November 2020

Ellen writes…

Autumn berries near Cothill

I can’t quite believe it, but this is the 100th newsletter that I’ve written since I took over doing it in 2012! I was very much hoping that it would be an up-beat edition, with plenty of interesting rides on offer. However, the announcement of the new national lockdown well and truly scuppered that hope!

So, we are back where we were, unable to offer any rides until the lockdown that starts on November 5th is lifted. However, rest assured that we are ready to start as soon as we possibly can. In the meantime, it is still be possible to ride either with members of your own household (or bubble) or with a single other person.

Bike Buddies, our WhatsApp group, can still be used to arrange single riding partners in addition to sharing your adventures, asking for riding-related help/information and keeping in touch. If you are not a member and would like to join, send an email via the Contact Us page and I’ll add you.

On the bright side, after some nifty rescheduling to avoid the wettest day ever recorded in October, we managed to run both short & steady and medium rides in their new Covid-friendly format. It was wonderful to meet riders whom I hadn’t seen since March and to find out what they had found to do to get them through the lockdown and subsequent easing. It seems that everyone who has cycled has found it a source of comfort and inspiration, a real aid to maintaining sanity. Despite the onset of colder weather, we will be continuing to call upon its unique ability to uplift mind and body.

Anyway, here are some photographs taken during October’s Isis Cyclists rides: Isis In Action – October 2020 Photos

I hope to bring some better news concerning group cycling in my 101st newsletter next month!

Happy cycling!

October 2020

In this issue:

Note: The short rides originally scheduled for Saturday 3rd are now taking place on Saturday 24th.

Picnicking at Lechlade on 6th September

Ellen writes…

Welcome to the October 2020 edition of the Isis Cyclists Newsletter. After months of Isis Cyclists inactivity, and assuming that Covid-related rules don’t change again in the next few days, we are restarting rides!

Isis rides won’t be quite the same as they were, but we have concentrated on getting a system in place that allows a reasonable number of riders to take part while avoiding the need to commit in advance. Please read the notes at the top of the Home page for a reminder of what you need to know and what you need to bring with you when joining a ride.

To help you choose a ride we have included links to the routes on our ‘selected routes’ page. Please note that all of the rides will start in Radcliffe Square, even if the routes shown in Mapometer or Ride with GPS begin somewhere else.

And before I forget, here is the link to photographs of what Isis Cyclist members got up to informally in September. Let’s hope that this will be the last “Isis in Isolation” photo album!

Saturday 17th October: Medium Rides

Please meet in Radcliffe Square promptly at 9:45am so that the leader can fill in the rider registers and explain how the rides will work before you set off at 10:00am.

Group 1:

Group 2:

Saturday 24th October: Short Rides

Please meet in Radcliffe Square promptly at 9:45am so that the leader can fill in the rider registers and explain how the rides will work before you set off at 10:00am.

Group 1:

Group 2:

Group 3:

September 2020

Ellen writes…

Welcome to the Isis Cyclists September 2020 newsletter! I hope that you are all well and have been able to get out and about this past month, despite the weather. It seems to me that it’s either been ridiculously hot or cold, wet, and windy! 

Restarting group rides: not for the foreseeable future

Hopes that we would soon be able to restart our programme of group rides received a setback with the re-imposition of strict restrictions on gatherings, announced on 9th September. This is a big disappointment, particularly as we planned to focus initially on short and steady rides, which many of you have missed during the lockdown.

We are keeping the Bike Buddies group going for people to get together informally in groups of six or fewer, and various buddies enjoyed a great selection of medium and long rides during August. The routes on our website have been a great success and we are hoping to add some more soon, particularly for shorter distances. They have proved a fantastic springboard to adventure! You can see what the Bike Buddies have been up to in August in our latest Isis in Isolation album. You may notice that a few have ventured well beyond Oxfordshire!

Resurfacing work on part of the Sustrans route in Abingdon

Some welcome resurfacing work will start soon on the Sustrans route between Abingdon and Oxford, from Abbey Meadows, Abingdon through Barton Fields towards Radley Lakes. For several years this section has been a rough ride, so improvements can’t come soon enough. I understand that the track will be both widened and resurfaced. Apparently they will be using “flexipave”, the same surface that was used recently to upgrade the Peep-O-Day lane section (south of Abingdon). Here, there were issues with pedestrians and cyclists breaking through the barriers to use the track before the surface had settled properly. This meant that repairs had to be made that shouldn’t have been necessary, and which sucked in resources that could have been used for other cycling projects. So we have been asked to obey closures as they are for our own benefit. The best current estimate is that Abbey Meadows/Barton Fields section of track will be shut from September 7th to November 18th. There will be a diversion signed via Audlett Drive.

I’ve heard rumours that the Canal and River Trust has applied for money to continue its resurfacing work on the Oxford Canal northwards from Wolvercote. It would be wonderful if this comes to fruition. The section completed this spring is wonderful and has really enhanced the canal towpath cycling experience.

Happy cycling!

August 2020

Ellen writes…

Hello Everybody,

Well, here we are, (nearly) in August, and I’m afraid that I still can’t give you any news about when we are likely to be able to start organised group rides again. Just to reiterate; we are an informal members’ group of the national cycling organisation, Cycling UK. We can’t restart our rides programme until told by Cycling UK that we can do so. I know this will be particularly frustrating to those of you who enjoy our shorter rides.

Informal rides through the BikeBuddies WhatsApp group

Those of us who have been riding throughout lockdown have been busy organising ourselves into groups of six maximum and riding together, often several times in a week, which has been wonderful: see our Isis in Isolation photo album for July 2020.

These rides are generally a minimum of 15 miles in length and have no leader or sweeper as official Isis Cyclists rides do. Obviously, there is a plan and somebody knows where the ride is going, but ultimately everyone is responsible for themselves.

If you would like to join a ride on this basis, then email with your name and phone number so that you can be signed up to the Bike Buddies WhatsApp group. If you would like to ride but worry that these rides will be too fast, etc. please still sign up.

There are plenty of shorter routes on our website and if you put out a plea for a bike buddy on the group then you will probably still find some. If the route is short, then nobody will expect to ride fast. I normally go on a town-based 10-mile ride on my Brompton on days when I work, so you may find I respond!

Cafés and tea rooms that have reopened

Many cafes are now open, and you can usually get a takeout if you don’t want to sit inside. Here is a list of venues and their opening hours, compiled by Oxfordshire Cycling UK’s midweek group.

County Council bid for funding for active travelling schemes

Finally, I’m sure that, whether you have been on two feet or two wheels, you will have enjoyed the better air quality and quieter roads that lockdown has brought. The County Council is currently preparing a funding bid for 2.4 million pounds from central government for tranche 2 of funding for active travel schemes. They received only half of what they bid for in the first tranche because they were not sufficiently ambitious, and we and other cycling/walking/environmental organisations in the county don’t want this to happen again. So we are asking for people to write to their County Councillor. The more emails they receive the better, and the more you can personalise your letter the better too.

Those of you living in E. Oxford may also like to politely enquire if/when the low-traffic neighbourhoods in Cowley will be implemented (which was part of tranche 1). Cyclox have helpfully produced a template email: for this, and more information please send an email to

I think that we’ve all seen an increase in motorised traffic in and around town lately and the worry is that this will only increase as people return to work and don’t want to take public transport. Thanks to all those of you who have responded to this plea via Cyclox or other cycling/walking organisations that you belong to. Together we can (and hopefully will) make a difference.

Happy Cycling!