I’m writing this on the Wednesday of Bike Week, on a train into Paddington with my Brompton tucked away in the luggage rack. The theme of this year’s Bike Week was (by the time you read this) cycling to work. As most of the readers here are regular cyclists, you have probably considered cycling as a commuting option, and made a balanced decision. For many of us, bike week is every week!
However, I would guess that most people don’t give it consideration, considering it too dangerous or too energetic. Even after Bike Week you may be able to open their eyes to safe, enjoyable routes, practical options for dealing with rain and sweat (for me, the ride in is slow, and the one home is faster), and most importantly the health and happiness benefits of cycling.
At then end of May we ran our regular Century ride. I’m glad to report that all 15 of us made it round and had a very enjoyable time. Rain showers were forecast for the evening, but when we rolled back in to Islip at about 7:30pm, it had managed to stay dry. 5 people completed their first ever 100-mile ride, which is a great achievement and something they will remember for many years I’m sure.
At the other end of the distance scale (unless you are a very enthusiastic long-distance rider) our Bicester and Wallingford groups have started to test out some shorter rides of about 10 miles. The first Bicester ride in April attracted 9 riders, some who had borrowed bikes from Bicester Green. By popular demand it is now running monthly and including some town cycling to build people’s knowledge and experience while riding with more experienced cyclists.
The first CTC Wallingford 10 mile ride was a Bike Week event on 12th June. We funded a ‘Dr Bike’ session with a local mechanic who ‘treated’ 12 bikes. The afternoon 10 mile ride was a great success with 22 riders including several families with children. These two rides are great examples of how more people can dip their toe in the water, and some I am sure will go on to cycle more and more. If you have family or friends who might be encouraged by a shorter easier ride like this, please point them in the right direction.
All types of cyclist, and many non-cyclists will I hope also be attracted to coming celebrations of the cycle: Wallingford Festival of Cycling in June and Bicester Bike Day in July (dates below, or search online). Our local groups will be out supporting these events, and other more general local festivals, and promoting the benefits of cycling both for practical purposes and for enjoyable, healthy and sociable leisure.
Talking of practical benefits, I’ve finished writing and just going past Old Oak Common Depot – thus showing the benefits of my bike-rail-bike commute! Happy cycling!
Regular Rides with CTC Oxfordshire’s local groups
CTC Bicester Social Cycle Rides. 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.
Shorter ‘Confidence Building Rides’: 2nd Saturdays. These will include experience town cycling as well as country lanes on a short morning ride.
CTC Wallingford rides. 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month, both from Wallingford Mart Place at 1:30pm. This 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
Off-road rides. Now twice a month – we’re running these on the 2nd Saturday afternoon and the 4th Sunday morning until September. They will have different starting points, distances and terrain, so please keep an eye on the website.
Special rides and events
26th June – Wallingford Festival of Cycling. Includes several leisure rides and exciting races and demonstrations around the town centre.
24th July – Bicester Bike Day. Rides to ride, racing and demonstrations to watch, and a great day planned for all the family.
18th September – Cycling Picnic and Treasure Hunt. Our own main summer event will be a picnic at Standlake Village Hall. We will be organising rides to, from and around this event with other Cycling UK / CTC groups, and including a family cycling treasure hunt.
For all these, you will find more information on our website www.ctcoxfordshire.org.uk . You will also find links to all the local Cycling UK / CTC groups in the county, also 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 drop me a line and I’ll try to point you in the right direction