Ride of the Month: Martin Road loop, Murray Bridge South
Dale Manson invites you to cycle around Murray Bridge's southern outskirts.
This post was contributed by Dale Manson.
One of the gems of local road cycling around Murray Bridge is the 16-kilometre Martin Road loop.
It does take in much more than just Martin Road, though.
This ride explores the transition of the town’s social landscape from simply being urban and business focused, through to the tranquility of rural living blocks and open agricultural paddocks.
As a bonus, the ride crosses under the South Eastern Freeway on two occasions without any need to negotiate the speeding freeway traffic.
Cyclists skirt past the new Gifford Hill racecourse and loop directly back to the strarting point in the centre of the Murray Bridge township.
Cyclists commencing this journey in Bridge Street often congregate at Steamers Cafe, where, during opening hours, outside seating provides a convenient place to relax beforehand or enjoy a traditional post-ride coffee upon their return.
Once started, riders head towards the Edwards Square traffic lights and turn left into Swanport Road.
This is a fairly busy intersection and cyclists are urged to be aware of cars that indicate they also intend to turn left from Bridge Street into Swanport Road.
Once on Swanport Road, riders take the designated bike lane right up to the hospital roundabout, where a right-hand turn heads the bikes up Mulgundawah Road.
Again, caution is urged as bikes need to cross the line of traffic at the roundabout; sometimes it may be wise for riders to dismount and wheel bikes across the road at a more convenient location.
The marked riding lane on this side of Mulgundawah Road is not an official bike lane, but still quite wide and a genuine pleasure to ride.
However, while not part of this particular ride, the surface of the relatively new formally marked bike lane on the other side of Mulgundawah Road, adjacent to the old racecourse, is less than ideal and seems to have been a compromise or afterthought by the road planners.
Cyclists follow Mulgundawah Road right through until it becomes Brinkley Road and heads in a southerly direction under a freeway bridge.
From here the country turns quite agricultural.
Emerging on the right-hand side is the pleasant surprise of the brand new Murray Bridge Racecourse development at Gifford Hill.
Although only the major racing infrastructure is currently in place, this area is about to undergo a transformation as the most significant specialist equine precinct in South Australia.
At the far end of the racecourse is the intersection of Brinkley, Martin and Usher Roads.
While the temptation may be to turn right at this point to attempt the challenging Usher Road uphill climb, and eventually Pope Road over a South Eastern Freeway bridge heading towards Monarto South on the alternative “chicken run” loop, it must be resisted on this occasion.
Cyclists on the current ride need to turn left at the intersection and proceed along Martin Road.
This is a really nice bitumen road edged with lovely trees, agricultural paddocks and the occasional rural living residential block.
At the T-junction end of Martin Road, a left-hand turn takes riders back into the Murray Bridge urban area along the last part of Jervois Road, near the Swanport Hotel, just before the road transitions into Swanport Road after passing under another freeway bridge.
Of note, just before the freeway bridge on the opposite side of the road is a modernist building housing the pumps that distribute Murray Bridge’s treated wastewater to many of the town’s parks and gardens.
It is worth stopping here for a moment to have a closer look at the pump building, surrounding landscaping and the various artistic placements.
Back on the road into the Murray Bridge urban area, bike lanes of various quality and occasional manhole cover obstacles lead past the hospital roundabout to the traffic light-controlled intersection of Bridge Street, Adelaide Road, Mannum Road and Swanport Road.
As always, be careful at this intersection as cyclists will need to cross traffic lanes when turning right into Bridge Street and back to the original starting point.
If not confident at this intersection, cyclists can dismount and use the traffic light-controlled pedestrian crossings.
While off the bike, it may even be worthwhile to take a walking exploration of the gardens at Edwards Square and Diamond Park.
The Martin Road ride should take less than one hour to complete the 16-kilometre loop, with the attraction of experiencing the absolute diversity of Murray Bridge’s town area and surrounds.
Previous rides of the month
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