Monthly Programme

Home page photoWelcome to Isis Cyclists, an informal member group of Oxford Cycling UK. We publish details of our rides month by month, and you’ll find the current month’s rides below this introduction. To see an outline programme for up to four months ahead, visit the Looking Ahead page.

We aim to start each ride promptly, and so we encourage people to meet 15 minutes before the advertised start time in order to welcome new riders, catch up with familiar faces and sign the riders’ list. We don’t publish the ride leaders’ contact details on this site, but if you have any queries about a particular ride, please get in touch through the Contact Us page at least a couple of days beforehand.

If you’re new to cycling with a large number of other people, you may find our Tips for Cycling in a Group and Meet the Ride Leaders pages helpful.

cyclinguk_web-logo-no-strap-2col-cmykIsis Cyclists and Oxford Cycling UK are part of Cycling UK.

The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.’ – Iris Murdoch


October 2019

In this issue:

Ellen writes…


Animated conversation on the Didcot to Upton cycle track, an old railway line.

So, summer has well and truly gone, but never fear, there’s something wonderful to experience on the bike in every season. Let’s hope for some sunshine and spectacular autumn colours as we roll along on this month’s rides.

Our first car/van-assisted ride at the very end of August worked out well. A good group assembled in Lechlade and headed off in the direction of Kelmscott House. Several of us took the chance to have a look round on what was the last day it was open to visitors for two years. I think everyone enjoyed the opportunity to cycle in less familiar surroundings and my Brompton certainly had great fun trying to keep up with the “big bikes”. We have one or two ideas for future such expeditions and hope to have our next one in the New Year.


Ellen knows just the thing to fill that hunger gap between coffee and lunch.

Summer lasted just about long enough for our first few rides in September and in particular for the 50-mile challenge ride. A record-breaking 24 riders took part on a pleasant but not (thankfully) super-hot day. As leader, I was very relieved that it was dry because I’d included over 10 miles of off-road riding in the route, which headed down to Didcot to pick up Sustrans route 544 to Wantage and includes a lovely section of old railway path and several lovely spring-line villages, including Ardington where we had lunch. The afternoon took us into the Vale of White Horse and flat roads on our way back to Oxford. Despite the 1000+ miles cycled by the group, we didn’t have a single puncture!


No wonder everyone is cheering: from here it’s downhill all the way to the end of the ride!

We have already booked a venue for our 2020 weekend away. Full details and booking instructions will appear in the January newsletter. However, in case you want to put the date in your diary to avoid disappointment, it will be from 17th19th July. We are going to the Chilterns again, this time at St Katherines, Parmoor which is a retreat house near the village of Frieth. There is a campsite nearby for those who want to enjoy the full outdoor experience.

Happy cycling!

Check our photo site for all the latest pictures taken on our rides in September:


The October short and steady ride is a slow and scenic route around  north and west Oxford, and will take in autumnal delights such as the horse chestnut trees and apple orchards of Wolvercote.

Meet outside Costa Coffee, Banbury Road, Summertown from 10:15 am for a 10:30 am start. The route will take National Cycle Network routes, other cycle paths and quiet roads to Wolvercote, Wytham and then Botley. In Botley we will ride into N. Hinksey village to pick up Willow Walk to reach the West Oxford Community Centre for refreshments. We will then continue across Port Meadow, through Jericho and back to the Banbury Rd meeting point. The entire ride is approximately 9 miles long and mainly flat with a few slight upward drags and the ride leader is Sarah Twine.


Meet from 10.00am for a 10.15am departure at the junction of Headington Road and Osler Road – just up from the Shell petrol station. The ride will leave Oxford via Old Headington before crossing the ring road and heading to Stanton St John, Worminghall, Holton and Ladder Hill in Wheatley before stopping for refreshments at Mill View Nursery and Cafe.

We will return via Wheatley Windmill, approaching East Oxford via Horspath and Barracks Lane. The ride is approximately 17 miles long and does include climbs which can be taken at your own pace, or even walked. The ride leader is Clare Farley.


Meet for a prompt 10am start by the statue of the Ox outside Oxford Railway Station. Please note the later than usual start time to allow those affected by half-marathon related road closures to find their way to the start.

The route will take us down Botley Road and up Cumnor Hill. We will then continue through Cumnor village, Appleton and Fyfield where we will cross under the A420 to emerge in Tubney. From there we will ride through Cothill and Wootton before climbing up through Old Boars Hill. A descent of Hinksey Hill will bring us out at the A34 roundabout and we will ride a little way along the ring road cycle track before re-crossing the ring road and stopping for our refreshment break at The Oxford Garden Centre.

We will return to the Station via North Hinksey and Willow Walk. The route is approximately 20 miles in length and includes climbs of Cumnor and Boars Hills. The ride leader is Stephen Lee. Please note that this is a mixed ride, so male partners and friends welcome.


Meet by the statue of the ox opposite the entrance to Oxford train station from 9:45 for a 10:00 departure. We will head off through the parks and back streets of Botley before climbing Cumnor Hill. After the hill (which can be taken at your own pace) the rest of the ride is level or downhill. We’ll ride on country lanes through the pretty villages of Cumnor, Eaton, Appleton and Fyfield before stopping for refreshments at the Dog House Hotel at Frilford. We then turn towards Cothill, then Sunningwell before returning to Oxford via the Thames path. The route is 24 miles in length and will be led by Karen Wolff.


Remember, this is the day the clocks change and so you should bring lights with you.

We are leaving from Costa Café in Summertown at 1:15pm prompt. The ride will take us through Woodeaton, Islip, Oddington, Charlton-on-Otmoor, Murcott, Horton-cum-Studley and Stanton St. John. We will get back into Oxford through Barton,  Headington, Headington Quarry and Wood Farm where we will try a new café where they have promised to have plenty of ‘natas’.  We will get back to the starting point through beautiful Old Headington.

This is a 27-mile ride with a couple of hills, but these can be taken at your own pace. It is also a social ride, so male partners and friends are welcome to join us. The leader is Leonor Barroca.

September 2019

In this issue:

Ellen writes…


Out and about on the 40-mile ride on 17th August

Well here we are on the brink of autumn. Most of our August rides had lovely weather except for the medium ride to Bletchingdon where the brave few were battered by wind and rain, but still made it to the café! The social tea ride suffered the opposite extreme with temperatures rising to more than 30 degrees. I hope that you will be able to take advantage of some of our September rides, especially as we will be enjoying our final stop & stare and evening social rides of the year.

Our experiment with organising a van/car assist ride on 31st August was very successful. Eleven riders enjoyed the Cotswold scenery on our ride from Lechlade. Some of us also enjoyed visiting Kelmscott Manor with its Arts & Crafts connections. Some of us also enjoyed a look around Fairford Church which has some wonderful mediaeval stained glass showing you in graphic detail what to expect if you end up in hell! We are hoping that we might have a couple of such rides a year. They really let us explore more distant countryside that otherwise we just wouldn’t get to see. We have some more ideas, so watch this space.

The Isis Cyclists leaders got together in July to plan rides until the end of November. However, we are always pleased to receive suggestions from you about places to visit and new refreshments stops to try out. So, please do let us know if you have any bright ideas. You can always use the Contact us page; messages do get through to me.

Happy cycling!

Check our photo site for pictures taken on our rides in August: https://photos.app.goo.gl/bNomJNL7dwrh6w798


The September Stop and Stare is a stop and pick ride to Rectory Farm three miles east of Headington. Meet at 11am outside Jacobs and Field near Waitrose in Headington. We’ll go in search of autumn strawberries and any vegetables in season, so bring your containers, and a pannier or two! There’s also  a farm shop and cafe. This six-mile ride will involve a bit of a pull up to Stanton St John. However, don’t let this put you off as we will go at a slow pace suitable for all and walking is absolutely fine. The ride leader is Lucy Tennyson.


Starting out

Meet from 9am for a prompt 9.15am departure in Radcliffe Square, outside the Vaults Café. This year’s route will take us through Abingdon and Didcot to explore some of the spring-line villages of the Berkshire Downs. We will leave Oxford in the direction of Kennington. If you live in South Oxford, you may instead prefer to meet us (at 9.30-9.35am) on the Abingdon Rd, near where it meets Bertie Place and outside the Travelodge. If you want to meet us here, please email me to let me know, otherwise me might go without you.


We will begin by riding to Abingdon on road via Kennington, Bagley Wood, Sunningwell and Shippon. Our first stop of the day, after 9 miles, will be for coffee at one of the cafés in the Market Square. We will then pick up Sustrans route 5 to Sutton Courtenay and Didcot, riding around the perimeter of the power station (interesting, but perhaps not scenic!). We’ll then ride through Didcot, passing the train station and the joining Sustrans route 544. This will take us to the village of Upton on a disused railway track which is also a local wildlife site. We will stop on this section for a snack, so please don’t forget to bring something to eat and (very importantly) drink. After Upton we have a climb to the top of Harwell Hill where we should get panoramic views back towards Wittenham Clumps.

That is the highest point of the ride, so we then descend to ride through the Harwell Campus before going across country and through the lovely villages of Ginge and then East Lockinge before arriving at our lunch stop, the Grocer Chef Café in Ardington, at which point we will have covered just over half the ride (26 miles).

We will start the afternoon with the traditional after-lunch climb, luckily only a small one, up to the A417 which we will cross and descend into the Vale of White Horse, passing Lain’s Barn as we go. We will then ride through East and West Hanney, Lyford and Garford before arriving at our afternoon stop at Millets Farm. We will have ridden 38 miles at this point, so will be ready for an ice cream or hot chocolate (depending on the weather!). The final 13 miles back to Radcliffe Square will be through Tubney, Fyfield, Appleton and Cumnor, and we will enter Oxford by riding triumphantly down Cumnor Hill and the Botley Road.

Hills and road surfaces

Should you be lucky enough to have a choice of bikes, you may be wondering which one to choose to be your companion for the day. Here’s some information that might help you decide.

The hills on the ride are not particularly steep. The first is from Kennington (Upper Rd) to Bagley Wood. The ride is then pretty flat till we climb out of Upton and over Harwell Hill. This is a long but steady climb (with some nice views to distract us!). The hill immediately after lunch, up to the A417 is short and steady and the final upward gradient is the long slight drag up through Appleton and Cumnor to the top of Cumnor Hill.

This 50 mile ride is unusual in including quite a lot of off-road paths and tracks in the route. Almost all the off-road is in the 17 mile section from Abingdon to lunch at Ardington. My estimate is that about 2/3 (i.e. 10 miles) is off road. However all but 2 miles of that is paths with hard surfaces, either tarmac or the usual Sustrans hard surface with compressed gravel. There are 2 miles divided into three sections (the longest of which is 0.8 mile) consisting of tracks with a hard base but loose surface. Finally in the afternoon we will unfortunately need to ride several miles of main road in three or four sections. Most of the main road riding will be on the A338 which isn’t generally too busy and has relatively little commercial traffic (at least on a Saturday afternoon). There will also be short sections of A415 to get to and from Millets Farm. I’ve chosen the route so that we won’t need to make any right hand turns off main roads.


Lunch will be at the Grocer Chef Café in Ardington. They have asked us to pre-order so that they can have our food prepared and so we won’t need to wait too long. If you are coming, please could you check out the menu on their website: www.thegrocerchef.com. Choose either from the lunch menu or the specials which are apparently updated regularly. Please email me by the evening of Thursday 5th September at the latest.


Meet from 10:15am for a prompt 10.30am start from Radcliffe Square, Oxford (at the back of the Vaults Cafe). This short and flat ride will visit 2 or 3 Open Doors venues in the city. It will be no longer than 7 miles and we will aim to take refreshments either at the last venue or shortly afterwards. The rider leader will be Natasha Williams. If you have any particular requests for locations to visit, then please email Natasha and she will try and incorporate your suggestions.


Meet for a prompt 9:30am start outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad St, Oxford. This moderately paced ride (average speed 10.5mph) will leave Oxford via the Barracks Lane cycle track and Horspath. There will then be a climb up to Cuddesdon before riding through the pleasant villages of Great and Little Milton. After a gentle coast downwards we will arrive in Stadhampton for refreshments at the Crazy Bear Farm shop. The return will be along the B480 before taking the minor road through Chippinghurst to Garsington. The entire route is 22 miles long and includes one hill and a few undulations either side of coffee. The leader is Steven Tuohy. Isis Cyclists are very welcome to join in and bring male partners and friends.


Meet outside the Sheldonian Theatre on Broad St, Oxford from 5.45pm for a prompt 6pm departure. We will head south to the river then New Hinksey and Kennington, through Bagley Wood. We will then follow the beautiful Sugworth Lane down back to the river up to Iffley Lock and Iffley, getting back to town through Meadow Lane. We will finish in Marston for drinks/food in the newly opened Up in Arms in Marston Road. This is a 12 mile ride and the leader is Leonor Barocca. As usual for our social rides, male friends and partners are welcome to join us.



Meet in Broad street in front of the Tourist Information Office at 13:15 for an 13:30 start. The ride will leave Oxford using Sustrans routes 5/51. There will be a pick up from Cutteslowe pedestrian bridge over the ring road, next to the Wren Road school  at 2 pm (please let the leader know if you are meeting us there). We will continue through Kidlington, Hampton Poyle and Bletchingdon and onto Kirtlington then onto the track down to Jane’s Enchanted Tea Gardens near Pigeon Lock.

The return journey is via Tackley and Woodstock, returning to Oxford down the A44 cycle track. This route includes several sections of off-road tracks. Most have a good surface (in the dry) but there is one section just before Tackley Station that is probably not suitable for bikes with very narrow road tyres. This route (which is approx. 26 miles long) does include a couple of hills in either direction which can be taken at your own pace or walked. The ride leader is Lilia Bonacorsi.


Meet on Route 57 just inside the ring road at the end of the Horspath Road (where the buses turn round) at 1.15pm for a prompt 1.30pm start.  We will join the B480 and ride directly to Dorchester via Drayton St. Leonard so that we should arrive in plenty of time to be able to indulge ourselves on what is the final opening of the Dorchester Abbey Tearooms this year! The return route will take us across the fields on a bridle track, to cross the River Thames on the footbridge to Little Wittenham at Day’s Lock. This track should be fine for all but bikes with very narrow road tyres, but even then it’s not that long and can be walked. From Little Wittenham we will ride to Oxford via Sutton Courtenay and Abingdon. The return route will be approximately 30 miles long and involves a single hill on the B480 before coffee and a slight pull up out of Little Wittenham afterwards. The ride leader is Natasha Williams. As this is a social ride, male partners and friends are very welcome to join us.

August 2019

In this issue:

Ellen writes…


The new swift tower in University Parks, visited on July’s Stop & Stare ride

Welcome to the August 2019 edition of the Isis Cyclists newsletter. We’ve got a feast of rides, including an extra van/car assisted one on 31st August starting at Lechlade. However much we love riding in our local patch, it is nice to venture further afield occasionally and this gives us the opportunity. If it proves popular we will try and include a few in our schedule every year. Apart from that, we’ve got the regular summer programme of rides. I’m sorry that some of these descriptions are a little less detailed than usual. Our leaders get-together ended up a bit later in the month than usual which meant that those leading rides in August didn’t have much time to plan their rides. I hope that all the really important information is included, but if you spot any omissions, please let me know.

OCC cycle survey

I thought that I should include a reminder in the newsletter about the cycle survey that OCC are running and which is open for all cyclists in Oxfordshire to give their opinion on current facilities and (hopefully) lead to better and more cyclist-driven provision for cycling in the county in the future. I’m sure we all have strong feelings about this, so please do let the authorities know by filling in this survey. It’s open until 6th September at: https://consultations.oxfordshire.gov.uk/consult.ti/Cyclesurvey2019/consultationHome

Happy cycling!

Check our photo site for pictures taken on our rides in July:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/L2GUoXHHVo6VtQPG7


This month’s short ride is a short circular loop on quieter roads through Botley, Wytham, Wolvercote and Jericho.  We’ll stop for coffee at Jacob’s Inn in Wolvercote.  Jacob’s Inn doesn’t have cake but it does have desert and you can have a small desert (sticky toffee pud, chocolate brownie or strawberry cheesecake) and a tea or coffee for £5.50    Meet at 10am for a prompt 10.15am departure by the Ox statute outside the train station.  The ride is flat and will be around 9 miles long and the pace will be slow and steady.  The ride leader is Natasha Williams.


Meet from 10.00am for a 10.15am departure outside the back of the University Church in Radcliffe Square, Oxford. The ride will leave Oxford via the University Parks Cycle Track and Marston before crossing the ring road and heading to Thé Café at Greenhill Farm in Bletchingdon via Woodeaton and Islip. The café has changed hands so is no longer the Batch Cafe we visited in March, so is a bit of an unknown quantity…

After coffee and (hopefully) cakes, and/or a light lunch, we will return via Hampton Poyle, approaching north Oxford using the track through Water Eaton. The ride is approximately 18 miles long and does include a few not too steep climbs which can be taken at your own pace, or even walked. The ride leader is Liz Weekes.


Meet for a 9.30am departure from outside Oxford Campus Stores on Broad Street. This 22 mile ride will leave Oxford via the University Parks cycle track to Marston before heading up Elsfield Hill (as slowly as desired!). We will then ride along the B4027 through Forest Hill before a short section of A40 cycle track brings us into Holton. We’ll ride through the village and onto Waterperry Gardens for coffee. The return route will take us through Worminghall and Stanton St John before we enter Oxford at the Headington roundabout. There are three hills of note, Elsfield on the way and Stanton St John and up through Barton on the return. The ride will be taken at approximately the usual Isis Cyclists long ride pace, i.e. an average of 10mph and will be led by Stephen Lee.


Meet outside the Sheldonian Theatre on Broad St, Oxford from 5.45pm for a prompt 6pm departure. We will head west along the river before heading off road to Cumnor, Wootton, Besselsleigh and Eaton. We will return to Oxford down Cumnor Hill. We’re not sure which pub we’ll stop at, but it will probably be either in Besselsleigh or Eaton. We’ll go at a gentle pace, so slower riders are very welcome. There will be one hilly section on the way (out of Oxford to Cumnor), but the return will be mainly downhill. This is a social ride, so male friends and partners are welcome to join us. Please remember to bring reflective gear and lights for the return journey as it may be getting dark. The length of the ride will probably be in the range 14-16 miles and the ride leader is Lucy Tennyson.


This 40-mile ride is your last chance to warm up for September’s 50-mile challenge and will take us north-east to lunch at Stratton Audley Barn (http://www.strattonaudleychristmasbarn.co.uk/). Meet in Radcliffe Square at the back of the University Church from 9:15 onwards, ready to leave at 9:30 (NB the early start time). We will leave Oxford through Marston and ride out via Otmoor and Marsh Gibbon, well to the east of Bicester. The return route swings north to Fringford, south-west to Middleton Cheney, then due south back to Oxford via Weston-on-the-Green and Bletchingdon. We’ll enter Oxford through the back of Summertown.

Depending on the state of everyone’s legs, we may have an optional tea stop at the Flight House between Middleton Cheney and Weston. We’ll also pause for a short rest by the wayside on the outward leg, so please bring a snack to keep you going. The ride leader is Liz Matthews. In terms of terrain, there are a couple of short hills at 5 and 35 miles, and some gentle undulations after lunch. If you would like to rendezvous with us either at Marston (junction of Cherwell Drive & Marsh Lane) or by the turn to Woodeaton, please email me by the evening of Friday 16th.

To view the route, visit https://ridewithgps.com/routes/30797220


We are going to try out a new café in Abingdon, on a route avoiding main roads for the most part and using cycle tracks and bridleways.  For this reason, it’s not suitable for road bikes with very thin tyres, but all other bikes will be fine.  We’ll climb Boar’s Hill over the fields and then whizz down to Bayworth, continuing to Sunningwell and taking Pen Lane into Abingdon.  We’ll return via Radley, using cycle tracks and the Sustrans route to the river for almost all the ride.  The route is an 18 mile round trip and apart from Boar’s Hill, is almost flat.  Meet outside the Vaults & Gardens café in Radcliffe Square, opposite the Radcliffe Camera, at 1.45pm, to start at 2pm.  As it’s a Bank Holiday weekend, the café will be super busy, so we’ll have to be patient, but this will apply pretty much everywhere.

This is a mixed social ride, so male partners and friends are very welcome to join us. The ride leader is Jane Carlton Smith.


This ride will take in places that the tourists never visit (well, mostly).  They are all outside and I would hope that we get some wonderful weather as we proceed.  Meeting outside the Sheldonian (opposite Blackwell’s) at 1.45pm, we’ll set off at 2pm around the corner into the Turl.  From our first stop, we’ll ride on to a less visited college with beautiful grounds, and then up through Jericho to Summertown.  We’ll finish where we started, via a famous and threatened place.  As the ride is called “Hidden Gems”, this is all the information you’ll get, but if you want to check with the leader, please feel free to email.  The ride is about 6 miles long and should take about three hours with stops and tea.  Depending on how long we stop at each venue, we can take tea and cake in Summertown, in Jericho, or back at the Vaults & Gardens Café in Radcliffe Square.  The ride leader is Jane Carlton Smith.


We are introducing these to replace the train-assisted rides that are no longer possible.  We’ll meet in the Riverside Car Park (shown on Google maps*) in Lechlade at 9.45am and set off at 10am for Kelmscott Manor, for coffee and a look around the house (£10 fee) if you haven’t seen it (before it closes for major renovations).  We’ll have lunch in the lovely Victoria Inn at Eastleach and tea (if time) in Fairford.  The ride is just under 23 miles long and the hills are reasonably widely spaced.  It’s a beautiful area that we don’t often get to explore (this ride was offered for our weekend away in 2017).

As well as leading the ride, Jane Carlton Smith is coordinating lifts for people who cannot transport their own bike.  She will also need to know that you are planning to come (subject to transport), so that lunch can be booked.  We will start as promptly as we can, so please do not arrive late in Lechlade.  Contact Jane via the Contact Us page if you don’t know her email address or phone number.

* From the middle of Lechlade, turn south (left at the lights) on the A361, direction Swindon, and drive over the bridge, past the Riverside Inn, past the Bridge House campsite on your left, and it’s on your right.  Be sure to pay for enough parking because apparently it’s run by a very sharp company who will take every opportunity to fine you if you fall short of payment.  We can’t be sure of finding street parking in Lechlade.

July 2019

In this issue:

Ellen writes…

Welcome to the Isis Cyclists July 2019 newsletter. I hope that you have managed to get out and about on your bike, even though the weather has felt at times more like March than June.

I shouldn’t complain, though, because our weekend away turned out to be charmed, weather-wise. Yes, it was cold and very wet at times during the weekend, but not when we were actually riding. Twenty-four of us had a great time based at Banbury Hill, just outside Charlbury. Riders had a choice of two rides on the Saturday. Lucy Tennyson led a ride which visited Daylesford and Chastleton House, and I led a slightly longer ride to Stow on the Wold. As always good fortune smiled on us, especially in the morning when we were feeling in need of “a little something” and we came across a village fete in Bledington. The cake stall wasn’t opening for another 20 minutes, but we found refreshments being served in the village hall to tide us over until it was! After all the rain, the sun came out, legs and arms were bared, and the Cotswold villages and countryside looked stunning.


Enjoying a picnic on the return ride from Charlbury

I will be leading this year’s 50-mile challenge ride on Saturday 7th September. The plan will be to ride down to Didcot to pick up the Didcot to Upton cycle track which uses a disused railway track and is part of the Didcot to Wantage cycle route. From Upton we will continue on the route for lunch at a café in Ardington before entering Wantage, and returning home through the Vale of the White Horse. As usual the ride will be taken at a steady pace and we offer plenty of chances to enjoy the views in a part of the county that we don’t often get to ride in.

Hopefully July will see summer come to stay. Anyway, we’ve got another varied selection of rides, so we’d love to see you out on some.

Happy cycling!

Photos from June’s rides:


Meet from 1.15pm in Bonn Square at the end of Queen Street for a prompt 1.30pm departure. We will ride down St Ebbes to the river Thames and follow it towards Osney/Botley, along Willow Walk to N Hinksey and up a short stretch of Harcourt Hill.

The Conduit House is located off a track leading from Harcourt Hill; access is on foot only and is about a ten-minute walk from Harcourt Hill Road. It was built during the early 17th century. It is a remarkable survival of Oxford’s first piped water supply.

From there we will retrace our tracks back to the Thames and pick up the South Oxford Cycle Route to the Ring Road and down on to the Thames just South of Iffley, so that we can have tea and cakes at the Isis Tavern before returning to Oxford along the Thames tow path. The ride is 8 miles with a short stretch of walking. The ride leader is Clare Farley.


We will meet at the Beirut Restaurant (on the corner of Osler Road and London Road in Headington, OX3 7RA) at 09:45am for a 10am start. We’ll wind our way through Old Headington and Barton to the countryside. We will follow country lanes as much as possible onto Horton-cum-Studley and return via Stanton St John – a route that feels particularly rural. We will stop for coffee and cake at the Tractor Shed, Rectory Farm – so bring panniers and bags if you want to pick your own or buy their fruit and vegetables. For what is currently available, visit the Rectory Farm website.

This ride is about 13 miles and is hilly. All 4 hills will be taken at your own speed (at a gentle pace or walked) with regular regroupings, and of course there is the benefit of beautiful sweeping descents as a reward! The ride leader will be Lucy Wright.


Meet outside Oxford Campus Stores on Broad St, Oxford for a prompt 9.30am departure for coffee at Hacketts Food & Drink in Farmoor. The route will include a climb of Hinksey Hill to Old Boars Hill before a descent to Wootton. From there the ride continues through Besselsleigh and onto Cumnor where another descent (with hopefully clear views of the Reservoir) will take us to the coffee stop. The return to Oxford is direct via Botley. This 15-mile long ride is a mixed ride organised by Oxford City Cycling UK and led by Steven Tuohy. The pace will be similar to that on an Isis Cyclists’ long ride and Isis Cyclists are welcome to come along. You can see the route on the website of Oxford City Cycling UK.


Meet in Radcliffe Square, Oxford (at the back of the University Church) from 9.45am for a prompt 10 am departure. We will head out of Oxford via the river towpath and Willow Walk to North Hinksey. For a change, we will tackle Yarnells Hill which is steep, but can be ridden slowly or walked. We will then ride into the Vale of White Horse via Cumnor, Appleton, Hinton Waldrist and Pusey before reaching our lunch stop at The Horse and Jockey PH in Stanford in the Vale. The return route will be via Charney Bassett, Fyfield, Tubney, Cothill and Sunningwell. We will approach Oxford using the Sustrans path from Kennington and along the river towpath to Folly Bridge. The route is 37 miles long (17 miles out and 20 miles back) and involves a single hill (Yarnells Hill) from N. Hinksey towards Cumnor. After that the ride is pretty much flat. The ride leader will be Liz Weekes.


This month we will be investigating one of the iconic sights and sounds of summer in Oxford, the swift. Meet outside Lady Margaret Hall (Norham Gardens, Oxford) from 1pm for a prompt 1.15pm start. For our first stop we will walk into the University Parks to look at the newly installed swift tower whose design incorporates 25 nest boxes. We will then start the ride proper by briefly visiting the University Museum, home to the oldest monitored nesting colony in the country and described in detail in Andrew Lack’s book Swifts in a Tower. We will then take the cycle track to Marston and visit “my birds” in St Clements. I’ve been carrying out surveys here all summer, identifying nest sites and so, with any luck, we’ll see some exciting low flying and nest visiting action. From there, we continue to the Westgate Centre to view a building that incorporates “swift bricks” which are a cheap alternative to nest boxes and that can be incorporated in new buildings. Finally, we will end up in Jericho to look at a swift nest box. Refreshments will be in Jericho. The ride is approximately 6 miles long and will take around 3 hours (including refreshments) as there will be quite a lot to stare at! The ride leader will be Ellen Lee.


Our annual ride to the Reading Room. Meet at 1:15pm for a 1:30pm departure outside Costa Coffee on the main Banbury Road in Summertown. We will head north on quiet roads and tracks to Bletchingdon, and from there, via Enslow and Wootton, to Combe. Our tea stop at the Combe Reading Room is at the half-way point of the ride. After our cream tea we will head back to Oxford via Long Hanborough and Worton. From there, you can choose to head home via Eynsham or the A40, or via Yarnton and the Canal, via Wolvercote, to Summertown. The ride is 27.5 miles long (if you opt for the Yarnton route home) and moderately hilly, but all hills can be taken at your own pace or walked if necessary. There is a short rough section at Enslow, to avoid a busy hill, but it is possible for all types of bikes.

This is a mixed social ride, so male partners and friends are very welcome to join us. The ride leader is Jane Carlton Smith.


This ride didn’t happen last month due to rain and so we are hoping for better luck this time!

Meet outside the Up in Arms PH on the Marston Road (opposite Londis) at 6pm for a prompt 6.15pm start. We will head out of Oxford on quieter roads and cycle paths and head towards Islip for a loop around Otmoor before stopping at the Abingdon Arms PH in Beckley for refreshments. We will then head straight back to Oxford and take the quieter back roads through Barton to return to Marston Road where the ride will end. Please note that the majority of the ride (17 miles) will be before the refreshment stop and we will need to maintain a steady pace averaging 11 or 12 mph in order to make sure we’re not out too late. The ride is hilly, but hills will be taken at your own speed with regular regrouping. The ride leader is Natasha Williams. You can view the ride here at https://ridewithgps.com/routes/30095265

June 2019

In this issue:


At Wheatley windmill, 11th May

Ellen writes…

Isis Cyclists has got a busy month ahead that includes our annual weekend away near Charlbury and a good selection of other rides, including an extra evening social ride to celebrate National Bike Week which this year runs from 8th-16th June. As usual, there are a good number and variety of rides available to take part in and organised by Oxford’s various bike clubs, so why not check out the Oxford Bike Week website and see if there are any other rides that take your fancy? If you can face getting up early, the solstice ride is a wonderful thing to do, especially if the weather is good, and it gives you an excellent excuse to indulge yourself afterwards with breakfast at a café! I should also mention that there is also a leisurely Sunday morning ride organised by the Oxford City Cycling Group on Sunday 16th June to which Isis Cyclists are cordially invited.

Happy cycling!


Meet at 10am for a prompt 10.15 departure outside the customer services entrance to John Lewis in Norfolk Street (you’ll see all the bike racks – by those).  We will head over to Friars Wharf and Kennington and then pick up the lovely Chilswell Lane, exiting via Oxford Brookes at Harcourt Hill and heading to the Fishes in North Hinksey for refreshments.  We will then return to Friars Wharf via Willow Walk and the towpath.  The ride is just 10 miles long and the ride leader is Natasha Williams.  You can view the ride at https://ridewithgps.com/routes/13930590. The route details may change if there’s heavy rain before the ride.  Chilswell Lane is a gravel track, so not ideal for super skinny tyres but any uneven sections can be walked.


Final information is being sent to participants via our mailing list.


Meet outside the Up in Arms PH on the Marston Road (opposite Londis) at 6pm for a prompt 6.15pm start.  We will head out of Oxford on quieter roads and cycle paths and head towards Islip for a loop around Otmoor before stopping at the Abingdon Arms PH in Beckley for refreshments.  We will then head straight back to Oxford and take the quieter back roads through Barton to return to Marston Road where the ride will end.  Please note that the majority of the ride (17 miles) will be before the refreshment stop and we will need to maintain a steady pace averaging 11 or 12 mph in order to make sure we’re not out too late.  The ride is hilly, but hills will be taken at your own speed with regular regrouping.  The ride leader is Natasha Williams.  You can view the ride at https://ridewithgps.com/routes/30095265


We’ll meet outside the Sheldonian (opposite Blackwells) at 9.45am, ready to start at 10am.  Riding along Barracks Lane, we’ll head towards Horspath and can pick up people at the junction of the Ring Road and Horspath Road (diagonally opposite the Mini Plant car park).  We aim to be there by 10.20am.  Our destination is Preston Crowmarsh, via Cuddesdon, Little Milton, Berrick Salome and Benson.  There is a short steep climb up Barracks Lane and a longer hill from Horspath up towards Cuddesdon, and walking is allowed!  We’ll have lunch at the Cart Shed at Preston Crowmarsh, where a table is booked for 10 at 1pm.

If you think you might be joining us, it would be very helpful if you could contact Jane Carlton Smith (though obviously you may not decide until you see what the weather is doing).  Returning via Shillingford Bridge and Dorchester, there are opportunities for wine tasting and tea, by popular vote.  We then return to Oxford via Drayton St Leonard, Stadhampton and Chiselhampton.  There are a few not very steep hills, unless we choose to avoid the main road and go through Cuddesdon.  There is inevitably some riding on main roads, but we’ll also enjoy some quiet roads and gorgeous midsummer countryside.  The ride is about 36 miles and is the first of our longer rides, leading up to the 50 mile challenge in September.  Jane Carlton Smith is leading.


Meet for a prompt 9:30am start outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad Street, Oxford. We will be leaving Oxford via Headington and Barton before crossing the B4027 and descending to Horton cum Studley. We’ll then climb the hill and return to Stanton St John for tea at the PYO. The route will be approximately 20 miles long and will be taken at a typical Isis long ride pace (average 10mph approx). There are three hills to be conquered and riders are encouraged to take them at their own pace and can walk if they prefer. The refreshment stop is after roughly 15 miles and so the final leg of the journey back to Oxford (via Elsfield and Marston) will be about 5 miles long, so you won’t need to carry any fruit or veg you acquire too far! The leader will be Stephen Lee (stephen@133.me.uk).


Starting from Magdalen Bridge (wait on the pavement on the left hand side heading out of town), we’ll ride down Meadow Lane to Donnington Bridge, where we’ll join the towpath to ride north along the river to The Perch.  We have the option of a short visit to the church of St Margaret of Antioch at Binsey, then we’ll return along Binsey Lane to Medley Manor Farm, where a gorgeous café awaits us.  While there, you may be able to pick up some vegetables and of course some strawberries, from the stall.  We’ll meet on Magdalen Bridge at 1.45pm, to start at 2pm and should finish our tea by 5pm.  The ride is 6.3 miles long from the start back to the Station, and flat.  Jane Carlton Smith is the leader.


Meet in Radcliffe Square (at the back of the University Church) from 6pm for a 6.15pm departure. We’ll take a slightly circuitous route to get to the pub (the Flowing Well in Sunningwell), via Kennington and Radley, roughly 10 miles, and come back a more direct way (about 5 miles to the centre of Oxford). The ride is mainly flat, no real hills. This is a social ride, so male friends and partners are welcome to join us. Don’t forget to bring lights in case the ride back is in the twilight. The ride leader is Lilia Bonacorsi.


We will meet outside the Sheldonian (opposite the Weston Library) for a prompt 1.30pm start. We will be leaving through the Botley Rd and the much loved (not) hill to Cumnor. From here we will follow the Appleton Road cutting across to Besselsleigh, Dry Sandford and Sunningwell. We will reach Hogacre getting back into Oxford through Kennington and New Hinksey. We will end up in the lovely pop-up café at Hogacre Common, where you can laze around, admire the local products and enjoy the rest of your afternoon (hopefully  a sunny one).

The route is 16 miles and reasonably flat, once you have conquered Cumnor Hill.
As this is a mixed social ride, male friends and family are very welcome to join us. The ride leader is Leonor Barroca.

Please note that to get to the café, you will either need to carry your bike over a railway footbridge, or alternatively lock your bike on the Oxford side and walk over on foot.

May 2019

In this issue:

Ellen writes…


Tulips at Worton Organic Farm on April’s social ride

The lovely sunny Easter weekend made me feel as though summer is already here, so it’s apt that I start this newsletter by mentioning our weekend away. You can see a provisional programme on our Weekends Away page, but Jane Carlton Smith will provide more details nearer the time. If you’ve not thought about joining us, but would like to, it may be possible to sort out accommodation in a pod or to camp. However all the on-site B&B has already been booked up. There may still be B&B available in Charlbury itself. If you want to come, please email Jane Carlton Smith via the Contact Us page.

Oxford City Cycling UK is starting occasional shorter rides to a coffee or tea venue, usually on the second Sunday of the month. The ride will be led by an experienced rider at the pace of an Isis long or medium ride (i.e. averaging around 10mph). Isis riders are very welcome to take part. For details of the ride on 12th May 12th, see below.

Check out Google Photos for pictures taken on our rides in April.


Meet at 10.15 for a 10.30 departure for this month’s short and steady ride, which starts at the entrance to University Parks where Norham Gardens meets Parks Road.

The ride will take in Parks and meadows to enjoy the summer flowers North Oxford has to offer. The route will follow the national cycle route to Sunnymead and Cutteslowe Park and then traverse Five Mile Drive to join the canal path at Upper Wolvercote. We continue along the path to Walton Well Road and cut across Port Meadow to the Perch Public house for coffee/tea and cake in the garden. The route will return to the starting point and is approximately 7 miles. Ride duration is  2½ hours, depending on length of coffee stop. Due to the route along the towpath and short section across the meadow, thin tyres and road bikes are not recommended for this ride.

The ride leader is Sarah Twine.


We’ll take a slow and leisurely ride around some group exhibitions using the path along the river whenever possible, heading first to south Oxford, then circling back to our start via Iffey, Botley and Jericho. Meet outside the Sheldonian in Broad Street at 1.45pm to set off at 2pm. Ride leader Lucy Tennyson.


Don’t be put off – we will take the hills gently and they can be walked if necessary.

Meet at 10.30am, for a 10.45am departure on Magdalen Road, the corner with Cowley Road outside the old Bingo Hall and opposite the City Arms pub. We’ll cycle up Barracks Lane and on to Horspath and via the windmill to Wheatley, Holton and Great Milton, approaching Cuddesdon from the mill. We will have an early lunch break at the Bat and Ball in Cuddesdon.  We’ll return to town via Horspath and Barracks Lane again. The ride is 14 miles.  The ride leader is Clare Farley.


The ride will leave from outside Costa Coffee on the main road in Summertown at 10.00am and go to Annie’s Tea Room at Thrupp for coffee. It will be led by Stephen Lee.

Please note that the 10km “Town & Gown” ride is taking place and so some roads in central Oxford may be shut, so leave plenty of time to get to the start. 


Meet in Bonn Square in front of the New Road Baptist Church from 6:00pm for a 6:15 departure. We’ll cross the river and take the tow path towards Osney, turning off through the Osney Trading Estate then on to Willow Walk. From North Hinksey we will wiggle our way up Cumnor Hill by way of residential roads, avoiding the home-bound commuter traffic on the main road. This involves the inevitable climb, which can be walked. We then cycle through Cumnor village towards Appleton, branching off onto the delightful Besselsleigh Lane which takes us to the Greyhound pub for drinks and/or food. Our return trip takes us back down Cumnor Hill and along the Botley Road cycle path. The route is 12.5. miles long and male partners and friends are welcome. Please remember your lights for the ride home! The leader is Karen Wolff.


Meet in Broad street in front of the Tourist Information Office at 13:15 for an 13:30 start. The ride will leave Oxford using Sustrans routes 5/51. There will be a pick up from Cutteslowe pedestrian bridge over the ring road, next to the Wren Road school  at 2 pm. We will continue through Kidlington, Hampton Poyle and Bletchingdon and onto Kirtlington then onto the track down to Jane’s Enchanted Tea Garden near Pigeon Lock.

The return journey is via Tackley and Woodstock, returning to Oxford down the A44 cycle track. This route includes several sections of off-road tracks. Most have a good surface (in the dry) but there is one section just before Tackley Station that is probably not suitable for bikes with very narrow road tyres.

This route (which is approx. 26 miles long) does include a couple of hills in either direction which can be taken at your own pace or walked. The ride leader is Lilia Bonacorsi.

Note: You only need to book if you want the ‘Full Jeeves’ menu option.


Our second Sunday afternoon mixed social ride take us south-east from Oxford. Have an early, hearty(!) lunch and meet at The Plain, on the corner of Cowley Place and Iffley Road (by the cycle racks in front of the Magdalen College School sign), for a prompt 1pm start. We will head out down the Cowley Road to the Barracks Lane cycle path, crossing the ring road next to the Mini Plant. We then continue through Horspath and up the hill to Cuddesdon, before undertaking our tour of the Miltons and Haseleys: the Littles first, then the Greats. Heading back, we swing north-east at Wheatley for tea at Waterperry Gardens, then retrace our steps (tyre-tracks!) to Wheatley, returning to Oxford via Littleworth and Horspath.

The route is 24.2 miles long to the dispersal point at the end of the Barracks Lane cycle track; the terrain is mainly undulating with two substantial hills: the first after Horspath on the outward leg, and the second after Littleworth on the return section. There is also a very short stretch of unsurfaced track at the top of Gidley Way, which can be walked.

Note that the tea stop is after 18 miles (roughly 2 hours of cycling), and so we’ll have a roadside refreshment halt after an hour or so; bring a snack if you suspect you’ll get peckish.

As this is a mixed social ride, male friends and family are very welcome to join us.

The leader is Liz Matthews, and you can view (and download) the route at https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29841481.

April 2019

In this issue:

Ellen writes…

Bath Bike Trail - croppedThe clocks have changed, so it must be spring! It’s certainly been looking like it the last few days. The chiffchaffs are calling from the roadside trees and there were new-born lambs and piglets (in little concrete igloos or perhaps “pigloos”?) on my ride on my day off last Tuesday. I don’t know about you, but I just want to be outdoors all the time, enjoying the new green shoots and new life.

You may have noticed that Google+, where we have kept our photo colection, has shut down. We are currently experimenting with alternatives and hope to have a solution up and running by May. We’ll keep you posted.

Also, when you sign in for a ride, you will soon notice that the sign-in sheet has an extra tick box for giving us permission to put photos of you taken on the ride on our website and the replacement for Google+. If you are happy about this, please do tick the box. This applies to close-up photos, group photos etc., and photos where you can be readily identified. If you don’t want us to use photos of you, please don’t tick the box, let the ride leader know and avoid group photos. We will do our very best to respect everyone’s wishes.

Another change that you will notice is that our joint ride on the last Sunday morning of the month has been replaced with a social afternoon tea ride. The joint rides have been a great way of introducing some of our riders to slightly faster rides and a number now ride regularly with the City Cycling UK group. However, we feel it’s time for a change. We want to make a long “Isis Cyclists” -style ride available to men who don’t want to cycle far or fast. We’ll be trialling this new idea until the autumn and so please do encourage male friends and partners to join us, but also feel free to spread the word more widely. Lucy Tennyson will be leading our first Sunday tea ride on 28th April: see below.

Finally, the Abingdon Festival of Cycling takes place on Sunday 14th April. The festival, which is organised by Abingdon Freewheeling, offers free road, mountain and family bike rides throughout the day. For more details see:


Meet outside the Sheldonian in Broad Street from 10:15 for a 10:30am departure for this short ride on quiet roads and cycle paths through Jericho, Wolvercote, Wytham and Botley. This is the ride that was cancelled due to cold weather at the start of February, so we are hoping for better luck this time! We will take refreshments (coffee, homemade cakes or brunches) at the Manna Cafe in Botley. From there we’ll head back into the city down Willow Walk. The total ride length is 8.5 miles and is more or less flat. The leader is Karen Wolff.


Meet at Costa Coffee in Summertown (corner of Oakthorpe Road and Banbury Road) at 10:00 for a prompt 10:15 start. We will ride north to Wolvercote and then to the beautiful village of Wytham. We will then come down towards Botley, follow the quiet back lane of Osney Mead and St. Ebbes to end up in the Abingdon Road for the Portuguese treat of ‘café e nata’. For the return we ride to the Donnington Bridge and follow the river and canal back through Jericho to the starting point.

This is a flat route suitable for all riders and bikes; it is a 13 mile ride and you can see the route at https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29538515. The ride leader is Leonor Barroca.


Meet from 13:15 for a 13:30 start from outside Costa Coffee in Summertown (corner of Oakthorpe Road and Banbury Road). We will make our way on quiet roads to the Cutteslowe Cycle Bridge where we can pick riders up (on the Oxford side of the bridge) at around 13.40. If you would like to be picked up there, please let the leader know, so she doesn’t go without you. From there we will ride to Kidlington via the Water Eaton track, Hampton Poyle and Bletchingdon. We will then descend the hill through Enslow and take a minor road to Tackley and Rousham Gap where we will pick up the Sustrans route and green lane to Woodstock for tea. After tea we will head directly back to Oxford along the A44 cycle track, picking up the canal to Lower Wovercote and then Summertown via the Woodstock Rd. The route does include a couple of climbs before the tea stop, but none after.

The entire return route back to Summertown is 25.5 miles and includes some 4 miles of good quality Sustrans track and a short section of rough but made-up road, so should be fine for all except road bikes with very thin tyres. Because it will be 18 miles to the tea stop, we will have a short roadside break before, so please bring a snack and a drink. The eta at Woodstock is 15:45 and we should be back in Oxford around 5pm. The ride leader is Ellen Lee.


We will meet outside the Sheldonian Theatre (opposite Blackwells) at 2pm, to start at 2.15pm.  We’ll search for cycle barriers which make it difficult for bikes to pass, especially bikes with trailers for children, mobility bikes or cargo bikes.  This is in support of a project to improve Oxford’s cycling infrastructure.  The route is not set, but will include some cycling by the river and if you would like to come along, please nominate any barriers you know of (central Oxford area – see link for map), so that we can see for ourselves and take a photo for the project.  The coffee stop will depend on where we end up, after all there’s loads of choice, and we should be finished by 5pm.  The leader is Jane Carlton Smith.  You can view the area we are interested in at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1QvlSJ8FDlQQ6VwIk_X6CXYsRBSMoxKGx.


Our first of a new series of Sunday afternoon social rides is a medium length flat route to the organic café at Worton where they serve homemade cakes in a delightful market garden setting where the owners specialise in cut flowers for weddings. If we’re lucky, the tulips which surround the outside seating should be in flower. Meet outside the Sheldonian Theatre on Broad St, Oxford from 1.45pm to set off at 2pm, going out of town along the river towards Wolvercote and then taking the cycle path along the A40 before heading away from main roads. We’ll return from Worton via Yarnton, Kidlington and Water Eaton. Ride length 17 miles, and we’ll go at a relaxed pace. It’s a social ride so male friends and partners are welcome. We aim to be back by 5.30pm. The ride leader is Lucy Tennyson.