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03 May 2010

The long way home

One wonderful thing about bikes is that much more often than in a car, you go out for a ride with no purpose, sometimes with no defined direction or destination.

I work in an office in Thame, roughly 15 miles away from home. Commuting by motorcycle is good and fun: not too long, very little traffic, twisty but safe (good visibility throughout, no sudden tight bends, etc). It's a good mix of city, dual carriageway (A40) and A-road (A418).

As the weather improves, the sun now shines past 7.30pm (sunrise, sunset, dawn and dusk times), it's time for some road exploration / wandering on my Triumph (I really should have blogged about my new speedmaster by now...)!

I prepared a route based on something I tried before and set off from the office after work with a memorised list of road names and a few visual cues taken from google street view. Although I didn't follow the plan entirely, the result was the route below:

"The long way home" is the name I gave to the 50 mile route (above) out of Thame around the south of Oxfordshire and back into Oxford via the Donnigton bridge / Iffley road.

  • B4009 from the A4074 turnoff to Goring-on-Thames: Superb scenic twisty road with a few villages here and there but without breaking the rhythm too much;
  • A417 from Goring-on-Thames to Blewbury: Another very scenic twisty road with a number of hills and less villages than the B4009 (IIRC);

Great bits of road, but not quite highlights:
  • B4009 from Thame to Benson;
  • B4016 from Blewbury to Didcot: very twisty, most bends are blind. not too many chances to overtake;

Ideas, alternatives, improvements:
  • Avoid Didcot ring road by following the A417 a bit further and then turning off to the A4130 at Rowstock;
  • Try the B4009 further than Goring-on-Thames, perhaps even all the way to Newbury;
  • Keep on the A417 until Wantage, then A338 up to Wootton or join the A420 and back to Oxford;

I managed to discover/execute this alternative route home which included some of the best bits of road I've ridden so far (mind you my experience is limited). This was a fantastic ride that I look forward to do again soon.

(feel free to share if you know any great roads around Oxfordshire)

Until next time,

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