Stop-and-Stare Rides

Stop and Star - pollinatorsThese short and slow rides were introduced in 2013, to appeal to women who may be starting to cycle again, or who feel a little less confident about cycling.  They also appeal greatly to those who like to mix a little sightseeing with their cycling and perhaps discover new aspects of our wonderful city.  The rides attract a lot of interest and discussions within the group and provide the opportunity to share the wealth of local knowledge ever present within the group.

S and S Turner around Oxford - croppedThe rides run during the week as an addition to our regular weekend Isis rides. They’re organised from the spring through to the autumn (i.e. not during the cold winter months!) and range from 5 to 10 miles. We take them at a slow pace, with plenty of stops, including the obligatory tea stop at the end. We attract an average of five women riders, which makes for a small and friendly group, easily able to enter colleges and other venues.

The ride usually has a theme and visits several places of interest along the way, so a bike lock is essential. Previous rides have included:

  • “The Painted Glass of Oxford” – a tour of some of the best examples of stained glass in churches and College chapels
  • Artweek in May – two rides, in South/East Oxford and Summertown
  • Around the North Oxford Canal
  • Interesting Trees and a bit of CS Lewis – a tour to Shotover and back to Headington Quarry
  • Blue plaques – visiting places associated with women who have lived or undertaken significant work of a scientific, social or artistic nature in Oxford
  • Public open air Sculpture ride
  • “Asylums of Oxford”
  • Christmas Lights – an evening tour of some of the most amazing examples of domestic display
  • “Diamond or Carbuncle?” – new architecture
  • “Stations – from old to new”
  • “A Turner around Oxford” – visiting the sites where Oxford’s two artists named William Turner (yes, not just the famous one!) painted
  • Barracks Lane community garden

Comments from riders:

  • “I really must say a big ‘Thank you’ for the super bike ride yesterday.  It was so interesting and pleasant.”
  • “…you did a great job today, I loved it!”
  • And this reflection on a “blue plaque” ride to the home of the poet Anne Ridler deserves to be quoted at length:

“The present owner generously invited us into his garden in which Anne Ridler’s poems had been inspired. He then produced one of her original poetry books and kindly offered to read us some of her best poems! His soft, eloquent voice read her poems to us in the very garden in which they had been inspired, capturing the very essence of her outstanding work. It was a fabulously beautiful and moving experience and will stand out as one of the more memorable rides.”

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