August 2018


Ready for the off outside the front door of Braziers Park

Liz M writes… What fabulous cycling we’ve had in July (we’ll overlook the cancellation of the joint ride with Oxford Cycling UK at the very end of the month)! The centrepiece of our programme was, of course, our tenth anniversary weekend in the peaceful setting of Braziers Park – a suitably ‘gloomthy’ example of Strawberry Hill Gothic tucked away on the edge of the Chilterns. It’s home to the oldest secular community in Britain, and the residents are more used to hosting yoga retreats than a party of 20+ lively women cyclists. But they were all very welcoming – including a highly sociable pig – and served hearty, nutritious meals to ensure our legs kept pedalling despite the heat. Friday afternoon saw us riding out via Abingdon and Wallingford (24 miles), while on Saturday a choice of rides was offered: long (24 miles) to Whitchurch and Sonning, and longer (32 miles) to Henley and back via Turville Heath. The homeward route on Sunday took in Goring, Wallingford and Chalgrove (28 miles). So it was possible to clock up nearly 100 miles in the three days!


Performing surgery on a broken chain

The weekend had its share of thrills and spills, including a few punctures and a broken chain, and for some an encounter with a wildfire that was a little too close for comfort (happily, they were able to make a detour). We also made a few additions to our collection of tea stops, including The Barn at Turville Heath and Bean and Brew at Wallingford. You can see the fun for yourself in our photo gallery at

We have six very varied rides to tickle your palate in August. As always, don’t forget to make sure both you and your bike are fit and ready for your ride! It’s a good idea to carry a spare inner tube as it may be possible to mend a puncture on the spot. Have a good breakfast too and carry a snack and drink in case you need a bit of extra sustenance. An extra bottle of water is advisable if the heatwave returns.


What a view!


Meeting in front of the Sheldonian at 11.15 for a 11.30 start, we will take the cycle route to Summertown to see the Summer Exhibition ‘The Art of Movement – Kinetic Sculpture’ by Richard Cresswell at the Turrill Sculpture Garden. We will then cycle to Wolvercote and stop to explore the Wolvercote lakes before our lunch (or coffee) break at the Trout pub. Our return route will be via the ruins of Godstow Nunnery and Port Meadow. Please note that the way back includes an unpaved road which not suitable for very thin tires. The ride leader is Lilia Bonacorsi.

Turrill Sculpture Garden:
The Trout menus:


Continuing with last month’s theme, this ride will visit a further 6 plaques in central and east Oxford area. The ride will meet at 9:45 for a 10:00 departure from the entrance to University Parks on Parks Road, near Norham Gardens to cycle to our first stop at nearby Bradmore Road. From there the ride will continue to the City centre, Iffley, Cowley and Headington area. The women whom we will commemorate are:

1. Clara Pater : 2 Bradmore Road. Pioneer of women’s education
2. Sarah Jane Cooper : 83 High Street. Coopers marmalade
3. Olive Gibbs : Christchurch old buildings. Councillor and campaigner
4. Maureen Gardener :  17 Maidcroft Road Cowley. Olympic hurdles medallist
5. Anne Ridler : Stanley Road. Printer
6. Elizabeth Bowen : The Coach House, The Croft, Headington. Novelist

This 8-mile ride is mainly flat with one hill (which can be walked) and taken at a slow and gentle pace. The coffee/lunch stop is at Jacobs and Field in Old High Street, Headington at the end of the ride. The leader is Sarah Twine.


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 then along the towpath to Wolvercote. From there we wiggle our way through Summertown, then join the Marston Ferry cycle path before heading uphill to Brookes via Harberton Mead. We then carry on downhill to Florence Park, through Iffley village then down to the river for refreshments at The Isis Farmhouse. From there, those who would like a swim can cycle a short way downstream for a refreshing dip in the Thames. The ride is 13 miles long and will be led by Karen Wolff. Don’t forget your swimmers!


Ride to The Yurt at Nicholson’s Garden Centre, Steeple Aston for lunch. Start at the Sheldonian in Broad Street at 10 (assemble from 9.45) and procede to the cycle track on Woodstock Road, following the A44 cycle track into Woodstock where we take the Sustrans cycle route 5 up to Rousham Gap. Then procede to Rousham, Steeple and Middle Astons to Nicholson’s at North Aston. The way back is via Somerton, Upper Heyford, Bletchingdon and Kidlington. The whole route is 35 miles and there are no super hills, but the route rises a bit after Rousham. On way back a little hill at Somerton but otherwise nothing really significant. This route was taken by Ellen’s pop-up ride in early May and was thoroughly enjoyed by those of us who went. It’s the final ride in our build-up to the 50-mile challenge in early September. The leader is Liz Weekes.

Liz has supplied details of the rotes on Ride with GPS:

The Yurt website:


Meet at 6.15pm, for a getaway at 6.30pm. Hoping for a lovely evening, we will cross the river and a lake, ride across meadows, through the fields and back to the river, finishing at the Isis pub for refreshments.  Starting from Radcliffe Square (outside the Vaults & Gardens Café), we will cross Hinksey Lake and the railway line, before heading through South Hinksey Village and up Boars Hill on the bridleway. The track can be a bit rough and is not ideal for road tyres, but it can easily be walked. From Boars Hill, we’ll enjoy riding down to Bayworth (instead of up, as is usual on our rides!) and make our way back to the Sustrans route to the river and back along the towpath. The ride is 9½ miles and you need to be able to carry your bike over the railway bridge, with help from others if needed. Partners are most welcome on this ride and, as mentioned, it’s not particularly suitable for road tyres. The ride leader is Jane Carlton Smith.


This 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.

Information about the Combe Reading Room:


Beryl’s Night
Team Beryl invites women and trans folk into the Broken Spoke workshop on the first Thursday of every month from 6-9pm. Please join us to take part in a FREE mini-class on our monthly theme, work on your own bike in a safe space, and enjoy plenty of tea, biscuits and good company!

For information about this month’s Beryl’s Night, please visit:


July 2018


Beautiful Bridewell Organic Gardens: destination for an afternoon social ride on Sunday 10th June


Ellen writes… What an amazing few weeks of sunshine we’ve had, not the usual two sunny days followed by a thunderstorm at all! I think all our rides last month enjoyed lovely conditions. The evening stop & stare ride, during which we tried hard to work out where seven paintings by two Turners (JMW and William Turner of Oxford) were painted from, what had changed and what was artistic licence, was great fun and the evening sunshine was fantastic. We also very much enjoyed our visit to the lovely organic gardens at Bridewell near Wilcote and quite a few of us rode home with plants we’d bought. When I got home I Googled mine and discovered it grows to 7 feet tall (whoops!).

This month we have our usual interesting collection of rides plus our annual weekend away which we are holding at Braziers Park in the Chilterns. A record 24 riders have signed up to take part, so it should be a wonderful weekend. We’ve also got to the 35 mile ride in our season of long rides preparing for the 50 mile challenge on 9th September. This year we will be going south and east (for a change) with the coffee stop in Thame and lunch at the Waterfront Café in Benson.

Help us spread the word about Isis Cyclists! Would you be interested in helping us let more women know about us? We are looking for a few of you willing to give out leaflets at one or two events a year, for a couple of hours. The Oxford cycling campaign group Cyclox kindly invites us to join them at their stalls. It’s a great way of meeting other cyclists – and all you need to do is be enthusiastic about our rides. The next two events are the Elder Stubbs festival in Cowley on Saturday 18 August, and the Green Fair in early December. Contact Lucy Tennyson via the Contact Us page.


The Oxfordshire Blue Plaques scheme promotes recognition and awareness of people, places and events that have been of lasting significance in the life of Oxfordshire or more widely.

The stop and stare ride will visit 6 of the women’s blue plaques in Oxford city. A further 6 will be visited at a later date (TBC).

The ride meets at 9:45am outside Costa Coffee in Summertown for a 10am departure. It will be approximately 7 miles long and take about 2 hours with coffee taken at the end of the ride at the Handlebar cafe in St Michael’s street.

Ride leader is Sarah Twine.


Meet by the statue of the ox, outside Oxford rail station from 9.45am for a 10.00 am departure. This ride takes advantage of the lovely newly surfaced path along the Thames, it 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, cross the new railway bridge to Aristotle Lane, then make our way through 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 grassy path. The ride leader is Karen Wolff.


Final details of this much anticipated event will be sent to those who have booked around 10th July.


The build-up to the Isis 50-mile challenge reaches 35 miles with this long ride across the Vale of the White Horse to Charney Bassett. Meet outside the Sheldonian Theatre at 9:45 for a 10:00 departure through Cumnor and Appleton to Fyfield, from where we head southwest in the general direction of Charney. We initially take a detour through East Hanney, Denchworth and Goosey, before eventually striking east and north to Charney itself for lunch. You can either bring a picnic to eat on the village green or dine at The Chequers pub. The (shorter) return route takes us to Southmoor and along the country road back to Cumnor for tea and biscuits at Liz’s house. From there it’s downhill for most of the way back into Oxford.

Apart from the initial climb up to Cumnor (walking permitted!), the route is generally flat or with gentle inclines. Once we’re out of Oxford, we ride mostly along quiet country roads, although there is a crossing of the busy A420 at Fyfield (care required!) and a short stretch along the A417 near Stanford-in-the-Vale. The ride leader is Liz Matthews.

Important notes:

  • Please bring a mid-morning drink and snack for the outward section as there are no eateries before Charney.
  • Please let Liz know via the Contact Us page by Wednesday 18th July if you wish to eat at The Chequers, so that we can let the pub know how many people to expect. Thank you!


Meet outside Costa Coffee in Summertown in good time for a 6.30pm departure. We’ll go out of town towards Kidlington via Water Eaton and on to Islip, working up a thirst for the pub with an uphill stretch to Beckley village giving glorious views over Otmoor. The Abingdon Arms is a community owned pub, specialising in locally produced food, and hopefully we can bag a table outside. As usual with our evening rides, male partners and friends are welcome. We’ll take the most direct route home into Marston. Please bring lights. The ride will be 13 miles long and the leader is Lucy Tennyson.


Meet at 12.30pm for a prompt 12.45pm departure by the bike racks outside John Lewis (in Norfolk Street – back entrance to Customer Services) for a leisurely cycle to Dorchester via Abingdon. We will be joined by the Oxford City branch of Cycling UK at Dorchester Abbey for afternoon tea, so our mission will be to arrive before them! This is a joint social ride so male friends and partners are welcome to join us. We will ride directly home from Dorchester arriving back into Oxford via Horspath. The ride will be approximately 32 miles long and is mainly flat apart from a couple of steepish hills on the approach to Cuddesdon near the end of the ride. The ride leader is Natasha Williams.


June 2018


Stopping for a photo on the first pop-up ride on 7th May

** Stop Press: See below for details of our Summer Solstice evening social ride to the Bell at Hampton Poyle! **

Ellen writes… What a fantastic month of sunny cycling we’ve had in May, and how wonderful after the cold and gloom of March and April. Our Short & Steady ride at the start of the month enjoyed perfect warm, early summer weather and it was fantastic to see such a large and colourful collection of cycles and cyclists wending their way along towpaths, cycle paths and minor roads to Wytham for coffee. Both the asparagus-picking (medium) and Artweeks (long) rides were well supported and enjoyed by everyone. May also saw our first experiments with “pop-up” rides. There was one long ride out for lunch in (well actually outside) the Yurt at Nicholsons in North Aston and an evening jaunt round Otmoor. Hopefully more rides will pop up as the summer progresses.

The June rides are a varied and tempting collection: hopefully providing something for everyone. June also sees Oxford Bike Week (9th-17th) and you can find more about the rides on offer at

Another Oxford cycling institution is going through exciting times. The Broken Spoke Co-op, which many of you will know from their bicycle repair courses and Beryl’s Nights, will soon be moving premises. They are crowdfunding in order to cover the cost of the move. You can read more about this at

Finally, as part of the Freewheeling project, there will be a screening of the film “Afghan Cycles” at the Ultimate Picture Palace in Jeune St on Sunday 17th June at 3:30. For more information, visit

Don’t forget to make sure both you and your bike are fit and ready for your ride! Please ensure your bike is road-worthy, and it’s a good idea to carry a spare inner tube as it may be possible to mend a puncture on the spot. Have a good breakfast too and carry a snack and drink in case you need a bit of extra sustenance.

Happy cycling!


Meet at 09.45hrs for a 10.00hrs departure from The Ox statue opposite Oxford city railway station.

The ride will be approximately 8 miles long and mainly flat along the Thames towpath, Sustrans route and incorporating Osney, Iffley and Sandford Locks. Please be aware that there will be a long stretch of cycling on the Towpath and through locks so do ensure you are confident cycling off road near water and have appropriate tyres for the ride.

We will leave the station and go straight onto the tow path, passing besides Osney and Iffley locks. We will cycle along a stretch of the popular Sustrans route and turn left upon reaching Kennington, cross Sandford lock to Sandford on Thames village Hall for a relaxed coffee and shop in the weekly market and “Talking Shop”. After coffee we will take a meandering route via Rosehill and Iffley, Meadow Lane and Iffley Fields to return to the City centre.

The ride is 8 miles long and will be taken at the pace of the slowest cyclist and approximately 2 hrs. Ride Leader Sarah Twine.


Meet outside Costa Coffee on the corner of Banbury and Oakthorpe Roads in Summertown from 1:15 for a 1:30 departure. We will be heading in a fairly leisurely fashion (approx.10 mph) to an open afternoon at Bridewell Organic Gardens near Wilcote.

We will start off along the canal towards the A44, then cut off to Yarnton before joining the A40 for a short stretch. We will then head off into the countryside along Cuckoo Lane. We’ll follow quiet country lanes to the Gardens where afternoon tea is available, then make our way home via Wilcote, North Leigh and the A40 cycle path. The ride is 26 miles in total and includes a few ups and downs.

Bridewell Gardens do not charge an entry fee, but ask for a donation towards their valuable work helping people recover from mental illness by gardening.

This Sunday afternoon ride is open to male partners and friends; the ride leader is Karen Wolff.


In this evening stop & stare ride we will be looking at Oxford with 18th and 19th century eyes and exploring how two different artists (both William Turner) saw Oxford and its environs. We will be visiting 5 paintings by the “famous” Turner (JMW) and 2 by his less illustrious almost contemporary William Turner of Oxford. How have the views of Oxford changed? Are the paintings accurate depictions or have they been sprinkled with a bit of artistic licence? I’m sure there will be plenty of opinions and no “right” answers!

Meet from 6.45pm for a prompt 7pm start from Radcliffe Square, Oxford (at the back of the University Church). The route will take us through central Oxford, out onto the river and then up to South Park, Headington before descending into Marston and our final picture in Old Marston. After the ride we can coast down to the Victoria Arms for a drink. The route is 7.5 miles long and includes a single hill in the shape of Morrell Avenue which can be cycled (or walked) at your own pace. Please bring bicycle lights, especially if you want to enjoy a drink afterwards. The ride leader for this artistic exploration is Ellen Lee.

If you would like digital copies of the paintings to download to your phone or tablet and take with you on the ride, please send us an email via the Contact Us page.


This is the first long ride in the build-up for our 50 mile ride in September. Meeting on the junction of Cowley Road and Magdalen Road (outside old bingo hall) at 9.45am for 10am departure, we will take Barracks Lane to get out of Oxford in a fairly traffic-free way. Our route will take us via Horspath Hill up to Cuddesdon and down to the mill, Great Milton and Chalgrove. There will probably be a short stretch on bridleway to get us to Brightwell Baldwin, and then we will continue close to Ewelme to Benson for refreshments in the Waterfront Cafe (17 miles).  We return through Berrick Salome, Chalgrove, Stadhampton (a short stretch on main road) Chislehampton, Denton, Garsington and Blackbird Leys/Cowley. The ride is 30 miles with some hills. The leader is Clare Farley.


We will meet outside the Sheldonian in Broad Street, at 5.45pm, for a 6pm start.  Making our way through Jericho, we will join the Oxford Canal towpath at Wolvercote and ride up it to Shipton-on-Cherwell.  We’ll then cross the fields to Hampton Gay and onwards to The Bell at Hampton Poyle, where I have booked The Library for 8pm.  The 17-mile route is weather-dependent and may be changed if there’s rain during the preceding day(s). It’s also bumpy and not suitable for carbon bikes with road tyres or for recumbents (sorry).  The ride is open to male friends and partners.  The leader is Jane Carlton Smith.

May 2018


Up the hill to the windmill at Brill on 21st April


Ellen writes… Welcome to the May 2018 edition of the Isis Cyclists Newsletter. This month sees the return of our midweek Stop & Stare rides and also our evening social rides. Over the summer we will also be trialling the idea of pop-up rides. Basically, if one of our ride leaders finds themselves with some spare time, the weather is nice and they feel like a cycle ride, they will post to the Google Group to let you know brief details so that you can join in, if you wish. Any of our multifarious types of rides may “pop up” from a short amble to a long ride, and you may only get a day or so notice, so keep an eye on your inbox!

Don’t forget to make sure both you and your bike is fit and ready for your ride! Please ensure your bike is road-worthy and it’s a good idea to carry a spare inner tube as it may be possible to mend a puncture on the spot. Have a good breakfast too and carry a snack and drink in case you need a bit of extra sustenance.

Wow, amazing….I didn’t mention the weather!

An important note about data protection

I expect that, like me, you have had a number of data protection emails appear in your inbox recently. This is because the data protection laws change in May 2018.  You receive our newsletters and email updates because you have requested to be added to our mailing list at some point in the past.  If, at any point, you wish to stop receiving emails from us simply send an email to or to the Contact Us page on this website.

Please note that our mailing list is hosted by Google and so Google is a data processor who may have access to your personal data: read Google’s privacy policy. We will always hold your personal data in compliance with UK data protection laws and we never sell or share your information.


This month’s short ride is aimed at those who would like to cycle or have cycled in the past but not for a while and are lacking in confidence about their riding ability or bike set up.  We’ll take a look at bike set up and I’ll have some tools so we can adjust saddles if need be.  We’ll then head off on a short circular loop on quieter roads through Jericho, Wolvercote and Wytham.  We’ll stop for coffee at the end of the ride.  Meet at the Lion Brewery (outside staircase 1), St. Thomas Street (just along from Paradise Street – please be careful as there’s 3 way traffic lights on Paradise Street / St. Thomas’ Street), OX1 1JE at 11.30am where we’ll check bikes over and answer any questions before heading off on our ride around 11.45am.  The ride is flat and will be around 8 miles long and the pace will be slow and steady.  The ride leader is Natasha Williams.


Meet  at 0945am for a 1000am departure outside The South Lodge, University Parks (OX1 3JA, corner of South Parks Road and St Cross Road). We will take the cycle path beside University Parks and Mesopotamia, through cycle tracks in New and Old Marston village through to Elsfield via its infamous hill (which can be walked if necessary).

We then cycle on to Beckley where we will stop at the Abingdon Arms for well-earned refreshments. Afterwards, we continue on to Horton cum Studley along the straight mile road. We then tackle another hill before taking the Oakley road down to Bernwood, Menmarsh and Stanton St John. We then cross the B4027 to the Asparagus Hut for those who would like to pick some Asparagus. ( which is hopefully ready by mid May!)

The ride will continue to the London road roundabout in Headington where it will conclude on the Headington side. The ride is 14 miles, will be taken at a slow-medium pace and is likely to take approximately 3 hours including stops.

The ride leader is Sarah Twine


Our first midweek ride of the year will take us on a slow and easy outing around a selection of local artists’ exhibitions on the east side of the city, mostly group shows with a mix of media and styles so you should find something to make you stare. We’ll head out along the river to start our visits in Magdalen Road, then meander through Headington, and return to town via St Clements and Iffley Road. Meet outside the Sheldonian to leave at 10.30am.  The ride leader is Lucy Tennyson.


Join us for a 26-mile circuit to visit a few of the many sites open during Artweeks South. Leaving at 10am from outside the Sheldonian Theatre, we will take a wiggly route to Abingdon via Kennington and Radley. The first stop, after 10 miles, will be an exhibition by various artists at Peachcroft Farm, where we will also take coffee. Another 10 miles sees us arriving, via Shippon, Tubney and Fyfield, at Appleton Village Hall for more art and coffee. Two miles further on, in Cumnor, are a couple of studios worth visiting before you whizz back down the hill to Oxford. If you have the Artweeks catalogue, the venues are numbers 431, 439, 436 and 437 respectively. You’ll be delighted to know that there are no substantial hills on this ride, which is led by Liz Matthews.


Meet in Radcliffe Square (at the back of the University Church) from 6pm for a 6.15pm departure. We’ll take a slightly circuitous route to get to the pub (the Flowing Well in Sunningwell), via Kennington and Radley, roughly 10 miles, and come back a more direct way (about 5 miles to the centre of Oxford). The ride is mainly flat, no real hills. This is a social ride, so male friends and partners are welcome to join us. Don’t forget to bring lights in case the ride back is in the twilight. The ride leader is Liz Weekes.

There is no joint ride with Oxford City Cycling UK in May.

April 2018


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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

March 2018

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

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


Photo by Liz Matthews

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

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

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

Happy cycling!



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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

The ride leader is Liz Matthews.

February 2018

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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