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Ride of the Month: Sturt Reserve, Murray Bridge
A cyclists’ paradise with river views is right under our noses, writes Dale Manson.
Riding the relatively short road circuit loop around the beautiful Sturt Reserve parkland-like precinct is far from repetitious.
Most local road cyclists relish the opportunity to venture not far from home to clock up kilometres on this flat bitumen surface offering challenging bends, stimulating sprint straights and interesting riverside views.
A hub of social activity for tourists and locals alike, the Sturt Reserve precinct offers road bike riders two cycling circuits: one 1.4 kilometres in length and the other a loop of 1.7km.
The mix of pedestrians, runners, picnickers, kayakers, swimmers, young people, cars and cyclists is never an issue, provided everyone is mindful of each other’s presence.
Here riders can access general information about other local tourist trails for cyclists and walkers alike.
The parking area adjacent to the trail head is also an ideal spot for mountain bike riders, trail walkers or road cyclists to park their vehicles without any time limit.
Venturing into Sturt Reserve proper, the genuine diversity of free entertainment options for cyclists’ families becomes apparent, with facilities including an undercover children’s playground, skate park, child’s bike pump track, outdoor gym, walking trails, historic monuments, the bunyip and numerous complimentary covered electric barbecue areas.
Public toilets, a water fountain and three high quality dining venues are also present in the Sturt Reserve precinct, while the main supermarket shopping and hotel areas are close by.
Once the family is occupied with other pursuits, cyclists can get down to their real reason for visiting Sturt Reserve.
Ample parking around the area permits road cyclists to unload their bikes right beside the riding circuit.
Part of the attraction of Sturt Reserve for local cyclists is the long-standing tradition of participating in the very informal Sturt 100 night cycling activity, held just after Christmas each year.
Despite being very informal and not a race or competition, the Sturt 100 offers a personal challenge for cyclists to either ride 100 laps of Sturt Reserve or complete a total of 100 kilometres.
The activity is open to whoever turns up at Sturt Reserve on the evening, irrespective of bike type, riding ability or personal goal.
The riverside roadway of Sturt Reserve is designated one-way at a maximum vehicle speed of 40km per hour in a clockwise direction, providing a relative obstacle-free riding route for cyclists, although a sharp eye must always be on the lookout for holidaying drivers backing out of car park spaces without paying attention to other users of the roadway.
The roadway around the Sturt Reserve precinct comprises a series of public roads, meaning all cyclists still need to observe normal road rules.
Of particular significance are the road junctions where roadways intersect and cyclists must be vigilant to give way to oncoming or turning vehicles.
Cycling is quite popular across the Murray Bridge community, as illustrated by the road bike affixed to the top of the Travellers’ Totem sculpture located on the riverbank adjacent to the road cycling circuit.
Constructed from a former river wharf pylon and rail spikes, this significant sculpture was commissioned to celebrate the history and diversity of transport used by the Murray Bridge community since the town was first established in the 1880s.
Cyclists riding around the flat Sturt Reserve road cycling circuit should not feel restricted to that area, with ample opportunity to venture elsewhere in the town, where the terrain can be somewhat hillier and distances more challenging.
At the end of the day, when it comes time to head back home again, the most difficult task may be getting the kids away from Sturt Reserve’s junior pump track and skate park.
More rides of the month
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