Here’s a slightly modified version of our report for the year 2016-17, during which we went from strength to strength, as you’ll read…
Facts and figures
This year we organised 58 rides (an additional three had to be cancelled mainly on account of the weather). Our leaders group, which is now 11 strong, continues to meet three times a year to plan the rides programme for the next four months.
Overall, we have recorded a satisfying increase in participation. In terms of unique participants, approximately 103 women rode with us, 12 more than last year. Of the total, 55% had ridden with the group previously and 45% were new to the group (these proportions are almost unchanged from last year).
The table below summarises the average number of riders on each type of ride (figures have been rounded):
A note about ‘Stop & Stare’:
These themed rides were added to our repertoire in 2013. They run during the warmer seasons on different days during the week, to give people working part-time a chance to take part. This year’s themes have ranged from nature conservation (‘Planting for Pollinators’: see photo on right) to historical (Oxford’s towers) and cultural (‘CS Lewis’, Artweeks and the Mikron Theatre at Wolvercote).
The Isis weekend away and 50-mile challenge are now key landmarks in our calendar.
This year’s weekend, from 9th-11th June, was based in Lechlade. Thirteen riders cycled out in glorious sunshine on the Friday afternoon and picnicked by the Thames on their arrival. Two rides were held on the Saturday, one to Kelmscott Manor and the other a 40-mile tour of the Cotswold Water Park taking in a number of lovely villages. We are already planning next year’s weekend, from 13th–15th July at Brazier’s Park in the Chilterns. This will include a celebration of our tenth anniversary.
The sun also shone on our 50-mile challenge to Faringdon on 2nd September.
Velovixen, the Wheatley-based online retailer of women’s cycle clothing, held an open day on 21st May, and was very keen for Isis to attend. Our arrival was greeted with cheers, and a number of us took the opportunity to add to the contents of our wardrobes.
Publicity and engagement with the community
We announced in last year’s annual report that we would step up our publicity. Concrete actions have included:
- rebuilding our WordPress site with a new URL. The site includes a ‘Contact us’ page, which appears to provide a convenient way for women to make first contact (judging by the number of messages that we have received through that channel).
- setting up a new email address. This automatically feeds into Ellen’s personal email client, so enquiries are responded to more quickly. (The ‘info@…’ inbox can also be accessed on the Web by other leaders in Ellen’s absence.)
- creating flyers at regular intervals with a summary of our forthcoming rides. Lucy Tennyson produces them in PDF format for members to print and post in their places of work etc.
We have also been active in the local community, including:
- an article by Lucy Tennyson in the Oxford Times (November 2016);
- presence at Oxford Green Fair (3rd December 2016) and the Elder Stubbs Festival (19th August 2017);
- a ride in association with the Women & Bicycles Festival on (5th March 2017)
- participation in an event in support of the national Space for Cycling campaign (22nd April 2017)
In addition a number of Isis riders were among the 520 cyclists on a ride on 12th May in memory of Claudia Comberti, who was tragically killed on the Botley Road three days earlier.
Isis and Oxford Cycling UK
We continue to value our close association with the main Oxford Cycling UK group, and we thank the committee for funding our new web address.
On our monthly joint rides we endeavour to maintain an increased pace in order to help our members make the transition to longer, faster outings. We hope that we are responsible – at least in part – for the evening-out of the gender distribution on the Oxford’s group’s rides.
Finally, on a formal note, Liz Matthews has taken over from Ellen Lee as the co-opted Isis representative on the Oxford City committee, and has participated in the committee meetings in February and July 2017.
5th November 2017