CLC2018 Ride 5: The seven switchbacks of Mount Nelson

My weekday morning routine is pretty standard. Wake up early, bowl of porridge for breakfast, get ready, then wheel the Ninja out of the garage for a blast into the office.

I plan my departure time depending on how long I want to be out cycling before work. There’s nothing like and hour’s sunrise pedalling to set you up for the day ahead. This morning I left home in plenty of time to complete my ride and have time to spare for a post-ride coffee, but it wasn’t quite to be.

Tasmanian Police are currently on a motorcycle crackdown, so just outside of Hobart I was pulled over to have my license and registration checked. The officer even told me I’d probably be pulled a few times this week. Fine with me, there’s too many irresponsible unlicensed riders and unregistered bikes on the roads down here. I was all clean of course, but that roadside delay meant I was running late for my morning ritual.

I had it in my head to complete two full climbs of Mount Nelson, one of the many great climbs around Hobart. I actually found this climb using Google Earth while I was still living in England and the seven switchbacks of Nelson Road were on the top of my “must ride” list on moving to Tassie. As I was planning two repeats, today would be a fourteen switchback morning!

Views for miles and miles…

The base of the climb is only about 3km from my office so it’s an all-too-short warm up before hitting the climb. Between the Casino turn-off at sea level and the Signal Station Cafe at the very top is 6.7km of winding road aiming skywards, giving it a Cat 2 rating. I’ve ridden it a number of times now as it makes for a great recreational climb – or if you’re training hard the perfect place for a 20 minute all-out FTP test!

The majority of the road is residential housing, but still offers views across the bay that get better as you negotiate each hairpin bend and rise further above sea level. I assume the million dollar houses that line each side of the road have substantial views too! Once you reach the top you’ll come to the Signal Station, one of my favourite places around Hobart to watch the sun rise.

Sunrises from the Signal Station make all the climbing worth it!

If you’re ever out this way, I hear the cafe at the top does a fantastic cream tea plus a vast selection of cakes! I’ve not indulged yet as it’s not open early in the day when I’m usually up there.

At the top on a sunnier morning than today.

Due to my little roadside police chat I didn’t have enough time to complete two full climbs, so it was one all the way to the Signal Station and a second just climbing the switchbacks. This also meant I didn’t have time to visit my local cafe of choice afterwards, so I had to make do with a takeaway coffee and pastry a little later in the morning. Still, I got a decent hour’s ride in and some much needed climbing in my legs. Can’t complain!

Climbing done, all endorphin’d up for a day at the office.

The sound of a perfectly lubed chain whirring through a fresh drivetrain, slick summer tyres humming across the blacktop as you spin, otherwise silently over country roads early in the morning.

5 response to "CLC2018 Ride 5: The seven switchbacks of Mount Nelson"

  1. By: Tony Cullimore Posted: April 12, 2018

    I can confirm the Signal Station is well worth a visit for tea, cake or meal. The view from there is, in my opinion, equal to the top of Mt Wellington. Yhere is a walk up to the Station from Cartwright Reserve at Taroona. The walk is up the Truganini Track named after the last full-blood Tasmanian Aboriginal.

    The son of a friend used to go to College at Mt Nelson and skate boarded down the bends you are climbing to his home in Taroona. He survived a year of this “bravery” somehow.

    As an ex-Hobart motorcyclist myself, I hope the cops clear out some of the undesirables with their blitz.

  2. By: The Navigator Posted: April 12, 2018

    You really have a tremendous start to your mornings – zipping along on a ninja bike then climbing (I love climbing) on the pushbike to fabulous views… all before work. I am not a morning person AT ALL, but I have a heap of respect for what you can accomplish while everyone else is sitting in traffic or, like me, staying in bed until the last possible moment. Well done.

    • By: tempocyclist Posted: April 13, 2018

      Yes it’s been a long journey to where I am now, but I am blessed to finally have the lifestyle I do now. I’m learning to love the climbs these days too, in the past I avoided any big ones in favour of fast and flatter.

  3. By: Suzanne Posted: April 13, 2018

    Impressive early morning riding!

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