Celebration of Cycling 2021

By Alison Hill

The Covid pandemic and recurrent lockdowns resulted in lots of people getting out cycling. They saw roads empty of cars, giving them the confidence they needed to dust off their bikes, lying unused in their sheds for years.  Although poignant to see the restrictions imposed on our lives it was joyous to see families cycling for pleasure. Demand for bikes shot up, in particular by those people who wanted to commute to work but who were fearful of going on public transport.

Many key workers across the county benefitted from the Bikes for Key Workers scheme, run by Cyclox and Active Oxfordshire, where a group of volunteers refurbished 500 donated bikes. Nationally the government saw the resurgence of cycling and provided funding to get more cycling infrastructure built. Oxfordshire County Council secured £3million from the government to enable the development of cycle routes and low traffic neighbourhoods in the city.  

To mark this renaissance in cycling and to help get more people onto their bikes, we are hosting a Celebration of Cycling in Oxford and market towns across the county in September. 

There will be cycling events throughout the month culminating with the first stage of the Women’s Tour of Britain, which goes through Oxfordshire on 4th October.  

These events will be for everyone who wants to cycle: young and old, confident and less confident, able and less able. There will be events for their bikes as well, with several free bike repair sessions across the city, and a celebration of the cycle too with people showing off their bikes: large and small, narrow and wide, one wheel and more. 

There will be several events in Broad Street at the weekends, with cycle smoothie makers, puppet shows, stalls.  There will be lots of rides with qualified ride leaders bringing people into the city from different communities to see the wonderful Broad Meadow. There will also be rides around the city – a traffic light free city circle, a city tour by Bainton Bikes, and a Tour de Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. The wonderful group JoyRiders will be doing several rides during the month. There will be a commuter challenge – where we can expect the bike to come out best.  

In addition, there will be cycling celebration events in Witney, Bicester, and Chipping Norton, Barton, Blackbird Leys and Rose Hill. Florence Park will host a cargo bike festival. On the 4th October you can join all those who will be lining the city and county roads to cheer on the riders in the Women’s Tour of Britain; the tour starts in Bicester, heads south and goes over the ring road to Headington and then loops round Oxford and finishes in Banbury. 

Thanks to all our partners in this Celebration of Cycling: Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council, Active Oxfordshire, Cherwell District Council, Bicester BUG, Windrush Bike Project, the University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University, Wheels for All, Cycling Without Age.

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