Liz M writes… What fabulous cycling we’ve had in July (we’ll overlook the cancellation of the joint ride with Oxford Cycling UK at the very end of the month)! The centrepiece of our programme was, of course, our tenth anniversary weekend in the peaceful setting of Braziers Park – a suitably ‘gloomthy’ example of Strawberry Hill Gothic tucked away on the edge of the Chilterns. It’s home to the oldest secular community in Britain, and the residents are more used to hosting yoga retreats than a party of 20+ lively women cyclists. But they were all very welcoming – including a highly sociable pig – and served hearty, nutritious meals to ensure our legs kept pedalling despite the heat. Friday afternoon saw us riding out via Abingdon and Wallingford (24 miles), while on Saturday a choice of rides was offered: long (24 miles) to Whitchurch and Sonning, and longer (32 miles) to Henley and back via Turville Heath. The homeward route on Sunday took in Goring, Wallingford and Chalgrove (28 miles). So it was possible to clock up nearly 100 miles in the three days!
The weekend had its share of thrills and spills, including a few punctures and a broken chain, and for some an encounter with a wildfire that was a little too close for comfort (happily, they were able to make a detour). We also made a few additions to our collection of tea stops, including The Barn at Turville Heath and Bean and Brew at Wallingford. You can see the fun for yourself in our photo gallery at https://plus.google.com/101138920476381253880
We have six very varied rides to tickle your palate in August. As always, don’t forget to make sure both you and your bike are fit and ready for your ride! 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. An extra bottle of water is advisable if the heatwave returns.
SATURDAY 4TH AUGUST: SHORT RIDE – TURRILL SCULPTURE GARDEN
Meeting in front of the Sheldonian at 11.15 for a 11.30 start, we will take the cycle route to Summertown to see the Summer Exhibition ‘The Art of Movement – Kinetic Sculpture’ by Richard Cresswell at the Turrill Sculpture Garden. We will then cycle to Wolvercote and stop to explore the Wolvercote lakes before our lunch (or coffee) break at the Trout pub. Our return route will be via the ruins of Godstow Nunnery and Port Meadow. Please note that the way back includes an unpaved road which not suitable for very thin tires. The ride leader is Lilia Bonacorsi.
Turrill Sculpture Garden: http://www.turrillsculpturegarden.org.uk
The Trout menus: https://www.thetroutoxford.co.uk/content/pcdg/south-east/thetroutoxford/menus
THURSDAY 9TH AUGUST: STOP & STARE – OXFORD WOMEN’S BLUE PLAQUES, PART 2
Continuing with last month’s theme, this ride will visit a further 6 plaques in central and east Oxford area. The ride will meet at 9:45 for a 10:00 departure from the entrance to University Parks on Parks Road, near Norham Gardens to cycle to our first stop at nearby Bradmore Road. From there the ride will continue to the City centre, Iffley, Cowley and Headington area. The women whom we will commemorate are:
1. Clara Pater : 2 Bradmore Road. Pioneer of women’s education
2. Sarah Jane Cooper : 83 High Street. Coopers marmalade
3. Olive Gibbs : Christchurch old buildings. Councillor and campaigner
4. Maureen Gardener : 17 Maidcroft Road Cowley. Olympic hurdles medallist
5. Anne Ridler : Stanley Road. Printer
6. Elizabeth Bowen : The Coach House, The Croft, Headington. Novelist
This 8-mile ride is mainly flat with one hill (which can be walked) and taken at a slow and gentle pace. The coffee/lunch stop is at Jacobs and Field in Old High Street, Headington at the end of the ride. The leader is Sarah Twine.
SATURDAY 11TH AUGUST: MEDIUM RIDE – CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF OXFORD WITH OPTIONAL RIVER SWIM
Meet by the statue of the ox opposite the entrance to Oxford main rail station from 9.45 for a 10.00am departure. This ride takes us in a circle right round the city of Oxford using tow paths, cycle lanes and quiet roads. We will exit the station at the back and drop down to the river where we follow the lovely route along Fiddlers Island then along the towpath to Wolvercote. From there we wiggle our way through Summertown, then join the Marston Ferry cycle path before heading uphill to Brookes via Harberton Mead. We then carry on downhill to Florence Park, through Iffley village then down to the river for refreshments at The Isis Farmhouse. From there, those who would like a swim can cycle a short way downstream for a refreshing dip in the Thames. The ride is 13 miles long and will be led by Karen Wolff. Don’t forget your swimmers!
SATURDAY 18TH AUGUST: LONG RIDE – LUNCH IN A YURT!
Ride to The Yurt at Nicholson’s Garden Centre, Steeple Aston for lunch. Start at the Sheldonian in Broad Street at 10 (assemble from 9.45) and procede to the cycle track on Woodstock Road, following the A44 cycle track into Woodstock where we take the Sustrans cycle route 5 up to Rousham Gap. Then procede to Rousham, Steeple and Middle Astons to Nicholson’s at North Aston. The way back is via Somerton, Upper Heyford, Bletchingdon and Kidlington. The whole route is 35 miles and there are no super hills, but the route rises a bit after Rousham. On way back a little hill at Somerton but otherwise nothing really significant. This route was taken by Ellen’s pop-up ride in early May and was thoroughly enjoyed by those of us who went. It’s the final ride in our build-up to the 50-mile challenge in early September. The leader is Liz Weekes.
The Yurt website: http://www.theyurtatnicholsons.co.uk/
WEDNESDAY 22ND AUGUST: EVENING SOCIAL RIDE TO THE ISIS FARMHOUSE
Meet at 6.15pm, for a getaway at 6.30pm. Hoping for a lovely evening, we will cross the river and a lake, ride across meadows, through the fields and back to the river, finishing at the Isis pub for refreshments. Starting from Radcliffe Square (outside the Vaults & Gardens Café), we will cross Hinksey Lake and the railway line, before heading through South Hinksey Village and up Boars Hill on the bridleway. The track can be a bit rough and is not ideal for road tyres, but it can easily be walked. From Boars Hill, we’ll enjoy riding down to Bayworth (instead of up, as is usual on our rides!) and make our way back to the Sustrans route to the river and back along the towpath. The ride is 9½ miles and you need to be able to carry your bike over the railway bridge, with help from others if needed. Partners are most welcome on this ride and, as mentioned, it’s not particularly suitable for road tyres. The ride leader is Jane Carlton Smith.
SUNDAY 26TH AUGUST: SOCIAL RIDE TO CREAM TEA AT COMBE
This is an additional ride to our normal monthly programme, ensuring that we keep up our annual tradition of cream tea at Combe’s historic Reading Room. Meet at 1:15pm for a 1:30pm departure outside Costa Coffee on the main Banbury Road in Summertown. We will head north on quiet roads and tracks to Kidlington from where we will pick up a short section of off-road track, Begbroke Lane. This brings us out on the A44 cycle track for about 3 miles before we reach Woodstock. There we pick up Sustrans route 5 for a mile or so before turning north and west towards Combe. After our cream tea we will head back to Oxford via the Hanboroughs. The approach to Oxford will be along the A40 cycle track, although if you are heading south and west of Oxford, you may prefer to return through Eynsham. The ride is approximately 25 miles long and moderately hilly, but all hills can be taken at your own paced or walked if necessary. The Begbroke Lane off-road section is suitable for all bikes. The off-road section north of Woodstock is probably not suitable for bikes with very narrow tyres or if it has rained heavily, but an on-road alternative is available.
This is a mixed social ride, so male partners and friends are very welcome to join us. The ride leader is Liz Matthews.
Information about the Combe Reading Room: http://www.combereadingroom.co.uk/
OTHER CYCLING INFORMATION
Team Beryl invites women and trans folk into the Broken Spoke workshop on the first Thursday of every month from 6-9pm. Please join us to take part in a FREE mini-class on our monthly theme, work on your own bike in a safe space, and enjoy plenty of tea, biscuits and good company!
For information about this month’s Beryl’s Night, please visit: http://bsbcoop.org/what-we-do/beryls-night/