they land on his bonnet. Only adroit emergency braking saved the day even though I wasn’t going fast. Oh, well, back to along the main road until you get the the railway line. Whoohoo, rail trail I thought! No. It’s just as steep, twisty and poorly aligned as the rest:
It included this lovely bridge with a giant speed hump before it, and still to receive it’s bitumen (probably done soon afterwards) ((Edit: only done between 1 and 8 September!):
And back onto the main road at the railway bridge:
Then there’s the descent into Lyndoch, watch for that giant bollard:
And finally at the Lyndoch town boundary the track sneaks into town:
Aaah, a familiar lunch stop! (opposite the Lyndoch bakery)
A little further on, the end of the current track, note the leaf carpet:
After a return to Tanunda I drove towards Gawler, and saw the new construction happening past the Lyndoch Hill rose garden, plenty of power poles in the middle of the track. Towards Sandy Creek the track was still being cut, so no cycling yet. After Sandy Creek the track follows the railway line:
And finally ends at the eastern end of Calton Rd, Kalbeeba, a couple of easy km out of Gawler:
Summary: A kids own adventure track, not designed for fast or laden cycling. Some sections are very welcome as an alternative to climbing the verge of the main road, some bits are just dotty, some parts are simply entertaining on a bike with good brakes and plenty of gears. The surface will be prone to soil wash on steep corners. A mixed bag in other words. I hope you get to enjoy tour trip on this new path.
Total distance from Gawler to Lyndoch, approx 14km, Lyndoch to Tanunda approx.
Update: September 1 2013:
Not much change on the Lyndoch to Tanunda section apart from some line marking and concrete edging to stop gravel wash. Some mystery closed signs turned out to be an advertisement for clean green viticulture.
Entrance to Lyndoch Hill
Sealed track after Lyndoch Hill with Stobie poles in the middle of the track
Various culverts are not installed yet so its not possible to ride much of it. Some bits run alongside the railway line instead of the road so will be more pleasant to ride on away from the traffic.
Back again, a lovely day on Sunday 29th December to see how far the track has been finished.
From the Lyndoch caravan park, fresh bitumen tkes you over a gentle hill between the rail line and the road:
Down the other side it follows the road through the trees, with a few marked chicanes across side roads and tracks:
And an unmarked chicane, just to test your concentration (note how the cars are suggested to slow to 80):
Reaching Cockatoo Lane the track points towards the railway line a bit down the lane:
Next to the railway line it looks like the bitumen crew has been, the line marking crew has been, the sign placement crew has been, but the fencing crew is still to finish their job. The locals seen to be ignoring the bunting:
Same again down the track:
And down the end at Calton Rd:
Between this track end and Gawler the verge of Calton Rd still has a few pegs indicating that one day, there will be more track here. In the meantime, you can ride to the outskirts of Gawler along Calton Rd, then turn left at Cheek Rd, follow Cork Rd and Lindie Rd to get to the bitumen path following the South Para River into town via Dead Man’s Pass. Quite pleasant but a steep downhill on the track to the river.
Finally on 25 March 2014 I rode the western end (legally) from Cockatoo Lane to the finish at Calton Rd. Cocaktoo Lane has been sealed between the main road and the railway line. The fences and signs are up, lovely square steel bollards have been placed at various entrances and even some repairs to flood damage have been made. In many ways this is the best bit of the track, aligned to railway gradients and off the main road.
Interestingly I saw a number of cyclists using the track and around 3/4 of them were women. It seems that if you put in a safer alternative to main roads then the most vulnerable users will come and take advantage. Who would have thought that, eh?
Enjoy and remember to keep your eyes open for bollards and similar hazards.