Harlow to: Baldock
Although not a biker, I drive a Caterham and enjoy the same types of roads. Excuse the copying to start with. Take the A414 from Harlow to Chipping Ongar which has some good bends but a few double white lines. At the Four Wantz roundabout (BP garage) turn left onto the B184 to Great Dunmow, when you get to the T junction after about 7 miles turn right on to the A1060 Chelmsford. Then after about a mile turn left back onto the B184. Go through Great Dunmow High street, it's a bit narrow but loud pipes do sound good. As you leave Dunmow turn right onto the B1057, which is on a left hand corner. This road will take you all the way to Finchingfield. The road surfaces are all pretty good and there are some good corner combinations with a left hander that just gets tighter and tighter between Dunmow and Finchingfield. When you get there, there is a good biker friendly pub on a big green that gets really busy in the summer. At the green, turn left onto the B1053 to Saffron Walden. This road is mostly empty even in the summer and has a few fast sections but plenty of corners with varied visability - there are several villages to be passed before arriving at Saffron Walden. When you arrive at the top of the High Street, turn left following signs to Bishop Stortford then right at the small roundabout and then straight over the first mini-roundabout and left at the second mini-roundabout (almost immediate) onto the B1052 heading West. At the T-junction, turn right onto the B1383 and first left (1/2 mile) onto the B1039 to Barley. There is a 30mph limit as soon as you turn onto this road - but opens up when you've past through Wendens Ambo. Keep going until you reach Barley, where you pass under the arch for the Fox& Hounds. Optionally, turn right here onto the B1368 and head to Flint Cross (take care here as there is typically a fatality each month between car drivers - nearly found out the hard way) where you take a right/left dogleg to Newton where the Queen's Head beckons. Otherwise, turn left onto the B1368 towards Hare Street where you turn right onto the B1038 to Buntingford. Then take the well known A507 to Baldock.
Chipping Norton to: Stratford
This road is one of the best I know... Fast? O yes. Flowing? Most of the time... and no speed cameras outside villages, hidden cars, etc.! Best way to ride it is to ride one way at a reasonable and safe speed to learn the road, good overtaking bits, etc., and then enjoy yourself on the way back! There's a good petrol station just inside Stratford where there is enough forecourt space for cold bikers to park & warm their hands against their engines... Riding from Oxford I also find the road up to Woodstock and then to Chipping Norton pretty good too.
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
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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