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Monthly Programme

Welcome to Isis Cyclists, an informal member group of Oxford Cycling UK. We have now restarted a limited programme of organised rides: see below for this month’s programme.

If you’re planning your own ride, remember that you can find some ideas on our page featuring a selection of routes. However, please abide by the Government’s current regulations. For guidance on safe cycling from Cycling UK, see the useful links below.

If you would like to receive our monthly newsletter, please email us via the Contact Us page.

Now that winter is approaching, please read our tips for winter cycling.


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Isis Cyclists and Oxford Cycling UK are part of Cycling UK.

Cycling for me has never been boring or neutral. A male cyclist is just a bloke on a bike, but a woman appears political, independent, a bluestocking, egregiously sporty, or suspiciously saucy.
– Eliane Glaser, The Guardian, 27/03/21

November 2021

The AJ Bell Women’s Tour passing through Oxford on 4th October.

Saturday November 6th 2021: Short & Steady Rides A Short Riverine Ride

Meet at 9.45 for a 10am departure from Radcliffe Square for this gentle meander along the tow paths of Oxford. We will head south along the river to begin with, cross Iffley Lock to join Meadow Lane, then come back over the river to join the Sustrans route through Grandpont. We briefly reunite with the river before ducking off into Osney Mead to take advantage of the lovely new cycle path which leads us to our refreshment stop at WOCA. From there we continue north along the river before turning off and cutting back to the city centre via Jericho. The ride is just under 8 miles and flat. The leaders are Karen Wolff and Liz Weekes.

Link to Short & Steady Route

Tuesday 9th November: Midweek Social Ride to Ducklington

At nearly 35 miles this ride is quite ambitious for the time of year, so we will set off promptly and keep moving at a reasonable pace to ensure we get back to Oxford before the light fades. In any case, please bring lights.

Meet outside Costa Coffee in Summertown from 9.15 for a 9.30 departure. The plan is to cycle north along the canal towpath from Wolvercote to Yarnton; however, a short stretch just before Yarnton is currently closed. When we checked the route we found a way round (a short, slightly rough track), but if that isn’t an option on the day we’ll ride alongside the A44 all the way from the Woodstock Road roundabout to Yarnton. From Yarnton we follow a quieter road through Cassington to Eynsham, where we may have a short refreshment stop (Lyall’s café or bring your own).

The route then takes us to Sutton and Stanton Harcourt before turning along peaceful Tar Lane and the Northern Cross Valley bridleway, which has a good surface. The lunch stop is at The Bell, Ducklington (see below); alternatively, you can picnic on the bench by the duck pond, warding off the marauding mallards. In the afternoon we enjoy a few exhilarating swoops along the Aston Mile before turning left along the lane through Yelford to the A415 at Hardwick. From there it’s back through Standlake, Northmoor, Newbridge, Kingston Hill (the day’s only climb) and Appleton. There will be an optional tea stop in Cumnor before zooming down Cumnor Hill back into Oxford. The route officially ends in Frideswide Square.

The leader is Liz Matthews.

Lunch at The Bell: It will help The Bell if we send our menu choices the day before. The current menu is different from the one on the website, so I’ll post it on the new Midweek Rides WhatsApp group on Thursday 4th. If you aren’t a member of the group, send me a message by email (if you know my address), via the contact page on the website, or a direct message on WhatsApp, and I’ll send you a copy.

Route: Link to the Midweek Ride Route

Saturday 13th November: Medium Ride Greats & Littles

This 18-mile ride, taken at a slow and steady pace, explores the undulating area SE of Oxford through Great Milton and Haseley and Little Haseley and Milton with a break at the community shop and cafe in Little Milton. It includes some hills which can be taken at your own pace.

Meet opposite the City Arms on Magdalen Road, at 9.30am to leave by 9.45am. We will set off up Barracks Lane, head across the ring road towards Horspath and take a short detour to avoid the closed road by the railway bridge. A short sharp hill leads on to a downhill into Cuddesdon and the mill before rising again to reach Great Milton. We’ll continue through Great Haseley and Little Haseley and then Little Milton. We’ll return via Cuddesdon to enjoy the hills and views in the opposite direction and back down Barracks Lane to E. Oxford. The ride leader is Clare Farley.

Friday 19th November: Evening Ride around the Lights

Meet in Radcliffe Square, outside the Vaults & Gardens Café at 6pm, for a ride to appreciate the highlights of the Oxford Christmas Light Festival. We’ll visit the Castle, where a Son et Lumière is running that evening, celebrating the 950th Anniversary of the Castle. We’ll ride around some of the other sights, to be determined nearer the time when details are published (see Oxford Lights Festival). It’s not possible to plan a refreshment stop at the time the newsletter goes out, as there may be changes in rules and regulations, so we’ll have to play it by ear. The ride should finish by 8pm. The leader is Jane Carlton Smith.

Saturday 20th November: Long ride Dead-ends and Donkeys

Meet outside the Premier Inn, by the roundabout at the end of Oxford Road, Cowley (Cowley Road), where it meets the Ring Road. We will start at 9.30am, because daylight is limited in late November.

This 32-mile ride starts on the cycle track on the B480, immediately beyond the ring road roundabout, and ends at Donnington Bridge. It includes a couple of stretches of main road, and goes “off piste” a couple of times to investigate the bits of Marsh Baldon we normally sail past, and also Mackney, which is an isolated hamlet south of Brightwell cum Sotwell, and is lovely. The route takes in the Baldons, Clifton Hampden and Little Wittenham. We then head for Brightwell cum Sotwell and down Mackney Lane to the hamlet (the Dead End). Returning to Brightwell, we will visit the Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary which has a café. Our route home passes through North Moreton, Appleford and Sutton Courtenay, after which we can take the Hanson Way (Peep o’Day Lane) to Abingdon. We can get refreshments there if the Donkey café isn’t open, or if we want another stop! And then back via the Sustrans route. We’ll finish up at Donnington Bridge, from where you can find your way back home.

There are some hills in the first half of the ride, but fairly flat in the second half. The leader is Jane Carlton Smith.

Link to Long Ride Route

October 2021

Saturday 2nd October: Short & Steady ride – Encountering East Oxford

This 11-mile ride, taken at a slow and steady pace, uses cycle tracks and paths to explore areas of Oxford which you may not have visited before, as well as some more familiar parts. It includes very short stretches of main road.

Meet outside outside the Vaults and Garden Café in Radcliffe Square, at 9.45am, to allow time for signing up and briefing before we leave promptly at 10am.

We will take the Iffley Road before branching off and riding through through Iffley Village, and thence via the Florence Park and Littlemore Low Traffic neighbourhoods (while they are still in place!) into Blackbird Leys. There are green spaces and parks in this area and we will ride through most of them. Returning to Florence Park via the Temple Cowley LTN, we’ll visit Flo’s café for coffee and cake, to reward ourselves for a short and almost entirely flat ride.

The ride should take around 1.5 hours at most, plus the time taken for refreshments at the end. You will be led back to central Oxford if needed. The leaders are Jane Carlton Smith and Julia Millington.

Link to route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/37514761

Saturday 9th October: Medium Ride – An Afternoon Ride to Abingdon

We’ll gather in Radcliffe Square for a quick briefing at 1.50pm, and head out of the city via the pretty roads to Sunningwell, before taking an off road route into Abingdon for a tea stop. The return will be along the cycle way out of the town joining the river towpath to cycle in past the Isis and Donnington Bridge. The ride leader is Lucy Tennyson.

Link to route: not yet available.

Saturday 16th October: Akeman Street (Roman Road) from Kirtlington to Chesterton

Meet at 9.45am outside Costa Coffee at the junction of Oakthorpe and Banbury roads in Summertown (note the different starting point). We will be riding up to Bletchingdon and then riding a loop to include Weston on the Green, Wendlebury, Chesterton and Kirtlington. There will be a new (at least to Leonor) coffee and cake (or even lunch) stop half way through. The total distance is 30 miles if you come from town or around 26 miles from Summertown. The ride leader is Leonor Barroca.

Link to route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/37591086

Tuesday 19th October: Midweek Ride – Moreton and More

Please be by the Bayswater turn on the ring road roundabout at the top of London Rd, Headington from 9.45am for a 10am start.

This 37-mile route starts at the roundabout at the top of London Rd, Headington and takes riders east via Stanton St John, Worminghall, Shabbington and across the River Thame to North Weston. Here the route picks up the cycle track along the A418 and into Thame. If we feel like it, we can ride into Thame in search of coffee and cake. We then return to the edge of Thame, heading along Rycote Lane to pick up Moreton Lane which leads to the hamlet of that name. We’ll be riding along a tarmac single track straight road which after a while turns into a farm track with a decent surface, solid but with occasional loose stuff on top. It’s fine for most bikes, although maybe not so pleasant in the wet.

We’ll climb up and over Horsenden Hill and will come out in Tetsworth. If we feel it’s time for an outdoor refreshment break, we can turn right and coast down to the village green where there are plenty of seats. Then head back along the A40 for a couple of miles. The route leaves the A40 at Postcombe (along Salt Lane) and you will now enjoy some roads through South Weston, Adwell, Wheatfield, Stoke Talmage and Clare that have splendid views both over to the Chiltern escarpment and in the other direction down to Oxfordshire’s clay vale. We then avoid the right turn to Chalgrove and carry on towards Brightwell Baldwin, to pick up the bridleway into Chalgrove. We can eat our own snacks in the churchyard or get food at one of the pubs.

We’ll return via Little Milton, and then turn off for Cuddesdon and Garsington.

Link to route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/37623415

September 2021

Saturday September 4th: A short & steady ride with a challenge!

Please gather from 9:45 in Radcliffe Square, Oxford, for a prompt 10am departure for this short and steady ride to the south-west of Oxford. We begin by riding through St Ebbes and crossing the river to pick up the towpath towards Osney. We will then use the new cycle path to Willow Walk and North Hinksey. We will ride through the village and pick up the main road up Cumnor Hill. This is where the challenge comes in! Please don’t be put off. Most hills can be tackled successfully if they are taken at the right pace for you and you can always walk if necessary. We will stop to re-group and catch breath every so often.

Once at the top, we’ll turn down Hurst Lane and return to North Hinksey via back lanes and paths. The reward for the climbing is coffee at Jericho Coffee Traders Roastery on Osney Mead. Our return will be via the towpath and South Oxford. The route is a smidgeon over 10 miles and is flat apart from Cumnor Hill. The ride leaders are Sarah Twine and Yvonne Macken.

Link to route: https://gb.mapometer.com/cycling/route_5293677

Wednesday 8th September: Evening social ride to Sandford Lock

Meet from 17:15 in Radcliffe Square (in front of The Vaults cafe) for a prompt 17:30 departure for the last social evening ride of the summer. We will make the most of the remaining daylight by cycling along the river towpath and Sustrans track to Kennington. Here we will turn down Sandford Lane to Sandford Lock where we can have refreshments at The King’s Arms PH. Take a look at the menu

Please remember to bring lights with you as the nights are drawing in. The return route is along the unlit river towpath. The route is pretty flat and around 10 miles in length. As it is a social ride, male partners and friends are very welcome to attend. The ride leader is Lilia Bonacorsi.

Saturday 11th September: Medium ride – A wander around Woodstock

Meet in Radcliffe Square, Oxford from 10.45 for a prompt 11am departure (please note the later than usual start time!). The route will head out through North Oxford to pick up the track through Water Eaton to Kidlington. It will then continue up the eastern side of Kidlington and pass by Oxford Airport before meeting the A44 cycle track for the short hop to Woodstock. There will be an extended stop to give time for lunch/brunch at The Oxfordshire Museum plus a chance to look round the museum and/or the town.

The route back will be direct along the A44 cycle track and newly surfaced Oxford Canal towpath. The route is 20 miles long. Although this is longer than most medium rides, there are no hills and it includes a long break. It is expected that we should return to Oxford between 3pm and 3.30pm. The ride leader is Lilia Bonacorsi.

Tuesday 14th September: Midweek long ride – Social picnic ride from Cumnor or Eynsham to Chadlington (car-assisted)

This ride, led by Liz Matthews, will have two starting points:

  • 9:30 by the war memorial in Cumnor High Street (just above the mini-roundabout with Appleton Road)
  • 10:00 in Eynsham village centre, in front of the church

The earlier than usual start is intended to avoid the afternoon build-up of traffic between Eynsham and Farmoor, so please be prompt! We will ride out to Charlbury via Cuckoo Lane, East End and Fawler; thence to Spelsbury and Chadlington. We will picnic on the green opposite the Café de la Post in Chadlington, where you can buy a hot drink and/or top up your lunch. (If it’s wet, we may picnic instead in Spelsbury, in the shelter of the old village fountain.)

We will continue across the River Evenlode and up the valley side, with an optional detour to the tiny church at Shorthampton. The route then skirts Wychwood Forest to Leafield, Mount Skippett and Wilcote, and heads back to Cumnor via Cuckoo Lane and Eynsham. The total mileage from Cumnor is 35; from Eynsham it’s 27. The route has a number of short ups and downs, a long ascent out of the Evenlode valley and, if you started in Cumnor, a climb up Tumbledown Dick at the very end.

It’s a social ride, which means that male partners are very welcome.

Parking:

Cumnor: We may be able to accommodate your car in our drive; if interested, please contact me in advance via my email address (if you know it already), the Contact Us page WhatsApp. Otherwise, there is a car park behind the village shop/Old School in the High Street next to the war memorial.

Eynsham: There is a large free car park at the end of Clover Place, off the Witney Road just before or after Bartholomew School, depending on the direction you’re coming from.

Refreshment stops (or lack of!):

There is no coffee stop on the outward route; however, we’ll pause for a snack en route, so bring something to stave off your hunger. If you’re starting from Eynsham, you can have a coffee before setting off; the Wholesome Earth café in Mill Street is open from 9:00. However, please be outside the church by 10:00.

Link to route (starts from Cumnor village centre): https://ridewithgps.com/routes/37319952

Saturday 18th September: Annual 50-mile challenge ride

This year we will be riding a gentle, more or less flat route into the Thames Valley. Coffee will be taken at Aston Pottery and lunch (after a loop taking us as far as the village of Filkins) at Blake’s Kitchen in Clanfield, where there should be plenty of outdoor covered seating. If you would prefer to take a picnic lunch, then the green is just the other side of the road, and takeaway drinks can be purchased. Assuming the weather is on our side, there will also be a picnic tea stop in either Standlake or Northmoor. There will be other short breaks along the way, so come prepared with plenty of snacks to get yourself going. Neither coffee nor lunch venue requires booking.

The circular route from Eynsham is almost exactly 40 miles long (see route below) and therefore, if you ride from Oxford, the total ride length will be somewhere between 50 and 56 miles, depending where exactly you start from. There will be two organised rides to Eynsham:

  • Group 1 will be led to Eynsham by Liz Weekes and will meet at the roundabout at the top of the Woodstock Road. It will take the A40 cycle track.
  • Group 2 will be led by Ellen Lee and will meet at the end of Willow Walk (in N. Hinksey) near where it meets the road through the village and will ride to Eynsham via Farmoor. Please choose whichever is most convenient.

Both groups will meet at their respective start points at 9:15 for a prompt 9:30 departure.

Alternatively, you can make your own way to Eynsham (by bike or car) and meet us at 10am in the square near St Leonard’s church.

Once we have gathered in Eynsham, we will take the opportunity to re-arrange into suitable sized groups to make our way to coffee. On our return to Eynsham, we will split again into N. Oxford (A40) and W. Oxford (Farmoor) groups for the return to Oxford.

The pace of the ride will be steady with regular refuelling breaks. Judging from previous 50-mile rides, I would expect us to be back in Oxford between 6pm and 6.30pm. However, as the nights are drawing in, I would suggest bringing lights, just in case.

Although there is no need to book for the ride, it would be very helpful if you can let me know (via the Contact Us page) if you are planning to take part and which (if any) group you will be joining in Oxford. I will set up a WhatsApp group for the event, so if you are not part of Bike Buddies and would like to be included, please let me know your mobile number. We have found that this is a very efficient way of keeping people informed, contacting riders on the day, and sharing photos and impressions of the ride afterwards.

Link to route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/37324823

August 2021

Saturday August 7th 2021 – Short & Steady Rides: Oxford’s Green Spaces

Newcomers to Isis are particularly welcome to join the short ride which we will take at a nice gentle pace to allow everyone to enjoy some of the loveliest green spaces around the city.

Meet 10.45am to set off at 11am outside the Vaults cafe in Radcliffe Square. NB the later than usual start time.

A 10.8 mile circular cycle ride through Cutteslowe Park, Wytham and North Hinksey with plenty of time to stop when we need to, probably at the Fishes pub where we can sit outside. We’ll discover a new stretch of cycle path through Osney Mead before returning to Radcliffe Square along the Thames towpath.

Ride leaders Lucy Tennyson and Karen Wolff. 

Link to Route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/36512964

Tuesday 10th August: Midweek Long Ride to Charney Bassett

This 36.6-mile route leaves Radcliffe Square at 10am via Folly Bridge (to avoid the roadworks on the Botley Road), Willow Walk and Raleigh Park Road (the only substantial hill). We pass through Cumnor, Appleton and Fyfield, where we cross the A420; thence through Lyford, Denchworth, Goosey and along a short stretch of the A417 before (finally!) turning towards Charney Bassett. The return route is via Southmoor (foot/cycle/horse bridge over the A420), and then back along the quiet road through Appleton and Cumnor, down to Botley and the city centre.

The lunch stop is at Charney Bassett (23 miles). You can choose between a pub lunch at The Chequers and a picnic on the village green (with an optional drink at the pub). If you would like to eat at the pub, please email* me by Sunday 8th August as I will need to book a table. Unfortunately, there is no suitable watering hole in the morning, so please pack an additional snack and drink for a BYO al fresco coffee stop. Leader: Liz Matthews.

* If you don’t know my email address, please get in touch via the Contact Us page on this website.

Link to Route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/36929648

Saturday 14th August: Medium Ride: A (hopefully) sunny ride to Sunnyhill

Meet at 9.45am for a 10am start in Radcliffe Square (at the back of the University Church). This route leaves Oxford City via the University Parks cycle track and Marston. It then continues through East Oxford and Cowley, before crossing the Ring Road using an underpass at the end of Long Lane. The route now takes riders through Minchery Farm and past the Kassam Stadium before riding beside Fry’s Hill Park and through Gillian’s Park in Greater Leys. Soon the route emerges on Grenoble Road and then takes the B480 for a mile or so before turning for the pretty village of Garsington. This involves a long but steady climb and you will be rewarded with wide open views over S. Oxfordshire towards the Chiltern Hills. A left turn then takes you rapidly downhill and to Sunnyhill Vineyard where we will stop for refreshments. We return via Horspath and thence to the eastern ring road. The route finishes at the bottom of Barracks Lane on Bartlemas Close and is just over 14 miles long.

The ride leader will be Jane Carlton Smith.

Link to Route: https://gb.mapometer.com/cycling/route_4998841.html (from South Parks Road only)

Saturday 21st August: Long Ride – Great & Little Villages South-East of Oxford

Please arrive in time for a prompt 10am start at the Up-in-Arms pub in Marston. We leave Oxford by the cycle tracks through Northway and the new estate at Barton, and then proceed to Wheatley via the cycle track alongside the A40 (noisy and unattractive, but it gets us to the open countryside faster). From Wheatley we take a clockwise route through the Miltons and the Haseleys: Greats first, then the Littles, before returning to Wheatley via Cudddesdon. The final leg back to Oxford is (hopefully) quieter and (decidedly) more attractive through Forest Hill, Stanton St John, Beckley, Elsfield and Marston. The total distance is about 29 miles and the leader is Liz Matthews.

The intended coffee stop is Little Milton Post Office (15 miles). It closes at 12:30, so if we are delayed we will visit Mill View Garden Centre on the outskirts of Wheatley instead. We should arrive back in Oxford around 2pm.

Link to Route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/36929905