Ride of the Month: Boundary Road loop ride, Burdett
Dale Manson offers you a guide to a pleasant road bike ride on the bitumen along Boundary and Kepa Roads, with some funky artwork to be found along the way.
Two of the hidden gems of road cycling around the Murray Bridge area are Boundary and Kepa Roads.
Both roads provide an excellent bitumen riding surface and for most of the year, minimal traffic.
Located on the east side of Murray Bridge, local cyclists have developed a 46-kilometre clockwise return-circuit ride, popularly known as the Boundary Road loop.
Starting at the intersection of the Old Princes Highway East and Karoonda Highway, adjacent to the Murray Bridge Pony Club grounds, cyclists head out in a north-easterly direction along the Karoonda Highway.
Proceeding for six kilometres along this road, rather than turning right to Karoonda at the turnoff, cyclists should then head straight ahead, with the official name of the road transitioning into Burdett Road.
However, particular caution does needs to be observed riding during the winter months along Karoonda and Burdett Roads, as the low morning sun could blind car drivers coming from behind.
These particular roads are also far busier than those later in the ride as they carry traffic heading to Mannum, Bowhill, Karoonda, Riverland and many destinations beyond.
Despite this, riding is quite safe, provided riders remain aware of their surroundings, remain on the far left of the road and improve their visibility with flashing lights positioned on the front and rear of bikes.
The scenery along here is stunning, with scattered native pine on roadsides and agricultural pursuits such as piggeries, poultry production, vegetable growing and grazing livestock.
Glimpses of the River Murray and turnoffs to riverside shack areas such as Sunnyside, Riverglades and Willowbanks are on the left hand side of the road.
Just prior to passing the turnoff to Karoonda on the right hand side is the Aboriginal community’s Kalparrin property, which offers assistance to Indigenous people in need.
Heading along Burdett Road four kilometres after the Karoonda turnoff, cyclists come to a Y-junction just prior to the Burdett Hall.
Going straight ahead takes travellers to Mannum and beyond, however bike riders undertaking the Boundary Road loop need to veer right at this point into Bowhill Road.
Although the amount of passing traffic greatly reduces from here on, there still remains a need for cyclists to be quite vigilant riding along all roads.
Riding due east along the Bowhill Road, cyclists pass a number of unusual works of roadside art that really add to the experience of riding on this remote, but well-sealed piece of road.
After seven and a half kilometres from the Y-junction, on the right-hand side, a communications tower comes into view on the corner of the bituminised Boundary Road.
Here is the point where cyclists need to turn right and head due south along an undulating section of Boundary Road bounded by crops and grazing livestock.
Late in the afternoon, riders will usually notice a subtle headwind coming from the Lakes to the south.
Boundary Road continues for five kilometres before crossing the Karoonda Highway at a dog-leg intersection adjacent to prominent farmers Ray and Lyn Bald’s property and the Ettrick CFS station.
Proceeding along Boundary Road after crossing the Karoonda Highway, the distinctive restricted-access Murray Bridge Training Area will be seen running alongside the road to the right.
The army range is a reasonably rocky, sandy and scrubby area, ideal for military training.
Apart from the busy farming period of cereal harvest, very little traffic uses Boundary Road and often no cars or trucks are encountered along its length.
However, the adjacent paddocks and scrub are a favourite habitat of kangaroos and care must be taken riding in the early morning or at dusk, lest a crossing kangaroo crashes into passing cyclists.
During summer, Boundary Road becomes a major transport route for farmers’ trucks carting grain to the Tailem Bend regional silo.
Farming country resumes at the far end of the army range property and six and a half kilometres after the Karoonda Road crossing, Kepa Road comes into view on the right-hand side.
Turning right down Kepa Road, cyclists initially enjoy some wonderful downhill riding on 14 kilometres of top-class bitumen, passing the rubble-surfaced Schulz Road halfway along on the left-hand side.
At this point, cyclists once again meet up with the Old Princes Highway; turning right here returns riders to the Karoonda Road start, two kilometres further down.
This final section of the Old Princes Highway features several massive centre-pivot irrigators that water lush green prime lamb pastures in the Westlake family’s adjacent Murrama Park paddocks.
From here, it is an easy ride back to the town centre of Murray Bridge past the men’s shed, showground and greyhound track via the old road bridge.
The two roadhouses located on the way to the old road bridge provide ample opportunity for refreshment following a ride lasting approximately two hours.
Previous rides of the month
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