2015 looks like a great year for cycling in Oxfordshire in many ways.
At CTC Oxfordshire, as at the other groups listed in this publication we had the calendars and maps out, planning our rides and events. Details of the first ones and dates for your diary are below.
We have also been helping to establish a series of social rides with a group in Bicester. They have already been out on a few informal rides, and we plan a series of Sunday rides from April to help establish a more regular pattern. This would provide a great platform for leisure cycling in the north of the county, and may also help promote cycling as part of Bicester’s development plans.
On the advocacy front, the Oxfordshire Cycling Network (OCN) has been making good progress. We had a meeting with the Leader of the County Council, the Councillor for Transport, and the Chief Executive of the Local Enterprise Partnership in late February. The Council is putting forwards good words on cycling in its Local Transport Plan 4 (LTP4) and we aim to help, encourage and if necessary pressure them into delivering.
This is where you can really help. The Council is duty-bound to take account of all responses to the consultation. Lobby groups for other transport modes will be making their inputs and we should do the best to support cycling. It is an opportunity that only comes round once every 5 years or so. The OCN is linked in to cycling groups of all kinds: leisure, touring, commuting, sporting and inclusive – so if we can show a strong bedrock of support for cycling we can help the Council to improve things for all types of cyclist.
You should be able to find the consultation documents on the web by searching for ‘Oxon LTP4’. There is quite a lot, but the best bits to read are ‘Volume 1: Policy Document’ and ‘Volume 4: Cycling Strategy’. You may also want to look at your local Area Strategy in Volume 2. Please send a response online or otherwise that supports cycling, in particular that cycling can make the county a better place to live and work, and that improved facilities for cyclists are badly needed.
That’s enough campaigning for this column, so on with the riding side. Well done if you have kept cycling through the very cold winter this year. You have been paying into the ‘bank of fitness’ that will bring rewards later in the year (as I told myself while pushing my mountain bike up a muddy slope yesterday).
Spring is the time when more of us will be getting out more often. It is sometimes hard to get re-started, and I find that having a group ride to go to is often a better incentive than trying to motivate myself. It’s also very helpful when you are pushing into the wind, and can take turns on the front.
This year, in addition to organising our own rides, we are aiming to run some training workshops for current and would-be ride leaders. The aim is to share best practices for safe and enjoyable rides between experienced and new ride leaders, and so to enable more people to lead more rides in the future. Our first event is planned for 14th March – if you would like to join that or a future workshop, please contact me on the email below.
Events and rides
- 14th March: First Ride leading workshop, as described above
- 22nd March: Our first Explorer Ride of the year, jointly with Oxford City and the Bicester group exploring the quiet roads east of Bicester. The ride will have morning starts in Oxford and Bicester and stops for coffee and lunch.
- 11th April: Off-road rides (2nd Saturdays) re-start with a session aimed at novices or those re-starting after a break. We’ll start at my house at Steventon with bike set-up and advice, cover a 2-mile ‘instructional loop’ up Steventon Hill and then an optional longer ride of about 10 miles.
- 19th April: Bicester rides (3rd Sundays) start. This will be a series of mostly morning rides over the year.
- 17th May: The Blowingstone Audax. A challenging but rewarding ride of about 110km to the Marlborough Downs and back.
- 28th June: Century Ride. Hold the date for our annual long-distance highlight. If you have ridden 100 miles before, or if you would like to achieve it for the first time, this is the ride for you.
- 4th July: Pot Luck Supper. Our popular summer social evening. CTC Members from across the county are welcome to bring and share food, drink and good company.
For all these, you will find more information on our website www.cyclingukoxfordshire.org . You will also find links to the local CTC groups in the county, and their own diverse ride programmes.
We would be glad to welcome you on our rides, and to help you find the rides that you’ll most enjoy.