On any big ride it isn’t just your bike that needs filling up, you do too if you are planning on putting a shift in in the saddle.
That’s why we’ve teamed up with our friends at Moto Corsa Motorcycles, one of our favourite biker joints in the south west of England to bring you a series of belting weekend rides with some good grub chucked in.
This route start at the Moto Corsa Café near Gillingham for a fry up and ends right in the historic centre of England in Meriden, near Coventry. There’s a description of the ride below, but to get to the meat of it, scroll down to see the route map and SatNav waypoints.
Kick off the day at the Moto Corsa Café (make sure to give them the code ABR70 to get 25% off) and then, once you and your ride are both fuelled up, get on the road and head south on the B3081. In a mere eight miles you will find yourself at Zig Zag Hill, England’s twistiest road, just outside Shaftsbury.
Its narrow bends and hairpin turns swoop through the woods like a West Country Stelvio Pass. Early in the day with the sunshine blinking through the trees it is a truly spectacular stretch of tarmac. The only drawback is that, though it is gloriously winding, unlike the road Paul McCartney sung about, it isn’t very long with the tight turns running out within a mile.
It’s still well worth the ride to get there though.
From there, take a hard turn north and loop round back on yourself through Birdbush and Donhead St Mary until you join up with the A350 for a short blast before coming off and enjoying a long B-road ride through Wiltshire and Somerset on the way to Cheddar Gorge.
On your way to the gorge, you’ll ride along the most quintessentially English roads you’re likely to find anywhere. The hedge-lined lanes carve their way through the countryside linking up villages and towns until you enter the Mendip Hills Area of National Beauty.
The Mendips steadily build in majesty, culminating in Cheddar Gorge, one of the most awe-inspiring natural scenes in England. The sheer limestone cliffs, reaching as high as 453 feet, flank a great stretch of twisting road that is guaranteed to be a joy for any biker.
Interestingly, the gorge was JRR Tolkien’s inspiration for Helm’s Deep, the stronghold of men in the two towers where one of the greatest battles in all of fantasy fiction took place.
Next, we turn north east as our route slices between Bath and Bristol before linking up with the Fosse Way just outside the village of Castle Combe, Wiltshire for a ride up to Cirencester.
What’s all the Fosse about?
The Fosse Way is an old Roman road that stretches from Exeter to Lincoln, but we won’t be going all the way today. However, the stretch between Bath and Cirencester gives the opportunity for a touch of off-road riding on the byways if you are that way inclined.
The picturesque Market Place in Cirencester is the perfect spot to park up and grab a coffee if you need a little mid ride pick me up.
For any history buffs, Cirencester can trace its lineage all the way back to Roman Britain where it was the second largest city after London during Roman rule. The town is also home to one of the largest Roman Amphitheatres in Britain (I know, what have they ever done for us?) that once held up to 8,000 spectators.
We then head into the gorgeous Cotswolds, passing through Chedworth, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold and Moreton-in-Marsh on our way to the heart of England. These villages are a Cotswolds greatest hits. A feast of stone-built houses, lining the river with multitudes of local shops and restaurants scattered amongst them.
The heart of England
After negotiating the Cotswolds you’ll pass through the delightful Warwickshire town of Henley-in-Arden. Then there’s short blast up the A3400 before picking up the B roads again and winding the way to the village of Meriden, the traditional centre of England. You’ll know you’ve reached the end of your trip when you see the sandstone monument on the village green.
Meriden was also home to Triumph Motorcycles from 1941until 1983, after their original factory in Coventry was destroyed by the Luftwaffe. Steve McQueen even made a visit once in 1964.
After a long old day in the saddle, you’ll probably want to fill up again and have a well-earned pint at one of the local pubs in the village.
Plug the waypoints below into your SatNav device or you can also find the route on TomTom MyDrive, where you can also download the route as a GPX file. Head here to download it.
And don’t forget, quote ABR70 at Café Corsa for 25% off your breakfast.
Start Café Corsa
Zig Zag Hill
Henley in Arden
(Due to local planning restrictions, Moto Corsa Motorcycles showrooms & Cafe are unable to open on Sundays and Bank Holidays)