March 2021

Although February was gloomier than average, a glance at the Isis in Isolation photo album for the month captures the amazing variety of weather it threw at us, from snow and ice, fog, a cold wind straight from eastern Europe (a -10 degree wind chill factor one day!) to some wonderful, bright sunshine and more recently a temperature that might almost be described as “warm”. What a lot packed into a short time!

Assuming the Government’s “roadmap” goes to plan, it shouldn’t be too long before Isis Cyclists will be able to start up once again, using the same plan as implemented in the Autumn. We are looking to start the Saturday after Easter, 10th April with some short & steady routes, followed by medium rides on 24th April. We will publish full details in the next newsletter, once we know for sure that we can go ahead.

This very strange year is reflected in our most recent annual report, which will be presented at Oxford City Cycling UK’s AGM on Sunday 7th March. Thinking back to the rides in the first six months, before Covid stopped us in our tracks, was like thinking about a different universe!

With any luck, this will really be the last newsletter containing no Isis Cyclists rides. All of the members of the leaders group are looking forward to getting back to a bit more normality and getting stuck into leading rides again.

February 2021

Ellen writes…

Welcome to the February 2021 edition of the Isis Cyclists Newsletter. I hope that you, your family and your friends have all kept healthy through what has been a pretty tricky month.

I’m afraid February looks very much like another month without any Isis Cyclists rides. However, with the vaccination programme gearing up and spring on its way, surely it can’t be too long before we can ride together again?

Bike Buddies have been out and about again during January and some of them even managed to find some blue sky to enjoy! Here’s a selection of photos of what people have got up to in January.

Happy cycling and fingers crossed that we can ride together soon!

Flexipave cycle tracks

The Flexipave surface on Peep O Day Lane

Thanks to those of you who took the trouble to send me your comments on the various local cycle tracks that have been resurfaced with Flexipave. I fed all your feedback back to the company who designed and created the surface.

One question I asked was how the surface is expected to deal with tree roots, which cause havoc, damaging ordinary tarmac based surfaces. I was told that tree roots grow up towards a tarmac surface because they are searching for both air and moisture, neither of which can permeate tarmac. Flexipave has been designed to allow both air and moisture through to the soil below and so there should be no reason for tree roots to grow upwards. Let’s hope the trees behave as predicted, and that our new tracks remain smooth for many years to come!

January 2021

Normally, the turn of the year gives us a chance to look forward to better things ahead. However, for the moment Isis Cyclists can’t organise their regular rides. Tier 4 rules mean that an individual can only ride with another single person outside their household. However, with better weather and the vaccination programme starting we will surely be back riding in small groups at some point in the next few months. Rest assured, we will start up again as soon as we can.

In the meantime we hope you are able to get out and about and take advantage of the very quiet roads. This might not seem a particularly attractive prospect, but as long as you wrap up it’s still wonderful in its own special way! See our tips for winter cycling.

The flooded River Thames at Bablock Hythe

December 2020

In this issue:

The spectacular annual murmurations of starlings on Otmoor proved a popular destination for individual rides in November.

Ellen writes…

Hello Everybody,

Unless there is a last minute hitch, the rule of 6 outdoors is back this week, and so we are able to offer our intended programme of rides in December! However, as we are emerging in the new “improved” Tier 2, I’m afraid that there won’t be any indoor cafe stops. You are strongly advised to bring your own refreshments as it may not be possible to get take-away coffee and cake.

I hope that you have managed to get out and about a bit during the current lock-down. With short days, this is much more of a challenge than it was in the spring. I’m lucky that my work recognises the importance of fresh air and exercise. This means that I can take an hour or so out in the middle of the day to get on my bike. On sunny days, being outside during daylight hours is just such a mood lifter.

I’m not the only Isis Cyclist who has been out there making the most of slightly quieter roads. Below is a link to “Isis in Isolation” photographs for November 2020. I make no apology for having selected a number of stunning skyscape and sunset pictures. When the gloom has lifted, we’ve had some wonderful skies to enjoy. November is a real transition month. At the start of the month the autumn colours were still really vibrant, but by the end the countryside is definitely in winter mode. For obvious reasons there are fewer people in this month’s photos, but plenty of stunning scenery.

Isis in Isolation – November 2020

Saturday 5th December: Short Rides

Meet from 9.45am for a 10am departure in Radcliffe Square, Oxford (at the back of the University Church). Note: each ride comprise 6 cyclists maximum.

Sarah Twine will lead a scenic city parks ride which is a 7-mile route taking in some of Oxford’s many parks and green spaces. It will include a climb up to Headington, but on a quiet back road where riders can go at their own pace or walk if they wish. If you want to check the route out beforehand there is a link below:


Ellen Lee will lead an 11-mile ride which will head out through North Oxford and Jericho before cutting across to Botley Rd and Osney Island to North Hinksey. The route then returns to Oxford via Wytham, Wolvercote and down the newly surfaced Oxford Canal. The link to the route is below:


Saturday 19th December: Medium Rides

Meet from 9.45am for a 10am departure in Radcliffe Square, Oxford (at the back of the University Church). Note: each ride comprise 6 cyclists maximum. However, it may be possibe to run a second group to the Bothy Vineyard, subject to the availability of an additional leader.

Liz Matthews will lead a ride south-west to the award-winning Bothy Vineyard, which is holding a Christmas mini-market from 11am to 5pm. The outward route takes us through South Oxford, Kennington and Sunningwell, and we return via Cothill, Wootton and Cumnor. In addition to the Bothy’s own wines, there will be other stalls selling jams, cakes, fresh samosas and other goodies, all in a Covid-secure environment. Since the vineyard is ending its wine production, this will be one of your last chances to purchase its produce, so leave room in your panniers for a bottle or two!

At a distance of 20.7 miles this ride is on the long side of medium, but is generally flat. Because it’s so close to Christmas, feel free to deck your bike (and/or yourself) in festive garb.


Karen Wolff will lead a 17-mile ride which will be the reverse of the route in the link below! It will start by climbing Cumnor Hill before riding through Besselsleigh, Dry Sandford, Cothill, Sunningwell and back into Oxford along the Sustrans track and river towpath.