May 2019

In this issue:

Ellen writes…

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Tulips at Worton Organic Farm on April’s social ride

The lovely sunny Easter weekend made me feel as though summer is already here, so it’s apt that I start this newsletter by mentioning our weekend away. You can see a provisional programme on our Weekends Away page, but Jane Carlton Smith will provide more details nearer the time. If you’ve not thought about joining us, but would like to, it may be possible to sort out accommodation in a pod or to camp. However all the on-site B&B has already been booked up. There may still be B&B available in Charlbury itself. If you want to come, please email Jane Carlton Smith via the Contact Us page.

Oxford City Cycling UK is starting occasional shorter rides to a coffee or tea venue, usually on the second Sunday of the month. The ride will be led by an experienced rider at the pace of an Isis long or medium ride (i.e. averaging around 10mph). Isis riders are very welcome to take part. For details of the ride on 12th May 12th, see below.

Check out Google Photos for pictures taken on our rides in April.

SATURDAY MAY 4TH: SHORT & STEADY RIDE: ENJOYING THE FLOWERS OF NORTH OXFORD

Meet at 10.15 for a 10.30 departure for this month’s short and steady ride, which starts at the entrance to University Parks where Norham Gardens meets Parks Road.

The ride will take in Parks and meadows to enjoy the summer flowers North Oxford has to offer. The route will follow the national cycle route to Sunnymead and Cutteslowe Park and then traverse Five Mile Drive to join the canal path at Upper Wolvercote. We continue along the path to Walton Well Road and cut across Port Meadow to the Perch Public house for coffee/tea and cake in the garden. The route will return to the starting point and is approximately 7 miles. Ride duration is  2½ hours, depending on length of coffee stop. Due to the route along the towpath and short section across the meadow, thin tyres and road bikes are not recommended for this ride.

The ride leader is Sarah Twine.

THURSDAY MAY 9TH: STOP & STARE RIDE: EXPLORING OXFORD ARTWEEKS

We’ll take a slow and leisurely ride around some group exhibitions using the path along the river whenever possible, heading first to south Oxford, then circling back to our start via Iffey, Botley and Jericho. Meet outside the Sheldonian in Broad Street at 1.45pm to set off at 2pm. Ride leader Lucy Tennyson.

SATURDAY MAY 11TH: MEDIUM RIDE: EASTERN HILLS – CUDDESDON

Don’t be put off – we will take the hills gently and they can be walked if necessary.

Meet at 10.30am, for a 10.45am departure on Magdalen Road, the corner with Cowley Road outside the old Bingo Hall and opposite the City Arms pub. We’ll cycle up Barracks Lane and on to Horspath and via the windmill to Wheatley, Holton and Great Milton, approaching Cuddesdon from the mill. We will have an early lunch break at the Bat and Ball in Cuddesdon.  We’ll return to town via Horspath and Barracks Lane again. The ride is 14 miles.  The ride leader is Clare Farley.

SUNDAY 12TH MAY: OXFORD CYCLING UK SHORT RIDE

The ride will leave from outside Costa Coffee on the main road in Summertown at 10.00am and go to Annie’s Tea Room at Thrupp for coffee. It will be led by Stephen Lee.

Please note that the 10km “Town & Gown” ride is taking place and so some roads in central Oxford may be shut, so leave plenty of time to get to the start. 

WEDNESDAY 15TH MAY: EVENING SOCIAL PUB RIDE: THE GREYHOUND AT BESSELSLEIGH

Meet in Bonn Square in front of the New Road Baptist Church from 6:00pm for a 6:15 departure. We’ll cross the river and take the tow path towards Osney, turning off through the Osney Trading Estate then on to Willow Walk. From North Hinksey we will wiggle our way up Cumnor Hill by way of residential roads, avoiding the home-bound commuter traffic on the main road. This involves the inevitable climb, which can be walked. We then cycle through Cumnor village towards Appleton, branching off onto the delightful Besselsleigh Lane which takes us to the Greyhound pub for drinks and/or food. Our return trip takes us back down Cumnor Hill and along the Botley Road cycle path. The route is 12.5. miles long and male partners and friends are welcome. Please remember your lights for the ride home! The leader is Karen Wolff.

SUNDAY 19TH MAY: LONG RIDE: TEA AT JANE’S ENCHANTED TEA GARDEN

Meet in Broad street in front of the Tourist Information Office at 13:15 for an 13:30 start. The ride will leave Oxford using Sustrans routes 5/51. There will be a pick up from Cutteslowe pedestrian bridge over the ring road, next to the Wren Road school  at 2 pm. We will continue through Kidlington, Hampton Poyle and Bletchingdon and onto Kirtlington then onto the track down to Jane’s Enchanted Tea Garden near Pigeon Lock.

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

This route (which is approx. 26 miles long) does include a couple of hills in either direction which can be taken at your own pace or walked. The ride leader is Lilia Bonacorsi.

Note: You only need to book if you want the ‘Full Jeeves’ menu option.

SUNDAY MAY 26TH: AFTERNOON SOCIAL RIDE: “GREAT” AND “LITTLE” VILLAGES

Our second Sunday afternoon mixed social ride take us south-east from Oxford. Have an early, hearty(!) lunch and meet at The Plain, on the corner of Cowley Place and Iffley Road (by the cycle racks in front of the Magdalen College School sign), for a prompt 1pm start. We will head out down the Cowley Road to the Barracks Lane cycle path, crossing the ring road next to the Mini Plant. We then continue through Horspath and up the hill to Cuddesdon, before undertaking our tour of the Miltons and Haseleys: the Littles first, then the Greats. Heading back, we swing north-east at Wheatley for tea at Waterperry Gardens, then retrace our steps (tyre-tracks!) to Wheatley, returning to Oxford via Littleworth and Horspath.

The route is 24.2 miles long to the dispersal point at the end of the Barracks Lane cycle track; the terrain is mainly undulating with two substantial hills: the first after Horspath on the outward leg, and the second after Littleworth on the return section. There is also a very short stretch of unsurfaced track at the top of Gidley Way, which can be walked.

Note that the tea stop is after 18 miles (roughly 2 hours of cycling), and so we’ll have a roadside refreshment halt after an hour or so; bring a snack if you suspect you’ll get peckish.

As this is a mixed social ride, male friends and family are very welcome to join us.

The leader is Liz Matthews, and you can view (and download) the route at https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29841481.

April 2019

In this issue:

Ellen writes…

Bath Bike Trail - croppedThe clocks have changed, so it must be spring! It’s certainly been looking like it the last few days. The chiffchaffs are calling from the roadside trees and there were new-born lambs and piglets (in little concrete igloos or perhaps “pigloos”?) on my ride on my day off last Tuesday. I don’t know about you, but I just want to be outdoors all the time, enjoying the new green shoots and new life.

You may have noticed that Google+, where we have kept our photo colection, has shut down. We are currently experimenting with alternatives and hope to have a solution up and running by May. We’ll keep you posted.

Also, when you sign in for a ride, you will soon notice that the sign-in sheet has an extra tick box for giving us permission to put photos of you taken on the ride on our website and the replacement for Google+. If you are happy about this, please do tick the box. This applies to close-up photos, group photos etc., and photos where you can be readily identified. If you don’t want us to use photos of you, please don’t tick the box, let the ride leader know and avoid group photos. We will do our very best to respect everyone’s wishes.

Another change that you will notice is that our joint ride on the last Sunday morning of the month has been replaced with a social afternoon tea ride. The joint rides have been a great way of introducing some of our riders to slightly faster rides and a number now ride regularly with the City Cycling UK group. However, we feel it’s time for a change. We want to make a long “Isis Cyclists” -style ride available to men who don’t want to cycle far or fast. We’ll be trialling this new idea until the autumn and so please do encourage male friends and partners to join us, but also feel free to spread the word more widely. Lucy Tennyson will be leading our first Sunday tea ride on 28th April: see below.

Finally, the Abingdon Festival of Cycling takes place on Sunday 14th April. The festival, which is organised by Abingdon Freewheeling, offers free road, mountain and family bike rides throughout the day. For more details see:
http://groupspaces.com/AbingdonFreewheeling//pages/spring-cycle-festival.

SATURDAY 6TH APRIL: SHORT & STEADY RIDE (BETTER LUCK THIS TIME!)

Meet outside the Sheldonian in Broad Street from 10:15 for a 10:30am departure for this short ride on quiet roads and cycle paths through Jericho, Wolvercote, Wytham and Botley. This is the ride that was cancelled due to cold weather at the start of February, so we are hoping for better luck this time! We will take refreshments (coffee, homemade cakes or brunches) at the Manna Cafe in Botley. From there we’ll head back into the city down Willow Walk. The total ride length is 8.5 miles and is more or less flat. The leader is Karen Wolff.

SATURDAY 13TH APRIL: MEDIUM RIDE: A GENTLE RIDE WITH A PORTUGUESE TWIST (‘pasteis de nata’)

Meet at Costa Coffee in Summertown (corner of Oakthorpe Road and Banbury Road) at 10:00 for a prompt 10:15 start. We will ride north to Wolvercote and then to the beautiful village of Wytham. We will then come down towards Botley, follow the quiet back lane of Osney Mead and St. Ebbes to end up in the Abingdon Road for the Portuguese treat of ‘café e nata’. For the return we ride to the Donnington Bridge and follow the river and canal back through Jericho to the starting point.

This is a flat route suitable for all riders and bikes; it is a 13 mile ride and you can see the route at https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29538515. The ride leader is Leonor Barroca.

SATURDAY 20TH APRIL: LONG RIDE: DOWN THE GREEN LANE TO WOODSTOCK

Meet from 13:15 for a 13:30 start from outside Costa Coffee in Summertown (corner of Oakthorpe Road and Banbury Road). We will make our way on quiet roads to the Cutteslowe Cycle Bridge where we can pick riders up (on the Oxford side of the bridge) at around 13.40. If you would like to be picked up there, please let the leader know, so she doesn’t go without you. From there we will ride to Kidlington via the Water Eaton track, Hampton Poyle and Bletchingdon. We will then descend the hill through Enslow and take a minor road to Tackley and Rousham Gap where we will pick up the Sustrans route and green lane to Woodstock for tea. After tea we will head directly back to Oxford along the A44 cycle track, picking up the canal to Lower Wovercote and then Summertown via the Woodstock Rd. The route does include a couple of climbs before the tea stop, but none after.

The entire return route back to Summertown is 25.5 miles and includes some 4 miles of good quality Sustrans track and a short section of rough but made-up road, so should be fine for all except road bikes with very thin tyres. Because it will be 18 miles to the tea stop, we will have a short roadside break before, so please bring a snack and a drink. The eta at Woodstock is 15:45 and we should be back in Oxford around 5pm. The ride leader is Ellen Lee.

TUESDAY 23RD APRIL: STOP & STARE RIDE: HUNTING THE BARRIERS!

We will meet outside the Sheldonian Theatre (opposite Blackwells) at 2pm, to start at 2.15pm.  We’ll search for cycle barriers which make it difficult for bikes to pass, especially bikes with trailers for children, mobility bikes or cargo bikes.  This is in support of a project to improve Oxford’s cycling infrastructure.  The route is not set, but will include some cycling by the river and if you would like to come along, please nominate any barriers you know of (central Oxford area – see link for map), so that we can see for ourselves and take a photo for the project.  The coffee stop will depend on where we end up, after all there’s loads of choice, and we should be finished by 5pm.  The leader is Jane Carlton Smith.  You can view the area we are interested in at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1QvlSJ8FDlQQ6VwIk_X6CXYsRBSMoxKGx.

SUNDAY 28TH APRIL: SOCIAL SUNDAY TEA RIDE: WORTON ORGANIC GARDENS

Our first of a new series of Sunday afternoon social rides is a medium length flat route to the organic café at Worton where they serve homemade cakes in a delightful market garden setting where the owners specialise in cut flowers for weddings. If we’re lucky, the tulips which surround the outside seating should be in flower. Meet outside the Sheldonian Theatre on Broad St, Oxford from 1.45pm to set off at 2pm, going out of town along the river towards Wolvercote and then taking the cycle path along the A40 before heading away from main roads. We’ll return from Worton via Yarnton, Kidlington and Water Eaton. Ride length 17 miles, and we’ll go at a relaxed pace. It’s a social ride so male friends and partners are welcome. We aim to be back by 5.30pm. The ride leader is Lucy Tennyson.

March 2019

In this issue:

Ellen writes…

Snowdrops near Lt Haseley 16-02-19 - 1

Snowdrops galore near Little Haseley

February came in like a lion and went out like a lamb! Isn’t March supposed to do that? The confusion has continued with the last few days feeling much more like late March than late February. It seems a long time ago that we had to cancel our February short ride due to snow and ice. Now the butterflies are out and the pigeons are nesting enthusiastically (unfortunately, under my solar panels!). However, some sanity did reign this month with snowdrops putting on a wonderful show on our long ride, although our medium ride enjoyed some excitingly blusterous conditions.

In March we have another varied programme of rides and, with any luck, we’ll have plenty more signs of spring to enjoy before the month is out. The short ride has a suffragette theme and will take riders to some of the locations around the city associated with suffragette activity. The medium ride will be exploring some of the “hill” villages to the south and west of Oxford and the long ride will be heading out to Bletchingdon to sample the delights of the Batch Café which, for some unknown reason, we have never visited before. By the end of the month spring should be in full swing and, with any luck, we’ll find some new-born lambs and plenty of green in the hedges as we ride to Wallingford with Oxford City Cycling.

Tea and memories 17-02-19

Sharing tea and memories of a decade of Isis Cyclists on 17th February

Whether you’ve been braving the elements on your bike all winter, or whether you are just trying to get up the courage to return to two wheels, we hope that you’ll find a ride to suit you. We have recently added a new page to our website entitled Meet the Ride Leaders. So if you want to know a bit more about what makes our leaders tick (at least from a cycling perspective!) or just to put a face to a name, then why not check it out?

Happy cycling!

SATURDAY MARCH 2ND: SHORT & STEADY RIDE: SUFFRAGETTES IN OXFORD

Our short ride this month takes a suffragette theme to start the week of celebrations for International Women’s Day on the 8th. Meet outside the Sheldonian in Broad Street from 10:15 for a 10:30am departure. It will be a slow and steady potter around some of the sites of suffragette activity in the city, and will include a ride out to Binsey Well and ride (or push if you prefer) across Port Meadow. We’ll stop for coffee in Jericho. This gentle ride is ideal for newcomers to Isis, or anyone who hasn’t done much cycling recently. Rain could be on the cards after the recent burst of sunshine, so bring your waterproofs. Ride leader is Lucy Tennyson.

SATURDAY MARCH 9TH: MEDIUM RIDE: OXFORD’S HILL VILLAGES

Don’t be put off – there’s only one significant hill to climb (ascent is less than 500 feet for the whole ride) and it can be walked if necessary.  Meet in Radcliffe Square (by the Church) at 10.15, for a 10.30am departure. We’ll cycle through South Oxford and up to Boar’s Hill, where we’ll turn off into the beautiful old village.  We then go down the very steep hill to Wootton and head for Besselsleigh, where we will cross the A420, taking great care.  From the Greyhound Pub, we can take a fairly quiet road to Cumnor and then return down to West Oxford via cycle lanes and residential streets, to have coffee and/or snacks at The Fishes.  We’ll return to town via Willow Walk (enjoy it before it is dug up to build the new bridge).  There is also an opportunity to have a fish and chip lunch at Hayman’s, in the Osney Mead Estate (http://www.osneyfoodshed.co.uk/), though you would probably need to book (if you fancy this, I would like to join you, so let me know).  We should get there around 1.15pm.   It’s 14.4 miles in all, with about 12 to coffee (ETA 12.15pm).  The ride leader is Jane Carlton Smith.

SATURDAY MARCH 16TH: LONG RIDE TO BLETCHINGDON

Meet from 10.15am for a 10.30am departure outside the back of the University Church in Radcliffe Square, Oxford. The ride will leave Oxford via the University Parks Cycle Track and Old Marston before crossing the ring road and heading to a new (i.e. as yet unvisited by Isis Cyclists) café at Greenhill Farm in Bletchingdon via Woodeaton and Islip. Hopefully, the wild daffodils in one of the woods we pass between Islip and Bletchingdon will be in flower and we will be able to stop briefly and admire. After coffee and cakes, and/or a light lunch, we will return via Hampton Poyle and Kidlington, approaching north Oxford using the track through Water Eaton. The ride is approximately 22 miles long and does include a few not too steep climbs which can be taken at your own pace, or even walked. There will possibly be a short section off-road into the north of Kidlington which will be less than ideal for bikes with thin tyres. However, an on-road alternative is available. The ride leader is Liz Weekes.

SUNDAY MARCH 31ST: JOINT ISIS/OXFORD CYCLING UK RIDE TO COFFEE AT THE BEAN & BREW, WALLINGFORD

Meet outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad Street, Oxford for a prompt 9.30am departure. The ride will leave Oxford via the Barracks Lane track and Temple Cowley before picking up the B430 Watlington Road as far as Stadhampton. Here we will briefly take the A329, soon turning onto a minor road through Drayton St Leonard and onto Dorchester. After passing the Abbey and crossing the River Thame on the old bridge, we will get onto the cycle track next to the A4074 to Shillingford where we will cross the River Thames and ride into Wallingford for coffee. After coffee we will re-cross the Thames in Wallingford and head towards Benson via Crowmarsh Gifford and Preston Crowmarsh. From Benson we will continue through Rokemarsh and Berrick Salome to Chalgrove, Little Milton, Wheatley and along the A40 cycle track into Headington. The return trip is approximately 37 miles long and the 16 mile section to coffee will be taken a little faster (average 11mph) than usual, but the return trip will be more leisurely. There are two short climbs before coffee and a long gentle climb (from the River Thame bridge to the A40 flyover outside Wheatley) on the way home. The ride will be on road apart from a few roadside cycle tracks, and is thus suitable for all bikes. The ride leader is Ellen Lee.

February 2019

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Cold and wet, but still smiling on the long ride to Annie’s tearoom at Thrupp on 19th January

Ellen writes… Welcome to the February 2019 newsletter. January offered a bit of a mixed bag weather-wise, but the Isis rides were lucky not to coincide with any of the really cold weather and were well supported. The joint Isis/Oxford City Cycling ride to Thame had the most exciting weather: a strong wind and some rain and hail. I’m impressed to report that the Isis contingent were the only ones to make it to Thame; everyone else decided to cut the ride short at Waterperry. Normally, we only cancel rides if we judge that conditions are or may become unsafe.

Cold weather is forecast for February, so if you are in doubt, please do check before you leave for the start. If a ride is to be cancelled, the ride leader will post an email to the Google Group no later than 9am on the morning of the ride.

This month we have an additional social event on the afternoon of Sunday 17th February. Details are below, but it would be wonderful to see lots of you coming to enjoy tea, cakes and Isis cycling-related memories.

We’ve also had a very good take-up for our 2019 weekend away at Cotswold View, Charlbury. Jane Carlton Smith, who is co-ordinating accommodation, says:

Our planned weekend away has proved very popular and all the five PODS that we reserved are now allocated to one or more people in each.  There is the possibility of sharing a couple of PODs, so do contact me if you would like to be put in touch with the person who has taken it up.  There is also a 6 person POD that we have not reserved; it would be suitable for 3 or 4 adults. The two tent pitches that we reserved are also allocated, but there are more pitches in the same area, with grass standing.  If you want one, please book direct with the site (https://www.cotswoldview.co.uk/), quoting Carlton Smith Group in the notes at the bottom of the online booking form.  I can send you a site map if you would like to see the layout. There is an adjoining area for camper vans, so please book direct with the site if you want to come in a van, again quoting Carlton Smith Group. So far, we know of 20 people who have booked.  Please let me know if you have booked and not notified her, so that she can keep track.

Finally, remember  to make sure both you and your bike are fit and ready for your ride! Check out our tips for winter cycling.

Happy cycling!

SATURDAY 2nd FEBRUARY: SHORT & STEADY RIDE

** This ride has been cancelled on account of the snow. Karen now hopes to run it in the spring. **

Meet outside the Sheldonian in Broad Street from 10:15 for a 10:30am departure for this short ride on quiet roads and cycle paths through Jericho,  Wolvercote, Wytham and Botley. We will take refreshments (coffee, homemade cakes or brunches) at the Manna Cafe in Botley. From there we’ll head back into the city down Willow Walk. The total ride length is 8.5 miles and is more or less flat. The leader is Karen Wolff.

SATURDAY 9th FEBRUARY: MEDIUM RIDE: TURKISH COFFEE AND A NOR’ EASTERLY JAUNT TO BECKLEY

Meet in Radcliffe Square (by the Church) at 10.15, for a 10.30am departure. We’ll be taking a leisurely route through North Oxford and Old Marston, up (sorry!) to Elsfield, round Beckley, through Stanton St John to Forest Hill and the cycle track by the A40 and into Headington. Here we’ll have coffee at Café Bonjour before bombing down the hill back to central Oxford. It’s 16 miles all told, with 14 to coffee. The ride has a few hills, the steepest of which is Elsfield Hill. All hills can be ridden at your own pace and walked if necessary. The ride leader is Liz Weekes.

SATURDAY 16th FEBRUARY: LONG RIDE: SEEKING SNOWDROPS IN SE OXFORDSHIRE

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 searching for snowdrops and other spring flowers that might be there. 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 community-run 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.

Of note: This ride marks my 10 year anniversary with Isis Cyclists and the route is an extended version of my very first ride with the group. Fingers crossed that it will be a glorious spring day as it was 10 years ago! I do hope that you can join me. 

SUNDAY 17th FEBRUARY: TEA, CAKES AND MEMORIES – A SOCIAL EVENT

You are all warmly invited to St Margaret’s Institute on Polstead Rd in North Oxford for tea, cakes etc and a chance to share memories of the first 10 years of Isis cyclists, possibly prompted by a collection of photographs taken on our rides. We hope you will enjoy reliving some of the adventures that we’ve shared together over the years, the places we’ve visited and the things we’ve seen along the way. There won’t be a formal presentation. We’ll just project images to enjoy and spark off (hopefully!) happy memories and kick start conversations. The hall will be open from 2pm to around 4pm, so if you can’t make it for the whole time, do feel free to drop in for part of it, it will be great to see you. Natasha Williams is in charge of catering and sends the following message:

I’m not a whizz in the kitchen but I’m sure many of you are.  I’m thinking cakes/cookies, etc and maybe some quiches and sandwiches. So, if you’re happy to pledge any items or tea, coffee and soft drinks, please let me know via the Contact us page and I’ll make sure we have a nice selection of goodies. If you’re not going to be able to make the event but would still like to contribute, I can receive donations at my flat.

There will be a donation tin to help cover the cost of room hire and if there is any extra, it will be given to a cycle-related charity.

SUNDAY 24th FEBRUARY: JOINT ISIS/OXFORD CYCLING UK RIDE TO COFFEE AT WATERPERRY

Meet outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad Street, Oxford for a prompt 9.30am departure. The route will leave Oxford via Headington and Barton. It will then continue through Stanton St John, and Worminghall to coffee at Waterperry Gardens. The return route will take us to Wheatley and south to Cuddesdon before descending to Horspath and Oxford (via Cowley). The return route is 26 miles long and does include some hills. Before coffee there is a climb up to Headington followed by one from Barton towards Stanton St John. After coffee we have the hill up to Cuddesdon to look forward to. All hills can be taken at your own pace. The ride to coffee will be slightly faster (average 11mph) in order to get to Waterperry in good time. The return route will be a bit more relaxed. The ride leader is Natasha Williams.

January 2019

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Ellen and Liz W in action!

Ellen writes… A very happy new year to everyone!

As most of you know, 2018 saw our tenth birthday and we have therefore been looking back with much fondness on our first decade. Back in October, Jane and I gave a presentation to Cyclox entitled “Isis Cyclists – 10 years of sweet success”. As part of this I gathered together lots of photos of us and of what we’d seen and where we’d cycled to during this time. On Sunday 17th February, we’ll be having an afternoon social gathering at St Margaret’s Institute on Polstead Rd, Oxford to which you are all very welcome. The plan is to drink tea/coffee etc, and eat cake (of course!) while the photos are projected for us to enjoy and, no doubt, reminisce wildly. Full details will appear in the next newsletter, but please put this date in your diary now!

One of the pleasant things to do in the depths of winter is to think about the summer! That’s exactly what we’ve been doing over the last few weeks as we’ve been planning our 2019 weekend away. The weekend will be from 7th – 9th June and we are returning to the Cotswold View site that we visited in 2016 weekend away. It’s located between Charlbury and Enstone, and as in previous years we will offer a ride out on the Friday afternoon, a choice of two rides on the Saturday and a return ride on the Sunday. For those of you who were on the 2016 weekend, there is so much great cycling available that we won’t need to repeat much of what we did then. We are planning to have a picnic on the Friday night and we will eat out on the Saturday night. For more information about the accommodation options, please visit the Weekends Away page.

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. And do check out our tips for winter cycling.

Happy cycling!

SATURDAY 12th JANUARY: MEDIUM RIDE: CONQUERING BOARS HILL!

Meet in Woodins Lane (where it meets Paradise St) off the road by the temporary traffic lights from 11am for an 11.15am departure. We will be heading towards Boars Hill and so some ascent is inevitable. However all hills can be taken at your own pace, or walked, if preferred. This 15 mile ride will explore some of the countryside between Oxford and Boars Hill and will take refreshment at the Bystander PH in Wootton. The ride leader is Natasha Williams. 

SATURDAY 19th JANUARY: LONG RIDE TO LUNCH AT ANNIE’S AT THE CANAL YARD, THRUPP

Meet outside the Sheldonian Theatre, Broad St, for a prompt 10:30am departure through University Parks and Marston. After crossing the ring road we will take a northward route through Woodeaton and Islip to Bletchingdon. We will then turn south again through Hampton Poyle to the cycle track across the fields to skirt the north side of Kidlington. A brief stretch alongside the A4260 takes us to Thrupp for lunch at Annie’s tearoom at the Canal Yard. Afterwards, we will retrace our steps to the top end of Kidlington, thence to Gosford and back into Oxford via the Banbury Road.

The ride is just over 22 miles, with two modest climbs (one through Woodeaton and the other up to Bletchingdon), and will be taken at the slightly faster pace normal for Isis long rides. Lunch will be after 14.5 miles, so you may wish to bring a snack to eat at one of the regrouping halts. If the weather is unpleasant we can shorten the ride by cutting across from Islip to Kidlington.  The ride leader is Liz Matthews.

SUNDAY 27th JANUARY: JOINT ISIS-OXFORD CYCLING UK RIDE TO COFFEE AT THAME

Meet outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad Street, Oxford for a prompt 9.30am departure. We will be leaving Oxford along the Cowley Rd and the Barracks Lane cycle track. We will then cross the ring road and ride through Horspath, Littleworth and Wheatley. From there, the route will take us to Waterperry, Worminghall and Shabbington before picking up the cycle track into Thame.

The return route will take us back to Worminghall and then to Stanton St John, entering Oxford via Elsfield and Marston. The entire route will be around 32 miles long and includes a few climbs which, as usual, can be taken at your own pace. The pace before coffee will average around 11mph which should get us to Thame at around 11am. The return route will be taken at a more relaxed 10mph average speed. The ride leader is Leonor Barroca.

December 2018

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(Spotted on a wall in Amsterdam a few years ago)

Ellen writes… Well, here we are contemplating the end of 2018 and the fast-approaching festive season. This month we have just the three regular rides (short, medium & long) to provide some distraction from all that Christmas stuff.

Throughout the winter we will try, whenever feasible, to start our rides a little later than usual to give the temperature the chance to rise a bit. So don’t get caught out: make sure you check the start time before setting out. We are very much hoping that we will be able to plug the gap between December’s long ride and January’s short & steady ride with a “pop-up” ride. We’ll keep an eye on the weather and choose a good day (assuming there is one) somewhere round the weekend after Christmas. So, keep an eye on your emails and join us to burn of the Christmas pudding.

Finally, a heads up on a couple of things for the new year. We are currently mulling over the possibilities for the 2019 weekend away and hope to announce a date in the next newsletter. Secondly, following the presentation Jane Carlton Smith and I gave to Cyclox in October, we thought it would be nice for members to enjoy a winter social meet-up over drinks and (of course) cake to view the many photos collected of our activities, the places we’ve visited and the things we’ve seen along the way over the past 10 years. After reaching this venerable age, I think we’re entitled to reminisce a bit. We are planning to gather on a Sunday afternoon in February and details will be in the next newsletter.

Whatever you’re up to this month, have a very good Christmas and New Year.

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.

Happy cycling!

SATURDAY 1ST  DECEMBER: SLOW AND STEADY RIDE TO SANDFORD FOOD MARKET

Meet at 10.00am at Bonn Square at the end of Queen Street for a prompt 10.15am departure. We will ride down St Ebbes to the river Thames and pick up the South Oxford Cycle Route and continue south along the Thames Towpath, recently resurfaced. Then we will head towards Sandford Lock to cross the Thames and take refreshments at Sandford Village Hall cafe. There is also the weekly food market for a bit of shopping.

Visit their project website: https://talkingshopsandford.wordpress.com/about/

You can order food online to collect on the day if you wish: visit https://talkingshopsandford.wordpress.com/goods-to-order/

From there we will return to Oxford via Littlemore, Rose Hill, Iffley village and Meadow Lane. This ride is 8 miles long. It will be taken at the pace of the slowest rider. The ride leader is Clare Farley.

SATURDAY 8TH DECEMBER: MEDIUM RIDE TO WHEATLEY

Meet in Broad Street in front of the Tourist Info Office at 11.15am for a prompt 11.30am start. We will leave Oxford following the Marston cycle path, then Old Headington, Bayswater Road and onto the cycle path along the A40 to take us to Wheatley for cake or lunch at the Sun Inn, Wheatley if they can accommodate us or at the garden centre otherwise. On the way back we will take the National Cycle route 57 via Littleworth & Horspath. The ride will be around 15 miles long and will include the climb from Marston to Headington and, after coffee, the hill from Wheatley through Littleworth towards Horspath. If coffee is taken at the garden centre there will be a “bonus climb”(!) of Ladder Hill! All hills can be taken at your preferred pace, or walked. The ride leader is Lilia Bonacorsi.

SATURDAY 15TH DECEMBER: LONG ‘FESTIVE FUN’ RIDE

Meet outside the Sheldonian at 9.45am with you, your bike, or both, looking suitably festive: e.g. tinsel twined around tubes, baubles dangling from the crossbar, mistletoe tied to your handlebars, reindeer antlers poking through your helmet etc. Let your imaginations run riot – but please ensure that your bike remains safe to ride. Christmas lights threaded through your spokes are not recommended!

We’ll ride out via the South Oxford cycle route, Kennington, Sunningwell and Boars Hill, and back via Dry Sandford, Besselsleigh, Cumnor and North Hinksey. Altitude-wise, there’ll be a sedate ascent up the Bagley Wood Road and a very short but steep climb out of Sunningwell (getting off and pushing is of course permitted!). Coffee will be at the Dog House pub in Frilford.

In the email version of the newsletter, Ellen indicated that we might stop at the Bothy Vineyard (next to the Dog House) for pre-Christmas tasting and sales. Unfortunately, it isn’t open until the next week, so we won’t be able to stock up for Christmas dinner.

The route should be just over 20 miles, see: https://gb.mapometer.com/cycling/route_4070011. The leader is Liz Matthews.

If people think the idea of decorating bikes is fun but feel that the distance is a little too far, please let me know and I’ll shorten the route to a medium length (15-17 miles). More people are preferable to more miles!

SATURDAY 29TH DECEMBER: POSSIBLE POP-UP RIDE

Weather permitting! If a ride is taking place we’ll send a message to the mailing list, so keep an eye on your inbox day or two beforehand.

November 2018

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Cool bikes in the Design Museum Helsinki (photo by Liz Matthews)

Ellen writes… I think that there’s absolutely no doubt now that winter is on the way, so it seems timely to remind you that we will be running a full programme of our four regular rides over the chilly season, so why not wrap up and join us? Should weather conditions make the ride unsafe (snow, ice, high winds etc.) then cancellation will be announced via a Google Group email the previous night, so if in doubt do remember to check before starting out. We will try to get cancellations up on our website, but can’t guarantee to do this in time, so the Google Group email should always be your first port of call if you have any doubts. And do check out our tips for winter cycling.

The leaders’ group will be meeting this month to plan the next four months of rides, so if you have any requests to visit somewhere or know of a new teashop we might like to try out, then please do email us via the Contact Us page. We will also be setting a date and mulling over possible venues for the 2019 weekend away, so watch this space!

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.

Electric bikes: Over the past year or so, the number of electric bikes that can be seen around the city seems to have soared. If you have an electric bike and are unsure about whether or not you will be given a warm welcome on our rides, don’t worry! We are very happy for e-bike riders to join us and are very pleased that they offer people who might not otherwise get the chance, an opportunity to experience the fun of cycling. If you do join us on an e-bike, we just ask that you don’t go full throttle, but ride at the same pace as the rest of the group. And make sure your battery is sufficiently charged before you set out.

Happy cycling!

SATURDAY 3rd NOVEMBER: SHORT & STEADY RIDE: SANDFORD-ON-THAMES – NEW RIDERS VERY WELCOME!

This ride is ideal for newcomers and lapsed Isis cyclists, as it is mainly flat and is an easy route along the river towpath and quieter lanes and tracks in the city.  Meeting outside the Sheldonian Theatre on Broad St, Oxford from 9.45am for a 10am start, we will head out through south Oxford towards Kennington. This will be our busiest stretch along a B road, so we’ll form a safe group together. We then leave the traffic behind to take a track down to the river tow path and cross the Thames at Sandford lock; then we call in at the village hall for coffee and breakfast (and shopping) at the Saturday community market. Afterwards we’ll return to our start via Iffley lock, crossing the river over Donnington Bridge, and back to the city centre.

The ride is under 10 miles, and taken at the speed of the slowest cyclist, and will be an hour to coffee, and less coming back. The ride leader is Lucy Tennyson.

SATURDAY 10th NOVEMBER: MEDIUM RIDE: AN AUTUMN RIDE THROUGH BECKLEY AND ELSFIELD

Meet at 09.45am for a prompt 10am departure at The South Lodge, University Parks (OX1 3JA), corner of Parks Rd and St Cross Rd) for this 12 mile ride out into the countryside to Beckley and Elsfield. We will cycle through University Parks before ‘doing’ the inevitable hill to Headington, taking the gentler climb along tree-lined Harberton Mead. We will make our way through the quieter streets of Headington, crossing the ring road to Barton and to the countryside beyond. The other hill is just after we leave Barton, and both hills will be taken at a gentle pace, and we will wait for riders as necessary.

We will venture out in a north-easterly direction and ride mostly on quiet country roads with beautiful autumn colours in the hedgerows and trees. We will meander our way to Beckley and admire the expansive views and big skies over Otmoor and the countryside beyond from several vantage points. After the thrill of cycling down the hill at Elsfield, we will stop for coffee at the Victoria Arms in Old Marston, and should arrive there by opening time at 11.30am. The ride leader is Lucy Wright.

SATURDAY 17th NOVEMBER: LONG RIDE: WIGGLING TO WORTON

Meet at the Sheldonian, Broad St, Oxford at 9.45am for a 10.00am departure for a meandering ride of around 13 miles out to Worton Organic Gardens for coffee and cake. We’ll leave Oxford by heading north through Cutteslowe and onto the track to Water Eaton. We will then make our way through the back roads of Kidlington, past the church, before we cross the railway and the canal and ride along Begbroke Lane to the A44 cycle track. We will turn back towards Oxford before turning off through Yarnton village and onwards to Worton and the Organic Gardens. After coffee (and possibly some shopping) we will take an 8 mile long route back via Eynsham, Farmoor and the Botley Road. The return route is 21 miles and there are no hills to speak of. There are two sections of off-road track which are fine for all but the thinnest road tyres. Ride leader is Liz Weekes.

SUNDAY 25th NOVEMBER: JOINT ISIS/OXFORD CYCLING UK RIDE TO COFFEE AT WATERPERRY GARDENS

Meet outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad St, Oxford for a prompt 9.30am departure. We will leave Oxford via the University Parks cycle track and Old Marston before crossing the ring-road and climbing Elsfield Hill. After wending our way through the village, we will turn onto the B4027 through Stanton St John and onto Forest Hill. After a short section of A40 cycle track we will descend through the village of Holton and then turn towards our refreshment break at Waterperry Gardens. After coffee we will return to Oxford via Worminghall, Stanton St John and Barton, arriving back in Oxford at the Headington roundabout.

As usual with these rides, the pace to coffee will be around 11mph to enable us to arrive by 11am. The return journey will be at the usual Isis Cyclists long ride pace of about 10mph. The return route will be approximately 22 miles in length and includes three hills which can be climbed at your own pace. The ride leader will be Ellen Lee.