February 2019

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Cold and wet, but still smiling on the long ride to Annie’s tearoom at Thrupp on 19th January

Ellen writes… Welcome to the February 2019 newsletter. January offered a bit of a mixed bag weather-wise, but the Isis rides were lucky not to coincide with any of the really cold weather and were well supported. The joint Isis/Oxford City Cycling ride to Thame had the most exciting weather: a strong wind and some rain and hail. I’m impressed to report that the Isis contingent were the only ones to make it to Thame; everyone else decided to cut the ride short at Waterperry. Normally, we only cancel rides if we judge that conditions are or may become unsafe.

Cold weather is forecast for February, so if you are in doubt, please do check before you leave for the start. If a ride is to be cancelled, the ride leader will post an email to the Google Group no later than 9am on the morning of the ride.

This month we have an additional social event on the afternoon of Sunday 17th February. Details are below, but it would be wonderful to see lots of you coming to enjoy tea, cakes and Isis cycling-related memories.

We’ve also had a very good take-up for our 2019 weekend away at Cotswold View, Charlbury. Jane Carlton Smith, who is co-ordinating accommodation, says:

Our planned weekend away has proved very popular and all the five PODS that we reserved are now allocated to one or more people in each.  There is the possibility of sharing a couple of PODs, so do contact me if you would like to be put in touch with the person who has taken it up.  There is also a 6 person POD that we have not reserved; it would be suitable for 3 or 4 adults. The two tent pitches that we reserved are also allocated, but there are more pitches in the same area, with grass standing.  If you want one, please book direct with the site (https://www.cotswoldview.co.uk/), quoting Carlton Smith Group in the notes at the bottom of the online booking form.  I can send you a site map if you would like to see the layout. There is an adjoining area for camper vans, so please book direct with the site if you want to come in a van, again quoting Carlton Smith Group. So far, we know of 20 people who have booked.  Please let me know if you have booked and not notified her, so that she can keep track.

Finally, remember  to make sure both you and your bike are fit and ready for your ride! Check out our tips for winter cycling.

Happy cycling!


** This ride has been cancelled on account of the snow. Karen now hopes to run it in the spring. **

Meet outside the Sheldonian in Broad Street from 10:15 for a 10:30am departure for this short ride on quiet roads and cycle paths through Jericho,  Wolvercote, Wytham and Botley. We will take refreshments (coffee, homemade cakes or brunches) at the Manna Cafe in Botley. From there we’ll head back into the city down Willow Walk. The total ride length is 8.5 miles and is more or less flat. The leader is Karen Wolff.


Meet in Radcliffe Square (by the Church) at 10.15, for a 10.30am departure. We’ll be taking a leisurely route through North Oxford and Old Marston, up (sorry!) to Elsfield, round Beckley, through Stanton St John to Forest Hill and the cycle track by the A40 and into Headington. Here we’ll have coffee at Café Bonjour before bombing down the hill back to central Oxford. It’s 16 miles all told, with 14 to coffee. The ride has a few hills, the steepest of which is Elsfield Hill. All hills can be ridden at your own pace and walked if necessary. The ride leader is Liz Weekes.


We will meet at Jacobs Brasserie (on the corner of Osler Road and London Road in Headington, OX3 7RA) at 09:45am for a 10am start, heading out to Stanton St John and cycling through Forest Hill and the outskirts of Wheatley. As much as possible, we will follow country roads and quiet lanes through the rolling Oxfordshire countryside searching for snowdrops and other spring flowers that might be there. We will pass through the villages of Great Milton (of Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons fame), Great and Little Haseley before stopping for a break at the community-run Little Milton Village Shop where we can have coffee and cake or a bacon or sausage bap – perfect sustenance for a cycling brunch as we tend to arrive about 11.30am. Once refreshed, we will return via Cuddesdon where we will pass Ripon College (a centre of theological training and research), before descending to Horspath and back to Oxford. This ride is about 22 miles and has several hills or undulations, which will be taken at a gentle pace or can be walked. The ride leader is Lucy Wright.

Of note: This ride marks my 10 year anniversary with Isis Cyclists and the route is an extended version of my very first ride with the group. Fingers crossed that it will be a glorious spring day as it was 10 years ago! I do hope that you can join me. 


You are all warmly invited to St Margaret’s Institute on Polstead Rd in North Oxford for tea, cakes etc and a chance to share memories of the first 10 years of Isis cyclists, possibly prompted by a collection of photographs taken on our rides. We hope you will enjoy reliving some of the adventures that we’ve shared together over the years, the places we’ve visited and the things we’ve seen along the way. There won’t be a formal presentation. We’ll just project images to enjoy and spark off (hopefully!) happy memories and kick start conversations. The hall will be open from 2pm to around 4pm, so if you can’t make it for the whole time, do feel free to drop in for part of it, it will be great to see you. Natasha Williams is in charge of catering and sends the following message:

I’m not a whizz in the kitchen but I’m sure many of you are.  I’m thinking cakes/cookies, etc and maybe some quiches and sandwiches. So, if you’re happy to pledge any items or tea, coffee and soft drinks, please let me know via the Contact us page and I’ll make sure we have a nice selection of goodies. If you’re not going to be able to make the event but would still like to contribute, I can receive donations at my flat.

There will be a donation tin to help cover the cost of room hire and if there is any extra, it will be given to a cycle-related charity.


Meet outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad Street, Oxford for a prompt 9.30am departure. The route will leave Oxford via Headington and Barton. It will then continue through Stanton St John, and Worminghall to coffee at Waterperry Gardens. The return route will take us to Wheatley and south to Cuddesdon before descending to Horspath and Oxford (via Cowley). The return route is 26 miles long and does include some hills. Before coffee there is a climb up to Headington followed by one from Barton towards Stanton St John. After coffee we have the hill up to Cuddesdon to look forward to. All hills can be taken at your own pace. The ride to coffee will be slightly faster (average 11mph) in order to get to Waterperry in good time. The return route will be a bit more relaxed. The ride leader is Natasha Williams.