Mawson Trail Bike Ride

Saturday, Nov 15, 2008 at 20:13

Member - Prickle (SA)

Updated 20 May 2010.

The Mawson Trail is a bike ride that traverses some of the most beautiful and spectacular regions of South Australia, including the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, Clare and Gilbert Valleys and the Flinders Ranges. It covers about 900 km, commencing in Adelaide up the Linear Park to Athelstone, up Gorge Rd around the Kangaroo Creek Dam, Lobethal, Birdwood, Tanunda, Kapunda, Riverton, Clare, Burra, Spalding, Jamestown,
June Long weekend 2015 - after a considerable break, hope to ride most of the bit from Blinman to the Merna Mora turn off. Hopefully the weather will hold out.

Wilmington, Quorn, Hawker and finishing at Blinman.

I started riding the Mawson Trail in 2006 covering up to Clare in SA. I have also ridden the stretch between Quorn to Merna Mora turn off (May 2010).

An attempt to ride from Burra to Clare in early 2007 was thwarted by heavy overnight rains, so plenty of mud was encountered, strong cold winds then the broken chain and damage to the rear derailleur due to the mud build up.

Overnight on the Thursday about 50mm of rain had fallen so there was an expectation that conditions could be muddy.

On the morning of Saturday 8th November 2008, I left Quorn to ride Section 3, Quorn to Wilson Rd south of Hawker and about 90km.

The morning was very cool and overcast, it looked as though it was going to rain and slight breeze, but ideal conditions for riding. The first 45 minutes along Yarra Vale Rd were great, averaging 25 kmph, then a left turn onto Yarra Vale Gorge Rd with about 15 minutes riding up a pretty steady incline to cross the ranges and on to Arden Vale Rd.

Certainly a beautiful ride through here up to Proby’ Grave. Not too far from Proby’s Grave I came across Willochra Creek. It was wide and had water about a metre deep which was flowing at a reasonable pace. Well, here we go, I picked up the bike and walked carefully to the other side almost getting washed over a couple of times.

My wife and a friend were my back up and I was able to call them up on CH 8 UHF repeater to let them know of what I had come across and that they would get over okay in the vehicle. At this stage they were about 15 km back in Warren Gorge bird watching.

On to the town that never was, Simmonston and about the halfway mark.
Insert pic of Simmonston.

A 15 km ride across the Willochra Plains, onto the Quorn to Hawker Rd for a short time before deviating west onto Gordon-Springfield Rd and another shallower water crossing. This dirt road continued back over the Quorn to Hawker Rd for some 15 km then dog legged to the left up a dirt track (McAuley Rd onto Wilson Rd.)

Total distance covered, 92km in 4 hr and 49mins ride time with an average of 19kmph.
A great ride and I was glad to finish at this point.
AND, recovered okay the next day with no soreness.

May 15th 2010 (Our 39th wedding anniversary)

On Saturday 15th May I resumed the ride between Quorn and Hawker where I had finished on the RM Highway in November 2008. The delay in getting back into this has been as a result of the need to have a total knee replacement on the left knee.

The morning was cool and overcast, ideal for riding apart from the head winds every now and then. Departing the drop off point at about 10.00 am, I headed off through paddocks toward Hawker. The ride was pretty well non eventful and reasonable going for the first 38km as I enjoyed the scenery and bird life.

Even though some recent rain had fallen, there were few flowers and little greenery.

The ride to around Mernmerna Hill area had been pretty easy going, but from here the tracks began to get pretty stony and rocky. Creek banks had been washed away making it a little difficult to cross without getting off the bike and walking, which I did. The ride over the ranges toward Hookina was a little hairy. Quite steep, narrow track and very stony but managed to do it without any accidents or injuries.

By the time that I hit the bitumen road, (Hawker to Leigh Creek), I was pretty well knackered and if my ride had have been there, I would have gladly got off the bike. Alas, 10km to go the arranged pick up point at Merna Mora turn off.

After 71.64km, 4 hrs and 45mins ride time and averaging just over 15km/hour the ride was finished.

Planning now to start for the next ride.

Still to do from Merna Mora to the end, which I think is near Blinman and then Quorn to Clare. A previous attempt to ride from Burra to Clare was thwarted by heavy rain and muddy conditions resulting in a broken chain and other damage to the derailleur.

Life-often hell but never boring.
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