Oxford is well known as a cycling city. On an average day in term time about 20000 people commute into Oxford City Centre by bike. At first glance, the idea of being part of that chaotic scene on Oxford’s cramped roads may seem daunting, but it doesn’t take long for most people to feel reasonably confident.
Some Ideas for Cycle Rides Around Oxford
- Colleges and University buildings. Lots to see in a fairly small area. Pick up a guide book from the Tourist Information Office on Broad Street or from one of Oxford’s many book shops.
- Galleries and Museums – as above
- River Thames heading South-east. Pick up the tow path at The Head of The River (Abingdon Road) and go East past the College boat houses, stopping off at the Isis pub for a drink or some food, and perhaps ending up at Iffley village (check out the beautiful old church). This is also on one of the national Cycle Network routes, which will take you to Abingdon and further if you’re feeling adventurous.
- River Thames heading North-west. Join the tow path opposite The Head of The River pub and follow it out past Osney lock (cycling not allowed on the lock-side) to a lovely water meadow area called Port Meadow – ideal for picnics in the summer, and on to Wolvercote village. There are a couple of good pubs which serve food – The Trout at Wolvercote, and the Perch at Binsey.
- Ride out to Woodstock and Blenheim Palace (about 10 miles / 15 kilometres). Woodstock is a pretty, slightly touristy village with some excellent tea-rooms, antique shops, etc. Blenheim is a great historic palace, with extensive grounds. There is a cycle path alongside the road for much of the way and the route is easy (Woodstock Road begins just North of the City Centre and goes straight to, yes, you guessed it…….Woodstock !) Beware the two busy roundabouts on the A40 and A34 by the ring-road.
- The North West corner of the County, between Burford and Banbury has a real feel of the Cotswolds, but without all the tourists. Lots of little villages, thatched cottages quaint pubs and gently rolling countryside. The easiest way to explore it by bike is to put the bike on the train and go out to Shipton-under-Wychwood or Kingham, then return on the train from Banbury (or vice versa if the wind direction suits).
Off-road rides around Oxford
There’s a few off-road riding areas in the immediate vicinity of Oxford, Shotover Country Park, beyond Headington offers a basic off road cycle loop and there’s plenty of bridal ways and other trails to explore around the Boars Hill area which you can access from Harcourt Hill in Botley. There is good riding to be found a short drive away. Some of the London coaches will drop off cyclists at Lewknor Turn at the foot of the Chilterns. Also Aston Hill Bike Park near Wendover is just a short 45 minute drive from Oxford and offers some of the best mountain bike facilities in the country and with the Family trail in Wendover woods across the road the two can be linked up to make a good 2 to 3 hour cross country loop.
Below is an example of one of the more “extreme” trails that can be found at Aston Hill Bike park.
Road cycling is very popular in and around Oxford with some great country side to explore on Oxfords door step. Head towards Woodstock and you’re on the edge of the Cotswolds with amazing rolling country side or head out into the Chiltern’s for some challenging hill climbs.
Don’t want to ride on your own? There are many cycling clubs in and around Oxford that you can join with group rides to suit every level of road cyclist.
Present your club membership card in-store and receive 10% off every purchase!
Cowley Road Condors
Oxonian Cycling Club
Mid Oxon Cycle Racing Team
Oxford City Road Club
Bicester Millenium CC
Oxford University CC
Oxford Triathlon Club
Bike theft is a problem in Oxford, but you can park a reasonable quality bike around Oxford without it getting stolen as long as you follow these golden rules to beat the thieves:
- Use a solid, hardened steel U-lock or heavy-duty motorbike-style chain and padlock, rather than a cable lock
- Always lock the frame of the bike to a solid object (bike stand or railings) with your U-lock. In term time it can take a few minutes to find a free bike stand or railings, but don’t be tempted to leave the bike unattached!
- Find a way of securing any quick-release parts on the bike (wheels and/or seat post)