Well, here we are, (nearly) in August, and I’m afraid that I still can’t give you any news about when we are likely to be able to start organised group rides again. Just to reiterate; we are an informal members’ group of the national cycling organisation, Cycling UK. We can’t restart our rides programme until told by Cycling UK that we can do so. I know this will be particularly frustrating to those of you who enjoy our shorter rides.
Informal rides through the BikeBuddies WhatsApp group
Those of us who have been riding throughout lockdown have been busy organising ourselves into groups of six maximum and riding together, often several times in a week, which has been wonderful: see our Isis in Isolation photo album for July 2020.
These rides are generally a minimum of 15 miles in length and have no leader or sweeper as official Isis Cyclists rides do. Obviously, there is a plan and somebody knows where the ride is going, but ultimately everyone is responsible for themselves.
If you would like to join a ride on this basis, then email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and phone number so that you can be signed up to the Bike Buddies WhatsApp group. If you would like to ride but worry that these rides will be too fast, etc. please still sign up.
There are plenty of shorter routes on our website and if you put out a plea for a bike buddy on the group then you will probably still find some. If the route is short, then nobody will expect to ride fast. I normally go on a town-based 10-mile ride on my Brompton on days when I work, so you may find I respond!
Cafés and tea rooms that have reopened
Many cafes are now open, and you can usually get a takeout if you don’t want to sit inside. Here is a list of venues and their opening hours, compiled by Oxfordshire Cycling UK’s midweek group.
County Council bid for funding for active travelling schemes
Finally, I’m sure that, whether you have been on two feet or two wheels, you will have enjoyed the better air quality and quieter roads that lockdown has brought. The County Council is currently preparing a funding bid for 2.4 million pounds from central government for tranche 2 of funding for active travel schemes. They received only half of what they bid for in the first tranche because they were not sufficiently ambitious, and we and other cycling/walking/environmental organisations in the county don’t want this to happen again. So we are asking for people to write to their County Councillor. The more emails they receive the better, and the more you can personalise your letter the better too.
Those of you living in E. Oxford may also like to politely enquire if/when the low-traffic neighbourhoods in Cowley will be implemented (which was part of tranche 1). Cyclox have helpfully produced a template email: for this, and more information please send an email to email@example.com.
I think that we’ve all seen an increase in motorised traffic in and around town lately and the worry is that this will only increase as people return to work and don’t want to take public transport. Thanks to all those of you who have responded to this plea via Cyclox or other cycling/walking organisations that you belong to. Together we can (and hopefully will) make a difference.