With June properly upon us, we can officially say that summer has arrived. June also signifies that bike week is nearly here. In just under two weeks, on June 14, Oxford will see a series of organised free rides in and around the city as part of a national celebration of cycling.
It’s co-ordinated by small groups of passionate cycling volunteers. Joining bike week rides is very easy, you just turn up and cycle, there is no need to worry about getting lost or having a breakdown, all rides have guides and someone always knows how to fix it if you get a flat tyre.
Saturday, June 14, kicks off with a choice of two rides. Either the the 9.30am Roman Ruins ride, a 25-mile round trip to the Roman villa at North Leigh or the 11am Bainton Bikes’ Oxford bike ride, a seven- mile tourist trail of our wonderful city and countryside.
Sunday sees the CTC Waterperry ride, an all-day event starting at 9.30am and ending with a lovely picnic at Bledlow.
Heading into the week – rides mainly begin in the evening at 6pm. What better excuse to leave your desk early and head on down to Broad Street Tourist Information Centre where they start.
Monday sees a ride to the Treacle Well in Binsey, a must for anyone who loved Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and has never seen the church and well that was inspiration for the great Lewis Carroll.
Tuesday is all about Oxford’s great benefactor Lord Nuffield, a scenic two-hour ride will take you around the enduring legacy of his work in Oxford.
Wednesday sees the First World War, 12- mile bike ride leaving no stones unturned in the search for the history of Oxford throughout the Great War.
Thursday has an easy paced Blue Plaque ride – if you have ever had trouble finding homes of famous past Oxonians this is most definitely a good ride to attend. Friday sees the return of Peter Thomson’s wonderful Sculpture ride, perhaps you will notice some new ones or learn more about sculptures you see every day. The second weekend of Bike Week sees the more serious mile crunchers attempting the Dorset Dash. Oxford to the seaside, on the Solstice, riding through the night after sundown, sees 100 miles of comradely riding to the coast. See http://dorsetdash.
blogspot.co.uk/. With a final CTC ride on the Sunday and a Broken Spoke free workshop it’s a good end to the packed week.
My favourite ride and not one I always manage to make is the Solstice ride, as 5.45am sees an early start to the longest day of the year. Note the ride takes place on the Friday this year, not Saturday. Aptly named the (nearly the) Solstice morning ride, it’s the day before the real thing.