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.
Fort William to: Ballachulish-Oban
OK, I do like the Cat and Fiddle, but lets get this straight, there is no road on earth, even Route 1 in the US, that comes close to the stretch from Ballachulish to Oban. Twisty? You get sweaty just bimbling along, there are virtually NO straights at all on this road, yet there is also next to no traffic most of the time. The section from Fort William is absolutely fabulous if you enjoy high speed cornering, er, very high speed, like close to the top end of a modern sportbike, so I am told, of course...
After Ballachulish, tighten up those sliders and drop your shoulders and bend your arms and get ready for a workout...some really grippy surfaces (tho some are really, really shite in the damp), interesting blind corners, great crests for wheelying - normally crossed up, making you feel a right hero, even though it just sort of happens anyway...
There is one section, and I can't remember exactly where, along the coast, where the road goes out into the sea almost, in little penisulas which are made up of 230 degrees corners (yes, they DO come back on themselves) of a constant radius, taken at a reasonable (above 60) pace. There are about 8 of these all in a row on FLAT grippy tarmac, try not to faint with pleasure...you need spare sliders for the return journey, or even half-way through...
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.
Crediton to: Crediton (Devon)
Tyre squaring off??? Use this long afternoon route to grind it back! A3072 from Crediton to Tiverton joining the A396 after Cadbury and a steep decent. Now it's A396 heaven all the way to Dunster on the north coast, barely a momoent with the bike upright. This road is total star quality for views and corners... the only draw back is a very coarse and broken road texture under many of the wooded sections. At Dunster, resist the temptation to turn 180 and ride it back to Tiverton, instead turn West on the A39 for Porlock and its infamous Hill. Road surface is now good and the trip over the top of Exmoor with the sea to your right is a total blast ***watch for dozey drivers exiting picnic areas at 3MPH*** Masses of twisty bits and a tough climb out of Lynton is good value.. More fine corners on the run into Barnstable where things get rather less fun. Avoid the A361 route back to Tiverton as it is the most boring blast ever and popular with the local constabulary.. instead chose The A377, or if you are still craving speedy twists then the the tedious A39 stretch to Bideford leads on to the A386 to Great Torrington and a simple cut back to Crediton Via the A3072. Both the 377 & 386 follow rivers and so include some interesting corners and views.. Loads of traffic at peak season.. mid week in May or September is your best bet. ENJOY.
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