Chit Chat December 2016

Thu, 1 December, 2016

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Certainly outside it is, with a big frost on the ground and icy, icy weather.

That makes it slippery on the roads, but can actually be good news off-road. The puddles freeze over, so you can ride over them without getting such a big splash of cold water.   Usually the first rider over cracks the ice but gets across dry, the second might get a wet – for this reason you are more likely to find a cunning old fox like me near the front on the group as temperatures drop to sub-zero.

The following day, your cunning old fox forgot his gloves for his cycle commute. Chilled paws!

On the road, the Autumn Colours – Chilterns Special ride run by Steve Swanton on 29th October was a great success. The leaves were at their height of multi-coloured-ness, and a great turnout of 19 riders gathered in the car park on Woodcote village green. Given the large numbers, they split into two groups using the benefit that several riders had loaded the route to their GPS units. The riders came from across the county: Oxford, Wallingford and Wantage.

AGM 2016 Report

We held our Annual General Meeting on 12th November. We heard reports from Officers and the Informal Groups in a shorter format than previous years, so we could focus discussion on our plans for 2017. The Committee members were re-elected and the Volunteers list was updated and ratified.

For the Informal Groups, Wallingford is now represented by Peter Wood, but the points-of-contact for Bicester and Witney were standing down. The day after the meeting, I joined the CTC Witney regular Sunday ride and I’m glad to say that after a brief discussion in a café in Bourton-on-the-Water, Kevin Arnold volunteered to take over the role. By coincidence, Steve Swanton had joined the Oxford City Group, and they arrived at the same café while we were there.

Cycling UK Bicester had a meeting organised for the following Wednesday. At that meeting they agreed a new ‘Steering Group’ to coordinate the group going forwards, and that Jane Benham would be the Point-of-Contact.

We had two main Motions at the AGM. The first was to vote on the name of the group. The result was in favour of changing our name to Cycling UK Oxfordshire. Supporters of the change said that, like the national organisation, this better reflected a widening range of activities. But, do not be concerned as we will continue our touring cycling, and we won’t be scrapping our ‘winged wheel’.

Our second motion was to define standard ride categories for Oxfordshire, to reflect the speed, distance and/or difficulty of rides, that can be used across all the types of ride that we organise. This aim to help riders to make an informed choice about the rides they join, and we plan to build this on the well-liked Cycling UK Wantage ‘star’ system. The Motion was passed without contention.

We also appointed a new Webmaster, Chris Thompson, who will take over from the excellent work of Jo Munt. So please expect a new website at before the 2017 cycling season starts.

Finally, we turned to plans to fill in that 2017 ride calendar. Most of this happens through the Informal Groups, but some rides are organised by ‘Oxfordshire’. We agreed that a repeat of our Annual Century ride was a must, and that we would aim to do more ‘themed’ rides like the Autumn Colours one. We’ll also continue the Off-road rides.

I hope that many of you will keep cycling over the winter. Don’t forget that this is what ‘earns’ those glorious days when sunshine and warmth return in spring!

Happy cycling!

Regular Rides with CTC Oxfordshire’s local groups

  • Cycling UK Bicester. 1st Saturdays and 3rd Sundays, both at 10am from Bicester Leisure Centre. These are 20 to 30 mile leisurely rides with a coffee stop. If the group is large, we split into shorter/slower and longer/slightly-faster groups.
    Check the website for additional rides and shorter ‘Confidence Building Rides’.
  • CTC Wallingford rides. 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month, both from Wallingford Market Place at 1:30pm. The 1st Sunday ride is a gentle 20-25 miles.   The 3rd Sunday is a bit longer and a bit faster, usually 30-35 miles.
    Shorter ’10 mile’ rides: will run from time-to-time – check the CTC Wallingford website.
  • CTC Witney rides. Most Sundays, starting at 9:30am at the Buttercross in Witney. 20-40 miles depending on the group and the weather.
  • Off-road rides. Calendared rides are taking a break due to variable weather – they’ll be back in April or May. But, if you fancy a ride when the weather is good, please drop me a line.

All of these rides welcome guests and operate on the basis of ‘no one gets left behind’. More information is on our website (soon to change to You will also find links to all the local Cycling UK / CTC groups in the county, including Oxford City, Isis women’s cycling group, CTC Wantage and the Oxfordshire Midweek group.

If you are not sure whether there is a group offering rides that fit your own preferences, send me an email and I’ll try to point you in the right direction.

Happy cycling,

Robin Tucker

Cycling UK Oxfordshire, formerly CTC Oxfordshire