Know before you go: mountain-biking

Know before you go: mountain-biking

Be inspired to get your wheels in motion – hear from a first-time rid­er as she heads down a scenic Ade­laide track.

You don’t have to be an expert to get on your bike and enjoy one of Adelaide’s best begin­ner moun­tain-bik­ing expe­ri­ences.

If you’re keen to see what moun­tain-bik­ing is all about, Cle­land Nation­al Park’s shared-use trails can be found just 6 kilo­me­tres from the city.

Start­ing from the carpark at Mount Lofty Sum­mit and descend­ing through Cle­land Nation­al Park, this 10-kilo­me­tre adven­ture will get your adren­a­line pump­ing as you nav­i­gate your bike over sec­tions of bumpy ter­rain and – if there’s been lots of rain – through flow­ing creeks.

Know before you go: mountain-biking

Keep your wits about you as you take off from the sum­mit down the Warre Track. You’ll ride down a steep 700-metre stretch of rough ter­rain that’s a lit­tle more chal­leng­ing than the rest of the track.

If you can get through this part of the track, you’ll be in fine form to han­dle what lies ahead.

Con­tin­ue rid­ing until the track con­nects onto a flat­ter sec­tion – here’s where you’ll get some relief.

Once you reach the bot­tom of that track, you’ll pop out on Mount Lofty Sum­mit Road, direct­ly oppo­site the sealed road that takes you to Cle­land Wildlife Park. Why not take the oppor­tu­ni­ty to vis­it the park – it’s one of South Australia’s icon­ic wildlife expe­ri­ences and well worth the entry fee.

This pit stop is a great excuse to re-fuel with some deli­cious cof­fee and cake. Just make sure you’ve locked up your bike before you go in.

Know before you go: mountain-biking

A vis­it to Cle­land isn’t com­plete with­out meet­ing some of the local res­i­dents like potoroos, kan­ga­roos and emus – so don’t for­get to grab a bag of ani­mal feed for $2 and get up close to feed them.

Know before you go: mountain-biking

When you’re ready to say good­bye to your new-found fur­ry friends, hop back on your bike and cruise through the car park to head down Long Ridge Track. This is anoth­er great place to spot wildlife like kan­ga­roos and koalas, so keep your eyes peeled.

Turn right down the hill onto Bar­tril Spur Track, and after a kilo­me­tre of flat trail you’ll come around a hair­pin bend and over a cul­vert. Have a break here – see if you can see any more koalas or elu­sive echid­nas – and get ready for three short chal­leng­ing sec­tions of track.

Know before you go: mountain-biking

Keep your weight back and an eye on your speed as you work your way down the first two steep sec­tions. Hav­ing made it down suc­cess­ful­ly, you’ve now pre­pared your­self for the steep­est stretch of track you’ll encounter on this journey.

The local moun­tain-bik­ers call this gul­ly cross­ing Big Red’. If you can, roll all the way down with­out stop­ping and keep your momen­tum going to make sure you get up the oth­er side of the gully.

Know before you go: mountain-biking

If it’s your first time moun­tain-bik­ing or you don’t think you can make it across Big Red’ – either from fear or a lack of fit­ness – there’s no shame in hop­ping off your bike and walk­ing it down the slope and back up the hill. Just remem­ber to keep your hands on the brakes on the way down.

Once you’ve con­quered this part of the track – either by walk­ing or rid­ing – you’re home free and can sail your way along the remain­der of the track, which then con­nects onto Cham­bers Gul­ly Track.

At the end of this track you’ll meet a sealed road which will bring you out to Water­fall Gul­ly Road and back into sub­ur­bia. Give your­self a pat on the back – you’re no longer a moun­tain bik­ing newbie.

Don’t for­get to bring your cam­era along for last­ing mem­o­ries of the pic­ture-per­fect views and wildlife pho­tog­ra­phy oppor­tu­ni­ties you’ll see along the way. Koalas and cock­a­toos are often found perched among the trees, calm­ly watch­ing the pass­ing traffic.

If you’re vis­it­ing Ade­laide, haven’t invest­ed in a moun­tain bike just yet, or would pre­fer not to go it alone, you might like to con­tact a tour com­pa­ny to help you through your first experience.

Want some more options for parks to hone your moun­tain-bik­ing skills? Check outsev­en of the best trails in SA’s nation­al parks, suit­able for the whole fam­i­ly.

This sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly post­ed in July 2016.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living