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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


November 2017


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


September 2017

Ellen writes… I hope you all had a great Bank Holiday weekend and enjoyed the lovely late summer weather. Those of us who rode for cream tea at Combe on Sunday experienced wonderful warm sunshine and a pretty route. At Combe, we sat in the Reading Room garden, munching our cakes and scones and reminiscing about the same ride in the past two years, where the bank holiday weather was a lot more normal, and we all got soaked!


A glorious afternoon in the garden of the Combe Reading Room.

There’s lots going on again this month with an evening social ride and a Stop and Stare ride in the programme. We start off with the 50-mile challenge ride on 2nd September. I hope the sun will shine on us this year, as we don’t want a repeat of last year, where we ended up cowering in a bus shelter while the wind and rain howled around us! At the moment, it looks like ideal conditions. If you are coming, please remember to bring lots of snacks and drinks, as we’ll have several short picnic stops along the way to keep energy levels (and spirits!) up.

Various other cycling events that are happening over the early autumn. Broken Spoke have got funding from the CycleBoom project to run cycle rides specifically for the over 55s. They will be running rides based in different communities to try and bring cycling to a wider audience. So if you would like to join in, or know a 55+ year old who might like to give cycling a go, visit Broken Spoke’s ‘Pedalling on’ webpage.

If racing is your thing, the Tour of Britain will be passing through the county (Charlbury) on Saturday 9th September. The Oxford City Cycling UK group is organising a ride to go and watch. They’ll be leaving Oxford at 10am: for details, visit the City group’s website.

Finally, Cyclox have announced their autumn programme of events. Their next event is a photo competition where you are not only encouraged to bring your own photos, but help and advice will be available from professional photographers. For details of all their events see the Cyclox website.

Have a great month’s cycling!


Meet in Radcliffe Square, by the Vaults and Garden Café, from 9:15 for a prompt 9:30 departure. We will leave Oxford, heading north on quiet roads and making our way to the roundabout at the top of the Woodstock Rd. Riders from North Oxford or Kidlington can meet us here at around 9.50am. Please let Ellen know if you want to meet here, so that we can wait for you if necessary. We will then head west along the A40 cycle track to Eynsham, before taking quiet roads to Standlake, where we will have coffee at the village market. We then continue via Old Shifford and Cote, to cross the R. Thames at Tadpole Bridge. We have a climb up to Buckland before descending into the Vale of White Horse to our lunch stop at a café in Faringdon.

Our return route takes us through Fernham, Hatford and into Stanford-in-the-Vale, before returning to Oxford via Charney Bassett, Fyfield, Appleton and Cumnor. The route back into the centre of Oxford is around 50.5 miles long and is pretty flat, with three noticeable climbs, two before, and one after lunch. Please bring plenty to eat and drink as we will have several short picnic stops along the way. We will aim to return to Oxford around 6pm. This ride is designed to be enjoyed (rather than suffered!) and so we will be riding at a moderate and steady pace and stopping regularly to refuel. If time and weather permits, there will be a chance to walk up to the Faringdon Folly, from which great views of the surrounding countryside (including White Horse Hill) can be had. The ride leader will be Ellen Lee.


Meet in front of the Sheldonian Theatre on Broad Street, Oxford from 5.45pm for a 6pm departure on a gentle 8 mile ride. We will head down the river towpath and return from Iffley via East Oxford. Please don’t forget to bring your bike lights for the return journey. This is a mixed social ride, so male partners and friends are welcome to join us. The ride leader will be Lucy Tennyson.


We will meet outside the Sheldonian, opposite Blackwells, at 1.45pm, ready for a prompt start at 2pm, heading for Jericho. We’ll visit up to 8 sites, covering centuries of architecture, and ecclesiastical, educational and domestic worlds, finishing with tea at the last site in Headington. The ride will take about 3 ½ hours and is just over 9 miles. The ride leader is Jane Carlton Smith.


Meet at 10.45am for an 11am departure by the tourist information office in Broad Street. From the town centre we will follow cycle route number 5 to Kennington then on to Sugworth Lane towards Sunningwell. There we will pick up Pen Lane, an off-road path that leads to Abingdon where we are going to have our Lunch/ refreshment stop at Throwing Buns.

We will return along Sustrans route number 5 via Radley, along the river to Isis lock, where we will cross the lock to Iffley village and take Meadow Lane back to Oxford city centre. The entire ride will be around 18 miles long.

Please note that very thin tyres are not suitable for this ride as it includes some bumpy off road paths.

The ride leader will be Lilia Bonacorsi.


The September stop and stare ride is on Thursday 21st September, which is World Alzheimer’s Day, and will be a ‘memory themed’ ride.

The ride will meet at the entrance to Marston cycle path on the corner of South Parks Road and Saint Cross Road at 09.45hrs for a 10.00hrs departure.

The ride will take a gentle start alongside the Oxford University Parks on the Marston cycle path, through the Mesopotamia, then will carry on up to Pullens Lane in Headington, via Harberton Mead. We will cycle on to Roosevelt Drive for our first stop outside the Warneford Hospital grounds. Following afterwards to our second stop in the Churchill Hospital grounds.

We then head north towards the John Radcliffe for our third stop and on to our last two places of interest in Manzil Way and a coffee stop at the Restore Café.

The ride is 7 miles long, is an inclusive ride and will be taken at the speed of the slowest cyclist. It is anticipated that the ride will be of approximately 2 hrs duration including coffee and stops.

The ride leader is Sarah Twine.


Meet outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad St, Oxford for a prompt 9.30am departure. We will head out along the University Parks cycle track to Marston and then continue, crossing the ring road, and onto Elsfield, Stanton St John and down the hill to Menmarsh, and onto Worminghall. From there we will continue to Shabbington before picking up the cycle track along the A418 into Thame for coffee at Treacles Tearooms. Our return route will take us up the hill to Long Crendon before returning to Shabbington and Worminghall. There we will turn to Waterperry and Wheatley before returning to Oxford via Littleworth and Horspath. As usual, we will aim to average 11mph before coffee, but the return route will be taken a bit slower. The route is 32 miles long and is mostly gently undulating. However there are two steep climbs, one near the start (Elsfield Hill) and one after coffee. The ride leader will be Ellen Lee.


August 2017

Ride 300717

Partners and friends are welcome on many of our rides – and so are bicycles made for two!

Ellen writes… 
I hope you’re all having a great summer. Perhaps it hasn’t been the warmest or the sunniest ever, but hopefully you’ve been able to find a bit of decent weather to get out and about in. July was a busy month for Isis Cyclists, and this continues into August. We have our normal summer programme plus an extra mixed social ride to cream tea at Coombe’s historic Reading Room. Our “stop & stare” ride is a little different too this month, as we will be stopping and watching a musical play performed by the Mikron Theatre Company, probably the only theatre company in the country that arrive at their venues by narrowboat.

Finally, if you’re planning to attend the Elder Stubbs Open Day event on August 19th at their allotments in Easy Oxford, please do stop and say hello to some of our members who will be there promoting the group.

Whatever you’re planning this month, have a great time and I hope to see you on a ride.

Have a great month’s cycling!


Meet by the statue of the ox outside Oxford rail station from 9.45 for a 10.00 am departure. This ride follows the river to Iffley Lock, crosses the lock, then turns down Meadow Lane and on to route 5 which takes us through Hinksey and Osney to The Tumbling Bay café at West Oxford Community Centre for coffee and homemade cake or biscuits. We then continue along the Thames by way of ‘Fiddler’s Island’ to Port Meadow, then across to Jericho and back to the city centre. The ride is 9 miles in length, with only a tiny hill in Iffley village, and the terrain is a mixture of towpath, quiet roads and a short section of bumpy path so thin tyres are not ideal although the bumpy path section could be walked. The leader is Karen Wolff.


Our stop and stare ride is a bit different this month as it’s an evening social ride (male friends and partners welcome) to watch the Mikron travelling theatre group perform a musical play at the Plough PH in Wolvercote. They will be performing “In at the Deep End” about the history of the RNLI, which promises us some “marvellous maritime music.” Meet outside the Sheldonian Theatre at 6pm for the ride to Wolvercote via the canal and Port Meadow. Entry is free, but donations are requested at the end. Food will be available at the pub. Please remember to bring bike lights as the return to central Oxford will be in the dark. The return trip will be 10 miles long and the leader is Lucy Tennyson..


Meet outside the Sheldonian Theatre at 1.45 for a 2pm start. We’ll leave Oxford parallel with the Cowley Road, then along Barracks Lane, continuing across the ring road to Horspath. We will take a different route from usual in Horspath, which will involve some off-road riding on the outskirts of Shotover and possibly a short section of walking (a bit like Chilswell Lane), so road bikes with narrow tyres are not recommended.  We’ll arrive back near the top of Gidley Way and proceed to the windmill, for tea and cake.  Our return route is via Garsington and through the back streets of Temple Cowley to Barracks Lane. There are some hills in Horspath and Garsington, but these can be taken slowly and/or walked.  The total length is about 14.5 miles. The leader is Jane Carlton Smith.


Meet either at 5.15pm for a prompt 5.30pm start in Radcliffe Square (outside the entrance to Vaults Café) or at 5.30pm for a prompt 5.45pm departure from the parade of shops in Cherwell Drive, Marston (opposite the BP garage).  We will head out towards Hampton Poyle via Islip and stop for food and refreshments at The Bell and then take a direct route back to Oxford.  This is a social ride and so male friends and partners are welcome.  The total ride length will be around 20 miles and the ride leader will be Natasha Williams. Please let Natasha know if you’re planning to join the ride in Marston and don’t forget to bring lights for the ride home.


Here’s your last chance to get in some training before the 50 mile challenge ride at the start of September (see below). Meet from 9.45am for a prompt 10am departure from outside the Sheldonian Theatre in Broad St, Oxford. We will leave Oxford via Marston and Headington and ride to Little Milton Village Shop for coffee via Stanton St John, Forest Hill and Wheatley. We will then continue through Chalgrove and into the open countryside of South Oxfordshire to lunch at the Riverside Café, Benson. Our return route will take us through Wallingford and Brightwell cum Sotwell before climbing over Wittenham Clumps to Little Wittenham and Long Wittenham. We cross the river Thames at Clifton Hampden and return to Oxford via Marsh and Toot Baldon and the Watlington Rd. The route is all on road, 40 miles long and is rolling with a few more noticeable climbs which can be taken at your own pace. The ride leader is Liz Weekes.


IMG_1069This is an additional ride to our normal monthly programme, ensuring that we keep up our annual tradition of cream tea at Combe’s historic Reading Room. Meet at 1:15pm for a 1:30pm departure outside Costa Coffee on the main Banbury Road in Summertown. We will head north on quiet roads and tracks to Kidlington from where we will pick up a short section of off-road track, Begbroke Lane. This brings us out on the A44 cycle track for about 3 miles before we reach Woodstock. There we pick up Sustrans route 5 for a mile or so before turning north and west towards Combe. After our cream tea we will head back to Oxford via the Hanboroughs. The approach to Oxford will be along the A40 cycle track, although if you are heading south and west of Oxford, you may prefer to return through Eynsham. The ride is approximately 25 miles long and moderately hilly, but all hills can be taken at your own paced or walked if necessary. The Begbroke Lane off-road section is suitable for all bikes. The off-road section north of Woodstock is probably not suitable for bikes with very narrow tyres or if it has rained heavily, but an on-road alternative is available.

This is a mixed social ride, so male partners and friends are very welcome to join us. The ride leader is Liz Matthews.


Meet from 9:15 for a prompt 9:30 departure. We will leave Oxford, heading north on quiet roads making our way to the roundabout at the top of the Woodstock Rd. Riders from North Oxford or Kidlington can meet us here at around 9.50am. Please let Ellen know if you want to meet here so we can wait for you if necessary. We will then head west along the A40 cycle track to Eynsham before taking quiet roads to Standlake where will have coffee at the village market. We then continue via Old Shifford and Cote to cross the R. Thames at Tadpole Bridge. We then have a climb up to Buckland before descending into the Vale of White Horse to our lunch stop at a café in Faringdon. Our return route takes us through Fernham, Hatford and into Stanford-in-the-vale before returning to Oxford via Charney Bassett, Fyfield, Appleton and Cumnor.

The total length of the route (back into the centre of Oxford) is around 50.5 miles long and is pretty flat with three noticeable climbs, two before and one after lunch. Please bring plenty to eat and drink as we will have several short picnic stops along the way. We will aim to return to Oxford around 6pm. This ride is designed to be enjoyed (rather than suffered!), and so we will be riding at a moderate and steady pace and stopping regularly to refuel. If time and weather permits, there will be a chance to walk up to the Faringdon Folly from which great views of the surrounding countryside (including White Horse Hill) can be had. The ride leader will be Ellen Lee.

July 2017

Ellen writes… What a busy cycling month June was! Firstly, we had our annual weekend away based in Lechlade, just over the border in Gloucestershire (although technically speaking those of us that camped were actually in Wiltshire!). I think the final number of women taking part was 18. Thirteen of us rode out to Lechlade in glorious sunshine on the Friday afternoon, getting there in time to have a picnic by the river Thames. Saturday turned out to be better than expected, dry with sunny spells. Ten riders visited Kelmscott Manor on a ride led by Jane Carlton-Smith, and I lead eight riders on a 40-mile tour of the Cotswold Water Park taking in Cricklade, Fairford and a number of the lovely villages in the park. After a bit of overnight rain, a slightly different 13 riders returned on the Sunday, this time enjoying the quiet roads through Cote, Old Shifford and into Standlake and entering Oxford down Cumnor Hill. It was such a fantastic weekend and will be hard to beat next year, but we’ll give it a good go!

Weekend away 2017

Happy riders in Lechlade

Then there was National Bike Week, during which there were three Isis Cyclists rides and lots more besides. I’m feeling pleased with myself as I finally managed to get up early enough to join the Sustrans group’s solstice ride. It was a glorious morning and what a thrill to be at the top of Boars Hill looking down on the “dreaming spires” at a little before 7am. I can thoroughly recommend it.

Anyway, July is back to our normal pattern of rides, although for various reasons our regular “short and steady” ride and our regular long ride are both on a Sunday, so don’t get caught out!

Have a great month’s cycling!


Where better to spend a summer Sunday afternoon than lazing about on the river?  We’ll be a little more energetic than most, however, and cycle along the river, with the option of taking the plunge and having a wild swim.  Our route will take us out of the busy city via canal and river towpaths to Port Meadow and we’ll take it very slowly through any narrow or bumpy sections – getting off and pushing is fine.

We’ll stop at one of the little beaches along the river where you can have a quick dip in the river, paddle or just sit and watch and picnic. We’ll continue up the river to Wolvercote and then return to the city centre via Summertown (where we can stop for a tea/cake break if we wish).

The ride is about 10 miles long and we will aim to be back by 5.30pm. Please consider sun protection and bring water and a flask/cold drink/snack for when we stop by the river.

Meet at 2.15pm for a 2.30pm departure from outside the Sheldonian Theatre, opposite Blackwell’s bookshop on Broad St. The ride leader is Lucy Tennyson.


The local community recently came to the rescue of the ailing Abingdon Arms in Beckley and has now reopened it on Fridays and Saturdays.  We’ll be able to enjoy their fabulous views of Otmoor again as we have a table booked in the pub garden, with a menu of bar snacks and pub favourites such as fish and chips to choose from.

This will be a medium-paced and relaxed evening ride of around 15 miles which will be taken at the pace of the slowest rider. Meet at 6.15pm for a 6.30pm departure from outside the Sheldonian Theatre, opposite Blackwell’s in Broad St. We’ll head out of the city via Summertown and over the fields to Islip, returning via Elsfield and Marston. Moonrise is around 7.45pm and it’ll nearly be a full one, so fingers crossed we’ll be led by the light of the moon on our way home. Remember that this is a social ride, so male friends and partners are welcome too. We’ll not rely on moonlight however, so bring your lights and reflective gear. The ride leader is Lucy Tennyson.


Meet outside the Sheldonian Theatre at 9.45 for 10am start. We’ll leave Oxford along the Cowley Road and Barracks Lane, continuing across the ring road to Horspath. Then it’s up Gidley Way – the only substantial hill on the whole route – to Littleworth and Wheatley. We cross the A40 and continue through Forest Hill to Rectory Farm for coffee and ‘foraging’. The return route will take us through Beckley and Elsfield, and we re-enter Oxford through Marston and the University Parks. The total length is a shade under 17 miles. The leader is Liz Matthews. You can view the route – including the gradient! – at


Meet in Broad Street in front of the Tourist Information Office at 1pm for a 1.15pm start. The ride will leave Oxford using Sustrans routes 5/51. It will continue through Hampton Poyle and Bletchingdon and onto Kirtlington, then onto the track down to Jane’s Enchanted Tea Garden. This is near Pigeon Lock where a large table has been booked for 3 pm for Cream teas and cakes.

The return journey is via Tackley and Woodstock, returning to Oxford down the A44 cycle track. It includes several sections of off-road tracks. Most have a good surface (in the dry) but there is one section, just before Tackley Station, that is probably not suitable for bikes with very narrow road tyres.

The route (which is approx. 26 miles long) does include a couple of hills in either direction which can be taken at your own pace or walked. If you would like to shorten the ride to the outward journey only, there are trains from Tackley back to Oxford at 16:18 and 18:19. Journey time is 12 minutes and the single fare is £3.70:

The ride leader is Lilia Bonacorsi. Please send an email to to book your place for tea.


This ride will take in places that the tourists never visit (well, mostly).  They are all outside and I would hope that we get some wonderful weather as we proceed.  Starting from the Sheldonian (opposite Blackwells), we’ll set off at 2pm around the corner into the Turl.  From our first stop, we’ll ride on to a less visited college with beautiful grounds, and then up through Jericho to Summertown.  We’ll finish where we started, via a famous and threatened place.

As the ride is called ‘Hidden Gems’, this is all the information you’ll get, but if you want to check with the leader, Jane Carlton Smith, please feel free to email her:  The ride is less than 6 miles and should take about three hours with stops and tea.  Depending on how long we stop at each venue, we can take tea and cake in Summertown or back at the Vaults & Gardens Café in Radcliffe Square.


Meet outside the Oxford Campus Stores in Broad Street at 9.15 for a 9.30am departure. We leave Oxford via Marston, climb through Elsfield, and then turn north-west onto the B4027 for the undulating run to Islip. In Islip we will take the road towards Kidlington, cross the A34, take the cycle track across the fields and skirt the top of Kidlington to reach Annie’s Tea Room on the canal after roughly 12 miles. From Annie’s we ride up the towpath to Shipton-on-Cherwell and continue to Woodstock. We skirt the eastern and southern boundaries of Blenheim Park, and pass through Bladon on the busy-ish A4095. Not for long, however: we soon turn south-east onto a country road towards Cassington, but before we reach the village we take the road to Yarnton via Worton. Weather permitting, we return along the Oxford Canal (off-road, but OK unless your bike has very thin tyres)  to our dispersal point at Wolvercote.

The total distance is just under 27 miles, and you can see the route at The ride to coffee will be taken at the slightly brisker pace of 11mph (average), but the longer part of the ride after coffee will be at Isis Cyclists’ more leisurely pace of 10mph. The leader is Liz Matthews.


June 2017

Velovixen ride 210517

Isis Cyclists riders added an extra ride to May’s programme, visiting the open day at the Wheatley headquarters of Velovixen, the online retailer of bike wear for women. Needless to say, a little retail therapy was involved!

Ellen writes… A big thanks to our assistant editor, Jane Carlton-Smith, for taking the reins last month when I was away cycling in the New Forest. The two big events in June are the Isis Cyclists Weekend Away (9th–11th June) and National Bike Week (10th–18th June).

As you will see below, the weekend away has proved very popular with 21 riders booked to join us for all or part of the time. If you haven’t booked to come, you are very welcome to drive over on the Saturday morning to join in one of the two rides on offer and possibly also join us for an evening meal at The Trout, Tadpole Bridge.

This year Oxford Bike Week has a theme of Science and the Environment which should make for some interesting and perhaps even thought-provoking rides along with old favourites, such as the solstice ride. Find out more about Oxford Bike Week.

Finally, I’d like to flag up another date for your diary, the Isis Cyclists’ 50-mile challenge ride which will take place on Saturday 2nd September. This year we will be heading in a south-westerly direction for a mostly flat ride to Faringdon. Hopefully we will be able to enjoy some nice late summer weather (unlike last year!). As usual, our regular monthly long ride will be getting longer as the summer progresses in order to get us ready for the challenge. This month’s long ride approaches 30 miles for a trip to Weston on the Green.

Whatever you choose to do, have a great month’s cycling!


This is a slow and steady Saturday morning ride meeting at 10.15am for a 10.30am departure from outside The Sheldonian Theatre, opposite Blackwell’s bookshop on Broad St, Oxford.

The ride will take the Sustrans route onto the Thames tow path passing through Osney Lock. (Please note no cycling is allowed at the lock, so we will need to push for a short distance). The ride will then meander through Osney Island, to Oatlands recreation ground and cross the Botley road to Binsey Lane and along to St Margarets Church. We will take time to enjoy this 12th-century historic parish church, its grounds with the infamous Treacle Well which is a Grade 2 Listed well and referred to in Lewis Carroll’s story Alice in Wonderland. We will then cycle to The Perch for coffee and return to the city centre via Port Meadow.

The ride is less than 10 miles long and will last approximately 2 hrs. Please consider sun protection and fill your water bottles! The ride leader is Sarah Twine.


We’re delighted to say that 21 Isis members have confirmed that they will attend the away weekend at some point.  But it’s really important that you let us know if you are not riding out on Friday afternoon, so that we don’t have to hang around in Summertown, waiting for you.  Some people have mentioned this, but we need email confirmation, to be absolutely sure. Please make sure that you let us know:

If you are camping, please bring an extra £20 for the deposit on the key for the entrance and toilet block.

We also need to know which ride you plan to join on Saturday. Please let us know ASAP by sending an email to the address above if you haven’t already done so.

We plan to have a picnic on Friday night, most probably in the riverside park.  If it’s damp or wet, we hope to be able to use the booked accommodation at the Riverside Inn.  It will be a bit of a squeeze, but we think we can manage.  Perhaps those with picnic rugs could include them in the luggage to be dropped off with Lucy T. (see last month’s newsletter).  If you have mislaid the information about dropping off your luggage, please email the address above and we will resend it to you.  And if you have any questions, please email the address above.

Now all we need to do is pray for good weather!


Meet from 2.45pm for a prompt 3pm start outside the Tourist Information Centre in Broad St, Oxford. On this gentle ride we will visit 3 sites in Oxford where meadows of wild flowers have been planted and nurtured in order to provide nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators such as flies and beetles. We will leave the city centre along the river to explore Aston’s Eyot and The Kidneys, two adjacent nature sites alongside the River Thames. The Kidneys is managed by the City Council and has a wild flower meadow planted and managed by the Friends of Aston’s Eyot. We will then ride up Morrell Avenue (this climb will be taken gently and can be walked if preferred) to visit the Maggies Cancer Centre at the Churchill Hospital where a small area of unpromising land next to the centre has been converted into a haven for bees and people. Our final site is down the hill in Marston, the Milham Ford Nature Park which has a flower meadow and flower lined ponds to enjoy and also boasts a bee wall. We will then return to the city centre via the University Parks Cycle Track for refreshments at The Vaults & Garden Café. The ride will probably last around 2.5 hours and is 8 miles long. The ride leader is Ellen Lee.


Meet from 6pm outside the Tourist Information Centre on Broad Street, Oxford for a prompt 6.15pm departure. We will follow National Cycle Route 5 to Kennington and then turn to Sunningwell where we will stop for drinks and/or a meal at the Flowing Well  pub (gluten-free option available). Check the menu.

On the way back we will take the river cycle path all the way back into town. Please remember to bring bicycle lights for the return trip. This is a social ride, so male partners and friends are welcome to join us. The route is around 17 miles long and is fairly flat. The ride leader is Lilia Bonacorsi.


Meet outside the Sheldonian Theatre at 9.45am for a 10am start. We’ll follow the cycle route through North Oxford to cross the A40 by the bridge at Cutteslowe. We’ll continue to Water Eaton and Hampton Poyle, and then make a diversion to visit the church and ruins at Hampton Gay. Retracing our steps to the road, we’ll pass through Bletchingdon and on to coffee at Weston-on-the- Green, either at the Manor Hotel or a mile or so further on at the Old Flight House antiques centre. The homeward run will take us through Islip and Woodeaton, and we’ll re-enter Oxford through Marston. The total distance is 26 miles. The coffee stop will be at 15 miles, so you might like to bring something to nibble when we pause at Hampton Gay. The ride will be led by Liz Matthews.

Please let me know by the evening of Friday 16th if you’d like to join the ride at the Cutteslowe bridge.


Meet at 9.15am for a prompt 9.30am departure from outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad Street, Oxford. We will leave Oxford via Jericho and Wolvercote and (assuming weather conditions are favourable) along the canal towpath to pick up the A44 cycle track to Woodstock. After coffee, at The Blenheim Buttery Inn, we will head out of Woodstock to the north, along Sustrans route 51 before turning east to cross the Banbury Rd and descend to Enslow. We then have a steady climb up to Bletchingdon before descending to Kidlington. We will cross the meadows on the cycle track and pick up the track to Water Eaton to return to Oxford. The ride to coffee will be taken at the slightly brisker pace of 11mph (average), but the longer part of the ride after coffee will be at a more leisurely pace. The climb up to Bletchingdon is the only one and the total mileage will be 25 miles. There will be two section of off-road riding, the canal towpath and the Sustrans route north from Woodstock. Both will be avoided if the weather is bad but should be OK for all bikes, except road bikes with very narrow tyres. The ride leader is Ellen Lee.