Hiring a motorbike in London always has the disadvantage that you have to go quite a way to find a decent road to ride down. Well, I’ve found one now with the route from north-east London to Saffron Walden. The ‘easy’ way would be to take the M11, since Saffron Walden is only a couple of miles from it, but that is distinctly not interesting on a motorbike. Instead I took the A113 (starting from Snaresbrook) through Chigwell, under the north circular, and then on to Chipping Ongar. This seemed like it would be quite a good place to stop off with some pubs and restaurants. Just north of Chipping Ongar is a roundabout and the route goes straight across this (passing the A414 exits on either side) and onto the B184. This is where the road starts getting more interesting.
The B184 eventually hits the A1060 (not signposted) and you need to turn right there and then left once you hit Leaden Roding about a mile down the road. Leaden Roding itself looks another good place for a stop. From there, it’s a case of following the B184 to Great Dunmow (signposted) and then through there to Thaxted and on to Saffron Walden (all signposted). There are a number of good looking pubs on the way so I’m sure I’ll be heading out there again.
The ride is good firstly because the roads are mostly of good quality with a few decent bends and not too many speed limits (bar through the towns and villages, as expected). It’s a bit lacking in good straights but you can’t have everything. The best thing, though, comes I think from the fact that it runs north to south along a route that’s much better served by the M11, meaning that it’s quite empty. There were a few Sunday drivers around but there are a reasonable number of spots to overtake (on a sports bike, anyway).
It’s about an hour to Saffron Walden from Leyton going this route, compared to around 35 minutes up the M11, and the ride is definitely worth it.