August 2021

Saturday August 7th 2021 – Short & Steady Rides: Oxford’s Green Spaces

Newcomers to Isis are particularly welcome to join the short ride which we will take at a nice gentle pace to allow everyone to enjoy some of the loveliest green spaces around the city.

Meet 10.45am to set off at 11am outside the Vaults cafe in Radcliffe Square. NB the later than usual start time.

A 10.8 mile circular cycle ride through Cutteslowe Park, Wytham and North Hinksey with plenty of time to stop when we need to, probably at the Fishes pub where we can sit outside. We’ll discover a new stretch of cycle path through Osney Mead before returning to Radcliffe Square along the Thames towpath.

Ride leaders Lucy Tennyson and Karen Wolff. 

Link to Route:

Tuesday 10th August: Midweek Long Ride to Charney Bassett

This 36.6-mile route leaves Radcliffe Square at 10am via Folly Bridge (to avoid the roadworks on the Botley Road), Willow Walk and Raleigh Park Road (the only substantial hill). We pass through Cumnor, Appleton and Fyfield, where we cross the A420; thence through Lyford, Denchworth, Goosey and along a short stretch of the A417 before (finally!) turning towards Charney Bassett. The return route is via Southmoor (foot/cycle/horse bridge over the A420), and then back along the quiet road through Appleton and Cumnor, down to Botley and the city centre.

The lunch stop is at Charney Bassett (23 miles). You can choose between a pub lunch at The Chequers and a picnic on the village green (with an optional drink at the pub). If you would like to eat at the pub, please email* me by Sunday 8th August as I will need to book a table. Unfortunately, there is no suitable watering hole in the morning, so please pack an additional snack and drink for a BYO al fresco coffee stop. Leader: Liz Matthews.

* If you don’t know my email address, please get in touch via the Contact Us page on this website.

Link to Route:

Saturday 14th August: Medium Ride: A (hopefully) sunny ride to Sunnyhill

Meet at 9.45am for a 10am start in Radcliffe Square (at the back of the University Church). This route leaves Oxford City via the University Parks cycle track and Marston. It then continues through East Oxford and Cowley, before crossing the Ring Road using an underpass at the end of Long Lane. The route now takes riders through Minchery Farm and past the Kassam Stadium before riding beside Fry’s Hill Park and through Gillian’s Park in Greater Leys. Soon the route emerges on Grenoble Road and then takes the B480 for a mile or so before turning for the pretty village of Garsington. This involves a long but steady climb and you will be rewarded with wide open views over S. Oxfordshire towards the Chiltern Hills. A left turn then takes you rapidly downhill and to Sunnyhill Vineyard where we will stop for refreshments. We return via Horspath and thence to the eastern ring road. The route finishes at the bottom of Barracks Lane on Bartlemas Close and is just over 14 miles long.

The ride leader will be Jane Carlton Smith.

Link to Route: (from South Parks Road only)

Saturday 21st August: Long Ride – Great & Little Villages South-East of Oxford

Please arrive in time for a prompt 10am start at the Up-in-Arms pub in Marston. We leave Oxford by the cycle tracks through Northway and the new estate at Barton, and then proceed to Wheatley via the cycle track alongside the A40 (noisy and unattractive, but it gets us to the open countryside faster). From Wheatley we take a clockwise route through the Miltons and the Haseleys: Greats first, then the Littles, before returning to Wheatley via Cudddesdon. The final leg back to Oxford is (hopefully) quieter and (decidedly) more attractive through Forest Hill, Stanton St John, Beckley, Elsfield and Marston. The total distance is about 29 miles and the leader is Liz Matthews.

The intended coffee stop is Little Milton Post Office (15 miles). It closes at 12:30, so if we are delayed we will visit Mill View Garden Centre on the outskirts of Wheatley instead. We should arrive back in Oxford around 2pm.

Link to Route:

July 2021

Oops… A roadside puncture repair

We are finally returning to something resembling our pre-pandemic programme of rides. We will be offering a basic programme of three rides per month as follows:

  • 1st Saturday: Short and Steady Ride (~10 miles at the pace of the slowest rider)
  • 2nd Saturday: Medium Ride (15 to 20 miles at a steady pace)
  • 3rd Saturday: Long Ride (20 – 30 miles at a steady pace)

In addition we will be offering other rides as and when we have ride leaders available. This month there will be an evening ride and a long midweek ride. The long midweek rides may be offered on any day midweek, which we hope will mean that part-time workers can also take part from time to time.

Saturday 3rd July: Two Short & Steady Rides:

Ride #1 – Weaving around West Oxford: This ride is flat and just under 12 miles long. Starting in Radcliffe Square at 10am, we will make our way along the towpath and up to North Hinksey, returning to the towpath near the station and riding up the river again to St Margaret’s Church, Binsey. After that, we will have refreshments at Medley Manor Farm café before making our way back along the towpath and into town. We should be back by 1pm. The leader is Jane Carlton Smith.

Link to route:

Ride #2 – Oxford circular route: Meet from 9.45 in Radcliffe Square for a 9-mile circular ride. We will head out through Jericho to pick up the newly resurfaced canal towpath to Wolvercote before riding through Cutteslowe, Sunnymead and into North Oxford. We will stop for refreshments from the Horsebox coffee kiosk on the lawn outside the University Museum of Natural History, where we can relax and watch the swifts screaming and flying in and out of their nests in the museum tower. The route is flat and mainly uses minor roads, tracks and towpaths. The leader is Sarah Twine.

The route is based on the following, ridden in reverse:

Saturday 10th July: Medium Ride – Coasting down from Cumnor

Meet from 9.45 in Radcliffe Square, Oxford for a 10.00 departure on a ride exploring villages and lanes between Oxford and Abingdon. It is basically the route shown in the link below (minus extra loop), only we’ll be riding it backwards and the routes in and out of Oxford are slightly different and use the river towpath rather than the road.

We start by following the river and Willow Walk to North Hinksey from where we begin the ascent of Cumnor Hill. This is the only substantial hill on the route. From Cumnor it’s pretty much all downhill through Besselsleigh, Cothill, Sunningwell, Kennington and returning to Oxford along Sustrans Route #5 and the river towpath. We will take a refreshment break at Sunningwell where there is a produce sale (including home-made cakes!!!!) in the churchyard. I’m not sure if we will be able to get drinks, but we can always stop at the Flowing Well PH afterwards if we need liquid refreshments. The ride leader will be Ellen Lee.

Link to route:

Saturday 17th July: Long Ride: A Circular Ride Round Otmoor

Meet in Radcliffe Square for a 10:00 departure for this long circuit ride around Otmoor. We will head up to Elsfield and Beckley then follow the road up through Horton Cum Studley before joining the lanes round Otmoor to Islip, where we return to our starting place via Woodeaton. This is a hilly ride, with some good views. Please bring a flask and a snack as we shall stop at St Mary’s Churchyard for a break, where there is a bench and some nice grass! The ride is just under 24 miles. The ride leader is Karen Wolff and the sweeper is Ellen Lee.

Link to route:

Tuesday 20th July: Evening Ride to the Abingdon Arms, Beckley

Meet outside Costa Coffee in Summertown for a 6pm departure for food & drink at the Abingdon Arms in Beckley. We will leave Oxford via the track at the back of Barton Park and then climb up Bayswater Rd towards Beckley. Our return route will be via Elsfield.

Wednesday 21st July: Midweek Long Ride – Up and Down the Cherwell Valley

Meet from 9.45 in Radcliffe Square for a 10am departure on this 33-mile ride up the west side of the Cherwell Valley to North Aston, return down the eastern side. The route is given in the link below or can be found (along with detailed description) on the Selection of Isis Routes section of the Isis Cyclists website. The ride leader will be Jane Carlton Smith. Please let her know if you intend to come (either via her personal email address or via the Contact Us page on the Isis Cyclists website). She is hoping to be able to book a table at the Yurt at North Aston for lunch.

Link to route:

June 2021

Among the bluebells

Now that the groups are no longer restricted to six, we are offering a single ride on the first and third Saturdays. However, we will still be dividing into smaller groups as and when practicable. We will be able to meet up for refreshments, and you can swap groups for the return trip.

Things to know about this month’s rides:

Biscuit stop on the Phoenix Trail
  • Short & Steady ride will be on the first Saturday of the month.
  • Medium ride will be on the 3rd Saturday of the month
  • Rides may now start from places other than Radcliffe Square.
  • We will need to collect your phone number in addition to an emergency contact. We will keep this information for 21 days after the ride, in case it is needed by track and trace service.
  • If you have a positive test for Covid within 14 days of attending a ride, you can give the NHS tracing service our general email address, and we will provide them with the necessary contact details for ride participants.
  • We have written a Covid-19 risk assessment for our rides.

Saturday 5th June: Short & Steady Ride – “Vaccination Circular” to Sandford and the Kassam Stadium

This short town and country ride from Radcliffe Square is a refreshing 10-mile circuit taking a lovely long towpath section southbound on the NCR 5, plus some road and cycle paths through Low Traffic Neighbourhood areas of East Oxford.

The route was planned when cycling to include the Covid-19 vaccination at Kassam stadium, which is half-way along the route.

Start: Radcliffe Square, Oxford. Meet from 9:45 for a 10:00 departure.

Leader: Sarah Twine

Link to route

Saturday 19th June: Medium Ride to Annie’s Tearoom at Thrupp

We will ride out to Thrupp via Marston, Woodeaton (moderate hill), Islip and the top end of Kidlington. The return route goes through residential streets to Gosford and the track through Water Eaton to the Banbury Road, finishing on the far side of the bridge over the ring road at Cutteslowe. The total distance is 17 miles, and the leader is Liz Matthews.

Start: The Up in Arms PH, Marston Rd (corner of Ferry Rd), Oxford. Meet from 9:45 for a 10:00 departure.

Leader: Liz Matthews

Link to route Note that the ride starts on the Marston Road, not in the city centre as shown on the map.

May 2021

A fine day in April

Once again, we are running a reduced programme of rides on two weekends. For guidance on what to expect on the rides, and how to prepare for them, please visit Group Rides Under the Rule of Six.

For each ride, please meet from 9.45am for a prompt 10am departure in Radcliffe Square, Oxford (at the back of the University Church). Note: each ride comprises 6 cyclists maximum. However, if enough people from the ride leaders’ group turn up it may be possible to add a second group on some routes. The two groups will travel separately in order to comply with the regulations.

Update: For reasons of bad weather, the rides originally scheduled for 8th May have been postponed to 15th.

Saturday 15th May: Short Rides

Ellen Lee will lead a ride of 9.3 miles, ‘A short trip to Narnia (and back).’ There will be a short stop at the C.S. Lewis Reserve and, as bikes need to be left outside, you will need to bring a bike lock. We plan to stop for refreshments at The Up in Arms refreshment hatch (Marston Rd) on our return to Oxford.


TBC: Leonor Barroca will lead a 12-mile ride entitled A bit of countryside from north Oxford.’ Note that this route is shown starting in Summertown, but we will be starting from Radcliffe Square.


Saturday 22nd May: Medium Rides

Jane Carlton Smith will lead a ride to Worton Kitchen Garden via Kidlington. A table for 6 has been booked, as it is likely to be busy. The length of the route is 16 miles and is flat. It minimises use of the A40 and avoids a section of canal towpath that is currently being upgraded. If you want to read a more detailed description, the route is adapted from ‘A multi-purpose “loopy” route’ on the ‘selected routes’ page of the website.


Sarah Twine will take a group to Abbey Meadows in Abingdon. We will be able to visit St Ethelwold’s House, where there will be an art exhibition as part of ArtWeeks. Refreshments will be taken elsewhere in Abingdon. The length of the route is around 20 miles, a little longer than normal for a medium ride, but the route is almost entirely flat.


A BikeBuddies’ picnic at Old Shifford church in April