Our first edition of Purlieu is from a young group of lads who just so happen to live in one of the cycling epicentres of the southern hemisphere; Adelaide, Australia. Some of us may not be familiar with the city ourselves, but many may have viewed its terrain through our screens. The TDU gains our attention purely due to the fact it is the first to break the racing drought that is the offseason. Centino is the crew who ride, decked out in custom team kit made by the gents from Lumiere, around the streets of Adelaide. The crew are avid ‘grammers and this is what initially caught our attention. We reached out to Avi about featuring in our first edition and he was more than happy to oblige, ready with a gallery of images he had captured. Turns out Avi designed that sharp Centino Cycling kit too... We knew we were off to a good start.
Centino Willunga Transfer
Words & Images: Avinash Kunjamboo
There is only one stage that resonates with spectators and cycling enthusiasts alike when the ‘TDU’ is mentioned and that is the ever infamous Willunga Hill. As a team based in Adelaide and having recently realised that as a group we had never made it out to Willunga during the tour, we just had to visit when the first chance arose.
We’d always wanted to do a transfer ride, it sounds like something a close team of mates should do as an initiation into the group, yet we’d not experienced one for ourselves. As far as I’m aware, a transfer ride involves hopping on a train or any form of transport that will get you out real far to a destination that is just the beginning. The real challenge is riding back home, pretty much enforcing a minimum number of kilometres. A basic search yielded information about a train departing Adelaide that would take us out close to Willunga. We jumped at the opportunity and with two days of (hardly) planning and plenty of enthusiasm in our legs and lungs, we found ourselves on a train ready to begin our journey.
Boarding the train, we parked our freshly cleaned and regreased bikes up in the allocated spots, found our seats and swiftly began giving Ethan shit for donning shocking ankle socks and unshaven legs. ‘But I couldn’t find my cycling socks!’ a poor excuse and behaviour that would normally be a sure-fire way to be shunned from the group ride, the train being underway unfortunately prevented his ejection.
After the ensuing barrage of Instagram stories featuring Ethan's complete disregard for style had fizzled out, we arrived. The planned route was Seaford to Willunga, back down the hill, through McLaren Vale and into Meadows, then finally back to Adelaide.
The symphony of freewheel clicks signalled that the bikes had come off the train. We walked the minimum distance required to be considered ‘courteous’ to pedestrians. Just as we were readying to throw a leg over… the first issue arose. Turns out the socks were the least of Ethan’s problems. He’s currently running 30 psi as he hadn't hadn’t thought it necessary in his transfer ride preparation to check his tyres at any point prior to now. Not a lone candidate in the #yourbikehatesyou presidency race, Adrian’s headset is so loose that his front wheel turns independently of his handlebars. Perfect for fast steep descents right? This is gearing up to be just another standard Centino ride.
Armed with some key local knowledge gained mid bike fix, we set off along some mythical ’Rail Trail’. Low and behold the dreary name is somewhat deceiving, it’s a complete goldmine. It was possibly the most scenic riding most of us had ever done in our lives, a definite must see if visiting 'Radelaide' and an apt lead up to the famous Willunga Hill.
Similar to other well-known climbs in Adelaide, the place is buzzing with the sound of the hubs of recently victorious hill climbers, the shrill sound resonating over your right shoulder. The familiar sound serves as a reminder that ascending merely precedes descending and that the suffering would soon be over. This also happens at the same time that you begin to notice the sun is making the most of that small patch of unprotected skin on the back of your neck. Willunga. There’s some aura about the place that is hard to explain, but every painted name on the road underfoot is a reminder that you’re visiting a place where great battles have been won and lost on these very roads!
It was certainly difficult to take in the beautiful scenery as you pushed the pedals, quietly begging for the cool wind to grace your face as all you can feel is heat all the while the lactic acid burn is building up in your legs. One pedal after another, the pain starts to fade and the environment comes to the front of your conscious, it’s beautiful. Upon reaching the top of one hill we come across the large KOM sign on the road, symbolising we'd reached the location where many race winning moves had begun. Today, for me at least, it was the end of the beginning as the rest of the group had long dropped me. We regroup at the top, all too keen to fang down the descent to our first fuel stop ready for a well-deserved smoothie.
Riding through the countryside post-break proved to be difficult for some due to varying fitness levels. The ensuing promise of house made meat pies and veggie pasties at the Meadows Bakery meant the squad managed to pull through and get there in one piece, albeit scattered splintered into three separate groups.
Fuelled with hot pastries and cold beverages, we off again. The route leads us through Mylor where we then turned off into Aldgate Valley Rd, another hidden gem. The scenery was a definite morale booster. After spending a whole day in the saddle, it was safe to say most of the boys were feeling quite deprived of energy and the visual stimulation proved to work wonders in numbing our heavy legs. We were almost home.
The next road lead us to a speedy descent down the old freeway back into the heart of Adelaide. There's something to be said about the powerful draw of heading home, it is a great motivator. Thoughts quickly switched to sustainance. In our opinions the day’s efforts had earnt us a hearty meal complete with all the trimmings. Sorted then. We were finsihing our solid day on the bike by rollinhg on into our favourite burger joint, Burger Theory.
Reflecting on our first transfer ride, I was somehwat surprised that the logistical planning of it went so smoothly, which ultimately made for such an incredible experience. Willunga Hill was definitely the highlight of the trip, living up to all expectations. The rest, even factoring in all the mechanicals, made a for a typical Centino bike ride. We had definitely ticked off everything that we wanted; the novelty of going on a transfer ride, finding new roads and experiencing great moments with great people. Where to next?
Purlieu is a spotlight on some of the best cycling districts all over the world by those that are closest to them. We're featuring locals who are all too keen to share their favourite backroads, laneways, gravel paths and single tracks. We're not editing out any of the tall stories or the embarrassing mishaps. Instead, we'll be showcasing them for you all to read. We're after the inside knowledge from the ride leaders, the weekend warriors and the adventurous at heart. If you have a great discovery, a tale of adventure or a cycling story you'd like share please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org