Adelaide’s beach run is a classic Aussie ride and popular year-round.

Publisher’s Note: Cycling Adelaide & Banding Together At The TDU

James Yaffa explains how other cities can learn from Adelaide, and how we can all benefit from the Tour Down Under.

Yes, we have heard it so often, but I’ll say it again … how good is riding a bike in Adelaide!

I’ve been visiting Adelaide for well over 20 years, it’s a mandatory annual trip for me as I’m married to the state! Each time I jump on a bike in Adelaide I keep saying “how good is this place for road cycling?” Or is that just the jaded perspective of an endlessly frustrated Sydneysider? The thoughts of a rider with a deep longing for high-quality hard bitumen roads, dedicated bike lanes and friendly motorists who appear to actually respect cyclists?

Kitting up and cycling in Adelaide makes you want to ride more regularly and that’s the ultimate goal for the key players in our industry. The obvious mantra of more people on bikes is what our industry wants, and surely our governments as well.

Clearly, Adelaide does not have the population numbers of the eastern states and, let’s face it, it was well-designed from the outset. On top of that, the city is remarkably clean! (Maybe it’s time to take a good hard look at yourself Sydney).

“…cycling in Adelaide makes you want to ride more regularly and that’s the ultimate goal for the key players in our industry…”

Adelaide roads are generally wider, and the bike paths are immaculately designed and clearly marked. In the case of my own state, and specifically Sydney, let’s be honest – cycling and rider safety is not even a consideration. Heck, it’s taken more than 50-years for a ramp on the northern side of the Harbour Bridge!

Enjoy riding Adelaide? #adlsucksforcycling is well worth following on Instagram, and its name is far from the truth.

Other Cities Lagging Behind

Cycling in Australia’s largest city is all but an urban planning afterthought, and sadly the horse bolted many years ago. Put simply, it’s just embarrassing, and a shambolic mess and I won’t waste any more precious column inches outlining Sydney’s road problems and lack of cycling infrastructure.

It’s a vastly different story in Adelaide. The various relatively flat rides such as out to Glenelg, to Semaphore or the Outer Harbour. Or for those keen on extra leg strength work the Adelaide hills are 6km from the centre of town. The Old Highway to Crafers, up legendary Greenhills, or that all-time classic Norton Summit … what a beauty!

I had the fortunate experience of testing what is surely the world’s ultimate super bike on Nortons  – the uber-impressive Cervelo S5. It’s not often you jump on a bike and think “is this for real?” The performance of this bike is beyond impressive! If you haven’t test ridden this super bike it’s a must. It’s a bike worthy of Adelaide, the perfect ride for such an impressive cycling city.

The twenty plus year history of the Tour Down Under has delivered so many benefits for cycling in South Australia. Culturally, the event has helped educate the population about cycling and I feel many drivers are in a more positive head space when it comes to sharing Adelaide roads. And that for me is a key reason why I love cycling in SA as you feel like you belong and have more respect from the public.

Band Together For TDU24

Now to the recent Tour Down Under, an absolutely standout event, and definitely one of the all-time classic TDUs – full credit to new Race Director Stuart O’Grady plus Annette Edmondson and Carlie Taylor.

But one aspect of the 10-day extravaganza was a disappointment to many who support the event, and that was the bike industry pop-ups on the periphery of the official event village and expo.

Supporting Australia’s biggest cycling event means supporting the Australian cycling industry. And ultimately this keeps you employed and hopefully your doors open. 

The fifth and final stage of the 2023 TDU, Mt Lofty’s Schwalbe Stage 5.

As a small event organiser, I understand the time, commitment, expense, and sheer passion that goes into these events, and full kudos to TDU organisers and the SA Government who are delivering innumerable benefits to the bike industry.

The idea that companies and brands capitalise off the TDU by exhibiting in pop-up stores around Adelaide is akin to divorce counselling practitioners setting up a stall outside the church of the bride and groom. I see it as low-end tactics and I know I’m not alone in my thinking.

Imagine if the industry banded together in a more unified fashion and we all supported this WorldTour event on home soil. Participants would love it, the benefits would flow freely, and the big winners would be the sport and cycling industry as a whole. 


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