Ellen writes… If you’re a big fan of hot weather you must have enjoyed the last few months! However, now we seem to have returned to something more normal as we head into the season of mellow fruitfulness. This month we have our usual mix of rides and also our 50 mile challenge, which seems to have become a regular feature. I think I am right in saying that this is our fifth such ride, and so far we have ridden a different route each time. I’m not sure how long I will be able to carry on inventing new routes, but I’m sure that we’re OK for a few years yet! This year we are riding south and east for a change and it will give us a chance to explore some lovely villages in the “foothills” of the Chilterns.
If you like your rides a little shorter, then don’t despair. We are trying out a new coffee venue (the Barracks Lane Community Garden) on our short and steady ride this month and delving into Oxford’s working past on the Stop & Stare ride. Whichever ride takes your fancy, let’s hope for some friendly riding conditions and plenty of cake!
As usual, 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.
SATURDAY 1ST SEPTEMBER: SHORT & STEADY RIDE VISITING THE BARRACKS LANE COMMUNITY GARDEN
Meet from 10.15am for a 10.30am start outside the Sheldonian Theatre on Broad Street, Oxford. We will begin by riding across the meadows on the University Parks Cycle Track to Marston before climbing the back way to Headington and riding through Brookes Campus. We will then descend to Barracks Lane where we will have coffee at the Community Garden. Afterwards we will make our way to Iffley, cross the river at the Lock and return to the centre of town using the towpath. This ride is less than 10 miles in length and has one hill which will be taken at a steady pace, or can be walked. The ride leader is Lilia Bonacorsi.
TUESDAY 4TH SEPTEMBER: EVENING SOCIAL RIDE TO THE FISHES, N. HINKSEY
Meet at 6.15pm for a 6.30pm getaway at The Ox statue in front of Oxford Railway Station. We will ride briefly west along Botley Road to get to Binsey Lane. Then from Binsey village we will take the river path which is a little rough but rideable on most bikes, perhaps not the narrowest tyres. At Godstow Lock we will be back on the road to Wytham and then south to Botley and on to North Hinksey, where we can eat or drink or both. From there the route back to Oxford is via Willow Walk and Osney Mead. The route is about 7 miles in total. We’ll be at the pub by about 7.30 for anyone wishing to join us there. Bring lights for the return to Oxford. Partners and friends welcome. The ride leader is Clare Farley.
SUNDAY 9TH SEPTEMBER: ISIS CYCLISTS 50-MILE CHALLENGE
Meet from 9am for a prompt 9:15am start in Radcliffe Square, Oxford (at the back of the University Church). The ride is in three sections of 15, 18 and 18 miles. In addition to the two refreshment stops we will also stop for a stretch, bite to eat, drink etc. in the middle of each section, so please make sure you are carrying something to eat and drink.
This year we will ride out of Oxford through Marston and Headington and make our way to Thame for coffee at Treacles Tearooms. On the way we will ride through Stanton St John, Worminghall, Ickford (where we will have a short break) and Shabbington. After coffee we will ride along the Phoenix Trail as far as Towersey before returning to road to ride through some of the pleasant villages at the foot of the Chiltern Hills (Sydenham, Adwell, Wheatfield and Stoke Talmage). We will then make our way to lunch at the Waterfront Café in Benson, via Cuxham, Brightwell Baldwin and Ewelme. The route back to Oxford after lunch is fairly direct and takes us through Berrick Salome, Chalgrove, Little Milton, Cuddesdon and Horspath. As always the pace will be steady, and I hope to make it back to Oxford around 6pm.
The route starts with a climb up to Headington and Stanton St John, but the remainder of the first section is fairly flat. The second section (to lunch) is undulating. The hills are not particularly long or steep, but there’s not that much flat riding once we pass through Sydenham. The final section is flat until we approach Little Milton and Cuddesdon (hills we know well!).
In summary, the route will be either on metalled road or good quality track and will be hillier than last year. If you start and finish in the centre of Oxford, you will have ridden approx 51 miles. If you live in Headington and would like to meet us on the Barton side of the Green Rd roundabout, let me know (so we don’t go without you). I would expect to get there at 9:35 – 9:40am. The ride leader is Ellen Lee.
SATURDAY 15TH SEPTEMBER: MEDIUM RIDE TO SCULPTURE IN THE VINEYARD
We will meet in Radcliffe Square, opposite the Radcliffe Camera, outside the Vaults & Gardens Café, at 10.00am for a 10.15am departure. It’s about 8 miles to Bothy Vineyard, where there is a huge sculpture exhibition and refreshments. We will stay there for 1½ hours, to enjoy the sculpture and have something to eat. We should be back in Oxford by around 2.30pm. The ride is just over 17 miles on relatively quiet roads. The ride leader will be Jane Carlton Smith.
More details are at http://www.sculptureinthevineyard.uk/ and there is a £2.50 entrance fee to the exhibition, which is well worth it. It’s a lovely setting and you can buy a bottle or two of wine while you are there.
FRIDAY 21ST SEPTEMBER: STOP & STARE RIDE – OXFORD’S WORKING PAST
On this flat ride around central Oxford we will visit former industrial and commercial buildings that have been converted into housing. We’ll note the shift from 19th-century industry to residential accommodation, reflecting the industrial decline that we’ve seen in our lifetimes and the huge and unmet demand for housing in the city.
We will meet in Radcliffe Square, opposite the Radcliffe Camera, outside the Vaults & Gardens Café, at 1.45pm for a 2.00pm departure. The ride is 5 miles long and mainly on quiet roads and cycle paths, to avoid the crowds. It should take 1½ to 2 hours, with stops. We’ll have tea at Manos Café in Walton Street.
The ride leader will be Jane Carlton Smith.
SUNDAY 30TH SEPTEMBER: JOINT ISIS/OXFORD CYCLING UK RIDE TO COFFEE AT THE BARN, STRATTON AUDLEY
Meet in Broad Street at 9.15am for a prompt 9.30am departure. We will head out through the University Parks Cycle track to Marston, up to Islip and around Otmoor to the east of Bicester and stop for coffee at The Barn in Stratton Audley. The return journey will be via Boarstall and Woodperry. I’m afraid we can’t cycle out in this direction without encountering a few hills but they can be taken at your own pace. Please note that this ride is slightly longer to coffee than usual at nearly 19 miles and, as it’s a joint Cycling UK ride, there will be fewer re-grouping breaks and riders must be capable of riding at a steady 12mph on the flat. The total ride distance back to the High Street is 37 miles. ETA back to Oxford could be around 2.30pm depending on how long it takes to get served at The Barn. Ride leader is Natasha Williams. The route can be downloaded here at https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28459904