August 2022

In action on July’s midweek ride.

Thursday 4th August: Social Evening Ride: Mikron Theatre – “Red Sky at Night”

Meet in Radcliffe Square at 17.45 for a prompt 18:00 departure. This will be a short (less than 10 mile) ride to The Plough Inn at Wolvercote in order to be there in time to order food/drinks before watching the Mikron Theatre outdoor show Red Sky at Night which starts at 7.30pm. No tickets are required. Instead, a ‘pay what you feel’ collection will be taken after the show. The ride is flat and the leader will be Lilia Bonacorsi. As this is a social ride, male friends and partners are welcome to join us.

Multi-award-winning Mikron was founded in 1972, and 2022 marks Mikron’s 50th year of bringing professional theatre to your doorstep. Mikron is the UK’s most prolific theatre company, touring to over 120 venues per year.

Bring a blanket to sit on the grass. NO picnics.

Saturday 6th August: Short & Steady Ride: Are you in the right gear… for the hills?

Meet in Radcliffe Square, Oxford from 10am for a 10:15am start. The aim of this ride is to practice 3 gentle hills on fairly quiet stretches of road. We will have time to pause before the climbs for questions and tips. We will head through Marston up to Headington (depending on numbers, to have coffee at the Black Boy pub or coffee and cake at Jacobs and Fields). We’ll go through parks and pass the SSSI, Rock Edge, then return to Radcliffe Square via Morrell Avenue’s new cycleway, Cowley and the Iffley Road. As usual, we ride at the pace of the slowest rider.

The ride is c. 10 miles long, mostly flat, with just the three practice hills. It will be led by Yvonne Macken and Liz Weekes. Below is a link to a 5 minute YouTube video that has some tips on gear changing, useful for hills. It’s not an official resource, but good for demonstration:

Link to the Short & Steady Route

Sunday 14th August: Medium Ride – Windmilling around! Wolvercote

12-08-22: The route and destination have been changed on account of an amber warning of extreme heat.

Rather than climbing the steps at Wheatley Windmill in 35 degrees, the medium ride this month will set off earlier and seek out shadier routes with no hills to climb. It will be slightly shorter at around 12 miles.

Bring lots of water and (optionally) your swimming costume.

Meet 9am in Radcliffe Square to set off 9.15 am latest. We will drop down to the river and go out to Botley via Willow Walk, and then take the minor back road to Wolvercote. The coffee stop is at Jacobs Inn, which has a shady garden. They serve breakfasts (e.g. bacon or egg bap £4.50) as well as coffee and drinks.

Swimming option: If anyone wants a dip in the Thames at the newly designated swimming point, we cycle right by just before the coffee stop.

We return via the canal into the city centre, aiming to be back by 12 pm.

The ride leader is Lucy Tennyson.

Saturday 20th August: Isis Cyclists’ 50-mile challenge ride 2022 to Evenley

Meet at 9.30am in Radcliffe Square for a prompt 9:45am start on this, our 9th annual 50-mile challenge ride. There will be a pick-up on the way out, on the ring-road cycle track where it meets Elsfield Rd in Old Marston at 10am. Please let me know if you want to meet us here.

This year we are heading north and desperately hoping for better weather than when we last headed in this direction in 2016. On this occasion, we ended up sheltering from wind and rain in a bus shelter! As usual, the ride will be steady and we will have plenty of roadside and cafe/pub breaks, so please remember to bring something to eat and drink to keep you fuelled up.

The route is slightly different from the 2016 one and is also going to be ridden the other way round (anticlockwise) so that if the SW wind does decide to blow, we will get the best of the sheltered riding on offer. So we will leave Oxford and head out through Marston to Woodeaton and Islip before riding around the northern edge of Otmoor for coffee at The Barn in Stratton Audley. This is quite a long stretch to coffee (~18 miles) so we will also pause near Merton for a “self-fuelling” stop. It is then another 9 miles of pleasant and slightly more undulating riding to Evenley in Northamptonshire where you can either opt to eat at The Red Lion PH or picnic on the large village green.

After lunch we soon return to Oxfordshire and some pleasant villages that we don’t often get to explore. There will be the possibility of riding a 1.5 mile bridle track, Buckingham Lane (1 mile hard farm road and 0.5 miles of earth track beside a wood). We will only ride this if it’s been dry. The alternative is a slightly longer on-road route through Hethe and Hardwick. I expect that we will divide into on and off-road groups here, and meet up the other side. After a very short section of B-road, we head off-road briefly at Swifts House Farm. There’s no alternative this time, but it’s all hard farm road except for 100m across a field which has always been kept well-mown when I’ve ridden it. At worst it’s a short walk. Then Bucknell, Middleton Stoney and down the B430 to our tea stop at The Old Flight Centre, Weston on the Green.

The final section is on familiar territory, through Bletchingdon and Hampton Poyle to Kidlington where (depending on how tired we feel) we can either return to Oxford on the main road cycle track or on the Water Eaton track.

If you are planning to come, please can you let me know via email or WhatsApp by Sunday pm (14th August) because I need to let coffee and tea venues know numbers. I also need to know whether you want to lunch at the pub or picnic. If there are large numbers wanting to eat at the pub, then we will need to pre-book meals, but we can do that the week before, once I know numbers.

So, finally! The route is not particularly hilly. There is Islip hill to climb in the morning and Bletchingdon in the afternoon, but apart from that it is flat or gently undulating. The route is suitable for all bikes. If you’re bringing a road bike with narrow tyres you will need to be happy with at least one section of hard track with a loose top surface in places and a 100m stretch over grass where you may need to push. The route should be 53 miles return to Radcliffe Square and the leader is Ellen Lee.

2022 Isis Cyclists 50-mile challenge route

Sunday 21st August: Oxford City Cycling UK ride to coffee at Annie’s, Thrupp

Meet in Broad St for a prompt 9.30am departure on a leisurely 21 mile ride to Annies at the Canal Yard (Thrupp). This mixed ride will be led by Stephen Lee and the pace will probably average around 10mph: that is, roughly the same as a medium or long Isis Cyclists’ ride. The route will leave Oxford via Banbury Rd and pick up the canal towpath at Wolvercote. It will meet the A44 cycle track at Yarnton and follow it to Woodstock. It will then head east, across the A4095 and along the Straight Mile to descend briefly on the A4260 to Thrupp and coffee at Annies. The return will use quiet back roads through Kidlington to pick up the Water Eaton track. This will bring us back through Cutteslowe and North Oxford.

Link to route

Tuesday 23rd August: Midweek Ride – Circumnavigating Oxford

I have ridden this route twice and thoroughly enjoyed it. It does what it says on the tin and there is an opportunity for people to join at any point if they wish, or, conversely, to leave at any point. I will start at Redbridge Park and Ride and head towards Sandford to join the route. We will have coffee at Cumnor (no cake at the Bear and Ragged Staff, I’m afraid). There is no obvious place to have lunch, so we have always taken our own food on previous occasions. There’s an opportunity for late lunch/drinks at the Abingdon Arms in Beckley, though they only serve (good) pizzas on Tuesdays. The ride is 38 miles long if you do the whole thing – in the past, we have skipped the Grenoble Road section on arrival back into Oxford and headed home from there. There aren’t many busy roads, though you have to ride from Farmoor to Eynsham. Meet at Redbridge Park and Ride (near the entrance/exit opposite Go Outdoors) at 9.45am, ready to start at 10am. If you would prefer to meet us along the way, let me know and we can communicate via the Midweek Rides WhatsApp group. If you’re not on that group, let me know. The leader is Jane Carlton Smith.

Link to the Midweek ride route

July 2022

Photo albums from June 2022:

Saturday 2nd July: Exploring in a Northerly Direction

Meet in Radcliffe Square, Oxford from 10:00 am for a 10:15am departure on a ride which is based on the route given below. We will be joining the route via quiet, leafy roads in North Oxford and will be stopping in Cutteslowe Park, at the outdoor refreshment kiosk, for coffee. With the extra couple of miles to meet the route in Summertown, we will be cycling around 11 miles and, as usual, will ride at the pace of the slowest rider with plenty of short stops. The route is mainly flat but there are a couple of short but steep bridges on the Water Eaton track (hard surface) which can be walked and some slight gradients elsewhere. The ride leader will be Sarah Twine.

Link to the Short & Steady Route

Saturday 9th July: Medium Ride: Brunch at the Blue Sky Eco Café

It was so popular, we’re going to do it again!

Meet in Radcliffe Square at 10.00 am for a 10.15 departure for this medium ride to the Long Furlong Community Centre in Abingdon for brunch. We will ride out along route 5 through Kennington and turning up Sugworth Lane to Sunningwell where we will take the bridle path to the outskirts of Abingdon and the Blue Sky Eco Café which is run by volunteers. This is the last chance to enjoy one of their brunches before they shut for the summer.

After refreshments we will head to Radley and follow the Hanson Way, a traffic-free path parallel to the railway line, back to Oxford

The ride is 15 miles long, mostly flat, but with a slight pull up Sugworth Lane as far as Sunningwell, and will be led by Lilia Bonacorsi.

Tuesday 19th July: Evening Social Riverine Ride

This ride was cancelled on account of the extreme heat and was replaced by a meet-up at the Isis Tavern at 9pm.

Meet in Radcliffe Square from 6.00pm for a 6.15pm departure for a descent towards the river and south Oxford through Kennington and a little hill up Bagley Wood Road, followed by a lovely descent through Sugworth Lane back towards the river. Refreshments are at the Isis Tavern to enjoy the river life going by. The ride will be around 10 miles in length and the leader will be Leonor Barroca.

Sunday 24th July: Long Ride – Cream Tea at Combe

Postponed from 17th July.

We can finally enjoy a welcome return for Isis Cyclists to the Combe Reading Room for cream tea, and it’s not just scones! It’s run this Sunday by the local junior sports group.

The ride starts at Radcliffe Square. Meet at 12:15pm for a prompt 12:30pm start. There’s an opportunity for a second pick-up at approximately 12:40pm, for north Oxford riders, at the junction of Aristotle Lane and Burgess Mead where we join the towpath north.

 The ride is 31 miles long and relatively flat, leaving Oxford via Jericho, on the Regional Cycleways 51 & 5, via Walton Well Road to pick up the Oxford Canal towpath to joint the A44 (RC 5) to Yarnton. It then heads east at Begbroke, north of Kidlington, to join a shortish stretch of the A4260. It then turns west along lanes before joining the lovely stretch of bridleway east of Woodstock. There is a short stretch on B4027, turning left by the Oxford School of Drama where we descend to cross, then climb away from, the River Glyme. It then crosses the A44 and continues along Stonesfield Straight before turning left for the final section to the pretty village green at Combe and tea! 

The route leaves Combe along Park Road towards East End, descending to cross the River Evenlode before a climb up to Long Hanborough. It then heads east on the shared cycle/pedestrian path, following Regional Cycleway 442/A4095 before turning right onto Cassington Road (RC 442). It turns left to Yarnton where it rejoins the A44 (RC 5), cycle path crossing the Pear Tree intersection to Wolvercote Roundabout. The route takes the Godstow Road to Wolvercote, over Godstow bridge by the Trout Inn, and left onto Port Meadow, following the recommended cycle route behind Godstow lock. After a long stretch beside the River Thames the route crosses the river at Medley footbridge, then left across the Bailey bridge continuing on the meadow. The route turns right off Walton Well Road, passing Cripley Meadow allotments to joint Roger Dudman Way. Turning left for a short stretch on the Botley Road it continues to the finish at Radcliffe Square via Hythe Bridge Street, George Street and Turl Street.

We should be back to the city centre by 5-5:30pm. Yvonne Macken will be leading the ride.

Link to the Long Route

Tuesday 26th July: Midweek Social Ride: Circumventing Woodstock Lower Heyford

20-07-22: The route has been changed on account of the uncertainty surrounding the intended refreshment stop at Worton Park.

Assemble in Radcliffe Square from 9:30 for a prompt 9:45 start. We thread our way through North Oxford along cycle route 51 to the bridge over the A40 at Cutteslowe, which will be a secondary pick-up point for riders who live in that part of town (please be there from 10:00). After crossing the A40 we continue northwards along route 51, making a detour via Water Eaton before continuing through Gosford and Hampton Poyle. At Bletchingdon we turn westward and join the B4027 to Enslow. After crossing the canal and river we turn right and ride up the west side of the Cherwell valley through Tackley and Rousham to Lower Heyford and our refreshment stop at Kizzie’s Bistro.

The return route takes us down the east side of the Cherwell valley through Kirtlington to Bletchingdon, where we rejoin the B4027, this time turning eastward to Islip. The final leg of the ride takes us along the quieter road through Woodeaton, re-entering Oxford through Marston.

If you follow the route to its end at the corner of South Parks road you’ll have ridden about 31.5 miles. There are a number of ups and downs, but no serious climbs. The leader is Liz Matthews.

Link to the Midweek Route

June 2022

Isis Cyclists and Bike Buddies photograph album: May 2022

Saturday 4th June: Short & Steady Ride: Weaving around West Oxford

A repeat of last year’s short and steady ride in July, 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 hope to have refreshments at Medley Manor Farm café, if it’s open, before making our way back along the towpath and into town. If the café is not open, we’ll stop at the West Oxford Community Centre for coffee and cake. We should be back by 1pm. The leader is Jane Carlton Smith.

Link to the Short & Steady Route

Saturday 11th June: Medium Ride: Brunch at the Blue Sky Eco Cafe

Meet in Radcliffe Square at 10.00am for a 10.15 departure for this medium ride to the Long Furlong Community Centre in Abingdon for brunch. We will ride out along the sustrans route through Radley, but then cut through Abingdon on cycle paths.

After refreshments we will head up the hill to Sunningwell, then enjoy a long downhill swoop to return to the river cycle route and back to Oxford.

The ride is 15 miles long and will be led by Karen Wolff.

Link to the Medium Route

Friday 17th – Sunday 19th June – Weekend Away

There will be no long ride this weekend because of the long-awaited weekend away!

Thursday 23rd June: Evening Social Ride to the Victoria Arm, Old Marston.

Meet in Radcliffe Square from 6.15pm for a 6.30pm departure on a relaxed potter up the canal and down the river to end up at the Victoria Arms in Old Marston for food/drinks. We will also have a chance to visit the Almond’s Farm Bank, which is a local wildlife site adjacent to the Vicky Arms, and hopefully enjoy the meadow flowers. Should the weather be wet, we will re-route to avoid the river towpath! The route is 10 miles long and entirely flat (apart from the odd bridge) and will include river and canal towpath, so very thin, road tyres are not ideal. The leader will be Ellen Lee.

Tuesday 28th June: Midweek Social Picnic Ride: Ducks are a-dabbling; up tails all…

This route is a repeat of last November’s midweek ride to Ducklington, so if you enjoyed it then you can repeat the experience – hopefully in warmer weather! Meet outside Costa Coffee in Summertown from 9.45 for a 10:00 departure. We will cycle north along the canal towpath from Wolvercote to Yarnton; thence through Cassington to Eynsham, where we will have a short refreshment stop, probably at Wholesome Earth, which serves really good cakes.

The route then takes us to Sutton and Stanton Harcourt before turning along peaceful Tar Lane and the Northern Cross Valley bridleway (which has a good surface) to Ducklington. The plan is to have a picnic by the duck pond, warding off the marauding mallards; alternatively, you could have lunch at the nearby Bell pub (or even picnic + drink at the pub). In the afternoon we enjoy a few exhilarating swoops along the Aston Mile and then have a choice: either a) turn left along the lane through Yelford to the A415 at Hardwick and then to Standlake, or b) make a detour to Aston Pottery for more cake(!) and then continue to Standlake via Cote and Shifford. From Standlake we cycle through Northmoor, Newbridge, Kingston Hill (the day’s only climb) and Appleton. There will be an optional tea stop in Cumnor (even more cake?) before zooming down Cumnor Hill back into Oxford. The route officially ends in Frideswide Square.

The leader is Liz Matthews. The total distance is 34.5 miles via Yelford or 37 miles via Aston Pottery. If more than a few people want to eat at the Bell we may have to send in our menu choices beforehand, but I’ll send a message to the Midweek Rides WhatsApp during the preceding week to gauge people’s likely preferences: picnic vs pub. Partners welcome as usual on midweek rides.

Link to route: Link to midweek route

May 2022

Saturday 7th May: Short & Steady Ride – An Outing to Flo’s

Meet in Radcliffe Square at 10:00 for a 10:15 departure for this short ride around Marston, Headington, Cowley Marsh, Florence Park and South Oxford. This ride includes one long hill, but via a pretty and quiet route up Harberton Mead. The rest of the ride is on cycle tracks, towpaths and minor roads. We will stop for coffee at Flo’s in Florence Park. The route is 8 miles altogether and the leader is Karen Wolff.

Link to Short & Steady Route

Saturday 14th May: Medium Ride – Riding to Islip

We will gather in Radcliffe Square from 10:00 for a prompt departure at 10:15; we will follow the canal until the nice new surface stops, and then meander through new and old Kidlington on our way to Islip where we will stop for refreshments. On the way back we will face the only hill of this ride (a bit tame, I know ;-)) and then all the way down to Oxford through Woodeaton. The ride is just over 18 miles long and the ride leader is Leonor.

Link to Medium Route

Thursday 19th May: Evening Social Ride to the Isis Tavern

Meet from 5.45pm in Radcliffe Square, Oxford for a prompt 6pm departure on a circular ride round Oxford City ending up at The Isis Tavern for drinks/eats. The route will be fairly flat and will be about 10 miles in length. As it’s a social ride, male partners and friends are welcome. The ride leader will be Sarah Twine.

Saturday 21st May: Long Ride – Brightwell Baldwin

Please join me (Lesley Durbin) on a ride to one of my favourite country pubs. Meet in Radcliffe Square at 9.45am for a 10am start. We will leave Oxford via the Barton Park track and wiggle through Forest Hill, Wheatley, Great Milton and the Haseleys before finding the lovely path from Chalgrove to Brightwell Baldwin, once a part of the Ewelme Hundred. We will stop for around an hour at the Lord Nelson pub for Coffee/cake and/or lunch. Those wishing to picnic can use the beautiful St Bartholomew’s churchyard opposite.

We will return to Oxford using the Chalgrove path again, then onto Little Milton and up to Cuddesdon before swooping down into Horspath to finish the ride at BMW on the ring road. The ride is 32.5 miles in length and there might be a hill or two along the way …….

Link to Long Ride Route

Tuesday 24th May: Midweek Social Picnic Ride north to Steeple Barton

16-05-22: The route has been amended as the lunch stop has moved from Sandford St Martin to Steeple Barton. The overall distance is just under a mile longer. The description and link below show the new route.

This ride explores the villages north of Woodstock to Steeple Barton, a village abandoned during the Black Death. The route will involve a couple of stretches on cycle tracks alongside busy A roads, but I hope that the countryside beyond will more than compensate! This is the provisional route; it may change before the day, and even on the day, depending on people’s preferences (and the weather). However, the start point and time are fixed.

Meet at 9:15 outside Costa Coffee in Summertown for a prompt 9:30 departure up the canal to Yarnton. There then follows a four-mile section alongside the A44 before we turn off into the countryside just beyond Woodstock. We will pause for refreshments in the village of Wootton, where you can buy coffee, tea, biscuits etc. in the shop to consume in the nearby churchyard. We continue along country lanes to Steeple Barton, where we will picnic at the church.

The return route starts by passing through Westcott Barton, Kiddington and Over Kiddington. After crossing the A44 we ride through Ditchley Park, Stonesfield, Combe, Long Hanborough and Church Hanborough eventually reaching the A40 near Eynsham. You can drop into one of the cafés in Eynsham if you’re feeling in need of a pick-me-up before tackling the cycle track along the A40 back to Oxford.

The ride is moderately hilly (but with no long climbs), and the total distance back to the city centre is 38.3 miles. Because eateries are few and far between in the north of the county you’ll need to bring a picnic. The leader is Liz Matthews; partners are very welcome.

Link to Midweek Route