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.
Guisborough to: Whitby.
The A171 from Middlesbrough to Whitby now bypasses Guisborough but it's worth starting this ride in this picturesque market town. The road leaves Guisborough through farmland and woodlands and the steep 500 ft. climb up on to the North Yorkshire Moors is made at Birk Brow with two tight, tight bends and great views on your left. After the climb, the road swoops down past Lockwood Beck reservoir and starts to unfold before you, plenty of very fast sections with long, sweeping bends as well lots of undulations. Point to note - on the section past Scaling Reservoir, beware speed traps. The Grapes pub is here and it is well worth a stop. The descent into Whitby begins three miles out of town and the view of this beautiful fishing and holiday town laid out beneath you is breathtaking. Drop into town and ride around the West harbour, ending off by ascending the cliff and parking up next to the whalebones. Best fish and chips in town can be found in The Magpie Cafe next to the fishmarket. For the return journey, you are faced with a hard choice. Either reverse the route just taken or take the picturesque but very much slower coastal road, the A 174/3.
Crediton to: Crediton (Devon)
Tyre squaring off??? Use this long afternoon route to grind it back! A3072 from Crediton to Tiverton joining the A396 after Cadbury and a steep decent. Now it's A396 heaven all the way to Dunster on the north coast, barely a momoent with the bike upright. This road is total star quality for views and corners... the only draw back is a very coarse and broken road texture under many of the wooded sections. At Dunster, resist the temptation to turn 180 and ride it back to Tiverton, instead turn West on the A39 for Porlock and its infamous Hill. Road surface is now good and the trip over the top of Exmoor with the sea to your right is a total blast ***watch for dozey drivers exiting picnic areas at 3MPH*** Masses of twisty bits and a tough climb out of Lynton is good value.. More fine corners on the run into Barnstable where things get rather less fun. Avoid the A361 route back to Tiverton as it is the most boring blast ever and popular with the local constabulary.. instead chose The A377, or if you are still craving speedy twists then the the tedious A39 stretch to Bideford leads on to the A386 to Great Torrington and a simple cut back to Crediton Via the A3072. Both the 377 & 386 follow rivers and so include some interesting corners and views.. Loads of traffic at peak season.. mid week in May or September is your best bet. ENJOY.
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
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