Riding out of Mintaro and beyond. Insider secrets – Chat with a local
With our Wine, Wheels & Whiting event only weeks away – Bike SA has a chat to a local about the best spots to ride in the Clare Valley.
Nathaniel Peek has family in the Clare Valley and Mintaro. With wife Ruth and their children Atticus, aged 4, and younger sister Freya, 1, the family moved back from Canberra in recent years. He speaks with great energy and enthusiasm about the Mintaro area and the rides available.
“The baton has been passed to the younger generation – you can see it.”
You get the impression he knows a lot of people like him, people who have been raised or had family in the area, people who have lived interstate or overseas and have returned ready to breathe new life into the region. He says he came back to the region a cyclist. Raised in Adelaide, he was encouraged by his father to join a mountain bike club as a pre-teen, saying he was not really interested in the mainstream sports.
Nathaniel recalls, ” My father allowed me to stay up and watch the Tour on SBS.”
Following some time overseas, Nathaniel returned to Australia where his interest in cycling grew into a passion and he began racing competitively.
“I got really involved in Canberra,” says Nathaniel.
“Biking became my passion.”
Founding “The Berm”, an online network for mountain bike enthusiasts during this time, he has only recently ‘handed it on’. Around this time he began racing and 24 hour solo rides.
Return to the Valley & Mintaro
“That was the area I really enjoyed, more than sprint,” Nathan reflects, “as you get older, you get better endurance.”
Nathan’s current interest includes road riding around Mintaro and he is keen to develop all forms of cycling in the Mintaro area. According to Nathaniel, the Clare Valley Riesling Trail is very popular but Mintaro is often overlooked far as a cycling destination.
“Basically, with Mintaro, there are four ways out of town”, says Nathaniel. “and they’re all different.”
In fact, Nathaniel believes these are some of the most beautiful, safest roads to ride because there are generally fewer trucks and when there are, they tend to be seasonal.
“There are a few, at grain harvest – late December/early January, when it’s really a bit hot to ride, and a few at the grape harvest period around February/March.”
He owns a number of bikes, including cyclocross and describes the area around Skilly Hills as very beautiful.
“There are amazing dirt roads, climbs and vistas”.
Wine, Wheels & Whiting – September 11-12-13
Being a local of the Clare Valley – we ask Nathaniel for some tips for our upcoming ride. When asked about the route for the inaugural Wine, Wheels & Whiting ride, Nathaniel offered some handy observations and hints:
- Weather wise, wind is a factor.
- There are lots of plains and open space which might be a challenge.
- Riding in a bunch would be beneficial.
“Barunga Gap between Snowtown and Bute has some climbing into Bute, there is a slight downhill, then after, it flattens out to Kadina,” says Nathaniel. “By the time everyone gets to Bute they should have a big smile on their face.”
“There are lots of beautiful plains. It’s so green at the moment, it’s like a patchwork quilt.”
You can hear Nathaniel speak at the inaugral Wine, Wheels & Whiting Dinner in Clare on Friday Night at the Bentleys Hotel. Come and ride in the event on Saturday 12 September. There are 3 great rides to choose from as riders make their way from Clare all the way to Wallaroo on the Copper Coast. Or take part in the Family Ride along the Wallaroo foreshore.