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.
Ilfracombe to: Salcombe
Excellent roads with plenty of nice features. From the North of the county to the South, you will frequently pass other motorists plodding along at a safe speed, usually within the legal speed-limit, whilst travelling through many villages where the local inhabitants stand at the side of the road, recording the registration numbers of speeding motorcyclists, and then reporting them to the Police.
Occasionally, but more frequently, due to the ratio of Intelligence : Disposable Income rapidly diminishing amongst new bikers these days, you will see a bunch of flowers at the side of the road, or nestling in a brick wall, usually with a note of rememberance. These are usually there because someone died in a road-traffic-accident, and local statistics show that motor-cyclists are often involved, either in being a partial cause or often being the fatal victim of the accident.
If you are exceptionally lucky, you may come across the result of an RTA, where the dead or dying motorcyclist is still lying prostrate on the road, due to excessive speeding along a normally safe stretch of road. Body parts may also be seen, often where the rider has hit a stone wall after colliding with an oncoming vehicle. However, it is best left to the Police to clear up the mess and hose down the road, before re-opening the highway to the rest of the public who drive with reasonable care and attention.
Winchester to: Haywards Heath
Lots of good twisty-windy and good clear viz straights for the speed merchs. Many good pubs along the route-esp in towns, but check all the small tributary roads for small local village pubs. You be in deepest ruralia and the beer/food is good....but of course no drinking!
London to: Salcombe
Come out of London on M3 join A303 , long sweeping bends, v.fast straights with some gatso's clearly signposted, loads of round-a-bouts to surf all really good quality surface with little traffic, even on Bank Holiday weekend. Stop off at Stonehenge for a half way smoke then onto Exeter. Join A38 and come off at any number of junctions for last 20 miles to Salcombe on tight technical twisties finish at Kings Arms.
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