Saddle up for great week of cycle action

Tuesday 15th June 2010

By James Styring in Oxford Mail

[see live programme for latest details of Bike week rides ]
Forecasters are predicting warmer, drier weather for the rest of June, so there are no excuses for not getting out and about on a bike.

This year’s National Bike Week starts on Saturday, under the dubious banner of “Team Green Britain”, and in Oxfordshire there are a lot more rides than usual.

Cyclox, the organisers of the past six or seven local Bike Weeks, has joined forces with other county cycling groups to offer nearly 20 rides, from local jaunts with Cyclox for all ages and abilities, to a 60-mile CTC leg-stretcher. For full details, see cyclox.org.

Cycle Oxford (cycleoxford.com) will take you to the cycle speedway in Horspath, including (on 27 June) to watch local champions Horspath Hammers in a match against Southampton.

I have long intended to go on a Cycle Oxford “alleycat” – an interactive bicycle treasure hunt. On Friday, just before Bike Week officially starts, there’s a fancy dress themed alleycat, ending with a barbecue at their base in Glanville Road. And don’t miss Cycle Oxford’s introduction to bike polo on Wednesday next week, a novel and fun way to spend time on two wheels.

Sustrans and Isis have organised lots of rides mainly in the 10–25 mile range, taking you out into the Oxfordshire countryside. Remember, 25 miles isn’t far on a bike. An inexperienced cyclist can easily do 12mph on the flat, making 25 miles a two-hour breeze.

Sustrans is a sustainable transport charity which has built up the national cycle network, some parts of which feature in their rides.

Of particular note is National Route 5, linking Oxford, Abingdon and beyond. This virtually car-free route should be the default choice for any Abingdon–Oxford journey for at least nine months of the year: it is a gem.

New kids on the block Bainton Bikes are leading a ride to the Wychwood Brewery in Witney on Sunday, June 27. While all the other Bike Week rides are “turn up and go”, you have to book for this one.

The brewery normally charges for the tours but have kindly agreed to show Bike Week riders around for free. Book at info@baintonbikes.com, or call Oxford 365658.

Newcomers Abingdon Freewheelers are doing a tour from Abingdon Market Place visiting nature reserves, while Witney BUG are also arranging rides in west Oxfordshire, see cyclox.org/about/witneybikeweek2010/.

For those of you with workmates, it isn’t too late to get involved in the Oxford Cycle Challenge – a free, fun competition for employees trying to get as many of their colleagues as possible to cycle for just 10 minutes.

People can ride wherever they feel comfortable and at any time. It’s not just about cycling to work or cycling the most miles. It’s all about getting more people to experience cycling.

There are lots of prizes that you could win just by taking part. Register at oxfordcyclechallenge.org.uk or call organiser Dan Harris on 07526 690410.

The Oxford Cycle Challenge is part of a national CTC campaign in various UK cities, including Cambridge, which hopes to outdo Oxford’s efforts. Can Oxford do it? Yes, we can!

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