After another slow start with delicious coffee at a groovy shop with a dragster in the front window…
…we left Glenelg and headed south along the beach front. The 35ish kms to McLaren Vale would be a cinch as we wound our way around the coast and stopped at towns for snacks and beaches for swims along the way. In honour of this short and easy ride, we wore our sandals and shorts rather than our knicks and clip-in cycling shoes.
Well, the beachfront road ran out and we had to head left up a short, steep hill. Then there was a bike route marked along back streets with barely a glimpse of the ocean all the way to Hallett Cove…where the signs ran out.
If you have been to Hallett Cove, or are from Tasmania, you will appreciate the steep hills we flew down, then had to go back up, as we tried to find our way.
Finally, after retracing our steps (or is that pedals?), we saw a woman at a bus stop and stopped to ask her for help. Her husband commuted to work on the route we were after and was able to guide us in the right direction, which led us past a shopping centre. As we pedalled to the top of the hill and reached the corner of the shopping centre, the same woman was waiting there for us! She had phoned her husband and made sure she had given us the right directions, then gotten off the bus to wait for us and let us know! It made our day, and we went into the shopping centre to celebrate with lunch.
From Hallett Cove, we got onto a dedicated bike path that goes all the way to Willunga via McLaren Vale called the ‘Coast to Vines Rail Trail’. The full length of the trail is 37 km, but we were starting a few kilometres in.
The trail follows the train line most of the way, but unlike the Hobart bike path, which has a steady gradient, this path had a number of sharp ascents and descents and twists and turns to keep the Captain on his toes and the Stoker on high alert. All this meant it was a slow journey to McLaren Vale, with our average speed just 16km an hour.
We finally made it to our friends’ house in McLaren Flat, just past McLaren Vale. Set amongst rolling hills and vineyards, the whole area is beautiful and we spent the afternoon swimming in the warm pool and enjoying the peaceful surrounds.