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A814 / A817

Arrochar to: Arden

The A814 from Arrochar is up and down like a midgie's whatsit, hence its nickname of the washboard. You'll not get anything down here, but it twists and turns like a man on the gibbet - great fun, but there are a few places where you'll have to take it easy. The A817 is a different proposition. The 'road to nowhere' was built to enable construction of Faslane submarine base. It's barely used by four-wheelers and you can blow away the cobwebs and find out what happens at redline. I've never seen them myself, but it's the sort of place the rozzers just might hang out.


A5012

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.


A505/B565/A507

Barton-le-Clay, Beds to: Newton, Essex

Join the A505 at Barton heading towards Hitchin and start with a maxed out straight half a mile climbing up to the first of the med/fast sweepers almost all of which are much faster than they look (where's your bottle ?) and half of which are blind so you can't resist going back and doing it again just to prove a point. Slow down going through the village of Hexton, which is a real shame cos it's really a chicane not a village, then pump it up hill, blind right, don't back off - it'll work. Take it easy on the red tarmac corner (decreasing radius) then basically hammer it all the way through a series of S-bends until it straightens out. Watch out for cars turning across your path here, the junction's on the crest/bend, then ignore the SLOW sign on the fast left, it lies (although you may meet a tractor cos there's a farm entrance, your call,)and slow down going through Hitchin. Turn right at the main roundabout towards Stevenage, round the bypass to another one and exit to the B565 Codicote (described well elsewhere but mistakenly called both the A656 and the A507)this is a good road, and it gets faster every time I ride it, most bends have +'ve cambers, visibility is good or at least you can see the line of the hedges ahead and there's that nice blend of enough cars to carve past and yet not so many that they get in the way. It's not exactly a race track, but all the corners are of the type that makes you feel you got it close to perfect. When you get to Codicote keep going to Welwyn, then bomb up the A1M for a couple of Junctions (I haven't found a better way - there are lanes but too narrow/slow for any fun, so best just get it over with) and join the A507 to Baldock and then on to Buntingford (described elsewhere) then go into Buntingford (Little Chef on your right) and take a left down the A1038 towards Quendon which is for the most part med/fast and twisty and seems to go on for ages once you're past the dogleg X-roads. Apparently there's a good road (A1060) from Bishops Stortford (2 mins from Quendon) too so God knows where you could end up. These roads aren't the ultimate dog's bollocks but this is Beds/Herts/Essex not Dartmoor or Buxton. I defy anyone to do this route without having a YEEE-HAH or three.


A339

Basingstoke to: Alton

Such a sweet, sweet road. However, if you're not careful it will kill you. It's a fast road with evil curves. Like a previous poster said, if you don't know this road very, very well, ride up and down it a couple of times taking it really easy and make sure you have a good picture of the curves. Do this midweek when it's quiet and watch the t-junctions. Take great care passing other bikers (they often drift over) and watch for oncoming vehicles crossing the white lines. You WILL encounter knobs on this road, don't be one of them. The aim of the game is to get the curves so, so right. Smooth is good, ragged is bad. Mid-corner speeds are impressive. Watch out at the kink for white-line crossers. Recommended tool: ZX-7R. Recommended attitude: Silky smooth. Recommended follow-up: Can't beat a shandy and ten Benson.


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