A20 Strangford Lough, Co. Down to: Bishopscourt / Sunflower races ?
Ideal if you're going to the Bishopscourt races (and you should!) A20 Strangford Lough & Down Coast Circular, County Down Start this one anywhere, equal but different views if you reverse the route (almost prefer it.) Take the A20 south from Newtonards to Portaferry. Roads can be congested up to Greyabbey but open up along the Lough side (smell those sedentary depositis when the tide is out!). Some rolling hills towards Portaferry. Stop near the casellated ruin near Exploris which is up a slight hill from the (signposted) ferry if you like a visit the sealife museum there. Good caf1/ice cream dispensing. Take the ferry to Strangford (need some money but much cheaper for bikes). Even in the wet the open, chain-dragging ferry is reasonably safe with anti-slip paint. As the ferry jinks around you try and balance the ?bike. Bizzare or what ? Try this with some kind of overtall, top heavy trail bike with a full tank of fuel, but only if I1m watching please! Sorry. Get waived off the ferry, and take the first signposted turn left to Ardglass (A2), following the coastline South. As you emerge from Strangford you might see some seals basking in the shallows by a picnic / viewing spot. From here on the road is narrow and bendy but loadsafun. Pass via Ballyhornan to Ardglass. Great fish and chip shop (obvious). The B1 Downpatrick road on your right as you come in takes you to the Bishopscourt racetrack, home of the International Sunflower Trophy Races, close by. Excellent. This 3detour2 could be handy if the roads from Downpatrick are bunged. Through Ardglass keep going South to Killough, through Minerstown and past Tyrella Beach. There1s a pausing opportunity here too if you want axles buried in sand and to pay to park. Keep on the A2 and eventually over an old switchback railway bridge. Pass some weird winblasted stands of trees. Eventually you emerge on the main A24 Newcastle Belfast road. The possibilities are endless. North back to Belfast via Ballynahinch ? South to Newcastle and the Mournes ? The A25 to Downpatrick and the western shores of Strangford Lough through Killyleagh ? Or reverse the route ? Up to you but - enjoy.
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!!!
Pirbright to: Frimley Green
Awesome set of corners that link together into a great little piece of road. Excellent surface, few houses. Can be tricky to find. Get to Pirbright in Surrey. Ride North through Pirbright till you get to a set of lights at a railway bridge. Turn left and follow the road - eventually it dips 90 degrees right under the railway, and the fun starts. You can make a circuit out of some other roads up here. When you come out in Frimley Green, make a left. Continue on this road (A321) until you get to a double mini-roundabout. Turn left there and you're off again. This eventually comes out by the turn under the railway bridge where you nearly fell off earlier! Here's a URL - use the zoom out facility on the site to get the big picture. http://www.streetmap.co.uk/streetmap.dll?G2M?X=490500&Y=155500&A=Y&Z=3 One word - keep it down when going past the houses on the straights or this play area will quickly get stamped on by angry locals.
Cromford to: A515
This road is both fantastically twisty and exceptionally beautiful. Pocket Rocket territory, then right on A515 to Matlock. This road swoops and soars over the low Peaks, not much in the way of bends but great speed (up to 70mph at least!).
Known locally as Via Gellia. You should point out that the A515 is heavily patrolled by the boys in blue, unmarked cars......be circumspect especially just right towards Buxton long inviting straights. Once into Buxton, head past the Hospital and up towards Whalley Bridge past the Goyt Valley.If you think the A5012 is good this is even better and better still coming back (mainly uphill) but be advised it takes no prisoners.
I'd add my weight to the A5012 being a GREAT route. However it may be worth adding that if you then continue up the A515 to Buxton that you should keep an eye open for the boys in blue. This is a favourite section for them to pull bikes and cars. It's so straight that people race along it, but there are some tricky blind summits and there have been a lot of accidents (mainly cages). The police tend to sit on the top of a long incline so they can time people between the white timing marks on the road as they approach. They also used to operate a variety of unmarked police cars (even a VW Golf once). Fortunately I've never been stopped, but a warning on the page wouldn't go amiss (here it is ed.). I've never seen anyone being stopped on the A5012 except for the 30mph approach to Cromford where I've seen a handheld radar gun in use, so go easy here also. A few more warnings about the A5012 are that at this time of year it's pretty slippery as it tends to collect and retain a lot of the fallen leaves. Also there are a number of quarries on this old Roman route (the Via Gellia) which a) are slow if loaded and b) cause a lot of nice slippy limestone to be spread around the entrances. There is one short section between a sharp right and sharp left (going towards Buxton) where a big pool collects after heavy rain. There is usually a temporary flood sign but don't go racing on dark nights during a storm! If you keep to the crown of the road you should avoid most of the puddle.
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