B4030 Bicester to Enstone (13.79 miles)
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This stretch of road links Bicester and Enstone and as a rural road there are a range of hazards for the unwary rider. Quick tempo changes followed by open stretches of road can cause real problems. Do not just think of the road that you can see, consider the type of road user, most likely local and very familiar with the surrounding area. When people get comfortable within their local area they can sometimes allow their concentration to drop; time then to raise yours.
The road is very uneven in places and rises and drops throughout its length. Also watch out for the heavy vehicles that pass along the road to and from Heyford and Enstone.
Bicester to Lower Heyford
The road is very straight for well over half a mile as you leave Bicester towards Middleton Stoney. Don’t look towards the national speed limit sign ahead, concentrate on the staggered cross roads just before as this is a busy local road especially during peak times.
As you pass over the M40 the road drops down to the right. Look out for the Bucknell turning off to your right. Only the entrance is clearly in view as it is bordered by high hedges. Consider your view into the junction especially if travelling towards Bicester and give yourself time and space.
As you enter Middleton Stoney the speed limit changes to 30 mph and there are traffic lights controlling the junction. The view through the junction is obscured by buildings so always have a good look even if the traffic signals are showing in your favour. Do not take it for granted that no traffic will be coming through.
The junction to Upper Heyford
As you leave Middleton Stoney you enter the national speed limit (60 mph). The first junction to be wary of is at the former RAF station at Upper Heyford (right). The road toward this junction is a shallow left-hand bend and a short straight section. The turning towards the former airbase is situated on the outside apex of the curve. There is a centre filter lane that is not immediately obvious on the initial approach.
The curve when travelling toward Lower Heyford also has a very slight adverse camber and tightens through the apex so it is important to get the approach speed right. As with any left-hand curves there is a danger of running wide if you carry too much speed into the bend, so reduce speed good and early.
Remember that this road is frequently used by lorries moving to and from the former airbase.
After this junction there are a few more tight bends. Take notice of the farms adjoining the road as very often, especially in wet weather, the road can be muddy. A change of tempo is also required as the road to Lower Heyford has very tight corners and road surface changes all needing careful consideration.
Through the first series of bends the road opens but look for the dip approaching the Horse and Groom pub as it hides the mouth of a junction. Position yourself through here to create space and get a good view into the junction. Beware of oncoming traffic. Just over half a mile on the road drops downhill to a T-junction with the B4030 to the left.
After turning left the road leads into Lower Heyford. Look for the traffic signals that control access over a small bridge. The road is quite narrow through the village and very often you will find people driving to the canal basin at Lower Heyford as it attracts visitors all year round.
Once through the traffic signals the road rises towards the main B4260 and The Holt Hotel on the junction. Look out for the exit from the hotel onto the road just before the bend leading to the traffic signals. This is a busy junction.
Once through the junction the road undulates through a series of tight bends and road surface changes. It is important for riders to search the road ahead, follow the road lines, and look for the available cross views to take in information early. Remember that this road carries a lot of heavy traffic between Enstone airfield and the B4260.
The roadside warnings indicating the bends are well sited and it is important to look for them and make sure your speed is right as some of the corners along this part of the route are tight and narrow.
As you approach the village of Middle Barton at its junction with the Duns Tew Road, you will be confronted by a row of cottages across the line of view with the main road rounding to the left. Look for the viewing mirror to the far left. (See pictures right)
The mirror is there to allow road users emerging from the nearside to gain a view into the main road. Use the mirror to gain a view that would otherwise not be available. It is there for your safety, so use it.
Think about why the mirror has been placed and consider your road position. Reduce speed because the road is narrow and the view is restricted.
There is a second mirror in the village at the crossroads junction with the Kiddington Road. Look for it and use it to gain a view of approaching traffic. As you leave the village the road rises toward the national speed limit. As the road levels out you will see a crossroads ahead, check the cross views for approaching traffic to the junction.
The road opens out on the approach to the village of Gagingwell but be aware that some of the bends are tight and have a restricted view. Check for the available cross views. The left-hand bend, pictured right, is a short distance before the village when travelling towards Enstone. The road tightens once you are into the curve so it is important to get the approach speed right. Look for the “sharp deviation to the left” sign in front of the cottage.
Once through the village you will approach the entrance to Enstone airfield and the Industrial Estate. Be aware of a small complex on the opposite side of the road as both see many lorries and other site traffic moving to and from this area. The village of Enstone is then a short distance ahead.
Despite the fact that this is a rural B class road it is very busy with heavy traffic moving to and from Enstone and Upper Heyford. The roads are narrow in places with numerous farms opening onto and fronting the road. Beware of horses, tractors and of course, lorries.
The next time you travel this road, look for the areas highlighted and ask yourself if you saw them the last time you travelled through. Enjoy your riding, take responsibility and remain safe.
Maintain your levels of concentration and observation and plan ahead.
The national speed limit is 60 mph. Urban roads are generally 30mph unless otherwise signed.