Inverary to: Inverary
Approach to Inverary from A82/A83 from Glasgow is entertaining and gorgeous but the true twisty stuff is to come...This is a circular route from Inverary up to Oban and back. Either go via Lochgilphead on the A83 (awesome twisty and spectacular views of Loch Fyne) or the other way on the A819/A85 to Oban which is as good with Loch Awe appearing at what seems like odd times thru the trees. Once you get to Oban there are plenty of places to stop and fuel you and your machine before taking the route back. Time of year is important as mid winter when I did it was well hairy! And summer finds acres of tourists in caravans and coaches.
Nairn to: Ballater
The road was drawn by someone who had pissed as a fart. When it leaves Nairn heading for Grantown it seem fairly straight but still and interesting hard ride. But as things unfold its like your worst nightmare. In trying to push it down the road I ended up twice going down farmers dirt roads (by watching the gap in the trees along the road) one needing the lay-by that used to form part of the road to get round the bend and finally cutting out a corner altogether and riding across the moor for 20 yards. It is one of the twistiest little roads I have ever been down. I ended up wrecking my knee on a cat's eye when it trapped my boot. Give it a try either way but if you come up through Glen Shee first you'll need a rest by the time you get to Nairn. P.S. Watch out for the hump back bridge it's a real flyer!!!
Welwyn Gdn City to: Harlow
As you leave Welwyn drop down on to the B1000 (via Panahanger golf course)and turn right at the bottom,then give it some,but beware of the small exit on left (village idiots) easy as you pass some cottages on right then settle in for the corkscrew, a left/right/left taken at about 85-90 (kph Mr plod honest)on the R1 its lovely and smooth good surface,beware of damp patches after rain.Then its a nice 1 1/2 miles between trees (watch for cars pulling out on right at works exit)respect the speed limits (almost).Come to the roundabout and turn right then at the next turn left,on to the main A414 head into Hertford and watch for the sneaky photographer set up in the pedestrian island just before the railway arch,straight over the round about and launch a minger off the crest under the arch,Wey hey ! then its through the towns dual carriage-way (nice when its quiet) follow the A414 out of town and up to the A10 cross over, all the way round (slippy when damp(BP garage)but nice Knee down in the dry)and take the last exit off(after A10 slip)wait until you pass the left turn for the rugby club and then give it some more,take the right at 130 and then set yourself up for the left at about 90ish,take a late apex to give yourself a good view around (met a Volvo doing a three pointer here ?)under the A10 and then steady until the roundabout.
From here you have a choice,I am not that keen on the straights,but comming off the roundabout on the A414 I usually go for it,to time myself until the foot bridge(best yet 163)just a quarter of a mile from the roundabout !!Then its back off,or on, depending on how you like it,until you get to the Harlow roundabout,where you can carry on til Sawbridgeworth,nice bends for 4/5 miles,or into doughnut city. Going back to the other choice you could have,you can take the second exit at the roundabout and head for Stansted Abbotts,watch the surface,some form of cobbles but as you leave the town Shell grip is laid down on a nice left and then a splendid right up hill and leaving it in third hoist another minger as you crest (at about 120 (R1s only).Follow this road through to the level crossing into Roydon(30 please)and then left for Harlow,or right for Epping grn(more on that the next time. Just a tip guys expect the worst,plan for it and ride safe
Barton le Clay, Bedfordshire to: Hitchen, Hertfordshire
Take the B655 out of Barton towards Hexton and Hitchen and as soon as you come out of the village it's into a slightly curved open blast of countryside. As you come up the slight rise a lovely right hand bend (be careful of the drop on the left!) takes you down into Hexton. It is here where it is worth slowing down to the 40mph speed limit for the 150 yards through the village as the bottom of the hill into Hexton levels off very quickly and sports bikes nearly ground themselves!
After going through the bottom of Hexton the road rises steeply and comes out of the 40mph limit, opening the throttle again sees a flurry of trees fly by before dropping round a fast left hander before rising again into a fast rising right before slowing to a 3rd/2nd gear sharp left hander. Opening the throttle again blasts you down the flat straight out of the trees and up the hill through a fast right hander and into another fast left (watch the rough tarmac!). A little wiggle left takes you onto the flat and round the fast slight left hander and onto another fast straight. Going back into the trees takes you into a quite fast right (be careful as it is on a deceptive slight rise making the bike very light!) and then into a good series of fast lefts and rights finsihing with a slightly sharper left. The trees then open as you blast along the last curvy straight. Caution must be taken towards the end of the straight due to a right hand bend with roads joining on either side, after which another quite sharp left takes you up the hill and into the 40mph which starts the slow down into Hitchen.
A cracking 4 mile ride which you can keep going over getting faster and faster with no reported police presence (after 4 years of riding the route) and not too much traffic. Bliss!
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