The AJ Bell Women’s Tour passing through Oxford on 4th October.
Saturday November 6th 2021: Short & Steady Rides – A Short Riverine Ride
Meet at 9.45 for a 10am departure from Radcliffe Square for this gentle meander along the tow paths of Oxford. We will head south along the river to begin with, cross Iffley Lock to join Meadow Lane, then come back over the river to join the Sustrans route through Grandpont. We briefly reunite with the river before ducking off into Osney Mead to take advantage of the lovely new cycle path which leads us to our refreshment stop at WOCA. From there we continue north along the river before turning off and cutting back to the city centre via Jericho. The ride is just under 8 miles and flat. The leaders are Karen Wolff and Liz Weekes.
Tuesday 9th November: Midweek Social Ride to Ducklington
At nearly 35 miles this ride is quite ambitious for the time of year, so we will set off promptly and keep moving at a reasonable pace to ensure we get back to Oxford before the light fades. In any case, please bring lights.
Meet outside Costa Coffee in Summertown from 9.15 for a 9.30 departure. The plan is to cycle north along the canal towpath from Wolvercote to Yarnton; however, a short stretch just before Yarnton is currently closed. When we checked the route we found a way round (a short, slightly rough track), but if that isn’t an option on the day we’ll ride alongside the A44 all the way from the Woodstock Road roundabout to Yarnton. From Yarnton we follow a quieter road through Cassington to Eynsham, where we may have a short refreshment stop (Lyall’s café or bring your own).
The route then takes us to Sutton and Stanton Harcourt before turning along peaceful Tar Lane and the Northern Cross Valley bridleway, which has a good surface. The lunch stop is at The Bell, Ducklington (see below); alternatively, you can picnic on the bench by the duck pond, warding off the marauding mallards. In the afternoon we enjoy a few exhilarating swoops along the Aston Mile before turning left along the lane through Yelford to the A415 at Hardwick. From there it’s back through Standlake, Northmoor, Newbridge, Kingston Hill (the day’s only climb) and Appleton. There will be an optional tea stop in Cumnor before zooming down Cumnor Hill back into Oxford. The route officially ends in Frideswide Square.
The leader is Liz Matthews.
Lunch at The Bell: It will help The Bell if we send our menu choices the day before. The current menu is different from the one on the website, so I’ll post it on the new Midweek Rides WhatsApp group on Thursday 4th. If you aren’t a member of the group, send me a message by email (if you know my address), via the contact page on the website, or a direct message on WhatsApp, and I’ll send you a copy.
Saturday 13th November: Medium Ride – Greats & Littles
This 18-mile ride, taken at a slow and steady pace, explores the undulating area SE of Oxford through Great Milton and Haseley and Little Haseley and Milton with a break at the community shop and cafe in Little Milton. It includes some hills which can be taken at your own pace.
Meet opposite the City Arms on Magdalen Road, at 9.30am to leave by 9.45am. We will set off up Barracks Lane, head across the ring road towards Horspath and take a short detour to avoid the closed road by the railway bridge. A short sharp hill leads on to a downhill into Cuddesdon and the mill before rising again to reach Great Milton. We’ll continue through Great Haseley and Little Haseley and then Little Milton. We’ll return via Cuddesdon to enjoy the hills and views in the opposite direction and back down Barracks Lane to E. Oxford. The ride leader is Clare Farley.
Friday 19th November: Evening Ride around the Lights
Meet in Radcliffe Square, outside the Vaults & Gardens Café at 6pm, for a ride to appreciate the highlights of the Oxford Christmas Light Festival. We’ll visit the Castle, where a Son et Lumière is running that evening, celebrating the 950th Anniversary of the Castle. We’ll ride around some of the other sights, to be determined nearer the time when details are published (see Oxford Lights Festival). It’s not possible to plan a refreshment stop at the time the newsletter goes out, as there may be changes in rules and regulations, so we’ll have to play it by ear. The ride should finish by 8pm. The leader is Jane Carlton Smith.
Saturday 20th November: Long ride – Dead-ends and Donkeys
Meet outside the Premier Inn, by the roundabout at the end of Oxford Road, Cowley (Cowley Road), where it meets the Ring Road. We will start at 9.30am, because daylight is limited in late November.
This 32-mile ride starts on the cycle track on the B480, immediately beyond the ring road roundabout, and ends at Donnington Bridge. It includes a couple of stretches of main road, and goes “off piste” a couple of times to investigate the bits of Marsh Baldon we normally sail past, and also Mackney, which is an isolated hamlet south of Brightwell cum Sotwell, and is lovely. The route takes in the Baldons, Clifton Hampden and Little Wittenham. We then head for Brightwell cum Sotwell and down Mackney Lane to the hamlet (the Dead End). Returning to Brightwell, we will visit the Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary which has a café. Our route home passes through North Moreton, Appleford and Sutton Courtenay, after which we can take the Hanson Way (Peep o’Day Lane) to Abingdon. We can get refreshments there if the Donkey café isn’t open, or if we want another stop! And then back via the Sustrans route. We’ll finish up at Donnington Bridge, from where you can find your way back home.
There are some hills in the first half of the ride, but fairly flat in the second half. The leader is Jane Carlton Smith.