Baldock to: Buntingford
9 miles in Hertfordshire, nicely undulating with some great curves. The road's in two sections, divided by the picturesque village of Cottered with it's excellent village pub (The Bull) and less excellent 30mph speed limit in this otherwise national-limit road. Both sections give ample opportunity for knee-down, but the Baldock half is fastest (easy ton-plus) and has a little solid-double-white-line towards the middle. The Buntingford half is a little tighter and has a nice tight S-bend. The road surface is generally very good but is a little bumpy in places. The route is terminated by roundabouts at both ends so it's easy to go around for another go :-)
Buntingford to: Newmarket
Turn off the A10 at Buntingford on to B1038 - Although this route is peppered with villages there are some opportunities to go really fast in between. Sometimes a bit mucky but a good mixture of lefts and rights, up and downhill corners and straights. At Newport turn left briefly onto B1383 and then turn right onto B1052 (Saffron Walden) and follow this road all the way to Linton. This section has some great moments with some knee down opportunities and one bit which has some smooth and fast snaking with open view of the road ahead (getting through Saffron Walden can be tricky - TAKE SIGNS TO TOWN CENTRE PAST TWO MINI ROUNDABOUTS. WHEN YOU GET TO TRAFFIC LIGHTS AT TOWN CENTRE, TURN RIGHT AND THEN FOLLOW ROAD STRAIGHT ON). At Linton follow signs for Balsham. Once through Linton its a short run to Balsham which is the living shit if you like it fast,bumpy and safely tankslappy. Follow B1052 through Balsham (slowly, I know people who live there) and stay on the same road all the way to Newmarket where, at some point, it will have miraculously cahnged into the B1061. This section has better Tarmac than the previous roads and some lovely corners but it also boasts the only speed cameras I am aware of on this route.
The Cat and Fiddle, Cheshire to: Junction of the A523
So, you think the Cat and Fiddle is hard work? OK, not so many twisties, and a variety of surfaces, this is best done the wrong way round, tho for the first timer, best tackled from the Cat and Fiddle end of things near Macc. Go past the Cat', look out for the hidden dip as you drop left, turn right onto the road that comes back on yourself (the A54 to Congleton)...dead straight but bumpy, then it goes a bit mental, with large drops on the left and blind right handers. This is THE raod to get airborne on, and often coming the other way you can get the front wheel well in the air as the road turn L/R beneath you...heheheh!
There is one particular section just past the turning for Macc forest, coming toward the Cat, looks like a table-top and can almost be taken as such whilst legal, tho for most danger, exceeding by 30% will help air-time...
There are a couple of sections of really crappy surface toward the end of the road, so watch out. Also, if you decide to carry on over the traffic lights (watch out for red-light runners, this junction has seen a lot of fatalities from red light repmobile runners) watch out for the speed cam as you start to come into Congleton - it's on the start of a steep downhill section about 100 yards after the 40 signs, so you should (of course) be sticking the speed down anyway...most fun is to be had by turning round and riding the rollercoaster sections of this road anyway...
Wantage to: Swindon
What, another good road in Oxfordshire (see B4494)? This one is relatively slow and only a few miles long, but a real test of handling. Do not attempt to go fast on a Pan-European! The key section runs from Letcombe to Ashbury, past the famous White Horse (a great place to stop and picnic). Try it carefully on your first visit. It's VERY tight and twisty, swooping up and down enough to make you seasick, and has nice gravelly apexes, bumpy patches and barbed wire fences everywhere to add spice. But it's very satisfying when you get it right. Mid-week off-peak is best, and unfortunately should be avoided on Sundays, when the road fills up with hikers, cyclists, grannies etc.
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