In this, our 50th edition of Caffeine Culture, we visit that place which complements the pleasure of a simple bike ride in regions throughout the world, that place of rich scenery and fertile soil, of rolling hills and valleys, where a gentle hand and dedicated craftsmanship combine to work the grape into wine. Join us for a tour of vino and velo…
The Pinnacle Loop Drew Tuckwell. Printhie Wines. Orange, NSW.
The Pinnacle Loop is probably the most popular ride in Orange and it features regularly on my schedule. It’s a 30km loop with about 500m of climbing, topping out at nearly 1,200 metres above sea level. You can ride the loop in either direction, depending whether you prefer a longer, more gradual climb (the eastern side) or a shorter, sharper climb (the western side). I’ll take you anti-clockwise, for the short, sharp Pinnacle ascent.
Bowen Park Loop Drew Tuckwell. Printhie Wines. Orange, NSW.
The Bowen Park Loop is one of my favourite rides, featuring beautiful countryside and views, barely any traffic, a few good climbs, great descents and some flats on which to recover. There’s not much in the way of coffee stops but you’ll pass a bunch of winery cellar doors. This ride is a good hit-out you can easily add to if you’re feeling energetic.
Willunga Matt Caldersmith. Hardy’s Tintara. McLaren Vale, SA.
Our ride starts in Willunga and includes the coast, Sellicks Hill, Myponga Reservoir and passes through Normanville before heading back to Willunga. This is an 83km route with a little over 1,100m of climbing, and it encompasses quite a few sections of the Tour Down Under. If you need to cut the ride a little short, there are escape routes before and after the reservoir.
The Oxygen Cycles Saturday Crew Matt Caldersmith. Hardy’s Tintara. McLaren Vale, SA.
This ride is a regular of the Oxygen Cycles crew who ride from the shop on Main Road, McLaren Vale at 8am on Saturdays. This is a steady ride; regulars have a crack at their favourite Strava segments but they always regroup before continuing. The ride is around 50km with 885m of climbing and takes in Willunga Hill and the range, passing many of the premium vineyards and wineries of the region. The shop’s proprietor, Bert, will test your climbing ability, and watch out for Ben D., who’ll push into the wind all day and compete for every segment at a cadence of 70rpm. There’s usually a good mix of ages and abilities, and always a welcoming, positive attitude.
Too early, too wet, too far Josh Ogilvie. Innocent Bystander. Yarra Valley, VIC
This is the closest mountain ride to Healesville and it’s my ‘go to’ ride in the Yarra. It’s about 60km from Healesville out to Kinglake and back. There are actually two ways to climb to Toolangi; I’m taking you on the longer, lower-gradient climb, with a nice 20-minute warm-up through rolling hills before the ascent begins.