Nuneaton to: M42
A good summer Sunday run this one (We go from Nuneaton) Out of Nuneation past the Graziers Pub, the first couple of miles to the A5 are a good warm up, and decides who's leading and chasing. Across the A5 and its brain out time! Past Fenny Drayton village watch out for the cross roads, then nail it into the Drayton bends. Get 'um right and you'll go over the rise to Sibson like rocket! Fast downhill sweepers now till the village (Slow it through the vallage as theres a turning on the left - 2 bike deaths in as many years) Once past, knock it down and go, the lazy 's' bends out of the village are sweet but be on your guard for the junction at the top of the hill. It's downhill again then with a really fast right, left, right sweep onto the Twycross straight (Top speed duel time). Through the village and there is a straight, bend, straight section till you get to a 90deg right by the zoo entrance thats a bit of a pig (I always go in too fast). Then its on the gas again (note junction on right hand side), careful for sidewinds as this bit is pretty exposed, and down into the right hand sweeper that takes you into Appleby Parva. It's a sprint then to the M42 island. Knee down round it and back the way you came, turning left at the junction just before the zoo. down to the Moore's arms in Norton Juxta Twycross, for a drink, and a chat with the others doing the same run! Then its back to Nuneaton to the Graziers for stories of heroics and soiled skids!! - See you in the summer
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.
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...
Southampton to: Newbury and Back
Approx 110 Miles. Some good coutry A Road twisties, steep hills and some good fast stuff. From Millbrook Roundabout, Southampton, take the M271 (worst road in Britain?) it's typical ripply concrete but its fast and fairly straight so makes a good warm up, but thankfully its short, it crosses the M27 at a large traffic light controlled r/about, at the end of the second bit bear left onto the A27. A nice stretch into Romsey, (can get busy). At Romsey head onto the A3057, a good twisty road but with a couple of 30 mph villages but good scenery and some great bends, (surface is OK).
Through Stockbridge and on towards Andover, again some villages but good fun and some fast sweepers. At Andover go through the ring road and out onto the A343 through some nice Urban national speedlimit dual cariageway. (HIGHWAY CODE ANYONE?) Good fast road, twisty and some very steep hills, eventually after Highclere you hit the infamous Newbury bypass section of the A34 head north 1 junction, its all u need (or want) anyway its the best bit of the new road, fast and steep/twisty (mind the wobble boxes). Join the A4, towards Hungerford, this is the old London to Bristol Road and it shows, its usually very quiet (M4 is much faster direct). The great thing about this section is the width, its genuinely 3 proper lanes wide, but as a single carriageway A road its just sweet for bikes you just ride the middle lane if theres anyone to overtake. Super Fast.
At Hungerford take the A338 towards Salisbury, its pretty twisty to start with but speeds up when u hit the upgraded section at Burbage. Mind the speed cameras in some of the 40 mph villages but its mostly well signed, seen plod here too. Loads of sweepers and good elevation changes for Hampshire.
At the A303 go under and at the r/about turn left then first right (B3084) towards Grately 30 mph village, at the railway station bear left signed Romsey Avoiding Low bridge, unclassified road but fast if unsighted, TT stylee, shortcut to A343 at Middle Wallop, at A343 turn right then quickly left (historic signs for Danebury Hillfort) this is A SUPERB STRETCH of road, 2 esses, both faster than u think, so so so fast along here and very good viz, very quiet, but at the end BEWARE, a very dirty farm both sides of the road, followed by a sharp off camber right/left and then a sharp stop at at give way (nice one this) give way sign, 75 Metres ! steep down hill stop at a very fast, dual carriageway, downhill bend on the A30, cheers Highways agency! take it easy here. Turn left, steep downhill, pootle through Stockbridge, plod, CHOICE here:
1= straight over up the stockbridge downs (B3049) to Winchester (traffic in the city centre) back to Southampton on the M3 throught the new by pass (Twyford down) which is a fun stretch when its not rammed, includes the tightest angle of bend allowed on a motorway. (alledgedly). or
2 =Turn right retrace your route on the A3057 to Romsey & Southampton. Just out of Stockbridge is a sweet bend on a hill combo, after Kings Somborne u WILL get stuck behind a slow car/van/bus I always do and you can't see anything due to the twisties and hedges, but if you wait there is a mile long straight when you drop out of the hill at Lower Brook, the record so far is 11 cars despatched along here . Easy though cos theres a long left sweeper at the end into a 40 with a pub on one side with cagers pulling in and out. Our local run this is and I've seen rideouts leaving from the Texaco station at Hungerford on a Sunday all the way through to Romsey, nice one lads, safe and tidy from what I saw. Enjoy and respect the villagers.
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