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!
Alston to: Barnard Castle
30 miles of brilliant road. No Police. No Gatso's. No villages to slow you down. Best enjoyed mid week. Go play ...
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 !!
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
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