Get ‘On Yer Bike’ with the AJ Bell Women’s Tour!
By Vicki Galvin, Sport & Physical Activity Manager, Oxford City Council
Oxfordshire is gearing up to host Britain’s longest-running professional women’s cycle race and part of the prestigious UCI Women’s World Tour series.
On Monday 4th October, for the second year, Oxfordshire will host a stage of the Women’s Tour event as part of a three-year commitment that began in 2019 (the 2020 race was postponed). Different routes are planned each year to showcase the county’s beauty and diversity to a national and international audience.
This year the race starts in Bicester and comes into the city late morning from Islip. It goes through New Marston, Marston and St Clements to The Plain, then all the way up the Cowley Road before heading out of the city towards Garsington. The race then goes south to Abingdon and loops back to the west of the city before ending in Banbury. Transport disruption will be kept to a minimum through a series of rolling road closures as the cyclists come through, rather than closing the entire route.
About 100 of the world’s elite professional riders will weave their way through the city and families, workplaces, schools and communities are encouraged to line the route to cheer on competitors, to make this a community event as much as an elite sports competition. For those unable to watch live as it passes, highlights of the race will also be screened on ITV4.
Oxfordshire is expecting a boost to the local economy from hosting the prestigious event, with cycling fans expected to visit the city and county to watch the race, generating additional business for cafes, hotels, B&Bs and shops. There are health benefits too – many host venues see a surge in cycling afterwards, and the hope is Oxfordshire will be no different with more people will be inspired to learn to ride or jump back on two wheels, whether for a fun outing with the family or friends or as a way of getting to work or school.
Planning your race viewing and travel on the day
The full route is available on the Women’s Tour website and predicted timings for when the peloton will pass through each local area are also available on the Women’s Tour website so you can plan where and when to be a part of this exciting event.
Spectators are encouraged to use healthy and environmentally friendly transport to reach vantage points to watch the race though of course!
Rolling road closures along the route will involve highways and junctions, with side roads onto the route closed for short periods while the race passes through. The length of closure depends on how dispersed the riders are.
Typically the closure is 15 minutes ahead of the lead rider, and remains in place until all riders and race cars have passed through. For car travel, the event organisers advise checking the route of the race and avoiding that road for an hour either side of the predicted time the race passes through that section.
Do come along to help celebrate this exciting event as it winds its way through Oxfordshire and through Oxford City. It’s s a unique opportunity to see a professional cycle race in your community.
Getting on your bike in the city
As well as a fun, recreational activity, cycling is a great way to travel across Oxford, connecting neighbourhoods, avoiding traffic and with great access to places vehicles can’t go.
For more information about local ways to get cycling in Oxford visit GO Active Outdoors and click on the Cycling tab!