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Ride of the month: Murray Bridge to Mypolonga and back
Murray Bridge Derailleurs’ Dale Manson guides you on a loop ride through scenic Mypo.
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The Rural City of Murray Bridge is far much more than a large, urban-focused township to road cyclists.
Roads within the council area lead cyclists to the array of regional townships and settlements, including the very interesting Mypolonga area.
Mypolonga, or “Mypo” as the locals refer to it, is an easy-to-reach ride destination containing community facilities such as a well maintained oval and clubrooms, RSL, primary school, district hall, fruit processing facilities and local shop.
There are a number of bitumen riding routes leading from Murray Bridge to Mypolonga, however avid road cyclists often opt for an extended 47-kilometre loop that takes in 11 per cent hill climbs and amazing rural scenery.
All the rides to Mypolonga commence in the main shopping precinct of Murray Bridge, Bridge Street, and head north out of the township boundary along Mannum Road.
At the intersection of Mannum Road and Reedy Creek Road, 3.5km from the mid-town start point, riders veer left up Reedy Creek Road, often referred to locally as Palmer Road.
Cyclists preferring the option of a shorter and easier ride to Mypolonga can go straight ahead on Mannum Road at this point, however on today’s ride the route swings left.
At a sweeping right-hand bend, 4.5km along Reedy Creek Road, prior to reaching the Pallamana Aerodrome, riders turn left into Hillview Road.
This 5km stretch of road offers a genuine challenge to cyclists, with long uphill climbs of up to 11%.
It also crosses the now-abandoned Monarto to Apamurra railway line that once transported the thousands of tonnes of cereal grain produced by farmers in the Murray Plains district.
The end of Hillview Road meets with the relatively busy Pallamana Road, which in recent times has been converted to be one of the main arterial roads leading from the South Eastern Freeway to Mannum and the Riverland.
Riders turn right into Pallamana Road, keeping in mind the increased level of heavy vehicle traffic.
The road passes the prominent Rollo’s Airfield, one of the numerous privately owned fixed and rotary winged airstrips in the district.
This section of Pallamana Road extends for 2.5km, offering a stimulating downhill experience near the end where riders once again briefly meet up with Reedy Creek Road.
A quick dog-leg to the right at Pallamana Road and then to the left into Wagenknecht Road has riders heading in an easterly direction towards Mypolonga.
In effect, the 5km Wagenknecht Road is a continuation of the busy arterial transport route leading from the South Eastern Freeway to Mannum and the Riverland.
Wagenknecht Road passes by some quite productive irrigated onion-growing paddocks and ends at the intersection with Mannum Road, the same road that riders took when they initially departed from the centre of Murray Bridge.
Fortunately, at this intersection most of the vehicular traffic following the main Monarto to Mannum arterial route turn left in the direction of Mannum, while bike riders proceed straight ahead onto Rathjen Road.
The bitumen Rathjen Road provides a nice undulating ride for 8.5km, passing centre pivot irrigation and intensive animal production units.
It crosses numerous rubble side roads until it eventually meets up with a major bitumen cross road variously termed Mypolonga Road or Kallina Drive.
For the cyclist looking for a slightly shorter and less strenuous ride, turning right at this point provides a shortcut back to Murray Bridge, avoiding a few of the up-hills and taking riders past the Mypolonga oval, football clubrooms and RSL.
Public toilets can be found at the Mypolonga oval.
An alternative route for cyclists looking to ride a little further is to turn left at the intersection of Rathjen Road with Mypolonga Road/Kallina Drive and head to Woodlane Reserve on the banks of the River Murray, with an attractive park, boat ramp and nice modern public toilets.
At times the road along the edge of the river flats leading out of Woodlane Reserve, North Bokara Road, may be closed to through traffic; riders then face an uphill climb back to join the main route of this ride.
However, the Mypolonga oval shortcut and Woodlane Reserve longer ride are not part of this particular cycling route.
Referring back to the Rathjen Road intersection, cyclists on this ride proceed straight ahead after crossing Mypolonga Road/Kallina Drive.
Here they enter Carawatha Drive and ride past Paul Prosser’s Revolution Motor Museum of historic vehicles and an olive oil processing facility on the left-hand side, with the Prosser family’s Aussie Apricots factory on the right-hand side.
If cyclists are fortunate, at certain times the Aussie Apricots factory may be open for retail sales of dried fruit and chocolate-dipped treats.
Riding for 2.5km along Carawatha Drive and Woolshed Road, cyclists must then make a sharp right-hand turn into Balanada Drive on the edge of the Mypolonga township.
At this turn-point, the Mypolonga Institute hall and adjacent public toilets can be seen to the left in the township.
Toilets at the Mypolonga Institute hall are be the last ones available to cyclists until the ride returns to Murray Bridge, 17km down the track.
Balanada Drive continues for 4.5km, passing some very nice citrus orchards, new residential blocks and a well known goat dairy.
There is also a gruelling 14% climb at one point along Balanada Drive.
The end of Balanada Drive meets Mypolonga Road and, after a left-hand turn at this point followed by a short ride of 1km, Kuchel Road comes up on the left.
Kuchel Road is an interesting 7.5km undulating section of the loop ride, with slopes of up to 14% incline, but accompanied by exciting downhills.
After crossing Preaminna Creek, a steady climb again takes cyclists up to meet Mannum Road, where they turn left and ride the final 4km straight back across the main Adelaide to Melbourne railway line to the starting point in the main street of Murray Bridge.
More rides of the month:
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