30 Dec 2012

In photos: Byways 2012

In the UK there remains a (shrinking) network of byways which are classified as public highways—Byways Open to All Traffic or BOATs. Some of these roads are packed dirt or gravel, while many are not much more than trails and mud pits running through the woods. Many have signs alerting that they are unsuitable for motor vehicles.

Most councils have websites showing the locations of the byways using Ordinance Survey (OS) Grid Reference maps. The maps also feature on the Bing website, making it an indispensable resource for planning routes.

Throughout the year I’ve passed the time on many occasions on the byways near London and beyond but this photo report focuses mainly on the byways in Surrey Council, about 20 miles south of London.

Ockham—13 May: Oops... this is why it’s not a good idea to attempt mud with Pirelli Scorpions—I may as well have had racing slicks and it took nearly 45 minutes to get unstuck

Ranmore Common—10 June: With Chris on a gravel byway

Godalming—10 June: With Chris on one of the better dirt byways

Surrey—15 September: On a country road

Ranmore Common—16 September: One of my favourite routes connecting Honeysuckle Bottom to Gomshall—although a bit dodgy in the wet due to high clay content of the soil

Ranmore Common—16 September: Another view of the trail—note standard highway signage in the background

Ranmore Common—16 September: Width restriction sign—motorbikes allowed but no 4x4s

Honeysuckle Bottom—6 October: The beginning of the byway to Gomshall, and a bit of a muddy mess

Ranmore Common—7 October: Stopped with Dan at the site where I came off the bike the day before in an odd 180° spin on the slippery clay mud—definitely time for some meatier tyres... the chap walking in the background came out of nowhere randomly

Madgehole Lane—27 October: A demanding trail for a heavy dual sport bike but I had to break in my new Heidenau K60 Scouts that were fitted earlier that morning

Madgehole Lane—27 October: Detail of my new K60s in natural environment—the tyre mould nipples haven't even worn off yet

Hogden Copse—27 October: This is why we take the road less travelled

Ranmore Common—27 October: Back at the old haunt to give the K60s a go on the clay mud—these things hook up on anything, safely and predictably, and are possibly the single most effective upgrade I could have done to the F800GS

Madgehole Lane—28 October: Another go at Madgehole Lane which was a mud pit with 50cm deep ruts in places, deep enough to rub the crash bars in places—a chap on a 250cc Honda MX bike stopped to see if I was all right as he couldn’t believe I’d made it up on such a heavy bike... I owe it to the new K60s, did I mention I love them?

Bookham Wood—25 November: Zev taking a break on an easy byway passing through fields of horses

Bookham Wood—25 November: Zev with a couple of horses—they came up to the gate looking for a bit of fuss