Crankboutique brings you the greatest in two wheeled rides in SA and adventures both on road and off.
South Australia has great wine, not many people and a load of rolling hills and awesome scenery – so there go all you excuses for not booking your next excursion to the great southern state. As well as the open rides, gradients and landscapes made world famous by the Tour Down Under, you’ll also find some amazing adventure and gravel rides outside of the main population areas.
Our top recommendations across SA’s different regions follow below. Additionally we’ve also included links to some of the state’s clubs and races if you’re feeling more competitive.
Best Rides in Adelaide City & Hills
The City of Churches has consistently ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities since the 90s and cyclists will find plenty to like about its vibrant café scene, plentiful parklands and easy access to the surrounding hillsides and countryside.
Easily one of the most popular destinations for cyclists due to its proximity to the CBD (~15km) and sweeping views over the city and both the Piccadilly Valley and Adelaide plains. The most popular route is heading South East out of the city and then heading up the Mount Barker Road for a moderately challenging climb before enjoying the scenery as a reward.
Water & City Route
Adelaide sits right on the St Vincent Gulf and as a consequence doesn’t lack relaxing sea side beach paths for an easy weekend outing. Glenelg to Grange is a local favourite, but if you like your sea air with a bit of sweat then try this extended 50km route that also takes in a loop of some city sights.
Best Rides in Barossa Valley, Light and Lower North
A lot of wine regions in Australia are geared towards cyclists and the areas around the Barossa exceptionally so, the local council even produce a exceptional map for both recreational cyclists and tourists looking for something a little more challenging. Fair warning though – the region has some exceptionally spicy hills, so watch your intake at the cellar door!
The Barossa trail links to together several of the regions towns and lets you experience a leisurely cycle through some of the most scenic wine country in Australia as well as good proximity to some great cellar doors and wineries. There’s four different sections totalling 40km in all linking Angaston to Gawler.
Angaston to Angaston
If you’re looking for a bigger day or for a longer ride, the Angaston to Angaston route is a popular ride. Leaving Angaston head south on the Eden Valley Road towards Mount Pleasant. An enjoyably twisty descent will take you down to Cambrai before a flat roll to Sedan and a steep climb back up to Angaston. You’ll deserve a wine or two after!
Best Bike Rides in the Eyre and Western Region
The Eyre region features lots of agriculture and rugged coastline and is more famous for cage diving and sharks than it is for it’s rides and roads. If you’re in the region there’s some great sites to take in from two wheels around some of the region’s major hubs.
Ceduna to Smoky Bay
The old port towns of Ceduna and Smoky Bay are well worth a visit if you’re in the area and this route takes in a couple of coastal conservation areas where you’ll get to experience the local flora and fauna. Head south east out of Ceduna on the old Decres Bay Road to visit Wittelbee and Laura Bay, before an easy sprint down the highway to Smoky Bay.
If you’re in Port Lincoln this is a great route that will let you explore the city, marina and some of the great coastline and includes a mix of bike paths, roads and unsealed paths. You’ll be more comfortable on something with bigger tyres, but there are a couple of bike shops in town that do hires and can help you out.
Best Bike Rides in the Far North & Flinders Ranges
The Flinders Ranges are SA’s largest mountain range and stretch from Port Pirie right into the arid outback. The rides below are light on civilisation but big on amazing sights and scenery. While they can be done in sections, they’re self supported for the most part so you’ll want to do some careful planning.
The Mawson trail starts just outside of Adelaide and ends up in the tiny town of Blinman in the Flinders Range covering a total of 900km and running through some of the state’s most historic towns. This is a ride that can be split up, but if you have a spare couple of weeks we would highly recommend doing the whole thing!
Best Bike Rides in the Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island Region
The Fleurieu Peninsula is the stunning pastoral area south of Adelaide, featuring more wine (the McLaren Vale) the picturesque town of Willunga and some of the state’s most beautiful coastlines and roads. While Kangaroo Island is far more rugged, it’s also a great place to explore on two wheels if you have some fatter tyres.
Coast to Vines Trail
The Coast to Vines Trail is an absolute must for any cyclist visiting the area given it takes in some of the best sights and food in the state. The 37km route starts outside of Adelaide in Marino and heads through the Shiraz trail to the town of Willunga – a leisurely ride that anyone can do.
The Encounter Bikeway
The Encounter Bikeway is another accessible for all, but well worth doing route if you’re visiting the region’s southerly area. Linking Encounter Bay to Goolwa through the towns of Victor Harbour and Middleton, you’ll get to experience the area’s beautiful coastline on this easy 30km return route.
Kangaroo Island is a great place for a couple of hours on the bike, but it’s even better if you have a couple of days and you have some bike packs. This route starts at the main township of Penneshaw and heads out to Murray’s Lagoon – you’ll get to experience some of the best wildlife SA has to offer while seeing very few people.
Best Bike Rides in the Limestone Coast Region
The Limestone Coast covers the coastal area of the south east of the state bordering up to Victoria, which includes the towns of Mount Gambier and Naracoorte. Sparsely populated you’ll find more amazing scenery, more wine and quiet, rolling countryside roads.
Penola Cycle Trail
The little town of Penola sits slap bang in the middle of another wine region with Coonawarra just up the road. If you’re in the neighbourhood you can take a leisurely 35km route past some of the famous estates including Wynns. While some of the roads are unsealed, this route is easily doable on a road bike.
Best Bike Rides in the Clare Valley, Mid North & Yorke Region
The Clare Valley is another famous wine region, but unlike the Barossa is more famous for it’s whites – in particular Reisling. Like the Barossa you’ll find an abundance of charming country towns, great food and great wine to try as well as rolling hills which make it another great destination for cycling.
Reisling & Rattler Trail
If there’s a theme to great cycling routes in SA it’s wine, and this route is no exception, covering 54km of graded country trail between Riverton and Stanley Flat. While it’s not a huge ride, you will find plenty of distractions in terms of villages and cellar doors along the way, so to be sure to make a day of it.
Bike Races and Events in South Australia
As the state famous for the Tour Down Under, SA has some excellent road cycle races and events if you’re in the region. Our selection below.
Tour Down Under Challenger
Unless you’re part of the elite, you’re not going to ride the Tour Down Under. However, every year the Challenge Tour lets mere mortals ride one of the stages around the week of the race. Well worth it for the quality of the routes and the atmosphere of a genuine tour!
The Grand Slam
The Grand Slam is a unique challenge for South Australia with five individual rides across the year contributing to the challenge in locations such as Adelaide, the Barossa and Fleurieu. Doing all 5 is really only going to be for the locals, but the last ride of the year is well worth it for the carnival atmosphere.
Coast to Coast
The Coast to Coast classic is one of the state’s most popular rides taking in the route from Glenelg to Victor Harbour following a 120, 95 or 65 kilometre route. While the 120km route has some big climbing, we think the views and the extra satisfaction is worth it!
MGCC 100 Mile Classic
The 100 Mile Classic is a famous race that has now been held for over 80 years, starting way back in 1933. The sting of doing 160km is made up for by the views and the atmosphere of the race.