October 2018


Pausing for a breather on our annual 50-mile challenge on 9th September.

Ellen writes… Well, the blackberries are over and sloes are looking almost ripe, so it must be autumn. This means that our Stop & Stare and evening social rides have been wrapped up and put away till the spring. Despite this, we still have a good variety of rides and I hope that you find one to suit you. Even though the temperature is lower, as is the sun in the sky, it can be absolutely wonderful riding among the autumn colours.

As you may have realised, 2018 is our 10th anniversary, and this month, to celebrate this fact, Cyclox have asked us to give a presentation entitled “Isis Cyclists – 10 years of sweet success” at their October meeting on Tuesday 16th October. Jane Carlton Smith and I will be there giving our take on various aspects of the last 10 years’ activities and the hope is that it will spark a lively discussion on how to encourage people (and women especially) to get out on their bikes. What can we do and what do local and central government need to do? We all have our opinion on this, so come to the meeting, relive the last 10 years, join in the discussion and eat some cake afterwards!!!! The meeting will be held at St Michael at the North Gate, OX1 3EY at 7.30pm. For more details visit the Cyclox website.


This is a short City ride taking mainly cycle paths and a farm within Oxford City! There is one gentle hill which can be walked.

The ride meets at 10.15 for a 10.30 departure beside the south lodge of University Parks, on the corner of St Cross Rd and South Parks Rd. We will cycle along the Marston Cycle path, up Harberton Mead, Pullens Lane, Warneford Lane to Hilltop Road. From there we will take the Barracks Lane cycle path, cut through cycle paths to Florence Park and have a coffee stop at Oxford City Farm Festival (OX4 3NU) which has plenty to nourish you this Autumn. From there we will cycle to Donnington Bridge and pick up the tow path to Folly Bridge and back to the centre of Town where the ride will conclude.

It is envisaged that this 8 mile ride will take approximately 2 hrs depending on the length of time spent at the City Farm refreshment stop. The ride leader is Sarah Twine.


Meet in Radcliffe Square outside the University Church at 9:45am for a prompt 10.00 departure.  We’ll head out via the Marston Road, Elsfield, Forest Hill and Stanton St John to the café at the Mill View Garden Centre, Wheatley (10 miles). There are two steep hills on the outward route: Elsfield Hill and Ladder Hill in Wheatley: please feel free to get off and push your bike up either or both of them. After coffee we’ll return to Oxford via Garsington and Cowley. The total length of the ride is a shade over 17 miles. The ride leader is Liz Matthews.


A ride via Abingdon and Boar’s Hill for a hill challenge and then Sunningwell for lunch. Meet at Bonn Square at 10.15 to depart at 10.30. We will proceed down St Ebbes to the Thames and south to Sandford, Radley and off-road Route 5 into Abingdon. We will then continue through Abingdon to Shippon, Gozzard’s Ford, Cothill, Dry Sandford and Wootton. From there we will mount an assault on Boar’s Hill via the back route and then descend to Bayworth and Sunningwell for lunch in the Flowing Well Inn. From there we will return to Oxford via Kennington. The whole route is 20 miles (15 to lunch and 5 afterwards). The leader is Clare Farley.


Meet outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad St, Oxford for a prompt 9.30am departure. We will leave Oxford via Botley Road and the B4044 towards 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 Leonor Barroca.


September 2018

Isis wild swimmers

Several of our members are keen wild swimmers – so where better for an Isis Cyclists’ dip than in the River Isis?  (11th August)

Ellen writes… If you’re a big fan of hot weather you must have enjoyed the last few months! However, now we seem to have returned to something more normal as we head into the season of mellow fruitfulness. This month we have our usual mix of rides and also our 50 mile challenge, which seems to have become a regular feature. I think I am right in saying that this is our fifth such ride, and so far we have ridden a different route each time. I’m not sure how long I will be able to carry on inventing new routes, but I’m sure that we’re OK for a few years yet! This year we are riding south and east for a change and it will give us a chance to explore some lovely villages in the “foothills” of the Chilterns.

If you like your rides a little shorter, then don’t despair. We are trying out a new coffee venue (the Barracks Lane Community Garden) on our short and steady ride this month and delving into Oxford’s working past on the Stop & Stare ride. Whichever ride takes your fancy, let’s hope for some friendly riding conditions and plenty of cake!

As usual,  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.

Happy cycling!


Meet from 10.15am for a 10.30am start outside the Sheldonian Theatre on Broad Street, Oxford. We will begin by riding across the meadows on the University Parks Cycle Track to Marston before climbing the back way to Headington and riding through Brookes Campus. We will then descend to Barracks Lane where we will have coffee at the Community Garden. Afterwards we will make our way to Iffley, cross the river at the Lock and return to the centre of town using the towpath. This ride is less than 10 miles in length and has one hill which will be taken at a steady pace, or can be walked. The ride leader is Lilia Bonacorsi.


Meet at 6.15pm for a 6.30pm getaway at The Ox statue in front of Oxford Railway Station. We will ride briefly west along Botley Road to get to Binsey Lane. Then from Binsey village we will take the river path which is a little rough but rideable on most bikes, perhaps not the narrowest tyres. At Godstow Lock we will be back on the road to Wytham and then south to Botley and on to North Hinksey, where we can eat or drink or both. From there the route back to Oxford is via Willow Walk and Osney Mead. The route is about 7 miles in total. We’ll be at the pub by about 7.30 for anyone wishing to join us there. Bring lights for the return to Oxford. Partners and friends welcome. The ride leader is Clare Farley. 


Meet from 9am for a prompt 9:15am start in Radcliffe Square, Oxford (at the back of the University Church). The ride is in three sections of 15, 18 and 18 miles. In addition to the two refreshment stops we will also stop for a stretch, bite to eat, drink etc. in the middle of each section, so please make sure you are carrying something to eat and drink.

This year we will ride out of Oxford through Marston and Headington and make our way to Thame for coffee at Treacles Tearooms. On the way we will ride through Stanton St John, Worminghall, Ickford (where we will have a short break) and Shabbington. After coffee we will ride along the Phoenix Trail as far as Towersey before returning to road to ride through some of the pleasant villages at the foot of the Chiltern Hills (Sydenham, Adwell, Wheatfield and Stoke Talmage). We will then make our way to lunch at the Waterfront Café in Benson, via Cuxham, Brightwell Baldwin and Ewelme. The route back to Oxford after lunch is fairly direct and takes us through Berrick Salome, Chalgrove, Little Milton, Cuddesdon and Horspath. As always the pace will be steady, and I hope to make it back to Oxford around 6pm.

The route starts with a climb up to Headington and Stanton St John, but the remainder of the first section is fairly flat. The second section (to lunch) is undulating. The hills are not particularly long or steep, but there’s not that much flat riding once we pass through Sydenham. The final section is flat until we approach Little Milton and Cuddesdon (hills we know well!).

In summary, the route will be either on metalled road or good quality track and will be hillier than last year. If you start and finish in the centre of Oxford, you will have ridden approx 51 miles. If you live in Headington and would like to meet us on the Barton side of the Green Rd roundabout, let me know (so we don’t go without you). I would expect to get there at 9:35 – 9:40am. The ride leader is Ellen Lee.


We will meet in Radcliffe Square, opposite the Radcliffe Camera, outside the Vaults & Gardens Café, at 10.00am for a 10.15am departure.  It’s about 8 miles to Bothy Vineyard, where there is a huge sculpture exhibition and refreshments.  We will stay there for 1½ hours, to enjoy the sculpture and have something to eat.  We should be back in Oxford by around 2.30pm. The ride is just over 17 miles on relatively quiet roads.  The ride leader will be Jane Carlton Smith.

More details are at http://www.sculptureinthevineyard.uk/ and there is a £2.50 entrance fee to the exhibition, which is well worth it.  It’s a lovely setting and you can buy a bottle or two of wine while you are there.


On this flat ride around central Oxford we will visit former industrial and commercial buildings that have been converted into housing.  We’ll note the shift from 19th-century industry to residential accommodation, reflecting the industrial decline that we’ve seen in our lifetimes and the huge and unmet demand for housing in the city.

We will meet in Radcliffe Square, opposite the Radcliffe Camera, outside the Vaults & Gardens Café, at 1.45pm for a 2.00pm departure. The ride is 5 miles long and mainly on quiet roads and cycle paths, to avoid the crowds.  It should take 1½ to 2 hours, with stops.  We’ll have tea at Manos Café in Walton Street.

The ride leader will be Jane Carlton Smith.


Meet in Broad Street at 9.15am for a prompt 9.30am departure.  We will head out through the University Parks Cycle track to Marston, up to Islip and around Otmoor to the east of Bicester and stop for coffee at The Barn in Stratton Audley.  The return journey will be via Boarstall and Woodperry.  I’m afraid we can’t cycle out in this direction without encountering a few hills but they can be taken at your own pace.  Please note that this ride is slightly longer to coffee than usual at nearly 19 miles and, as it’s a joint Cycling UK ride, there will be fewer re-grouping breaks and riders must be capable of riding at a steady 12mph on the flat.  The total ride distance back to the High Street is 37 miles.  ETA back to Oxford could be around 2.30pm depending on how long it takes to get served at The Barn.  Ride leader is Natasha Williams.  The route can be downloaded here at https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28459904

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 https://plus.google.com/101138920476381253880

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: http://www.turrillsculpturegarden.org.uk
The Trout menus: https://www.thetroutoxford.co.uk/content/pcdg/south-east/thetroutoxford/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:
Out: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28192470
Back: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28192584

The Yurt website: http://www.theyurtatnicholsons.co.uk/


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: http://www.combereadingroom.co.uk/


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: http://bsbcoop.org/what-we-do/beryls-night/

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 http://www.oxfordbikeweek.co.uk/.

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 http://bsbcoop.org/pledge-to-our-crowdfunder.

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 http://www.artsfestivaloxford.org/whats-on/pre-festival-events-1/afghan-cycles.

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 isiscyclistsctc+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com 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 https://www.thepheasant.co.uk/lunch-menu. 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.