Ellen writes… What a busy cycling month June was! Firstly, we had our annual weekend away based in Lechlade, just over the border in Gloucestershire (although technically speaking those of us that camped were actually in Wiltshire!). I think the final number of women taking part was 18. Thirteen of us rode out to Lechlade in glorious sunshine on the Friday afternoon, getting there in time to have a picnic by the river Thames. Saturday turned out to be better than expected, dry with sunny spells. Ten riders visited Kelmscott Manor on a ride led by Jane Carlton-Smith, and I lead eight riders on a 40-mile tour of the Cotswold Water Park taking in Cricklade, Fairford and a number of the lovely villages in the park. After a bit of overnight rain, a slightly different 13 riders returned on the Sunday, this time enjoying the quiet roads through Cote, Old Shifford and into Standlake and entering Oxford down Cumnor Hill. It was such a fantastic weekend and will be hard to beat next year, but we’ll give it a good go!
Then there was National Bike Week, during which there were three Isis Cyclists rides and lots more besides. I’m feeling pleased with myself as I finally managed to get up early enough to join the Sustrans group’s solstice ride. It was a glorious morning and what a thrill to be at the top of Boars Hill looking down on the “dreaming spires” at a little before 7am. I can thoroughly recommend it.
Anyway, July is back to our normal pattern of rides, although for various reasons our regular “short and steady” ride and our regular long ride are both on a Sunday, so don’t get caught out!
Have a great month’s cycling!
SUNDAY 2nd JULY: SLOW AND STEADY RIDE TO WOLVERCOTE VILLAGE WITH OPTIONAL RIVER SWIM
Where better to spend a summer Sunday afternoon than lazing about on the river? We’ll be a little more energetic than most, however, and cycle along the river, with the option of taking the plunge and having a wild swim. Our route will take us out of the busy city via canal and river towpaths to Port Meadow and we’ll take it very slowly through any narrow or bumpy sections – getting off and pushing is fine.
We’ll stop at one of the little beaches along the river where you can have a quick dip in the river, paddle or just sit and watch and picnic. We’ll continue up the river to Wolvercote and then return to the city centre via Summertown (where we can stop for a tea/cake break if we wish).
The ride is about 10 miles long and we will aim to be back by 5.30pm. Please consider sun protection and bring water and a flask/cold drink/snack for when we stop by the river.
Meet at 2.15pm for a 2.30pm departure from outside the Sheldonian Theatre, opposite Blackwell’s bookshop on Broad St. The ride leader is Lucy Tennyson.
FRIDAY 7TH JULY: MOONLIT EVENING RIDE TO OTMOOR AND BECKLEY
The local community recently came to the rescue of the ailing Abingdon Arms in Beckley and has now reopened it on Fridays and Saturdays. We’ll be able to enjoy their fabulous views of Otmoor again as we have a table booked in the pub garden, with a menu of bar snacks and pub favourites such as fish and chips to choose from.
This will be a medium-paced and relaxed evening ride of around 15 miles which will be taken at the pace of the slowest rider. Meet at 6.15pm for a 6.30pm departure from outside the Sheldonian Theatre, opposite Blackwell’s in Broad St. We’ll head out of the city via Summertown and over the fields to Islip, returning via Elsfield and Marston. Moonrise is around 7.45pm and it’ll nearly be a full one, so fingers crossed we’ll be led by the light of the moon on our way home. Remember that this is a social ride, so male friends and partners are welcome too. We’ll not rely on moonlight however, so bring your lights and reflective gear. The ride leader is Lucy Tennyson.
SATURDAY 8TH JULY: MEDIUM RIDE TO RECTORY FARM PYO, STANTON ST JOHN
Meet outside the Sheldonian Theatre at 9.45 for 10am start. We’ll leave Oxford along the Cowley Road and Barracks Lane, continuing across the ring road to Horspath. Then it’s up Gidley Way – the only substantial hill on the whole route – to Littleworth and Wheatley. We cross the A40 and continue through Forest Hill to Rectory Farm for coffee and ‘foraging’. The return route will take us through Beckley and Elsfield, and we re-enter Oxford through Marston and the University Parks. The total length is a shade under 17 miles. The leader is Liz Matthews. You can view the route – including the gradient! – at https://www.mapometer.com/cycling/route_4560719.
SUNDAY 16TH JULY: LONG RIDE TO TEA AT JANE’S ENCHANTED TEA GARDEN, KIRTINGTON
Meet in Broad Street in front of the Tourist Information Office at 1pm for a 1.15pm start. The ride will leave Oxford using Sustrans routes 5/51. It will continue through Hampton Poyle and Bletchingdon and onto Kirtlington, then onto the track down to Jane’s Enchanted Tea Garden. This is near Pigeon Lock where a large table has been booked for 3 pm for Cream teas and cakes.
The return journey is via Tackley and Woodstock, returning to Oxford down the A44 cycle track. It 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.
The 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. If you would like to shorten the ride to the outward journey only, there are trains from Tackley back to Oxford at 16:18 and 18:19. Journey time is 12 minutes and the single fare is £3.70:
The ride leader is Lilia Bonacorsi. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place for tea.
FRIDAY 21ST JULY: STOP & STARE RIDE TO THE HIDDEN GEMS OF OXFORD
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. Starting from the Sheldonian (opposite Blackwells), 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, Jane Carlton Smith, please feel free to email her: email@example.com. The ride is less than 6 miles 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 or back at the Vaults & Gardens Café in Radcliffe Square.
SUNDAY 30th JULY: JOINT ISIS-OXFORD CITY CYCLING UK RIDE TO ANNIE’S TEAROOM AT THRUPP
Meet outside the Oxford Campus Stores in Broad Street at 9.15 for a 9.30am departure. We leave Oxford via Marston, climb through Elsfield, and then turn north-west onto the B4027 for the undulating run to Islip. In Islip we will take the road towards Kidlington, cross the A34, take the cycle track across the fields and skirt the top of Kidlington to reach Annie’s Tea Room on the canal after roughly 12 miles. From Annie’s we ride up the towpath to Shipton-on-Cherwell and continue to Woodstock. We skirt the eastern and southern boundaries of Blenheim Park, and pass through Bladon on the busy-ish A4095. Not for long, however: we soon turn south-east onto a country road towards Cassington, but before we reach the village we take the road to Yarnton via Worton. Weather permitting, we return along the Oxford Canal (off-road, but OK unless your bike has very thin tyres) to our dispersal point at Wolvercote.
The total distance is just under 27 miles, and you can see the route at https://www.mapometer.com/cycling/route_4560849. The ride to coffee will be taken at the slightly brisker pace of 11mph (average), but the longer part of the ride after coffee will be at Isis Cyclists’ more leisurely pace of 10mph. The leader is Liz Matthews.