Ellen writes… Last month finally saw signs of spring and we had some lovely rides in generally favourable weather. It was a shame that there was a tremendous downpour just before the short and steady ride that we organised to coincide with the Women & Bicycles Festival. It put people off, although the 12 riders who decided to brave the weather come what may were rewarded with dry conditions and even the odd glimpse of sun!
This month we have another interesting collection of rides to tempt you out on your bike although I think there’s definitely an emphasis on plants, flowering and non-flowering.
You may notice that our regular long ride this month is a little different to normal in that it will be have a pick-up at Thornhill P&R and will be finishing at the cycle campaigning event outside County Hall at 2pm. This has been organised by a number of cycling groups in the county and we hope that by offering a pick-up at a P&R we will encourage a few riders from further afield to join us before attending the rally. Here is what Robin Tucker who is the secretary of Cycling UK Oxfordshire says about the event:
Cycling groups across Oxfordshire have been working together to encourage investment in better quality cycle routes, so more people feel safe to cycle. The coming County Council elections on 4th May provide a great opportunity to influence candidates and voters, and to give the new Council a strong mandate to do this. We started our campaign by launching a proposal for a ‘Strategic Cycle Network for Oxfordshire’ which got great media coverage and we will be working with the national Space for Cycling campaign. On 22nd April we will hold a campaign event, gathering cyclists and supporters of cycling from across the county outside County Hall at 2pm with candidates and media invited. Please come and join us, either joining one of the rides from across the county and from Oxford’s Park and Ride sites, including the Isis ride that day, or just come to County Hall for 2pm. Don’t forget to ask the candidates in your own area if they support Space for Cycling!
I’m sure you’re as keen as I am to support better provision for cyclists and hope that many of you will be able to attend the rally either by joining our long ride or independently.
SATURDAY 1ST APRIL : SLOW AND STEADY RIDE TO SANDFORD VIA BAGLEY WOOD
Meet at 9.45am at Bonn Square at the end of Queen Street for a prompt 10am departure. We will ride down St Ebbes to the river Thames and pick up the South Oxford Cycle Route and continue south through Kennington, skirting Bagley Wood to see that spring is springing. Then we will head towards Sandford Lock to cross the Thames and take refreshments at Sandford Village Hall cafe. There is also the weekly food market for a bit of shopping. You can order food online to collect on the day if you wish. To do so, visit the Talking Shop website.
From there we will return to Oxford via Littlemore, Rose Hill, Iffley village and Meadow Lane. This ride has several short hills and is 10 miles long. It will be taken at the pace of the slowest rider. The ride leader is Clare Farley.
THURSDAY 6TH APRIL: STOP & STARE RIDE “NARNIA BROUGHT TO LIFE”
The ride will start at 9:45 for a 10:00hrs start from the back entrance to Oxford University Church, Saint Mary the Virgin, High street, Oxford, meeting at in Radcliffe Square.
We will start with riders being shown the Narnia door. The ride will head along the University Parks cycle track, up Harberton Mead to Bury Knowle Park to see the new wood carving of Aslan the Lion.
The route will then take riders to the Holy Trinity Parish church, Headington Quarry, where C.S.Lewis worshipped. There will be time to enjoy a moment’s peace and tranquillity in the church, to see the Narnia window and the pew in the North Aisle where C.S.Lewis used to sit. You can then visit C.S. Lewis’s grave in the churchyard. The ride will then continue to C.S.Lewis’ house “The Kilns” in Kiln Lane, Risinghurst, where he wrote all of his Narnia books. We will then meander back to Headington for a coffee stop at Bonjour café to sample from their range of food and drinks, including Baklava and Turkish coffee.
The ride is approximately 6 miles and will take in one hill at a slow pace and will be paced at the speed of the slowest rider. It is anticipated that the ride will take approximately 1 ½-2hrs including coffee. Please note the ride ends at the coffee stop, but if required riders can be escorted directly back to ride start. The ride leader is Sarah Twine.
SATURDAY 8TH APRIL: MEDIUM RIDE “ON THE TRAIL OF THE LONESOME PINE”
Meet from 9:45am for a prompt 10am start outside the South Lodge of the University Parks (OX1 3JA, corner of South Parks Road and St Cross Road). In this ride we will be exploring all things coniferous as we wind our way through North Oxford and on to Kidlington. Learn to tell your pines from your cedars and your spruces from your firs! Take a fresh look at around 15 different species of conifer and appreciate with me their fantastic contribution to our urban landscape. On our return to Oxford we will end up at the Oxford Wine Café in Summertown for coffee and cakes. The ride is mostly flat and approx. 14 miles long. The ride leader (and self-confessed conifer nut!) is Ellen Lee.
SATURDAY 22ND APRIL: LONG RIDE: SEEKING SPRING FLOWERS IN SOUTH-EAST OXFORDSHIRE
We will meet at Jacobs Brasserie (on the corner of Osler and London Road in Headington, OX3 7RA) at 9:45am for a 10am start. We will make our way through the back streets of Headington as much as possible to Thornhill Park & Ride bus station – our pick-up point at 10.15-10.20am for any riders who want to join us here for this ride and possibly continue to the cycling campaign rally in the afternoon. We will leave here by 10.30 (at the latest) and follow the A40 cycle track briefly to Forest Hill, quickly getting onto country roads and quiet lanes through the rolling Oxfordshire countryside hunting for spring flowers. We will pass through the villages of Great Milton (of Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons fame), Great and Little Haseley before stopping for a break at the Little Milton Village Shop where we can have coffee and cake. Alternatively, they now serve various breakfast and brunch fare, like bacon or sausage baps, eggs or beans on toast and panini – perfect sustenance for those wanting to attend the afternoon cycle campaign rally at County Hall. Once refreshed, we will return via Cuddesdon where we will pass Ripon College (a centre of theological training and research), before descending to Horspath and back to Oxford, finishing at County Hall for the cycle campaign rally at 2pm. This ride is about 22 miles and has several hills or undulations, which will be taken at a gentle pace or can be walked. The ride leader is Lucy Wright.
SUNDAY 30th APRIL: JOINT ISIS/ OXFORD CYCLING UK RIDE TO ABINGDON
Meet at 9.15 for a prompt 9.30 am departure from outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad Street, Oxford. We will leave Oxford via Cumnor Hill and the villages of Wootton and Cothill before turning to enter Abingdon along quiet back roads. The return trip will use Sustrans Route 5 through the Abbey fields, Radley and along the river into Oxford. The return trip will be around 22 miles and there will be just the one hill (Cumnor). The leader will be Liz Weekes.
Note: Joint rides are taken at a slightly faster pace than Isis’ usual rides, aiming to average 11mph (18kph).