Distance – 20km
Elevation Gain – 326m
The White Swan loop is as beautiful as the name suggests. The loop is a short 20km ride with endless options if you prefer a longer ride or you’re chasing vertical gain.
Despite the elevation gain this is a great loop for anyone. There is only one significant climb and multiple options to extend the distance and add some more elevation gain.
Within 10-15 minute of leaving Racers Café and Bar you are out of town and away from traffic.
The major climb on Alkera Rd is steep in parts, (hitting upwards of 9% gradient) but comfortably negotiated if you have the right gearing. The day we rode the White Swan loop a lady on a Hybrid Bike was climbing Alkera at the same time as us, and she still had energy for a smile and a wave.
The descent down Alkera Rd is short but lots of fun. The road snakes its way down for almost a kilometre at the perfect gradient that doesn’t require a pedal stroke to carry speed. The next climb of the day is ‘five ways from west’, a 1.8 km climb that averages 4.3% gradient. The gentle gradient can be attacked or spun over. There are no steep bits and it is the perfect length for anyone looking to do hill reps of 6-8 minutes duration.
The White Swan loop takes you around the outskirts of Ballarat, but you could swear the town was a million miles away. Once you cross over the freeway it’s just undulating terrain with farmland and wildlife for company (as well as a couple of random camels in a paddock!).
As the name suggests, keep your eyes open for the giant white swan installation in the distance.
There are many small detours from the White Swam loop. It’s very easy to include 2-3 more hills such as Spring Rd (1 km at 4.9% gradient) or Longs Hill Rd (1.3km at 5.1% gradient).
The hilly nature of the loop provides a lot of protection from the wind, making it the perfect training loop on a windy day.
A sincere thanks goes to the following for helping make this Destination series such a success:
Ballarat + Sebastapol Cycling Club – especially Jenni, Liam, Nick and Tim and Karen for their local knowledge and good riding legs!
The Avanti Racing Team – thanks to our superstar tour guides Pat Shaw and Matt Clark