Theale to: Christened Kneesliders
Head North East from Theale on the A4 and just before you get to Junction 12 of the M4 you'll come across a great, on-camber roundabout with a clear view of traffic from all directions. Warm up here but this one can be quite busy so take the right exit off and you'll find yourself at an Industrial Estate with two linked roundabouts which are perfect for first-time sliders. On a Sunday there is almost no traffic there, we saw three cars there in half an hour, one of which was a security patrol who seemed more than willing to turn a blind eye...
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.
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.
Amersham to: A43
Get off the M40 at Beaconsfield and head this way for a much more entertaining route from here to Northampton. Big sweepers, tight bits and a the odd few roundabouts connected by short straights. Great fun on the 'blade and almost as much of a laugh in the Focus....
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