This was an unplanned ride out which turned into a bit of an epic. I left about 11:00 on the Saturday. The weather for May was poor but it was a sunny 14 degrees. From Sonning you have the options of Chilterns to the North, Wessex downs to West or head South. The south has a good rendezvous point of Lummies cafe but my chain needed replacing and I didn’t trust myself on the A33. So I headed towards the South West. I’m a little bored of the A4 and A303 so I used a route I’ve been on before which is the A34 and A354.
A34 is an Ok riding road. A few ballsy bends but nothing great. A354 goes over a number of rivers including the Stour. It’s a lovely valley with a nice road of medium speed twists and a few good ‘leaners’. Dirt on the road is a problem. A354 also follows a Roman Road, going over some longs humps.
Above is Lyme Regis, I stopped here for an ice cream. There is something called The Cobb here, I didn’t stop long enough to look around but it’s the harbour wall. The Cobb
When you see a sign to Beer you’ve got to have a look. I’m so glad i did. This single track lane hugs the coast has has a number of secluded beaches, most with a single pub serving it and the village. Not great riding but stunning. One of England’s hidden gems.
Above is Dartmouth. I got to it by following the A379 out of Paignton, laughably called the English Rivera. Following that route you can get to Dartmouth by car ferry, it costs a couple of quid but is good fun. The other pictures are from The Dolphin, a pub in the town. Other pubs I visited; The Crab and Basket, I eate in the The Cherub Inn and I stayed in the The Seale Arms which is also the late night pub in the town. The highlight is The Dolphin Pub. The open decks are a nice touch, good beer and range of spirits, I got very comfortable at the bar.
Sunday I started early. The above is a badly taken photo of a stunning morning view. I didn’t think much of Dartmouth castle although it was closed. I took the Castle Road out to Stoke Fleeming, then followed the A379 along the coast, see below.
The plan was to take a slow ride out of Dartmouth along the coast. The route below shows me missing Torcross, I didn’t. Google Maps doesn’t like me taking the A379 over a causeway to the town. There is a nature reserve in Torcross, also on the exit are a couple of very cool slow/medium corners with a nice camber.
I’ve never been to Dartmoor, it’s the proper sticks. Some parts of it are touristy but much is perfect British countryside. I got ‘lost’ a few times which is always good fun. The A382 is an great road! Long range visibility stops it from being one of the best. Good fun.
After that I picked up the A386, good road, fast and bendy all the way to Bideford. Then is was A39 all the Wiltshire.
The A39 though Exmoor is in my top 10 of the best riding roads in the country. I haven’t published my top 10 yet, a blog will follow.. The road goes through national park with some downhill hairpin bends, on the left is rock face on the right is a stunning gorge. Much of this section is on the coast and high up so you slow down for the views while wanted to go fast on an awesome riding road. You’ll see a few regulars on this route bombing past you. I didn’t take A39 Porlock Hill. I look the Worthy Toll Rd. The Toll road goes though ancient woodland with views and a real moist chill in the air, beautiful and fresh. It’s slow, 10/15 mph, but Porlock Hill is a 1/4 gradient, good luck with that.
Followed A39 till the end, then picked up A4 at Calne for home. 12 hours on a bike, arse was fine, right ear was killing me.