Ride of the Month: Murray Bridge town loop
This loop, starting and finishing at Diamond Park, is an interesting ride through Murray Bridge's history, industry and custody.
Close to the centre of Murray Bridge lies a wonderful world of bitumen road cycling routes that pass by the diversity of the town’s industry, in addition to exploring the interface between the town’s urban, rural and corrections precincts.
One of these road cycling routes is a short 17-kilometre loop ride that commences and ends at Diamond Park in the centre of town.
This route takes in one of the exhilarating pleasures of riding in Murray Bridge–the downhill section of Old Swanport Road stretching southward from Adelaide Road.
From Diamond Park, riders head north along Mannum Road, crossing the main Adelaide–Melbourne railway line and passing by the unique Rocky Gully Wetland on the right-hand side.
Very soon on the left, riders come across Cypress Terrace and need to turn up this road, once again crossing the main Adelaide–Melbourne railway line.
The early part of Cypress Terrace offers a minor uphill challenge, but tackling that proves quite worthwhile considering what lies beyond.
The next road on the right past the Cypress Terrace railway line is Thomas Street, readily identified by the Enviro Scrap Metal Recycling business on the corner.
The buildings on this site have a historic connection to the town, as they once housed a vibrant Case–Chamberlain agricultural machinery manufacturing business owned by the local Male family.
Turning right into Thomas Street and proceeding a little further is another historic gem of Murray Bridge, the local livestock saleyards, once the most vibrant centre of rural activity in the region but only occasionally used these days.
Thomas Street is a hive of commercial enterprise, including important companies such as ProPoly Tanks, Farmer Johns Rural Merchandise, Jacksons Australia and Arends Trailers.
At the end of Thomas Street, where it intersects as a T-Junction with Netley Road, is the Mobilong Prison, the town’s medium-security corrections precinct that houses some of South Australia’s most notorious criminals.
Access to this area is strictly prohibited unless formally visiting an inmate through the official Government system.
From Thomas Street, turn left into Netley Road until a T-Junction with Maurice Road is reached.
For those with a reasonable level of fitness and an adventurous spirit, a right turn at this point takes cyclists past the front entrance of Mobilong Prison and up a very steep part of Maurice Road, which can then be a nice return downhill after turning around at the top.
However, the particular cycling route being taken on this ride means cyclists exiting Netley Road turn left into Maurice Road and proceed up Greenlands Drive on the right a little further along.
From there, cyclists make their way to Adelaide Road via Grassmere Drive and Bremer Road.
At Adelaide Road, cyclists cross and turn to the right, riding uphill towards White Hill with the option of taking one of two separate parallel roads to the intersection with Old Swanport Road.
One option involves riding up the busy Adelaide Road, while the other involves looking through the adjacent line of scrub and discovering a very pleasant parallel bitumen side road that is reasonably free of traffic.
Interestingly, a dirt track weaves its way through the intermediatory scrubline and is a boon for mountain bike riders looking to ride from Kinchina Conservation Park to the centre of Murray Bridge township.
Adjacent to the relatively quiet bitumen side road and hidden behind the roadside scrub can be found a number of Murray Bridge’s pioneer horticultural glasshouses that were so important to the local economy for many decades.
The intersection of Adelaide Road and Old Swanport Road reveals a world of paradise for road cyclists.
Venturing to the left down Old Swanport Road is a long, straight downhill stretch of perfect bitumen road with a beautiful, flawless 2-metre-wide bitumen skirt and passing some of the town’s leading racehorse training establishments.
Provided they are vigilant, riders can safely achieve quite pleasurable downhill speeds on this first part of Old Swanport Road prior to the roundabout at the intersection with Brinkley Road.
Going straight ahead over the Brinkley Road roundabout, riders go past one of Murray Bridge’s lesser known sites, the Islamic Society Mosque.
While not an icon of architecture, the Islamic Mosque is a legacy of the many hard-working overseas immigrants who made Murray Bridge their home, including large numbers of people from horticulturally-focused countries such as Turkey.
At the southern end of Old Swanport Road is the intersection with Hindmarsh Road, and a sharp turn to the left takes riders to the intersection with Mulgundawah Road adjacent to the former racecourse.
Turn right up Mulgundawah Road and proceed straight over the Swanport Road roundabout to Beatty Terrace, which is the first road to the left opposite the Murray Bridge Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital.
This is also a great downhill ride and passes behind the TAFE College and the SA Police Station.
It is then a short distance for cyclists to make their way past Pine Park and Edwards Square to eventually complete the loop ride at Diamond Park.
More rides of the month
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