December 2018

(Spotted on a wall in Amsterdam a few years ago)

Ellen writes… Well, here we are contemplating the end of 2018 and the fast-approaching festive season. This month we have just the three regular rides (short, medium & long) to provide some distraction from all that Christmas stuff.

Throughout the winter we will try, whenever feasible, to start our rides a little later than usual to give the temperature the chance to rise a bit. So don’t get caught out: make sure you check the start time before setting out. We are very much hoping that we will be able to plug the gap between December’s long ride and January’s short & steady ride with a “pop-up” ride. We’ll keep an eye on the weather and choose a good day (assuming there is one) somewhere round the weekend after Christmas. So, keep an eye on your emails and join us to burn of the Christmas pudding.

Finally, a heads up on a couple of things for the new year. We are currently mulling over the possibilities for the 2019 weekend away and hope to announce a date in the next newsletter. Secondly, following the presentation Jane Carlton Smith and I gave to Cyclox in October, we thought it would be nice for members to enjoy a winter social meet-up over drinks and (of course) cake to view the many photos collected of our activities, the places we’ve visited and the things we’ve seen along the way over the past 10 years. After reaching this venerable age, I think we’re entitled to reminisce a bit. We are planning to gather on a Sunday afternoon in February and details will be in the next newsletter.

Whatever you’re up to this month, have a very good Christmas and New Year.

Don’t forget to make sure both you and your bike is 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.

Happy cycling!


Meet at 10.00am at Bonn Square at the end of Queen Street for a prompt 10.15am departure. We will ride down St Ebbes to the river Thames and pick up the South Oxford Cycle Route and continue south along the Thames Towpath, recently resurfaced. Then we will head towards Sandford Lock to cross the Thames and take refreshments at Sandford Village Hall cafe. There is also the weekly food market for a bit of shopping.

Visit their project website:

You can order food online to collect on the day if you wish: visit

From there we will return to Oxford via Littlemore, Rose Hill, Iffley village and Meadow Lane. This ride is 8 miles long. It will be taken at the pace of the slowest rider. The ride leader is Clare Farley.


Meet in Broad Street in front of the Tourist Info Office at 11.15am for a prompt 11.30am start. We will leave Oxford following the Marston cycle path, then Old Headington, Bayswater Road and onto the cycle path along the A40 to take us to Wheatley for cake or lunch at the Sun Inn, Wheatley if they can accommodate us or at the garden centre otherwise. On the way back we will take the National Cycle route 57 via Littleworth & Horspath. The ride will be around 15 miles long and will include the climb from Marston to Headington and, after coffee, the hill from Wheatley through Littleworth towards Horspath. If coffee is taken at the garden centre there will be a “bonus climb”(!) of Ladder Hill! All hills can be taken at your preferred pace, or walked. The ride leader is Lilia Bonacorsi.


Meet outside the Sheldonian at 9.45am with you, your bike, or both, looking suitably festive: e.g. tinsel twined around tubes, baubles dangling from the crossbar, mistletoe tied to your handlebars, reindeer antlers poking through your helmet etc. Let your imaginations run riot – but please ensure that your bike remains safe to ride. Christmas lights threaded through your spokes are not recommended!

We’ll ride out via the South Oxford cycle route, Kennington, Sunningwell and Boars Hill, and back via Dry Sandford, Besselsleigh, Cumnor and North Hinksey. Altitude-wise, there’ll be a sedate ascent up the Bagley Wood Road and a very short but steep climb out of Sunningwell (getting off and pushing is of course permitted!). Coffee will be at the Dog House pub in Frilford.

In the email version of the newsletter, Ellen indicated that we might stop at the Bothy Vineyard (next to the Dog House) for pre-Christmas tasting and sales. Unfortunately, it isn’t open until the next week, so we won’t be able to stock up for Christmas dinner.

The route should be just over 20 miles, see: The leader is Liz Matthews.

If people think the idea of decorating bikes is fun but feel that the distance is a little too far, please let me know and I’ll shorten the route to a medium length (15-17 miles). More people are preferable to more miles!


Weather permitting! If a ride is taking place we’ll send a message to the mailing list, so keep an eye on your inbox day or two beforehand.