In this issue:
- Ellen writes…
- Sat 2nd March: short ride
- Sat 9th March: medium ride
- Sat 16th March: long ride
- Sun 31st March: joint ride with Oxford City Cycling UK
February came in like a lion and went out like a lamb! Isn’t March supposed to do that? The confusion has continued with the last few days feeling much more like late March than late February. It seems a long time ago that we had to cancel our February short ride due to snow and ice. Now the butterflies are out and the pigeons are nesting enthusiastically (unfortunately, under my solar panels!). However, some sanity did reign this month with snowdrops putting on a wonderful show on our long ride, although our medium ride enjoyed some excitingly blusterous conditions.
In March we have another varied programme of rides and, with any luck, we’ll have plenty more signs of spring to enjoy before the month is out. The short ride has a suffragette theme and will take riders to some of the locations around the city associated with suffragette activity. The medium ride will be exploring some of the “hill” villages to the south and west of Oxford and the long ride will be heading out to Bletchingdon to sample the delights of the Batch Café which, for some unknown reason, we have never visited before. By the end of the month spring should be in full swing and, with any luck, we’ll find some new-born lambs and plenty of green in the hedges as we ride to Wallingford with Oxford City Cycling.
Whether you’ve been braving the elements on your bike all winter, or whether you are just trying to get up the courage to return to two wheels, we hope that you’ll find a ride to suit you. We have recently added a new page to our website entitled Meet the Ride Leaders. So if you want to know a bit more about what makes our leaders tick (at least from a cycling perspective!) or just to put a face to a name, then why not check it out?
SATURDAY MARCH 2ND: SHORT & STEADY RIDE: SUFFRAGETTES IN OXFORD
Our short ride this month takes a suffragette theme to start the week of celebrations for International Women’s Day on the 8th. Meet outside the Sheldonian in Broad Street from 10:15 for a 10:30am departure. It will be a slow and steady potter around some of the sites of suffragette activity in the city, and will include a ride out to Binsey Well and ride (or push if you prefer) across Port Meadow. We’ll stop for coffee in Jericho. This gentle ride is ideal for newcomers to Isis, or anyone who hasn’t done much cycling recently. Rain could be on the cards after the recent burst of sunshine, so bring your waterproofs. Ride leader is Lucy Tennyson.
SATURDAY MARCH 9TH: MEDIUM RIDE: OXFORD’S HILL VILLAGES
Don’t be put off – there’s only one significant hill to climb (ascent is less than 500 feet for the whole ride) and it can be walked if necessary. Meet in Radcliffe Square (by the Church) at 10.15, for a 10.30am departure. We’ll cycle through South Oxford and up to Boar’s Hill, where we’ll turn off into the beautiful old village. We then go down the very steep hill to Wootton and head for Besselsleigh, where we will cross the A420, taking great care. From the Greyhound Pub, we can take a fairly quiet road to Cumnor and then return down to West Oxford via cycle lanes and residential streets, to have coffee and/or snacks at The Fishes. We’ll return to town via Willow Walk (enjoy it before it is dug up to build the new bridge). There is also an opportunity to have a fish and chip lunch at Hayman’s, in the Osney Mead Estate (http://www.osneyfoodshed.co.uk/), though you would probably need to book (if you fancy this, I would like to join you, so let me know). We should get there around 1.15pm. It’s 14.4 miles in all, with about 12 to coffee (ETA 12.15pm). The ride leader is Jane Carlton Smith.
SATURDAY MARCH 16TH: LONG RIDE TO BLETCHINGDON
Meet from 10.15am for a 10.30am departure outside the back of the University Church in Radcliffe Square, Oxford. The ride will leave Oxford via the University Parks Cycle Track and Old Marston before crossing the ring road and heading to a new (i.e. as yet unvisited by Isis Cyclists) café at Greenhill Farm in Bletchingdon via Woodeaton and Islip. Hopefully, the wild daffodils in one of the woods we pass between Islip and Bletchingdon will be in flower and we will be able to stop briefly and admire. After coffee and cakes, and/or a light lunch, we will return via Hampton Poyle and Kidlington, approaching north Oxford using the track through Water Eaton. The ride is approximately 22 miles long and does include a few not too steep climbs which can be taken at your own pace, or even walked. There will possibly be a short section off-road into the north of Kidlington which will be less than ideal for bikes with thin tyres. However, an on-road alternative is available. The ride leader is Liz Weekes.
SUNDAY MARCH 31ST: JOINT ISIS/OXFORD CYCLING UK RIDE TO COFFEE AT THE BEAN & BREW, WALLINGFORD
Meet outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad Street, Oxford for a prompt 9.30am departure. The ride will leave Oxford via the Barracks Lane track and Temple Cowley before picking up the B430 Watlington Road as far as Stadhampton. Here we will briefly take the A329, soon turning onto a minor road through Drayton St Leonard and onto Dorchester. After passing the Abbey and crossing the River Thame on the old bridge, we will get onto the cycle track next to the A4074 to Shillingford where we will cross the River Thames and ride into Wallingford for coffee. After coffee we will re-cross the Thames in Wallingford and head towards Benson via Crowmarsh Gifford and Preston Crowmarsh. From Benson we will continue through Rokemarsh and Berrick Salome to Chalgrove, Little Milton, Wheatley and along the A40 cycle track into Headington. The return trip is approximately 37 miles long and the 16 mile section to coffee will be taken a little faster (average 11mph) than usual, but the return trip will be more leisurely. There are two short climbs before coffee and a long gentle climb (from the River Thame bridge to the A40 flyover outside Wheatley) on the way home. The ride will be on road apart from a few roadside cycle tracks, and is thus suitable for all bikes. The ride leader is Ellen Lee.