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A505/B565/A507

Barton-le-Clay, Beds to: Newton, Essex

Join the A505 at Barton heading towards Hitchin and start with a maxed out straight half a mile climbing up to the first of the med/fast sweepers almost all of which are much faster than they look (where's your bottle ?) and half of which are blind so you can't resist going back and doing it again just to prove a point. Slow down going through the village of Hexton, which is a real shame cos it's really a chicane not a village, then pump it up hill, blind right, don't back off - it'll work. Take it easy on the red tarmac corner (decreasing radius) then basically hammer it all the way through a series of S-bends until it straightens out. Watch out for cars turning across your path here, the junction's on the crest/bend, then ignore the SLOW sign on the fast left, it lies (although you may meet a tractor cos there's a farm entrance, your call,)and slow down going through Hitchin. Turn right at the main roundabout towards Stevenage, round the bypass to another one and exit to the B565 Codicote (described well elsewhere but mistakenly called both the A656 and the A507)this is a good road, and it gets faster every time I ride it, most bends have +'ve cambers, visibility is good or at least you can see the line of the hedges ahead and there's that nice blend of enough cars to carve past and yet not so many that they get in the way. It's not exactly a race track, but all the corners are of the type that makes you feel you got it close to perfect. When you get to Codicote keep going to Welwyn, then bomb up the A1M for a couple of Junctions (I haven't found a better way - there are lanes but too narrow/slow for any fun, so best just get it over with) and join the A507 to Baldock and then on to Buntingford (described elsewhere) then go into Buntingford (Little Chef on your right) and take a left down the A1038 towards Quendon which is for the most part med/fast and twisty and seems to go on for ages once you're past the dogleg X-roads. Apparently there's a good road (A1060) from Bishops Stortford (2 mins from Quendon) too so God knows where you could end up. These roads aren't the ultimate dog's bollocks but this is Beds/Herts/Essex not Dartmoor or Buxton. I defy anyone to do this route without having a YEEE-HAH or three.


A12

Saxmundham to: Circular route

Turn off the A12 onto to B1119 towards Framlingham. This is a very twisty road with lots of tight corners to start with and opening up a little (getting faster) towards Framlingham. From Fram take the B1116 towards Dennington. Beware of the sharp 90 degree bends but enjoy the hump back bridge ! At Dennington go straight accross the staggered junction (over the A1120 - also a good road) and continue on the B1116 this section is a little bumpy for bikes of a nervous disposition. After 3-4 miles turn right towards Halesworth on the B1117. This road is great fun, especially the section around Heveningham Hall. The villages around here will make you think your bike is a time machine but beware of tractors, horses and various crap on the road, some of the junctions can be a bit gravelly. Halesworth is a bit dull so just pass straight through and make your way to the A12 at Blythburgh. Turn south and then Turn left immediatly after the White Hart pub (B1125). Follow this road all the way down to Leiston. From here you can either turn left towards Saxmundham and back to where you started or pass through and go to Thorpeness and its Biker friendly tea shops. Alternatively head further south past Snape Maltings and have some fun on the roads around Tunstall and Rendlesham Forests. Be warned, all the villages in Suffolk have 30mph limits and lots of places for the Police to hide, so knock it off when passing through.


B6265

Ripon to: Harrogate

From A1 jctn 48 (Boroughbridge), head into Ripon on the B6265. Carry on thru Ripon on the B6265 towards Pateley Bridge. Cracking scenery on sunny evenings and nice dips, corners and straights. Watch out for side roads, prone to having cars pulling out of them. Stay on B6265 thru Pateley Bridge and go up Greenhow Hill. Take left turn signposted Harrogate and enjoy another several miles of open road over 'The Tops'. BEWARE...this road is occasionally monitored by the dreaded unmarked Impreza as a couple of riders have met their maker on this stretch before...Join A59 turning left towards Harrogate.


BBBB

Harlow to: Baldock

Although not a biker, I drive a Caterham and enjoy the same types of roads. Excuse the copying to start with. Take the A414 from Harlow to Chipping Ongar which has some good bends but a few double white lines. At the Four Wantz roundabout (BP garage) turn left onto the B184 to Great Dunmow, when you get to the T junction after about 7 miles turn right on to the A1060 Chelmsford. Then after about a mile turn left back onto the B184. Go through Great Dunmow High street, it's a bit narrow but loud pipes do sound good. As you leave Dunmow turn right onto the B1057, which is on a left hand corner. This road will take you all the way to Finchingfield. The road surfaces are all pretty good and there are some good corner combinations with a left hander that just gets tighter and tighter between Dunmow and Finchingfield. When you get there, there is a good biker friendly pub on a big green that gets really busy in the summer. At the green, turn left onto the B1053 to Saffron Walden. This road is mostly empty even in the summer and has a few fast sections but plenty of corners with varied visability - there are several villages to be passed before arriving at Saffron Walden. When you arrive at the top of the High Street, turn left following signs to Bishop Stortford then right at the small roundabout and then straight over the first mini-roundabout and left at the second mini-roundabout (almost immediate) onto the B1052 heading West. At the T-junction, turn right onto the B1383 and first left (1/2 mile) onto the B1039 to Barley. There is a 30mph limit as soon as you turn onto this road - but opens up when you've past through Wendens Ambo. Keep going until you reach Barley, where you pass under the arch for the Fox& Hounds. Optionally, turn right here onto the B1368 and head to Flint Cross (take care here as there is typically a fatality each month between car drivers - nearly found out the hard way) where you take a right/left dogleg to Newton where the Queen's Head beckons. Otherwise, turn left onto the B1368 towards Hare Street where you turn right onto the B1038 to Buntingford. Then take the well known A507 to Baldock.


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