The Perfect Road Is The One You Know Best

Snow-capped mountains in the distance and a clear blue sky. An empty road made of smooth, pock-free tarmac. A selection of tight hairpins and switchbacks as well as fast kinks, sweeping bends and some leg-stretching straights. The route punctuated by a lone coffee stop where a gorgeous barista turns your simple coffee order into something spectacular. Or, makes your spectacularly complicated drink look simple to make. On the stereo, Burbling Exhaust feat. Barking Induction Note. Wait, that’s not coming from the speakers.

Let me guess, give or take a few details, that’s how your ideal post-lockdown drive pans out in your head. Of course it does. You don’t want to be reunited with your car on some ordinary ring road after weeks of being cooped up inside. You want to be reintroduced to driving somewhere idyllic and astounding. You want it to be on your favourite road.

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But let’s be honest, really honest with ourselves. That perfect road isn’t hundreds or thousands of miles away, is it? No, it’s the one where you know the radius of every single bend, you know the perfect line to carve through every twist. It’s the one with that corner you know you have to keep a tight line on, rather than let the car run wide, so you miss that pothole you know about.

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It’s the one where you get that momentary glimpse in the distance to see if there’s any oncoming traffic. And if it’s clear, you know you can safely cut the next corner. It’s the one that, when it’s dark, you can see if there are any headlights ahead or if you have the entire road to yourself.

It’s the one with that corner where the inside edge of the road falls away slightly, and if you drop your front wheel into that trough, it feels like you’ve perfected some Initial D-style gutter technique.

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It’s the one where you know every meaningful bit of straight road so you can prepare and overtake any slow-moving vehicles instantly, making it as safe as possible. It’s the one where you know about that blind junction and that you need be wary of people pulling out in front of you.

It’s the one with that crest that, if you don’t back off as you go over it, all four wheels will leave the ground. It’s the one where you sometimes, cheekily, keep your foot in.

It’s the one where you know of that really rough section that your car feels horrid on, so you creep over it timidly. It’s the one where the surface changes for a hundred metres-or-so and, although it’s fine when it’s dry, is incredibly slippery in the wet.

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It’s the one with that bend where you need to steal a bit of the other side of the road, no matter how greedy it seems, because there’s a mid-corner bump that launches the car towards the outside verge.

It’s the one with that well-sighted junction where, if there’s no one else about, you can treat it like a perfect 90-degree bend. It’s the one where you know there’s a village or town right around the corner, so you back off early; no need to tear up to the houses making a load of noise, stinking of hot brakes.

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It’s the one with that section where your car sounds glorious, so you drop the window even if it’s raining to catch its howl reflected off that wall, fence, underpass or tunnel.

It’s the one you know intimately; the one you’ve driven the most frequently. It’s probably the one right around the corner from your home.

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So, unless you happen to live in the foothills of an Alpine mountain, it’s not a road that’s on anyone’s bucket list, nor in a book about epic driving roads. No one on Instagram will be desperate to tag themselves at its location. In fact, if someone else were to drive it, they would be truly baffled as to why anyone really loved it. It takes hundreds of times driving back and forth to fully reveal its charms, but once you know every aspect of it, it’s hard to find a more enjoyable road to drive on.

Will Beaumont
Instagram: will_beaumont88

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23 comments

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1

for me, the perfect road is the without cops with speedguns.

2

There is this one road near me that i would only do halfway and turn around. Then a couple weeks ago, my friend showed me the whole route and I plan on doing it again soon. I think the best roads are the ones that make you forget everything and focus on your car and your driving.

3

I needed that, thanks Will

4

Oh boy, that needed to be written indeed!

5

Even when living in the foothills of a swiss alpine pass, I would say the best road is the one that is clear of any dutch driver or wide enough to pass them easily.

6

Are we really that bad?

7

I have now idea how you managed to have decent formula 1 drivers. You are, at least collectively, probably the slowest drivers of this planet. ;-)

8

Ouch

9

thats not how you write responsible

10

I guess it's the fact that we feel out of our comfort zone at the moment the road elevates more that half a meter.

11

It's the one you know has kangaroos on the side of the road near the straight. The one that has a BP in the middle, so you can fill up and grab a pie. The one that banks in perfectly around the hairpin and has a extra wide shoulder for the powerslide on exit. The one with the blind dip that has wrecked many a front lip. I love that road

12

I am lucky to live in new zealand with my current location providing some epic roads where in the space of a few hours i can go from long flowing coast lines to high country passes and deep native forests, for me driving is my happy place so if some one asked me what my perfect road was i wouldnt be able to answer the question. I could rattle off a dozen amazing roads before i even started thinking about it and those roads have everything.
Personally any road has the potential to be amazing if you are in a car you love to drive, that feels right in your hands and feet also for me it needs to be a manual but thats another subject and lets not forget that somtimes the right music can make or break the experience you get from driving.

13

Exactly

14

Does that mean my perfect road is the Cross Bronx expressway? God that's depressing. I think I'd rather drive a road that I'm slightly less familiar with like Clinton or Kanawauke. ;)

15
Gregory López Lucio

So deep... I enjoyed reading this, nice article!

16

I'm definitely looking forward to getting back to Ranch Road 336 in West Texas. My porky widebody Redeye on that road is a handful but man what a ride.

Great article. You have me daydreaming again...

17

I love spirited drives in the mountains. But my favorite is probably taking out the low and slow car for a late night/early morning city cruise. Rolling slow with good music under the city lights is pure relaxation.

18

Living in Spain I've got the roads, now the only thing I need is a car I can really enjoy and not a 150hp diesel Toyota sedan...

19

Next article: "The Best Car to Go For A Drive In Is the One You Own." The one you know every nuance of, etc.

20

Man, this article articulates what is so hard to express to non-drivers. The feeling you get from knowing your road. That closeness to car and the terrain around you. Awesome job Will!

21
Tom Westmacott

Just an ordinary offset crossroards at first glance. But - look both ways, turn out right, up to 2nd, then immediately peel off to the left again. Heading up the side road you're now perfectly poised for full throttle in second gear, hold it till the buzzer chimes as the road heads uphill and swings gradually to the right.

Having said that, when I signed up to JET the Japanese government actually did send me somewhere with a pretty amazing mountain pass five minutes away. Rural Japan is largely mountainous, so the road to the supermarket is often marked with those two most promising kanji, "touge".

22

Who works on your RX7 in the UK? I’ve got a Fujita Engineering FEED RX7 which arrived from Japan but unsure who to take to?

23

For me, there's a highway off-ramp near my old house. Which you can take at highway speeds since it opens up wide and you still have enough time to brake for the red lights. Feeling the car biting into the tarmac makes me feel like a racer sometimes. Without breaking the speeding limit. To bad other A-to-B drivers take it with no more than 50 kph...

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