April 2018


February’s annual snowdrop ride yielded shimmering vistas of white (photo by Liz Matthews)

Ellen writes… Every month when I sit down to write this intro I try really hard not to obsess about the weather. However, what was going on in March??? Two lots of snow and some crazy cold weather! We were very lucky that we only had to cancel one of our rides as we managed to reschedule the short ride to avoid the “beast from the east”. We have re-organised last month’s cancelled long ride to April, so we hope for much better conditions for an expedition to conquer Brill Hill. There are two leaders and Jane will be looking after slower riders, so as long as you can ride the distance please feel confident to join in.

The Isis leaders’ group has now planned our rides until the end of July. There are some great rides to look forward to and we will be welcoming back our Stop & Stare rides and our summer evening social rides. We are also experimenting, by organising the odd long, slower ride. In June we will be riding out into the Oxfordshire Cotswolds to enjoy the Bridewell Organic Gardens on one of their open days. We will also be starting our programme of longer rides on the third Saturday of the month, which culminate on 9th September with our popular 50 mile challenge ride. This year we will ride east and south to visit Thame and Benson.

Finally, I’d like to alert you to an event organised in National Bike Week on Sunday 17th June by a number of local groups including Rose Hill and Iffley Low Carbon, Sustrans, Cyclox, the Community Centre and Broken Spoke. Isis Cyclists will also be taking part. It’s a community event and there will be lots of events, stalls, short drop in talks, maintenance workshops and the chance to try out an electric bike. It promises to be both fun and engaging and we’re looking forward to taking part.


This lovely ride comes from a book co-authored by Ellen and although much of it will be familiar, it is full of pleasure in the form of streams, islands and fishes.  Starting in Radcliffe Square, we will head down Magpie Lane, aiming for Brewer Street, via St Aldate’s.  We’ll wind our way around the bulk of the Westgate Centre and make our way to Whitehouse Road, then on through the Grandpont Nature Park to Willow Walk, and the Fishes at North Hinksey, where the coffee and tea comes with free toast. Retracing our route to Oatlands Road Rec, we’ll ride up Binsey Lane to the second fishy pub on the ride.  From the Perch, we cross the Thames at Fiddler’s Island and ride across Port Meadow, heading for Aristotle Lane.  We return to Radcliffe Square by the same route as the short ride in March, but in the opposite direction.  Meet at 9.45am for a 10am start, by the railings outside the Vaults & Gardens café entrance.  The ride is just under 9 miles and should finish by 12.30 at the latest, including the coffee stop.  The ride leader is Jane Carlton Smith.


Today we will enjoy a relaxed ride out of the city via Wolvercote to visit Worton Organic Gardens, where the owners grow flowers, fruit and vegetables in a lovely rural setting. There is an organic cafe selling cakes, soup and light meals, plus a farm shop. The ride is mostly flat or undulating, on quieter roads and will include a short stretch of canal path (might be slightly muddy). We will return to town via the A40 cycle path and Summertown. Meet outside the Sheldonian Theatre on Broad Street, Oxford at 9.45am for a 10am start. Ride leader will be Lucy Tennyson, and ride length is approximately15 miles.


We invite you to meet inside Jacob and Field (on Old High St, Headington – near Waitrose) from 0930hrs for a coffee, before departure at 10am prompt. We are hoping for good weather for this slow but challenging route to Brill and the beautiful ancient windmill.

At 10am we will head off under the underpass onto the Bayswater Road towards Stanton St John. We’ll then ride past the church and down the hill and head for Boarstall via Bernwood Forest. After a short stretch on the Thame road we turn for Brill, climbing the hill that brings us out by the Windmill and the Pheasant PH where we will have lunch.

The menu can be found at https://www.thepheasant.co.uk/lunch-menu. If you are planning to come, it would be very helpful if you could tell the joint leader, Jane Carlton Smith, and also let her know what you would like to order. You can pay on the day.

The return route starts with a long freewheel down the hill to Oakley, then on to Worminghall. We then turn for Wheatley, Littleworth and Horspath before the ride concludes at Horspath Driftway (on the ring road). The ride is approximately 25 miles long, hilly, but will be taken at a moderate pace where possible. We envisage the ride, including stops will take 4-5 hrs total. The ride leader is Liz Weekes, and Jane Carlton Smith will be looking after slower riders.


(followed by a visit to the Velo Vixen open day in Wheatley)

Meet outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad St, Oxford, for a prompt 9:30am departure. We will leave Oxford in an easterly direction through the University Parks and Marston. We will then climb through Elsfield before joining the B4027 as far as Stanton St John where we will descend to Menmarsh and Worminghall. Refreshments will be at Waterperry Gardens, but don’t eat too many cakes because afterwards it’s just a short hop to Wheatley and the Velo Vixen open day where you can check out their merchandise and enjoy some more coffee and cake! We will return to Oxford via Littleworth and Horspath. The ride will be approximately 22 miles in length and will involve climbing one steep hill before our stops and one (less steep) afterwards. The ride leader will be Ellen Lee.

If you don’t want to visit the open day at Velo Vixen, then there will be a led ride straight back to Oxford using the same route.