Stratford to: Banbury
!7 miles of pure bikeing joy. After a visit to the waterside in Straford on a Sunday give this usually traffic free road a go. Best bit is the fast up hill left followed by slow steep uphill right at sunrise hill, get your speed and gears right and this is a very rewarding combination. The rest of the route is mostly fast sweepers but there are some slower ones and some are bumpy. Unfortunatly there can be the usual junk associated with farms and tractors after wet weather. Take care through the villages on this route. Otherwise enjoy.
Andover to: Newbury
I am blessed that this is the road I get to travel to work on every day. OK, most of the time I wimp-out and take the car, but on the bike, it puts a smile on my face. Here it is. As you leave Andover under Enham Arch you are tempted by a short stretch of dual carriageway interspersed with a couple of fast clearview roundabouts - get the tyres warmed up here. Give it a quick blast on the short stretch of open road between Andover and Enham, but watch out 'cos this road holds flood water for days after rain. Steady through Enham and don't be tempted to wind-it up too quickly 'cos the first right hander is tight. Now you can go. Into the dip and then into the forrest stretch (some nice twisties - watch out for pheasents and deer) before emerging high above Hurstbourne.
If the conditions are right and you are on the road early in the morning, you may now be given a real treat as you aften get a cloud inversion in the Valley below. It looks stunning as you descend from clear skies into mist. The drop into Hurstbourne is quite steep, over the bridge, lovely double-s (slow though and steady for villagers). As you come out of the village you get a clear view up the hill - wind it back here and burn-off the slowbies. Fast right hander at the top and then power on down the straight past Essebourne Manor. The next bit I find tricky. A sweeping downhill righ-hander through the forrest, followed by a moderatley tight lefty at the bottom. I don't know if its a slight unfavourable camber, or 'cos I've seen two many cars ploughing fields here, but that combo plays on my mind and I always tighten-up! Now a couple of fast bends and up and downy bits (good stuff) before a long up-hill straight through the trees (this looks stunning coming the other way). At the top, another combo, this time a lefty, followed by a down-hill right and then a fast left, before hitting the straight past the Yew Tree. Steady thro' Highclere, under the A34 and onwards into Newbury.
If you do this in reverse, watch out for speed-traps: (i) as you come out of Highclere and (ii) at the bottom of the hill as you enter Hurstbourne. Have fun. About 15 miles of it.
Ashford to: Folkestone
On a nice warm sunny day, try taking the A20 from the Ashford roundabout J10 M20. Follow the road through some nice wide curves, and great straights, national speed limit applies to most sections, although please slow down when entering some of the more picturesque villages.....Bikers in Kent need to maintain a good image!!!!! The A20 takes you alongside the M20,although the back roads are generally empty, look out for the odd FRENCH tourist who's lost the M20..ha ha ha. Safe Riding, and if you see a copper Busa zipping around there, give us a flash!!!
Mitchelstown to: Mitchelstown
Head out the ballyporeen road, go straight through toward's cloheen and onto Ard Finnan. From here go over the bridge and take the middle road up the hill and onto cahair. Turn left at the square in cahair and go past the castle and take the first left toward's cloheen. Into Cloheen and take the road over the Vee into Lizmore. Take the tallow road and then onto Castlelyon's and into Fermoy, Take the main cork dublin road from fermoy to mitchelstown for some very high speed bend's. This route is about 70 miles in total with s bend's mountain road's 90 degree drop off's and hairpins, biker's paradise. The surface is mixed with smooth and rough on the route. Watch for cops bewteen Fermoy and mitchelstown, other than that nail it.
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