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.


January 2017

Ellen writes… I hope you all had a fantastic and restful Christmas and New Year break. 2017 should be full of cycling fun! Make sure you check the starting times of rides this month because some are later than usual to give us the best chance of avoiding ice and cold.


A murmuration of starlings sighted on our ride to Otmoor in November


Meet at 9.45 am for a 10.00 departure, by the statue of the ox opposite the main entrance to Oxford Railway Station. We will ride up the canal towards Wolvercote, then on through Wytham. We’ll then continue south to Botley and North Hinksey, where we’ll stop for refreshments at The Fishes, then return to Oxford via Willow Walk. The ride is 10 miles in length and is more or less flat. The ride leader is Clare Farley.


Meet from 10.45 am in Radcliffe Square, Oxford (at the back of the University Church) for an 11.00 am departure for Sunningwell. We will leave Oxford using quiet roads and tracks to join Sustrans route 5 through South Oxford, Kennington, and Radley to the outskirts of Abingdon. Here we will turn west to pick up Penn Lane, a bridle track, which will take us to Sunningwell where we will have refreshments at The Flowing Well PH. We will return more directly via Bagley Wood and Kennington. The ride is 16 miles long and largely flat. It includes a couple of sections of bridle track, so mudguards are a good idea and narrow tyres a bad idea! Please also remember to bring lights, especially if it is a dull day because it may be dusk by the time we return to Oxford. The ride leader will be Liz Weekes.


Meet outside the Sheldonian Theatre in Broad Street at 10.15 for a 10.30 start. Our intended route is sausage-shaped, going north along Sustains route 1 via Water Eaton, Hampton Poyle and Bletchingdon to Enslow. From there we turn south through Shipton-on-Cherwell and along a short section of the Oxford Canal to Annie’s Tea Room at Thrupp. Depending on the time of our arrival, you can opt for a late coffee or an early lunch. The return route is shorter and takes us south to Kidlington and across to Yarnton. We’ll join the cycle path alongside the A44; thence to Summertown.

Depending on the weather, the itinerary may change slightly once we’re beyond the ring road on the outward leg. So you can meet us anywhere between our starting-point and Cutteslowe. The maximum distance should be 22-23 miles, and the leader is Liz Matthews.


Meet outside Campus Stores in Broad Street at 9.15am for a prompt 9.30am departure to wend our way out of Oxford and head off to Waterperry for coffee.  The route back will be a pretty meander via Great Milton.  The total ride distance is 27 miles and if the weather is particularly unpleasant there are plenty of options for a quicker ride home.  Ride leader is Natasha Williams.


Monthly Programme

home-page-bannerWelcome to Isis Cyclists, an informal member group of Oxford Cycling UK. We publish details of our rides month by month, and you’ll find the current month’s rides below this introduction. To see an outline programme for up to four months ahead, visit the Looking Ahead page.

We aim to start each ride promptly, and so we encourage people to meet 15 minutes before the advertised start time in order to welcome new riders, catch up with familiar faces and sign the riders’ list. We don’t publish the ride leaders’ contact details on this site, but if you have any queries about a particular ride, please get in touch through the Contact Us page at least a couple of days beforehand.

If you’re new to cycling with a large number of other people, you may find our Tips for Cycling in a Group page helpful.

cyclinguk_web-logo-no-strap-2col-cmykIsis Cyclists and Oxford Cycling UK are part of Cycling UK.

‘Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel.’ – Susan B. Anthony, 1896