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.
Llangollen to: Betsy-Coed and beyond
As already posted, this a great road BUT a warning: The last two times we have ridden this route (returning from Ireland), we have been pulled! The first time stopped by a road block after going through a hidden mobile radar trap - the police bike that came after us couldn't catch up (we didn't know he was there) so radioed ahead. The second time we were shadowed by an unmarked helicopter (thought we were being paranoid) and then into a hidden speed trap. We were lucky because for various reasons we got away with it, but the police are targeting this road, particularly bikes, and the use of the helicopter has been confirmed by the police, so watch out! Being in the middle of nowhere on an empty road is no excuse to these boys.
Larne (Northern Ireland) to: Ballintoy, Co. Antrim.
If you're headed for the Northwest 2000 at Portrush this road's on your way from GB, particularly if you take the ferry across from Stranraer (Cairnrayan, nerby, actually sales into Larne). but if you're coming to Northern Ireland for any Roadraces, iuncluding the Sunflower, do this anyway - stay a little longer and you won't be disappointed with the roads! The route: the legendary A2 from Larne to Ballycastle via the Antrim Coast Road icluding the breathtaking scenic route over Torr Head from Cushenden. Smell the sea and seaweed! Best undertaken on a fine day wihtout a gale blowing in yer face! Head North from Larne,towards Glenarm. Watchout for suicidal Sunday drivers along the whole route! Narrow bridges in the cliffs best taken slowly. By Carlough hopefully the traffic thins out a bit - there aren't hugoe overtaking opportunities on this road but there are some good long straights if you're patient. Carry on North to Glenariff and then Cushendall, going inland slightly before turning East again to get to Cushenden. From here the roads amazinf up downs and switchbacks, but don't ride over the cliffs - the seas cold st this time of year. This is the full-on concentration bit, with no opportunities to go mad unless you're already certified - the surface is not quite up to it and a full-face Range Rover is waiting over the next brow to facilitate an unscheduled conference with sheep in ajoining fields. You can detour off the A2 if time and curiosity allow. Personally I like to press on (some very sudden bends as you cross Torr Head) through Ballycastle to pause at Ballintoy for very cheap food and cakes at the harbour - highly recommended but don't park your bike in the sea! And the route back. Well, the way you came, of course. If anything, its even more exciting coming back downhill. this was the first day's outing I had when I passed my test and bought a bike. I must've been totally barmy. But the views (if you get a chance!) on the way back more than make up for repeating the route. And then, you're just going to have to do it all over again, Clive....
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 !!
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