Portrush to: Larne
This is THE great biking road for those of you returning from the North West 200 to the ferry at Larne. Although it has, I think been nominated in 1997, it is well worth reminding any UK riders of it. After the races, take the A2 for Bushmills, home of the famous whiskey, and then follow this road from Bushmills to Ballintoy, passing the world famous Giants Causeway on the way. Well worth a visit. The A2 leaves Ballintoy heading for Ballycastle and along the way you will see a sign for Torr Head. This is a coastal road, and while it affords great sea views, it is not really suitable for sports bikes as it is very narrow and steep in places. Probably better to stick with the main road, which crosses over some high ground before descending into the village of Cushendun. Over the mountain top you will see plenty of sheep grazing along the roadside, but worry not, they are well used to traffic and wont even turn their heads as you go zooming by! A good fast smooth road links Cushendun to the slightly larger Cushendal, and from here the best bit begins. Down along the coast with the mountains on your right and the Irish Sea on your left. Its smooth, fast and frantic. Through Glenariff, on to Carnlough, where you can grab some grub, and on through Glenarm and Ballygalley into Larne where the P&O ferry to Cairnryan awaits. For those of you taking the Stena ferry to Stranraer, it is probably best to take the A8 to Belfast. It is possible to carry on the A2 to Belfast, but it is quite built up, with lots of traffic and the possibility of speed traps. Probably better to take the A8 the 20 miles to Belfast, but keep a good eye out for police on this road, as it is the main route to Larne Harbour and the cops are on it regularily. Enjoy!
Thatcham to: Theale
Not a great road but a useful alternative to the A4 when its busy (which is to say most of the time). Start from Harts Hill Road at the east end of Thatcham then follow road through Upper Bucklebury, Chapel Row and Southend. After about 8 miles you come to a T-junction. Turn right, then right again at the A340 to take you back on to the A4. Although unclassified, its fast and has many overtaking opportunities. But beware animals and hidden side turnings - take care.
milnrow to: milnrow
Mills and Moorland (and a Castle) This is a route I have constructed from several of the short runs I regularly use to blow away the cobwebs following a sh*tty day at work. I have never yet travelled it in its entirety.
Start at J21 on the M62. Aim for Rochdale centre, but at the first set of traffic lights bear right onto the road for Littleborough (via Hollingworth Lake). At Littleborough take the A58 over Soyland Moor. As you drop down the other side you will pass reservoirs on your right. Follow the road down to Ripponden. As you enter the village centre, turn right at the traffic light onto the A672 . This road climbs back up over the moors, under the M62, eventually dropping down into Denshaw. At Denshaw there is a 5 road junction, take the first left (A640-Huddersfield). Back up over the moors again. After about 6 miles you will pass over the M62 (again!), about 1 mile after that look out for a road on your right (Round Ings), which is opposite a pub called the Highlander (there can be only one!!!) Round Ings takes you over the M62. Follow this road up over the hill, keeping right at the top. Then merge right into the road coming out of the village, and follow this road all the way downhill into a village called Slaithwaite. This is a nice spot for a ciggie break. If anyone can eat a full portion of fish and chips from the chippie, then you are a better man than me!
Follow the road out of the village, over the canal and river, turning right at the village exit onto the A62. Follow this road through Marsden and back up over the Pennines. When dropping down the other side look out for a road forking off left to Uppermill. Go through Uppermill. On the exit of the village look out for the A635 Greenfield to Holmfirth road (this road is currently -may 2003- undergoing roadworks). Enjoy the road all the way to Holmfirth. When entering Holmfirth, turn immediately right onto the A6024, the road to Holme. This road climbs quickly to the TV transmitter mast. There is a car park to rest up and enjoy the view (and usually an ice cream van). After resting drop down the other side and at your first junction turn left onto the A628. Take care at this junction as you are turning back on yourself, and it is a blind juction for approaching traffic.
After about 6 miles, at the Langsett roundabout, turn left onto the A616 - Huddersfield. Travel down through New Mill, Brockholes (beware-speed tax cameras). Just before Honley, look out for a sign for the Railway Station to your right. Turn right up this road. At the T junction at the top of the road, turn left and follow the road round the hillside. After about 1 mile turn right in front of Castle Hill. Just around the corner you can access the road to climb up to the car park at the top of the hill. After having your ciggie, beer, coke (delete as appropriate) the only final complication is to find your way back into Huddersfield and the way home. Retrace your tracks back down the hill to the junction where you turned right (ie turn right to continue the road that you originally approached Castle Hill on) Stay on this road, through Almondbury, all the way until you eventually merge into the A629, heading into Huddersfield. You can take the ring road either way around the town centre. Turn off on the A640 -Rochdale- take this road out of the town centre and you will soon find yourself on familiar territory.
Points to consider on moorland crossings : I would not advise this route during windy weather, as it severely spoils the enjoyment of the roads. Beware of the many sheep, they are not the brightest of animals. You may find gravel and chippings on the racing line, that have been washed off the road sides during heavy rain. According to my map and a piece of cotton the mileage comes out at about 80 miles !!
Ripon to: Harrogate
From A1 jctn 48 (Boroughbridge), head into Ripon on the B6265. Carry on thru Ripon on the B6265 towards Pateley Bridge. Cracking scenery on sunny evenings and nice dips, corners and straights. Watch out for side roads, prone to having cars pulling out of them. Stay on B6265 thru Pateley Bridge and go up Greenhow Hill. Take left turn signposted Harrogate and enjoy another several miles of open road over 'The Tops'. BEWARE...this road is occasionally monitored by the dreaded unmarked Impreza as a couple of riders have met their maker on this stretch before...Join A59 turning left towards Harrogate.
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