** Stop Press: See below for details of our Summer Solstice evening social ride to the Bell at Hampton Poyle! **
Ellen writes… What a fantastic month of sunny cycling we’ve had in May, and how wonderful after the cold and gloom of March and April. Our Short & Steady ride at the start of the month enjoyed perfect warm, early summer weather and it was fantastic to see such a large and colourful collection of cycles and cyclists wending their way along towpaths, cycle paths and minor roads to Wytham for coffee. Both the asparagus-picking (medium) and Artweeks (long) rides were well supported and enjoyed by everyone. May also saw our first experiments with “pop-up” rides. There was one long ride out for lunch in (well actually outside) the Yurt at Nicholsons in North Aston and an evening jaunt round Otmoor. Hopefully more rides will pop up as the summer progresses.
The June rides are a varied and tempting collection: hopefully providing something for everyone. June also sees Oxford Bike Week (9th-17th) and you can find more about the rides on offer at http://www.oxfordbikeweek.co.uk/.
Another Oxford cycling institution is going through exciting times. The Broken Spoke Co-op, which many of you will know from their bicycle repair courses and Beryl’s Nights, will soon be moving premises. They are crowdfunding in order to cover the cost of the move. You can read more about this at http://bsbcoop.org/pledge-to-our-crowdfunder.
Finally, as part of the Freewheeling project, there will be a screening of the film “Afghan Cycles” at the Ultimate Picture Palace in Jeune St on Sunday 17th June at 3:30. For more information, visit http://www.artsfestivaloxford.org/whats-on/pre-festival-events-1/afghan-cycles.
Don’t forget to make sure both you and your bike are fit and ready for your ride! Please ensure your bike is road-worthy, and it’s a good idea to carry a spare inner tube as it may be possible to mend a puncture on the spot. Have a good breakfast too and carry a snack and drink in case you need a bit of extra sustenance.
SATURDAY JUNE 2ND: SHORT & STEADY RIDE: THREE LOCKS TOWPATH RIDE TO SANDFORD MARKET
Meet at 09.45hrs for a 10.00hrs departure from The Ox statue opposite Oxford city railway station.
The ride will be approximately 8 miles long and mainly flat along the Thames towpath, Sustrans route and incorporating Osney, Iffley and Sandford Locks. Please be aware that there will be a long stretch of cycling on the Towpath and through locks so do ensure you are confident cycling off road near water and have appropriate tyres for the ride.
We will leave the station and go straight onto the tow path, passing besides Osney and Iffley locks. We will cycle along a stretch of the popular Sustrans route and turn left upon reaching Kennington, cross Sandford lock to Sandford on Thames village Hall for a relaxed coffee and shop in the weekly market and “Talking Shop”. After coffee we will take a meandering route via Rosehill and Iffley, Meadow Lane and Iffley Fields to return to the City centre.
The ride is 8 miles long and will be taken at the pace of the slowest cyclist and approximately 2 hrs. Ride Leader Sarah Twine.
SUNDAY 10TH JUNE: MIXED LONG RIDE TO BRIDEWELL ORGANIC GARDENS
Meet outside Costa Coffee on the corner of Banbury and Oakthorpe Roads in Summertown from 1:15 for a 1:30 departure. We will be heading in a fairly leisurely fashion (approx.10 mph) to an open afternoon at Bridewell Organic Gardens near Wilcote.
We will start off along the canal towards the A44, then cut off to Yarnton before joining the A40 for a short stretch. We will then head off into the countryside along Cuckoo Lane. We’ll follow quiet country lanes to the Gardens where afternoon tea is available, then make our way home via Wilcote, North Leigh and the A40 cycle path. The ride is 26 miles in total and includes a few ups and downs.
Bridewell Gardens do not charge an entry fee, but ask for a donation towards their valuable work helping people recover from mental illness by gardening.
This Sunday afternoon ride is open to male partners and friends; the ride leader is Karen Wolff.
TUESDAY 12TH JUNE: STOP & STARE RIDE: “A TURNER ROUND OXFORD”
In this evening stop & stare ride we will be looking at Oxford with 18th and 19th century eyes and exploring how two different artists (both William Turner) saw Oxford and its environs. We will be visiting 5 paintings by the “famous” Turner (JMW) and 2 by his less illustrious almost contemporary William Turner of Oxford. How have the views of Oxford changed? Are the paintings accurate depictions or have they been sprinkled with a bit of artistic licence? I’m sure there will be plenty of opinions and no “right” answers!
Meet from 6.45pm for a prompt 7pm start from Radcliffe Square, Oxford (at the back of the University Church). The route will take us through central Oxford, out onto the river and then up to South Park, Headington before descending into Marston and our final picture in Old Marston. After the ride we can coast down to the Victoria Arms for a drink. The route is 7.5 miles long and includes a single hill in the shape of Morrell Avenue which can be cycled (or walked) at your own pace. Please bring bicycle lights, especially if you want to enjoy a drink afterwards. The ride leader for this artistic exploration is Ellen Lee.
If you would like digital copies of the paintings to download to your phone or tablet and take with you on the ride, please send us an email via the Contact Us page.
SATURDAY 16TH JUNE: LONG RIDE: SOUTH-EAST TO BENSON
This is the first long ride in the build-up for our 50 mile ride in September. Meeting on the junction of Cowley Road and Magdalen Road (outside old bingo hall) at 9.45am for 10am departure, we will take Barracks Lane to get out of Oxford in a fairly traffic-free way. Our route will take us via Horspath Hill up to Cuddesdon and down to the mill, Great Milton and Chalgrove. There will probably be a short stretch on bridleway to get us to Brightwell Baldwin, and then we will continue close to Ewelme to Benson for refreshments in the Waterfront Cafe (17 miles). We return through Berrick Salome, Chalgrove, Stadhampton (a short stretch on main road) Chislehampton, Denton, Garsington and Blackbird Leys/Cowley. The ride is 30 miles with some hills. The leader is Clare Farley.
THURSDAY 21ST JUNE: SUMMER SOLSTICE EVENING SOCIAL RIDE FOR A MEAL AT THE BELL, HAMPTON POYLE
We will meet outside the Sheldonian in Broad Street, at 5.45pm, for a 6pm start. Making our way through Jericho, we will join the Oxford Canal towpath at Wolvercote and ride up it to Shipton-on-Cherwell. We’ll then cross the fields to Hampton Gay and onwards to The Bell at Hampton Poyle, where I have booked The Library for 8pm. The 17-mile route is weather-dependent and may be changed if there’s rain during the preceding day(s). It’s also bumpy and not suitable for carbon bikes with road tyres or for recumbents (sorry). The ride is open to male friends and partners. The leader is Jane Carlton Smith.