April 2018

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February’s annual snowdrop ride yielded shimmering vistas of white (photo by Liz Matthews)

Ellen writes… Every month when I sit down to write this intro I try really hard not to obsess about the weather. However, what was going on in March??? Two lots of snow and some crazy cold weather! We were very lucky that we only had to cancel one of our rides as we managed to reschedule the short ride to avoid the “beast from the east”. We have re-organised last month’s cancelled long ride to April, so we hope for much better conditions for an expedition to conquer Brill Hill. There are two leaders and Jane will be looking after slower riders, so as long as you can ride the distance please feel confident to join in.

The Isis leaders’ group has now planned our rides until the end of July. There are some great rides to look forward to and we will be welcoming back our Stop & Stare rides and our summer evening social rides. We are also experimenting, by organising the odd long, slower ride. In June we will be riding out into the Oxfordshire Cotswolds to enjoy the Bridewell Organic Gardens on one of their open days. We will also be starting our programme of longer rides on the third Saturday of the month, which culminate on 9th September with our popular 50 mile challenge ride. This year we will ride east and south to visit Thame and Benson.

Finally, I’d like to alert you to an event organised in National Bike Week on Sunday 17th June by a number of local groups including Rose Hill and Iffley Low Carbon, Sustrans, Cyclox, the Community Centre and Broken Spoke. Isis Cyclists will also be taking part. It’s a community event and there will be lots of events, stalls, short drop in talks, maintenance workshops and the chance to try out an electric bike. It promises to be both fun and engaging and we’re looking forward to taking part.

SATURDAY 7th APRIL: SLOW AND STEADY RIDE – ELLEN’S SECRET OXFORD

This lovely ride comes from a book co-authored by Ellen and although much of it will be familiar, it is full of pleasure in the form of streams, islands and fishes.  Starting in Radcliffe Square, we will head down Magpie Lane, aiming for Brewer Street, via St Aldate’s.  We’ll wind our way around the bulk of the Westgate Centre and make our way to Whitehouse Road, then on through the Grandpont Nature Park to Willow Walk, and the Fishes at North Hinksey, where the coffee and tea comes with free toast. Retracing our route to Oatlands Road Rec, we’ll ride up Binsey Lane to the second fishy pub on the ride.  From the Perch, we cross the Thames at Fiddler’s Island and ride across Port Meadow, heading for Aristotle Lane.  We return to Radcliffe Square by the same route as the short ride in March, but in the opposite direction.  Meet at 9.45am for a 10am start, by the railings outside the Vaults & Gardens café entrance.  The ride is just under 9 miles and should finish by 12.30 at the latest, including the coffee stop.  The ride leader is Jane Carlton Smith.

SATURDAY 14th APRIL:  MEDIUM RIDE – WORTON ORGANIC GARDENS

Today we will enjoy a relaxed ride out of the city via Wolvercote to visit Worton Organic Gardens, where the owners grow flowers, fruit and vegetables in a lovely rural setting. There is an organic cafe selling cakes, soup and light meals, plus a farm shop. The ride is mostly flat or undulating, on quieter roads and will include a short stretch of canal path (might be slightly muddy). We will return to town via the A40 cycle path and Summertown. Meet outside the Sheldonian Theatre on Broad Street, Oxford at 9.45am for a 10am start. Ride leader will be Lucy Tennyson, and ride length is approximately15 miles.

SATURDAY 21st APRIL: LONG RIDE – BRILL AND BACK!

We invite you to meet inside Jacob and Field (on Old High St, Headington – near Waitrose) from 0930hrs for a coffee, before departure at 10am prompt. We are hoping for good weather for this slow but challenging route to Brill and the beautiful ancient windmill.

At 10am we will head off under the underpass onto the Bayswater Road towards Stanton St John. We’ll then ride past the church and down the hill and head for Boarstall via Bernwood Forest. After a short stretch on the Thame road we turn for Brill, climbing the hill that brings us out by the Windmill and the Pheasant PH where we will have lunch.

The menu can be found at https://www.thepheasant.co.uk/lunch-menu. If you are planning to come, it would be very helpful if you could tell the joint leader, Jane Carlton Smith, and also let her know what you would like to order. You can pay on the day.

The return route starts with a long freewheel down the hill to Oakley, then on to Worminghall. We then turn for Wheatley, Littleworth and Horspath before the ride concludes at Horspath Driftway (on the ring road). The ride is approximately 25 miles long, hilly, but will be taken at a moderate pace where possible. We envisage the ride, including stops will take 4-5 hrs total. The ride leader is Liz Weekes, and Jane Carlton Smith will be looking after slower riders.

SUNDAY 29th APRIL: JOINT ISIS/OXFORD CYCLING UK RIDE TO COFFEE AT WATERPERRY

(followed by a visit to the Velo Vixen open day in Wheatley)

Meet outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad St, Oxford, for a prompt 9:30am departure. We will leave Oxford in an easterly direction through the University Parks and Marston. We will then climb through Elsfield before joining the B4027 as far as Stanton St John where we will descend to Menmarsh and Worminghall. Refreshments will be at Waterperry Gardens, but don’t eat too many cakes because afterwards it’s just a short hop to Wheatley and the Velo Vixen open day where you can check out their merchandise and enjoy some more coffee and cake! We will return to Oxford via Littleworth and Horspath. The ride will be approximately 22 miles in length and will involve climbing one steep hill before our stops and one (less steep) afterwards. The ride leader will be Ellen Lee.

If you don’t want to visit the open day at Velo Vixen, then there will be a led ride straight back to Oxford using the same route.

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March 2018

** STOP PRESS: The ride to Brill on Saturday 17th March has been postponed on account of the expected cold weather, wind and snow. We plan to run it in the spring. **

Ellen writes… What interesting weather we had to contend with in February! The first two rides suffered nasty wet and windy weather, the second two enjoyed cold and crisp weather. The “beast from the east” has meant that the short and steady ride organised for Saturday 3rd March has been rescheduled to Saturday 24th. We hope that the spring might have put in an appearance by then and we can enjoy an eccentric wander round Oxford en route to the East Oxford Community Market. All the other rides are in their usual slots.

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Photo by Liz Matthews

I thought you might be interested to see a photo of the Isis Cyclists Leaders’ Group hard at work! Earlier this month we had a “working lunch” to talk about all aspects of rides and ride leading. It was a very productive session (despite the evidence of the photo!) and we came away with several good ideas to make rides run more smoothly. If you have any ideas about this, we’d love to hear from you and if you are interested in finding out what is involved in becoming an Isis Cyclists ride leader, then please do ask me or any of the other leaders out on a ride. We are always happy to increase the size of our group.

However, we must be doing something right because we’ve discovered that Isis Cyclists has been named among the 8 best cycling groups for women in the UK in an article on the Redbull website. Thanks to Leonor Barroca for having eagle eyes and spotting this fact. You might notice that we are sporting a lot less lycra than anyone else!

FINALLY: Remember to make sure both you and your bike are fit and ready for your ride! Check that your bike is road-worthy, pump up your tyres and, if you can, carry a spare inner tube as it may be possible to mend a puncture on the spot. Have a good breakfast too, and carry a snack and drink in case you need a bit of extra sustenance.

Happy cycling!

 

SATURDAY 10th MARCH: MEDIUM RIDE – WATERPERRY WANDER

We will meet at Jacobs Brasserie (on the corner of Osler Road and London Road in Headington, OX3 7RA) at 09:45am for a 10am start, heading out to Stanton St John, flying over the M40 to Worminghall to reach Waterperry for refreshments at their café. We can make time for visits to the garden centre by popular request. We’ll return via Wheatley and Horspath and towards Barracks Lane to reach central Oxford. The ride is 15 miles long with several hills which can be taken at your own speed. The ride leader is Clare Farley.

** POSTPONED ** SATURDAY 17th MARCH: LONG RIDE – BRILL AND BACK!

We invite you to meet inside Jacob and Field (on Old High St, Headington – near Waitrose) from 0930hrs  for a coffee before departure at 10am prompt. This is the 2nd long ride of 2018 due to the January ride having to be cancelled. We are hoping for better weather for this slow but challenging route to Brill and the beautiful ancient windmill.

At 10am we will head off under the underpass onto the Bayswater road towards Stanton St John. We will then ride past the church and down the hill and head for Boarstall via Bernwood Forest. After a short stretch on the Thame road we turn for Brill, climbing the hill that brings us out by the Windmill and the Pheasant PH where we will have lunch.

The menu can be found on the pub’s website. If you are planning to come, it would be very helpful if you could tell the leader, Sarah Twine via the Contact Us page, and also let her know what you would like to order from the menu. You can pay on the day.

The return route starts with a long freewheel down the hill to Oakley, then on to  Worminghall. We then turn for Wheatley, Littleworth and Horspath before the ride concludes at Horspath Driftway (on the ring road). The ride is approximately 25 miles long, hilly, but will be taken at a moderate pace where possible. We envisage the ride, including stops will take 4-5 hrs total. The ride leader is Sarah Twine.

SATURDAY 24th MARCH: SHORT & STEADY RIDE – STARTING OFF IN THE WRONG DIRECTION!

Meet from 9.45am in Radcliffe Square (at the back of the University Church) for a 10am departure for a ridiculously circuitous route to coffee at the East Oxford Farmers and Community Market. We will head out through leafy North Oxford before turning south through Jericho back to the city centre where we will pick up the river towpath to Iffley. We will wend our way up through the village emerging on Rose Hill before finally heading towards our destination between Union St and East Street. The route is 9 miles long, so cakes are fully justified! Why not bring an empty pannier to take some shopping home? The route is mostly flat and on quiet roads, paths and cycle tracks, but there is one climb from the river at Iffley up to Rose Hill. This can be taken at any pace, or walked. So dust your bike off and join us? The ride leader is Ellen Lee.

SUNDAY 25TH MARCH: JOINT ISIS/OXFORD CYCLING UK RIDE TO COFFEE AT THE OLD FLIGHT HOUSE, WESTON-ON-THE-GREEN

Meet outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad St, Oxford, for a prompt 9:30am departure. We will leave Oxford in an easterly direction through the University Parks and Marston. Once across the A40 we will meander northwards along quiet roads through Woodeaton, Islip, Bletchingdon and Kirtlington. Shortly after leaving Kirtlington, we will strike out east along Akeman Street to its junction with the B430 by the airfield above Weston-on-the-Green and our coffee stop at The Old Flight House antiques centre.

To return, we will continue east along Akeman Street to Chesterton, and then turn south to Wendlebury and Weston-on-the-Green itself. We’ll pass through Bletchingdon a second time; thence to Oxford via Hampton Poyle, Gosford, Water Eaton and Summertown.

The total length of the ride is about 33 miles (longer than our usual long rides), but there will be scope for taking shortcuts on the way home, particularly if the weather is unfavourable (or the leader runs out of puff!). There are a number of short-ish hills, including through Woodeaton and Islip, on both approaches to Bletchingdon and on the approach to Kirtlington. The bridle path through the fields near Water Eaton includes a short stretch of unmetalled track. Since this is a joint ride, the pace will average roughly 11mph on the outward leg and a little less on the homeward run.

The ride leader is Liz Matthews.

February 2018

Ellen writes: I hope you’ve managed to get out on your bike, despite the rather miserable weather during January. I’m sorry that our long ride was cancelled. We don’t cancel rides lightly. We do so if we judge that the conditions are not safe or if the weather is such that riding will be no fun at all.

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Riders on the bridle path near Water Eaton en route to Annie’s Tea Room at Thrupp on 14th January (photo by Sarah Twine). 

We hope that no more cancellations will be necessary and that all February’s rides will go ahead unhampered by the elements. We’ve got a good selection of rides for you, so we hope you’ll find something to suit. We’ll be indulging in an orgy of bridge crossing, searching for spring flowers and possibly tackling a few hills on our way to investigate a new refreshment stop in Wheatley. As usual, we’ll be joining riders from Oxford City Cycling UK on the last Sunday of the month.

Ruth Davis has brought my attention to an on the BBC website, What is stopping women from cycling? See what you think: perhaps it will lead to some interesting discussions over coffee and cakes on our February rides!

SATURDAY 3rd FEBRUARY: 20 BRIDGES RIDE

Did you know that you can cross no less than 20 different bridges on a short 7.5 mile bike ride? Meet by the statue of the ox outside the Oxford rail station from 10.15 for a 10.30 departure. We will follow tow paths, cycle paths and quiet roads and cross railways, streams, rivers and canals on our bridge-counting ride. There is a short section on grass which is easily cyclable but may be a bit muddy if we have a lot of rain. Refreshments will be taken at the West Oxford Community Centre. The ride leader is Karen Wolff.

SATURDAY 10th FEBRUARY: MEDIUM RIDE – CLIMBING THE LADDER! (SOCIAL RIDE)

Congregate in Radcliffe Square outside the church at 10am for a prompt 10.15 departure.  We’ll head out via the Marston Road and can have another pick up in Cherwell Drive at 10.25am. The route will leave Oxford via Elsfield and Stanton St John and continue through Worminghall and Waterperry on its way to Wheatley Garden Centre Café. There are two steep hills to conquer, Elsfield Hill and Ladder Hill in Wheatley. These can be taken at as gentle a pace as necessary. After the refreshment break it’s an easy 4 or 5 miles back to Oxford, mainly downhill. At 20 miles, this ride is slightly longer than our usual medium ride and is also a social ride, so male partners and friends are welcome to join us. The ride leader is Natasha Williams.

SATURDAY 17th FEBRUARY: LONG RIDE – SEEKING SNOWDROPS IN SOUTH-EAST OXFORDSHIRE

We will meet at Jacobs Brasserie (on the corner of Osler Road and London Road in Headington, OX3 7RA) at 09:45am for a 10am start, heading out to Stanton St John and cycling through Forest Hill and the outskirts of Wheatley. As much as possible, we will follow country roads and quiet lanes through the rolling Oxfordshire countryside hunting snowdrops and daffodils. We will pass through the villages of Great Milton (of Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons fame), Great and Little Haseley before stopping for a break at the Little Milton Village Shop where we can have coffee and cake or a bacon or sausage bap – perfect sustenance for a cycling brunch as we tend to arrive about 11.30am. Once refreshed, we will return via Cuddesdon where we will pass Ripon College (a centre of theological training and research), before descending to Horspath and back to Oxford. This ride is about 22 miles and has several hills or undulations, which will be taken at a gentle pace or can be walked. The ride leader is Lucy Wright.

SUNDAY 25th FEBRUARY: JOINT ISIS/OXFORD CYCLING UK RIDE TO COFFEE AT ASTON POTTERY

Meet outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad St, Oxford for a prompt 9.30am departure. We will leave Oxford in a northerly direction up the Woodstock Rd and pick up the A40 cycle track to Eynsham. We’ll then make for Aston Pottery via Stanton Harcourt, Hardwick & Yelford. The return will take us to Standlake on quiet roads where we will pick up the A415 for a couple of miles, crossing the River Thames at Newbridge and then turning back on minor roads through Netherton, Appleton and Cumnor before entering Oxford along the Botley Rd. The route has a couple of hills either side of coffee but is otherwise pretty flat. The aim is to get to coffee at 11am and to do this we will need to average about 11mph. The return route will be at a reduced pace of about 10mph and the entire route is approximately 33 miles long. The leader will be Liz Weekes.

 

January 2018

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A sunny outing in August 2014

Ellen writes… Welcome to the first Isis Cyclists newsletter of 2018, our 10th anniversary year! How time has flown since the first ‘Five Miles to Fabulous’ ride that led to the formation of Isis Cyclists in June 2008, and what an amazing adventure it’s been! From a personal perspective, it’s been wonderful to meet so many interesting and enthusiastic people out on rides. As time has gone on, the organisation of the group has been taken up by a small band of ride leaders. I never cease to be surprised and delighted by their creativity and commitment. Liz Matthews, who looks after our website, is currently creating a page entitled ‘Meet the Leaders’ which will tell you a bit more about this intrepid band! She has recently also added an Isis Cyclists Guide to Cafes and Tearooms which is a subject about which we pride ourselves that we know something! If there are any that we’ve omitted, or if you would like to add a comment about a venue on the list, then please do get in contact with us via the Contact Us page.

The highlight of our anniversary year will undoubtedly be our weekend away (13th-15th July 2018) which, as mentioned in the last issue, will be at Braziers Park, not far from Wallingford and in the Chilterns, an area we only rarely visit. So far 13 have booked to attend, but there’s plenty more space, both rooms in the house or camping in the orchard. If you can’t make the whole weekend, then why not join us for one of our rides on the Saturday, or even come over for our Saturday evening celebration meal? If you would like to come, please return a booking form and pay the relevant deposit to Jane Carlton Smith. Further details are now available on the Isis Cyclists’ 10th Anniversary Weekend page. We hope to see a record-breaking number of you there!

Well, before we get to the summer, we have the delights of the winter and the exuberance of the spring to sample. Why not join us on one of our January rides and get 2018 off to a great start? Despite appearances, riding in the winter is great fun and, provided you’re well kitted out (see our Tips for Winter Cycling) you will find it a rewarding time to be out on two wheels. Over the winter period, we have decided to start some of our rides slightly later in the day. If it’s icy, there will be a better chance that it will have melted and conditions are safe to cycle. If it’s not safe, then we will cancel the ride by sending an email round the Google Group by 9am on the day of the ride. So far this winter, it’s been OK (if sometimes a bit nippy), so let’s hope January’s rides will have good and safe cycling conditions.

SATURDAY 6th JANUARY: SLOW AND STEADY TO HEADINGTON AND OLD MARSTON

Meet from 10:45am for an 11:00am start outside the Sheldonian Theatre, Broad Street opposite Blackwells bookshop, Oxford.

The ride will start cycling in a north-easterly direction along Parks Road and along the cycle path besides the University Parks and up Harberton Mead. We then meander through the grounds of the JR Hospital, Bury Knowle Park and then along Barton Lane.  We will then pick up the cycle path alongside the Northern Bypass past the new Barton Park development. The route will then take us to Old Marston village for a coffee stop at the Victoria Arms with its cosy log fire. We then return to the City Centre back to the start.

The ride is approximately 8 miles long and will take in one hill at a slow pace and will be paced at the speed of the slowest rider. It is anticipated that the ride will take approximately 2–2.5 hrs including coffee. The ride leader is Sarah Twine

SUNDAY 14th JANUARY: MEDIUM RIDE TO ANNIE’S TEAROOM, THRUPP

IMG_1625** Please note the day, time and meeting place. ** We’ll make a 10:30 start from outside Costa Coffee in Summertown, heading out to Annie’s by the canal at Thrupp. The exact route will depend on the weather, but Plan A is to meander through the back of Summertown and over the fields past Water Eaton. We’ll skirt the top edge of Kidlington, going across the fields to the church, up Moors Road and along a short stretch of the A4260 to Thrupp. The return route will initially take us northwards along the towpath to Shipton-on-Cherwell before we head back down the main road into Kidlington, and then through side streets to our dispersal point at the Banbury Road roundabout. The total envisaged length of the ride is just under 15 miles. If a Plan B is required, we’ll play it by ear. The ride leader is Liz Matthews.

SATURDAY 20th JANUARY: LONG RIDE TO WESTON-ON-THE-GREEN

Congregate in Radcliffe Square outside the church at 10am for a prompt 10:15 departure.  We’ll head out via the Marston Road and can have another pick up in Cherwell Drive at 10:25.  The exact route will be decided on weather conditions but will be no more than 30 miles and will be shortened if the weather is very cold or wet.  The Milk Shed offers nice brunches and hot chocolates with all the trimmings!  The ride leader is Natasha Williams. As this is a longer ride at a cold time of year, we will be keeping up a steady pace and aiming to average 11mph (i.e. slightly faster than normal) with fewer than normal stops.

SUNDAY 28th JANUARY: JOINT ISIS/OXFORD CYCLING UK RIDE TO COFFEE AT ABINGDON

Meet outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad St, Oxford for a prompt 9:30am departure. We will leave Oxford along the Iffley Rd and get onto the R. Thames towpath at Donnington Bridge. From there we will follow the Sustrans route, emerging on the road at the southern edge of Kennington. We will soon turn west along Sugworth Lane (by Bagley Wood) to Sunningwell and into Abingdon via Shippon. After coffee at the R&R coffee shop, we will return to Shippon, but turn through Gozzards Ford, Cothill and Dry Sandford before crossing the A420 at Besselsleigh and entering Oxford via Cumnor and down Cumnor Hill. The route is 23 miles in length and includes no hills as such, just the odd gentle drag uphill. If the towpath and Sustrans track are too wet an alternative on-road route will be taken. The ride leader is Ellen Lee.

December 2017

Ellen writes… It seems amazing that we are fast approaching the last month of the year! We have recently been looking back at the last year (October 2016 – September 2017) in order to report on our activities to our parent group, Oxford Cycling UK, at their recent AGM. I’m really happy to say that we have been going from strength to strength. All our regular rides have had increased attendance and I hope that you’ve had as many memorable moments on the rides that you’ve taken part in as I’ve had. I’d urge you all to look at the “year in the life” page on our website that shows you what we’ve got up to over the last 12 months!

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Isis riders undeterred by frost and mist last winter!

I’d also like to draw your attention to our recently updated page with hints and tips about cycling in the winter. The winter is a wonderful time for cycling, with the countryside raked with a low sun and more open and visible with the leaves gone from trees and hedgerows. However being suitably kitted out makes a huge difference to your comfort on a bike and makes all the unique sights and smells of winter more enjoyable.

As we like to keep our members up to date with the various cycling campaigns and happenings in and around Oxford, this month I asked John Blackie, from the Bikesafe campaign, to give us an update on progress being made to get a shared use off-road path between Botley and Eynsham. Those of you who have been riding with us on the very rare occasions we use the B4044 Farmoor road will appreciate what a boon a safe off-road path would be. It would certainly make accessing countryside to the west of Oxford much safer. Check out John’s update.

We are all very excited that our 10th birthday next summer will be celebrated with a weekend away at Brazier’s Park near Ipsden in South Oxfordshire. Hopefully it will be bigger and even better (can it be possible??) than last year’s event at Lechlade. Details will be sent round very, very soon, after which booking will be open. I’m certainly planning to be there and I’m sure it will be one of the highlights of my cycling year.

Finally, you will notice that this month’s rides have a definite Christmas shopping kind of theme! Whether it’s a pudding for your Christmas meal, some booze to oil the festivities or a few last minute presents you need, you’ll find that the Isis rides can provide it all!!!!

Have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy and peaceful New Year of cycling.

SATURDAY 2nd DECEMBER: SLOW AND STEADY: EAST OXFORD MEANDER

Today’s ride will visit three venues where you can stock up on things you might need for Christmas.  We’ll meet in Broad Street, outside the Sheldonian at 9.45am, to start at 10am.  We’ll take a winding route through East Oxford and Littlemore, to Sandford Market, where Ellen recommends the Christmas puddings, and we can have coffee and cake.  We’ll then return around the edge of Rose Hill, through Iffley Village and along the towpath to Sarah Spackman’s workshop, where she has a Christmas show.  We’ll finish up at the Green Fair in the Town Hall, always an enjoyable event, and where we may find someone promoting Isis on a stall with Cyclox.  You can also get vegetarian lunches there if you wish.  The ride is just over 9 miles, with some short and shallow hills for added interest, and should take no more than 3 hours including the stops.  The ride leader is Jane Carlton Smith.

SATURDAY 9th DECEMBER: MEDIUM RIDE: WORTON ORGANIC GARDENS

Meet in Radcliffe Square, Oxford from 10.45am for an 11am departure. We will leave Oxford via the University Parks cycle track, the Marston Ferry Rd track, Summertown and Cutteslowe. We will then head to Wolvercote where (weather permitting) we will pick up the canal towpath and A44 cycle track to Yarnton and our refreshment stop at Worton Organic Gardens. Hot drinks, cakes and light lunches will be available. Why not strap on an extra pannier and treat yourself to some fresh, organic seasonal veg? The route home will take us into Cassington and back to Oxford along the A40 cycle track. We will return to the town centre via the Cutteslowe cycle bridge and the cycle route east of Summertown and down through N. Oxford. The ride is mainly flat (so heavy vegetables are not off limits!) and the total ride distance is 17 miles. The ride leader will be Ellen Lee.

SATURDAY 16th DECEMBER: LONG RIDE: ABINGDON & BOTHY VINEYARD

Meet in Broad Street, outside the Sheldonian at 10:45am for a 11am departure. We will leave Oxford using the river towpath and the cycle tracks of Sustrans route 5 to Abingdon where we will stop for refreshments.

We will then head out to Frilford Heath on quieter roads and visit the Bothy Vineyard which has a range of small gifts and beers as well as wines on sale for Christmas, before returning to Oxford centre. We won’t be cycling more than 22-23 miles and there are no big hills, so bring your panniers for any purchases. The ride leader is Lucy Tennyson.

SUNDAY 31st DECEMBER: OXFORD CYCLING UK RIDE TO LUNCH AT ASTON POTTERY

Isis cyclists are invited to take part in the Oxford Cycling UK ride on New Year’s Eve. What a perfect opportunity to do something healthy before the New Year Celebrations start! The ride will depart Broad St, Oxford (outside Oxford Campus Stores) at the slightly later than usual time of 10am. Sue Altman will be leading the ride which will be at the usual group pace (average of ~11.5mph). The route there will be slightly circuitous via places such as Bladon, Freeland, North Leigh and Witney and will be 23 miles long. The plan is to arrive for lunch around 12-12.15pm. The return route will be shorter (~16 miles) via Stanton Harcourt and Eynsham. So the ride will be a bit less than 40 miles in total. More details will be available on the Oxford Cycling UK website nearer the time.

B4044 BOTLEY TO EYNSHAM PATH CAMPAIGN: UPDATE

Bikesafe is a charity which for the last 5 years has been campaigning for a shared use path to be built between Botley and Eynsham alongside the B4044.  You’ve probably ridden along this road and wished you hadn’t, or driven along it and seen how vulnerable cyclists are along this route.  At the moment around 100 to 150 cycling journeys are made per day along it.  Once the path is built, we think that that’ll increase to 500 to 600 minimum.  This gives economic benefits sufficient to pay for itself three times over in a period of just over 10 years.  Details are in the business plan which was published early in 2017 and is available to see on the Bikesafe website.

Great News

Very recently, at the beginning of October, the Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet approved an application to the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) for money to build or improve roads and paths at 3 major housing developments in the County.  One of those is the A40 through Eynsham up to the Wolvercote roundabout.  Crucially the application includes money for the B4044 Eynsham to Botley path. This is the first time the County have recognised and responded to the B4044 path campaign positively and so is a major event and breakthrough.  There are no promises that the application will be successful in whole or in part so we have to wait until sometime in the first quarter of 2018 to hear the outcome.

Path Update

The donation we received earlier in the year has enabled us to start the formal process of applying for planning permission.  Our application will include not only the route from Dean Court to Eynsham but also outline permission for the Path to continue from the Eynsham/Siemens roundabout North up to the A40.  The application has to be made to both the Vale of White Horse and to the West Oxfordshire district council.  The purpose of doing this is to have a shovel ready plan available for the County to use when and if the Government comes up with some money for cycling.

Local MPs and Councillors

The campaign has received enormous support from three new local MPs, two of whose constituencies include the B4044 path. They have one thing in common – they ride bicycles routinely for leisure and for getting about.

Layla Moran (MP Oxford West and Abingdon) mentioned Bikesafe and the B4044 Path campaign in the House Transport Committee.

Robert Courts, MP for Witney met the campaign members at the Talbot during a snowstorm in January and he rode a portion of the route. He has now joined the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG). This is a pressure group of like-minded MPs which is influential at Government level. Layla Moran is a vice chairman of the APPCG.

Anneliese Dodds, MP for East Oxford is a firm supporter of cycling as a form of sustainable transport and therefore of the B4044 path too.

In addition, the County Councillor for Witney North & East Division, Dr Suzanne Bartington, has been appointed as the County Cycling Champion.  We believe that she, with others, was instrumental in getting the B4044 path included into the HIF application reported at the beginning of this article.  She knows that riding a bicycle is health promoting, valuable to the individual and to the economy and the way local personal transport should be heading.

You can follow the B4044 path campaign on Twitter (@B4044path) and Facebook (B4044path) and the website is http://www.b4044path.org/

November 2017

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Autumnal tints on Karen’s circuit of Oxford on 14th October

Ellen writes… I hope that you had a good “autumnal” month in October. We certainly had some lovely days, along with some not so lovely ones! We also had the excitement of ex-hurricane Ophelia turning the sky and the sun strange colours, and storm Brian, that was a bit of a (not very) damp squib! What will November bring, I wonder?

I promised further details of our 2018 weekend away this month. However, we still have a few details to iron out and will send a separate email in the middle of the month.

A couple of other pieces of news. Firstly, Cyclox is organising a two-day Cyclenation/Cycling UK conference entitled “Shifting Gear – a radical change for cycling” on November 10th and 11th. The event, sponsored by Freeths, is designed for council officers, transport planners, politicians and campaigners.  It features a range of keynote speakers, including design and sustainable transport expert Lynn Sloman, and cycling tsar and former cycling commissioner for London Andrew Gilligan. However, the emphasis of the event will be on discussion and debate across a wide range of workshops throughout the conference programme. These workshops, led by national and local experts, are designed to inform, but also to enable discussion and debate. Further details and tickets are available from the Cyclox website.

SATURDAY 4th NOVEMBER: SLOW AND STEADY: WEST OXFORD IN AUTUMN

Today’s ride will be gentle and flat, taking a circular route around West Oxford City. The ride starts from the ox statue opposite the entrance to the Oxford railway station, meeting at 9.45am for a 10am departure.

We will start off northbound along the canal path, weather permitting, continuing to Upper then to Lower Wolvercote, taking in the Autumnal colours, orchards and crossing the Thames into Wytham village. We will then progress through the village, skirting Wytham woods towards Botley and the coffee stop at The Fishes in North Hinksey. We will then cycle along the delightful Willow Walk and meander back to where we started. The ride distance is 8 miles depending on route variation. The total ride time including coffee stop is expected to be 2 hrs. The ride leader is Sarah Twine.

SATURDAY 11th NOVEMBER: MEDIUM RIDE: ABINGDON

Meet outside the Tourist Information Office in Broad St, Oxford from 9:45am for a prompt 10am start. We will head out of Oxford along the Botley Rd and climb Cumnor Hill before briefly riding into Cumnor itself to pick up the B-road through Wootton. We will turn right at Whitecross onto quieter lanes which take us through the peaceful villages of Cothill and Gozzards Ford, before entering Abingdon via Shippon. After refreshments at “Throwing Buns”, we will return to Oxford more directly via the Abbey Meadows and Radley and Kennington. The ride is 18 miles in length and flat, with the exception of Cumnor Hill which can be taken gently or even walked. The ride leader will be Liz Weekes.

SATURDAY 18th NOVEMBER: LONG RIDE TO BICESTER

Meet in Summertown, outside Costa Coffee on the main Banbury Rd at 9:45am for a 10am departure. We will leave Oxford via cycle tracks and minor roads to the east of the main Banbury Rd, crossing the A40 on the Cutteslowe cycle bridge and riding to Kidlington on the cycle track next to the A4260. We will then take the Bicester road before heading onto country roads and through Hampton Poyle and Bletchingdon. This does entail a climb, but we will soon get our reward as we head downhill to Weston on the Green. Here we pick up the B430 for a short while before turning towards Chesterton and our refreshment break at the Wyevale Garden Centre at The Avenue, Bicester.

Our return journey takes us back to Weston on the Green via Wendlebury and then through Islip and Woodeaton to enter Oxford on its eastern edge at Marston. The route from Summertown back to the town centre is approximately 28 miles. There are two hills, one either side of coffee (Bletchingdon hill and Islip hill). Please note that as this is quite a long ride we will need to maintain a steady pace with slightly fewer stops than usual. The ride leader is Natasha Williams.

SUNDAY 26th NOVEMBER: JOINT ISIS/OXFORD CYCLING UK RIDE TO COFFEE AT WATERPERRY GARDENS

Meet outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad St, Oxford for a prompt 9.30am departure. We will leave Oxford along the Cowley Rd before picking up the Barracks Lane cycle track. We will emerge in Temple Cowley before meeting and going underneath the Ring Rd. We then head to Horspath where we will divert through the village, emerging part way up Gidley Way. We then descend through Littleworth and Wheatley before heading to our coffee stop at Waterperry Gardens.

The return journey will take us through Worminghall and Stanton St John before a short stretch on the B4017 brings us into Marston via the village of Elsfield. As usual, the pace to coffee will be slightly faster than our long ride pace, averaging 11mph. The return route will be taken at a slightly slower pace. The route is approximate 23 miles long and will involve a couple of climbs before coffee and one afterward. All these can be taken gently or even walked. The ride leader will be Ellen Lee.

October 2017

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Relaxing on the village green at Charney Bassett during the 50-mile challenge in September

Ellen writes… There’s a steady rain of leaves now as I ride into town through Marston Meadows, so it must be autumn! Hopefully we’ll have some quiet and dry weather on our rides this month to aid our appreciation of the season of mellow fruitfulness. September felt very much like a transition month with some days feeling positively like summer and others reminding us that a new season is on the horizon.

Our colleagues at Cyclox have been having some meetings with the County Council Roadworks Team to see if road works/road maintenance around the County can be improved. The Roadworks Team has produced a survey in order to help them understand the issues cyclists face on the road. They want you to report incidents in the last 2 years (e.g. spills, punctures, collisions, near misses etc.) that you believe were caused by a poor road surface. Our understanding is the survey doesn’t cover everyday experiences of poor road surfaces. Details of the survey and how to access it are at the bottom of this newsletter.

In 2018, Isis Cyclists will be 10 years old! What a wonderful decade of cycling we’ve (almost) had. Personally, It’s been fantastic meeting so many of you out on the rides and having the chance to share my enthusiasm for cycling (and eating cake!). I hope that many of you will be able to join our celebrations at our 2018 weekend away.

All Isis riders are invited to and celebrate our tenth year at a cycling weekend in the Chilterns from Friday 13th July to Sunday 15th July 2018.

You can choose between residential accommodation or camping, both with meals included, or you can join us for the day. There’ll be short and long rides, a historic house and grounds, yoga and stretching, evening bonfire, and fine dining in the friendly and welcoming atmosphere of Braziers Park. Full details and how to book in next month’s newsletter.

SUNDAY 8th OCTOBER: SLOW AND STEADY FLATS AND HEIGHTS

Meet at 10.00am for a 10.15 departure, at the Oxford Ox statue opposite the steps entrance to Railway Station. This will be a shorter ride than normal to allow time for some hill climbing practice if the majority want this.

We will ride up the canal towards Wolvercote, then back along the river and via Binsey Lane and Osney to North Hinksey. With tuition, we will practice using gears for hills in the Westminster Way area on the other side of the ring road via an underpass. Finally, we’ll  head to North Hinksey for well-earned refreshments at The Fishes, and return to Oxford via Willow Walk. The ride is 8 miles in length and you can do as much of the hill climbing as you wish. The ride leader is Clare Farley.

Please note that many roads in N. Oxford and Marston will be closed for the half marathon. You may need to allow extra time to get to the start.

SATURDAY 14TH OCTOBER: MEDIUM RIDE: CIRCUITING OXFORD

Meet by the statue of the ox opposite the entrance to Oxford main rail station from 9.45 for a 10.00am departure. This ride takes us in a circle right round the city of Oxford using tow paths, cycle lanes and quiet roads. We will exit the station at the back and drop down to the river where we follow the lovely route along Fiddlers Island. Depending on the state of the ground, we will either follow the river up to Wolvercote, or take the canal tow path. From there we wiggle through Wolvercote and Summertown, then join the Marston Ferry cycle path before heading uphill to Brookes University’s spacious Café cCntral for refreshments. From there it’s downhill to Florence Park, then through Iffley village and back to the river to complete our circuit. The ride is 13 miles long and will be led by Karen Wolff.

SATURDAY 21ST OCTOBER: LONG RIDE TO WATERPERRY GARDENS

On this ride we will wind our way over the ring road and out towards Horton-cum-Studley via quiet roads to reach Waterperry for coffee.  Made famous by Beatrix Havergal who established her School of Horticulture for Ladies here from 1932 to 1971, it’s now home to 8 acres of beautifully landscaped ornamental gardens, gallery and gift shop, museum, and cafe serving hot and cold food and cakes There is a charge for entry to the formal gardens, but if we all agree, we could go in to see the late flowering perennials. We will take a quick route home, especially if the weather isn’t good. Meet outside Jacobs and Field cafe/deli in Headington (next to Waitrose) at 9.45am to set off at 10am. The ride is just over 20 miles long and will include a couple of hills The ride leader is Lucy Tennyson.

FRIDAY 27th OCTOBER: STOP & STARE RIDE: OXFORD’S INTERESTING TREES

Meet on Magdalen Bridge, on the left hand pavement heading into Oxford, at 1.45 pm for a 2 pm start. This slow and gentle ride will focus on interesting trees in the grounds of colleges and will be based on Sophie Huxley’s book “Oxford Trees”.  We will visit at least four different college gardens and Holywell Cemetery if the weather is nice.  There will be no entry fees for local residents, however if you have an Oxford University or Alumnus card, it will do no harm to bring it with you.

1croppedThe ride will be less than 5 miles long and will take around 2 ½ hours. We will have tea in Walton Street, or the Vaults and Gardens café, depending on where we end up. The ride leader is Jane Carlton Smith. N.B. This ride will not take place if the weather is wet, or especially cold.  Please check your email on that morning if hoping to come.

SUNDAY 29TH OCTOBER: JOINT ISIS/OXFORD CYCLING UK RIDE TO COFFEE AT WITNEY

Meet outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad St, Oxford for a prompt 9.30am departure. We will ride out to Witney via Botley, Farmoor, Eynsham and the very quiet Cogges road (Tar Lane) that runs from Stanton Harcourt to Cogges Farm. The farm is hosting a pumpkin-themed event in the afternoon, but we hope that the Cogges Kitchen café won’t be too crowded in the mid-morning. If it is, we’ll continue to the town centre. The return route, which will be longer than the outward stretch, will take us up the hill to New Yatt and North Leigh; thence to Freeland, Church Hanborough, Cassington, Worton and Yarnton. We’ll probably take the cycle track alongside the A44 back into Oxford, but if the weather is very kind during the preceding week we may be able to take the more peaceful towpath alongside the canal. As usual, we will aim to average a slightly faster 11mph before coffee, but the return route will be taken at Isis’ normal pace. The total distance is a shade under 32 miles long; there is one appreciable climb from Witney to North Leigh, and a short and sharp down-and-up near Freeland. The ride leader will be Liz Matthews.