April 2020

Between Charney Bassett and Kingston BagpuizeEllen writes…

It seems like a lifetime ago since the March short and medium Isis Cyclists rides took place, because so much has happened! I hope that this newsletter finds you, your family and friends fit and healthy. This is the strangest newsletter that I’ve ever had to write, and one in which the weather probably won’t feature at all.

Bike rides: the key message

I recently read that a study in China concluded that people who were fit when they contracted the virus were five times less likely to need hospital treatment than those who weren’t. I suspect that most of you require no encouragement at all to get outside walking, cycling, running, gardening etc. The good news is that, unless you are having to self-isolate, you can still get out for exercise once a day. I’m sure you’re sick and tired of being reminded, but…

We would like to strongly emphasise the message from Cycling UK (which has oversight of Isis Cyclists) that you should only go for a ride alone or with members of your household unless any of them have reason to self-isolate. Under no circumstance should you cycle or take part in any cycling activity in groups.

Before you set off on a ride, check Cycling UK’s Q&A on safe cycling during the coronavirus outbreak for their current advice, which is in accordance with the Government’s guidelines. Do revisit the Q&A regularly, as the advice may change.

It’s been hard to keep up with the fast pace of change over the last couple of weeks. Hopefully, we will now have a few weeks of stability before the rules change again.

Keeping your social distance on a bike

If any of you are at all worried, my experience has been that as long as you avoid places such as the river and canal towpaths at popular times, you will meet very few people indeed and almost everybody is being very sensible and maintaining at least the 2-metre recommended distance.

Social distancing has thrown up some interesting challenges such as how to get across the cycle track on the Botley Interchange if there is a cyclist approaching from the opposite direction. What is the etiquette? I’m not sure! Yesterday, I encountered a group of people in Wolvercote trying to herd five sheep while social distancing (with each other, not with the sheep!) which looked like even more of a challenge.

Keeping in touch through Bike Buddies

Riders who are part of the Bike Buddies WhatsApp group have been out and about this first week of the lock down.  The group was set up to help members find friends to ride with in those now far-off days when such things were permitted. However, with the more stringent restrictions Bike Buddies has morphed into a morale-boosting-cum-support group. There has been a steady trickle (and sometimes a positive gush) of encouraging messages and photos of what people have seen when they have been out exercising. So if you would like to keep in touch, do ask to join. All you need is access to WhatsApp and to email info@isiscyclists.org.uk or use the Contact us page to let us know your name and your mobile phone number, and we will sign you up.

If you are unlucky and are self-isolating, and would appreciate a cheery wave from a passing bike buddy, please let us know and we will do our best to arrange it!

Where individual riders have been – and some ideas for you

Why not check out our new Google Photo album Isis in Isolation to see where in and around Oxford we’ve got to and what we’ve seen in our first eight days of lock-down? Or if you are in need of inspiration about where to ride, our new selection of Isis Cyclists routes can help with outings of all shapes and sizes, guaranteed to fit anyone!


I wish you all the best for April and if you see me out and about on my daily exercise, please do give me a wave!

Happy cycling!