Founded in 2008, Isis Cyclists is an informal member group of Oxford Cycling UK. We run short bike rides for women in Oxford with the aim of encouraging women to get back on their bikes and commuters to enjoy leisure cycling – all as a step towards health, having fun and meeting new people. Rides are led by experienced and knowledgeable members of Cycling UK: see our Meet the Ride Leaders page. We use the best of the city’s cycle paths and quiet lanes, heading towards open country wherever possible.
A question that we’re sometimes asked is why a women-only group is necessary. You’ll find a comprehensive response in these recent articles:
- On Yer Bike: ‘Try out cycling life in the slow lane with women-only rides’ by Isis Cyclists member Lucy Tennyson, in the Oxford Mail
- Do we need female-specific cycling activities? by Julie Rand on the Cycling UK website
- How and why to put on bike rides aimed at women on the Cycling UK website
And, as you’ll read in the next section on this page, we hold mixed rides at least once a month.
If you’re unfamiliar with Oxford, you may also be wondering why we have chosen to call ourselves after an Egyptian goddess. The reason is quite simple: Isis is the name given to the River Thames as it flows through Oxford and features in the titles of a number of local organisations, a pub and even a lock on the canal!
About our rides
Rides of different lengths take place each month, from a variety of start locations in Oxford. They follow a regular pattern:
- 1st Saturday: Short and Steady. 8-10 miles taken at a gentle pace for new/returning cyclists with plenty of stops to regroup and check everyone is doing OK. The routes mainly keep within the ring road and use minor roads and tracks where possible.
- 2nd Saturday: Medium. 15-20 miles taken at a steady pace (averaging around 10mph) with occasional stops for drinks, adjusting clothing and/or regrouping on hills.
- 3rd Saturday: Long. 20-30+ miles taken at a slightly faster pace (around 11mph) for people who like to keep going generally with an odd stop for regrouping as necessary.
- Midweek, monthly: A longer ride (25+ miles) for people in part-time employment or not currently working. Depending on the leader’s choice, these rides may be social rides, on which male partners and friends are welcome. The ride may include a lunch stop (café, pub or picnic).
- Not running at present: Last Sunday (4th or 5th): Mixed social ride. A ride on which male partners and friends are welcome. The rides usually take place in the afternoon, and for this reason don’t run in the depths of winter. The distance is generally 20-30 miles, but may be less, especially when days are shorter.
- Not running at present: Midweek, monthly from spring to autumn: Stop & Stare. A 5-10 mile ride taken at a gentle pace suitable for all. The ride usually has a theme and visits several places of interest along the way.
All rides feature a refreshment stop at one of the many cafés, tea rooms and other simple eateries in the area. For a list of some of our most frequented and/or favourite haunts, visit The Isis Cyclists Guide to Cafés and Tea Rooms.
In addition to these regular rides, we run midweek rides, evening jaunts (often mixed) to local pubs, picnic rides and weekends away during the summer. Since 2014 we have introduced a programme of progressively longer rides over the spring and summer, leading up to a 50-mile challenge in early September.
Read about our activities during recent years on our Year in the Life page.
Things to know before you start…
There is no charge to take part, and rides are taken at a gentle pace to maintain group cohesion. Any bike will do as long as it’s roadworthy, although for rides with hills you’ll need a good range of gears. Just pump up your tyres, and bring a drink and a spare inner tube in case of a puncture (which we may be able to help fix).
If you aren’t used to riding with a number of other people, you may find our page of Tips for Cycling in a Group helpful.
Our short and steady rides are designed to be within the ability of all cyclists, even relative beginners. However, if you are just starting riding or are not confident at bike handling you might find you get more enjoyment from the Isis Cyclists rides if you also try out Joyriders Oxford. They are set up to help individual riders with basic road skills, such as anticipating and positioning on the road and can help build confidence for riding in the sort of groups that we have on our rides.
We post details of our rides on the Monthly Programme page of this site and in a monthly email to the mailing list. To join the mailing list, or to ask questions about the group, you can send us a message on the Contact Us page. Please do join the Facebook group.
If you’re still not quite sure, then read these testimonials from some of our members.
The (legal) small print
Leaders of Isis Cyclists rides want to make sure that your experience is both enjoyable and safe. But accidents can happen. If you’re a member of Cycling UK (and all our leaders are), then you are automatically covered for up to £10 million by Cycling UK’s third party insurance. If you aren’t a member of Cycling UK, we ask you to sign a disclaimer in which you accept that neither Cycling UK, through Isis Cyclists CTC, nor the individual ride leader, can be held responsible for any personal injury, accident, loss, damage or public liability that you sustain during the ride.
We regret that we are unable to accept unaccompanied children (i.e. under the age of 18) on Isis Cyclists rides.