August 2017

Ride 300717

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

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

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

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

Have a great month’s cycling!


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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

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


July 2017

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

Weekend away 2017

Happy riders in Lechlade

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

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

Have a great month’s cycling!


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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


June 2017

Velovixen ride 210517

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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

May 2017

Lonesome pineJane, our assistant newsletter editor, writes… I missed most of the rides in April, having been away for almost the entire month.  But I did join Ellen in search of the Lonesome Pine, for which 20+ women turned out in glorious sunshine to learn about the fascinating variety of pines to be found around Oxford (though we had to miss out the lonesome one in Kidlington, due to lack of time).  We welcomed four new riders, and a great time was had by all. Download Ellen’s notes to brush up your knowledge! (PDF file)

This month’s packed programme of rides is listed below as usual, but first of all, if you’re planning to join our  jaunt to Lechlade from 9 to 11 June, please visit our Summer Weekend Away page.


Meet by the statue of the ox outside Oxford rail station from 9.45am for a 10.00am departure. This 9-mile ride, despite staying within Oxford’s ring road, will take us through no less than seven parks, with quiet roads, tow paths, or cycle lanes between them. The parks are, in order, Oatlands, Grandpont, Hinksey, Florence, Cowley Marsh, South and lastly Harberton Heights. We will stop for coffee at the spacious Café Central at Brookes University where reasonably priced, good quality snacks can be bought. We will be on tarmac paths or minor roads and there is one hill which takes us up to Hilltop road which can be walked. The ride leader is Karen Wolff.


Come and enjoy the Otmoor countryside at its springtime best.  Meet at 9.45am for a 10am start outside Jacobs and Field deli, Old High Street, Headington.  We’ll head out from Headington, through the villages of Stanton St John and Horton-cum-Studley, to the pretty village of Beckley, where we will stop for refreshments.  You can opt to visit the Artweeks exhibition in the village hall, where work on show by the Otmoor Collective of 18 artists from around the county will include mosaics, textiles, jewellery and ceramics.  Tea/coffee and cake are on sale at the exhibition, but please feel free to bring snacks of your own. Ride length 15 miles, with a couple of moderate hills which we will take slowly.  The ride leader is Lucy Tennyson.


Meet by the statue of the ox opposite the entrance to the main train station, from 9.45am for a 10.00am departure. This 24 mile ride starts with a steady climb up Cumnor Hill, then passes through the pretty villages of Cumnor, Eaton, Appleton, Fyfield, Cothill and Sunningwell, before descending Sugworth Lane to the river and following the tow path back into Oxford. We will stop for refreshments at ‘The Dog House’, who delighted all the riders last time with 2 platters of warmed chocolate croissants and excellent coffee! The ride leader is Karen Wolff.


Meet in Broad Street in front of the Tourist Info Office  at 11.15am for a prompt 11.30am start,  following the Marston cycle path/ Old Headington//Bayswater Road/Wheatley Road and onto the cycle path of the A40 to VeloVixen, at Wheatley.  On the way back we will take the National Cycle route 57 via Littleworth & Horspath.  The ride is around 20 miles and coffee/tea and cake will be at VeloVixen HQ.  The ride leader is Lilia Bonacorsi.


Male friends and partners welcome.

Meet outside the Radcliffe Camera (Vaults Café side) at 6pm for a prompt 6.15pm departure.  We will take a leisurely ride along cycle paths and quiet roads out through Kennington and towards Boars Hill where we will pick up the lovely Chilswell Lane track and weave our way through Botley to The Fishes PH in North Hinksey.  The Fishes serves a variety of light dishes, or something more substantial and, after refreshments and food for those who want it, we will head back to town via Willow Walk.  Please bring lights for the journey home.  Chilswell Lane is ideal for mountain bikes or hybrids, so if you have a choice of bikes, please bring along something sturdy.  The track is very stony for a short section, which can be walked if preferred.  The total ride is around 14 miles in length and will be taken at the pace of the slowest rider.  The ride leader is Natasha Williams.


Meet 10.15am for a 10.30am start outside the Sheldonian in Broad Street.  We will take a leisurely wander out from the city centre to the village of Wytham to visit an unusual Artweeks site, the FarmAbility project where adults with autism and learning disabilities are involved in activities to help them move forward in their lives. Photography and woodwork will be on show. Afterwards, we will call in at the picturesque village shop cafe for refreshments. We will then return via Wolvercote, where several Artweeks sites are clustered together. You have the option of stopping off, or heading on back into the city.  The ride length is 10 miles, with no hills and the ride leader is Lucy Tennyson.

Note: There is no joint Isis-Oxford City Cycling ride in May as the Oxford City Cycling group is having a camping weekend on the last weekend of the month.


April 2017

Women and BicyclesEllen writes… Last month finally saw signs of spring and we had some lovely rides in generally favourable weather. It was a shame that there was a tremendous downpour just before the short and steady ride that we organised to coincide with the Women & Bicycles Festival. It put people off, although the 12 riders who decided to brave the weather come what may were rewarded with dry conditions and even the odd glimpse of sun!

This month we have another interesting collection of rides to tempt you out on your bike although I think there’s definitely an emphasis on plants, flowering and non-flowering.

You may notice that our regular long ride this month is a little different to normal in that it will be have a pick-up at Thornhill P&R and will be finishing at the cycle campaigning event outside County Hall at 2pm. This has been organised by a number of cycling groups in the county and we hope that by offering a pick-up at a P&R we will encourage a few riders from further afield to join us before attending the rally. Here is what Robin Tucker who is the secretary of Cycling UK Oxfordshire says about the event:

Cycling groups across Oxfordshire have been working together to encourage investment in better quality cycle routes, so more people feel safe to cycle.  The coming County Council elections on 4th May provide a great opportunity to influence candidates and voters, and to give the new Council a strong mandate to do this.  We started our campaign by launching a proposal for a ‘Strategic Cycle Network for Oxfordshire’ which got great media coverage and we will be working with the national Space for Cycling campaign.  On 22nd April we will hold a campaign event, gathering cyclists and supporters of cycling from across the county outside County Hall at 2pm with candidates and media invited.  Please come and join us, either joining one of the rides from across the county and from Oxford’s Park and Ride sites, including the Isis ride that day, or just come to County Hall for 2pm.  Don’t forget to ask the candidates in your own area if they support Space for Cycling!

I’m sure you’re as keen as I am to support better provision for cyclists and hope that many of you will be able to attend the rally either by joining our long ride or independently.


Meet at 9.45am at Bonn Square at the end of Queen Street for a prompt 10am departure. We will ride down St Ebbes to the river Thames and pick up the South Oxford Cycle Route and continue south through Kennington, skirting Bagley Wood to see that spring is springing. 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. You can order food online to collect on the day if you wish. To do so, visit the Talking Shop website.

From there we will return to Oxford via Littlemore, Rose Hill, Iffley village and Meadow Lane. This ride has several short hills and is 10 miles long. It will be taken at the pace of the slowest rider. The ride leader is Clare Farley. 


The ride will start at 9:45 for a 10:00hrs start from the back entrance to Oxford University Church, Saint Mary the Virgin, High street, Oxford, meeting at in Radcliffe Square.

We will start with riders being shown the Narnia door. The ride will head along the University Parks cycle track, up Harberton Mead to Bury Knowle Park to see the new wood carving of Aslan the Lion.

The route will then take riders to the Holy Trinity Parish church, Headington Quarry, where C.S.Lewis worshipped. There will be time to enjoy a moment’s peace and tranquillity in the church, to see the Narnia window and the pew in the North Aisle where C.S.Lewis used to sit. You can then visit C.S. Lewis’s grave in the churchyard. The ride will then continue to C.S.Lewis’ house “The Kilns” in Kiln Lane, Risinghurst, where he wrote all of his Narnia books. We will then meander  back to Headington for a coffee stop at Bonjour café to sample from their range of food and drinks, including Baklava and Turkish coffee.

The ride is approximately 6 miles and will take in one hill at a slow pace and will be paced at the speed of the slowest rider. It is anticipated that the ride will take approximately 1 ½-2hrs including coffee. Please note the ride ends at the coffee stop, but if required riders can be escorted directly back to ride start. The ride leader is Sarah Twine.


Meet from 9:45am for a prompt 10am start outside the South Lodge of the University Parks (OX1 3JA, corner of South Parks Road and St Cross Road). In this ride we will be exploring all things coniferous as we wind our way through North Oxford and on to Kidlington. Learn to tell your pines from your cedars and your spruces from your firs! Take a fresh look at around 15 different species of conifer and appreciate with me their fantastic contribution to our urban landscape. On our return to Oxford we will end up at the Oxford Wine Café in Summertown for coffee and cakes. The ride is mostly flat and approx. 14 miles long. The ride leader (and self-confessed conifer nut!) is Ellen Lee.


We will meet at Jacobs Brasserie (on the corner of Osler and London Road in Headington, OX3 7RA) at 9:45am for a 10am start. We will make our way through the back streets of Headington as much as possible to Thornhill Park & Ride bus station – our pick-up point at 10.15-10.20am for any riders who want to join us here for this ride and possibly continue to the cycling campaign rally in the afternoon. We will leave here by 10.30 (at the latest) and follow the A40 cycle track briefly to Forest Hill, quickly getting onto country roads and quiet lanes through the rolling Oxfordshire countryside hunting for spring flowers. 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. Alternatively, they now serve various breakfast and brunch fare, like bacon or sausage baps, eggs or beans on toast and panini – perfect sustenance for those wanting to attend the afternoon cycle campaign rally at County Hall. 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, finishing at County Hall for the cycle campaign rally at 2pm. 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 at 9.15 for a prompt 9.30 am departure from outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad Street, Oxford. We will leave Oxford via Cumnor Hill and the villages of Wootton and Cothill before turning to enter Abingdon along quiet back roads. The return trip will use Sustrans Route 5 through the Abbey fields, Radley and along the river into Oxford. The return trip will be around 22 miles and there will be just the one hill (Cumnor). The leader will be Liz Weekes.

Note: Joint rides are taken at a slightly faster pace than Isis’ usual rides, aiming to average 11mph (18kph).


March 2017

Ellen writes… Welcome to the Isis Cyclists’ programme for March. This month we are pleased to be able to offer a joint ride with the “Women and Bicycles” festival. We are expecting around 20 riders. I understand from the festival organisers that most riders will be local, but there may be a few who are from out of town.

We are also very happy to be restarting our “Stop & Stare” rides (a sure sign that spring is on the way). This month’s ride will be looking at stained glass in and around the centre of Oxford.

Have a great month’s cycling!

Tackley 180217.png

Outside the community shop and café in Tackley (18th February). Ellen bought a massive (2kg) cauliflower from the veg stall: she reported that there was still plenty of it left a week later!


Meet from 9:45 for a prompt 10:00 departure from East Oxford Community Centre (EOCC), Princes St (just off the Cowley Rd), OX4 1DD.

The ride will be approximately 8 miles long and mainly flat along the Thames towpath, Sustrans route and incorporating Iffley and Sandford Locks. Due to the envisaged larger group size we will have two leaders and two sweepers (support at the rear of the group) for this ride and will split into two safely manageable groups on the route. We expect that the ride will take approximately 1½ hrs and will be taken at the pace of the slowest cyclist.

Please be aware that there will be some off road cycling on the tow path so do ensure you have appropriate tyres for the ride which may be muddy at this time of year, and will certainly have some residual debris from storm Doris. Weather appropriate cycling gear and helmets are advised, and your bike will ideally be well maintained, as only basic roadside repairs can be offered to riders.

The ride will leave EOCC along James Street, across Iffley Road over to Meadow Lane and alongside the recreation ground to Donnington Bridge, where we will cycle down to the Thames tow path, South to Iffley Lock. Access permitting (following storm Doris) we will cycle along the Sustrans route to Kennington and on to cross the river at Sandford Lock. We will then take a meandering route via Rosehill and Iffley, heading back along Meadow Lane and East Oxford roads to return to the starting point at EOCC, where refreshments will be available. The ride leader will be Sarah Twine.


Meet by the statue of the Ox, opposite the entrance to the rail station, from 10.15 for a 10.30 departure. This ride starts with a climb up Cumnor hill, which people can take at their own pace. After that we leave main roads and hills behind and apart from crossing one busy road, we cycle along quiet roads through the pretty villages of Cumnor, Appleton, Fyfield, Cothill and Besselsleigh, before descending back to Oxford. Our refreshment stop will be at the Doghouse Hotel, where coffee and Danish pastries have been booked! The route is 19 miles in length, and the ride leader is Karen Wolff.


Meet outside the Sheldonian Theatre on Broad Street, Oxford at 1:45 for a 2:00 start.  We aim to stop to view at least three different colleges/churches, time permitting, to look at stained glass windows dating from the 13th to the late 20th centuries.  We will stop for tea and cakes at a convenient point during the afternoon.

With stops of no more than 20 minutes (allowing for stashing bikes safely), the ride should take 2½ to 3 hours, at a slow pace, and involving some travel on the tow path between town and Iffley Village (weather permitting!).  The ride length will be about 5 miles from start to finish. Notes on the history of the glass will be provided. The ride leader will be Jane Carlton Smith.


Meet outside the Sheldonian Theatre on Broad St, Oxford from 9:45 for a 10:00 departure. We’ll leave Oxford via Headington and our outward route will take in the villages of Stanton St John and Worminghall. Refreshments will be taken at Waterperry Gardens where you can also visit the garden centre (panniers might be advisable?). The return route takes us to Wheatley, Littleworth and Horspath.

The total route is 22 miles (13 there and 9 back) and there are a couple of hills on the way and one on the return leg. The ride leader will be Liz Weekes.


Meet at 9.15 for a prompt 9.30 departure from outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad Street, Oxford. We will leave Oxford via the Cowley Rd, Barracks Lane and Temple Cowley. We’ll cross the ring road and head down the B480 Watlington Rd as far as Chiselhampton, where we will cut across to Clifton Hampden, Long Wittenham and Little Wittenham. A climb past Wittenham Clumps and we’re nearly there. Coffee is at the Root One garden centre on the A4130 near Wallingford. The return route will take us to Sutton Courtenay and onto the Sustrans route to Abingdon and back to Oxford. The entire trip will be about 34 miles long and we’ll take it at a steady pace. There are a couple of hills on the outward journey, but the return journey is flatter, with only a slight drag here and there. The ride leader will be Ellen Lee.


February 2017

Ellen writes… February might not be everybody’s favourite month for getting out on their bike, but the days are getting longer and we have another interesting selection of rides on offer to help change your mind. In fact, the month will find us riding to pretty much all points of the compass.


Ready for the off on our ride to Annie’s Tea Room on 21st January

For those of you who enjoy our medium rides, you have two bites at the cherry because you can turn our long ride into a medium ride by returning to Oxford from Tackley by train. I hope that the weather will be kind on 11th February for my “Lonesome Pine” ride, so that we can take the time to really have a good look at lots of trees. The more you look at them, the more magical they become (honestly!). For short & steady riders, there’s a trip to Headington with a chance to explore some of its nooks and crannies and finally our ride with Oxford City Cycling members will take us out west, to Witney.

Finally, next month sees the Women & Bicycles festival. We’re very pleased to announce that our short and steady ride will be happening on Sunday 5th March in conjunction with the event. For an outline of other rides in March, visit our Looking Ahead page.


We will meet at 09:45am for a prompt 10am start outside The South Lodge, University Parks (OX1 3JA, corner of South Parks Road and St Cross Road) for a 7- 8 mile gentle ride around lesser known Headington. We will cycle through University Parks, and will take a gentle climb along tree-lined Harberton Mead at a manageable and slow pace! We will explore the quiet cycle lanes and residential streets of Headington Old and New before stopping for coffee at the Bonjour Café. We will return after coffee back to South Parks Road.

The ride leader is Sarah Twine.


** Cancelled on account of bad weather **

Meet from 09:45am for a prompt 10am start outside the South Lodge of the University Parks (OX1 3JA, corner of South Parks Road and St Cross Road). In this ride we will be exploring all things coniferous as we wind our way through North Oxford and on to Kidlington. Learn to tell your pines from your cedars and your spruces from your firs! Take a fresh look at around 15 different species of conifer and appreciate with me their fantastic contribution to our urban landscape. On our return to Oxford we will end up at The Victoria Arms in Old Marston for coffee. The ride is mostly flat and 15 miles long. Please dress up warmly as we will be stopping frequently. The ride leader (and self-confessed conifer nut!) is Ellen Lee.


Meet in Broad Street in front of the Tourist Information Office at 10.45am for an 11.00am start. The ride will leave Oxford via cycle route 1. It will continue through Hampton Poyle and Bletchingdon and onto Kirtlington, then onto Tackley for lunch/ refreshments at the Tackley village shop.

Long ridethe return journey is via  Woodstock, returning to Oxford down the A44 cycle track. This route includes some sections of off-road tracks 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.

Medium ride: If you would prefer a medium length ride, it is possible to return to Oxford by train. This takes 10 minutes, costs £ 3.60, and times are: 13.26 -15.26 -17.42

Please note: If you are coming on this ride, please let Lilia know by 13th February as the village shop has to be notified. The café is not open in the winter unless arranged in advance, so the plan is to make things simple by ordering a vegetarian soup for everyone. Cakes etc can also be purchased.


Meet at 9.15 for a prompt 9.30 am departure from outside Oxford Campus Stores in Broad Street, Oxford. We will explore the countryside to the west and south-west of Oxford. The route will be mainly flat, but be prepared for the odd hill along the way.  We will leave Oxford to the north via the A44 cycle track, Yarnton, Long Hanborough, Eynsham and South Leigh. Refreshments will be taken in Witney (probably Church Green café) and the homeward route will start out along Tar Lane before turning onto the B4449 and re-entering Oxford through Farmoor and Botley. If the weather is unpleasant we may have to adapt the route on the fly. The distance will be a little over 30 miles, and the ride leader will be Liz Matthews.