Finding good road cycling routes through Oxford from the Cotswolds was great fun. It features as an overnight destination on two of the Velobreaks’ UK cycling holidays so we’ve spent quite a bit of time there. Like many university towns it’s become more cycle friendly although it’s far from perfect.
In Oxford there’s always an eclectic mix of cyclists and bikes out and about. Students clutching their bags and papers on some impressively old bangers; groups of tourists with cameras round their necks on hired bikes; Mums and Dads with the kids in tow; commuters rushing home; to the likes of me in full lycra having strayed in from the Cotswolds. Consequently you’ll need to have your wits about you, as you’re sharing Oxford’s cycle paths and roads with bikes going at anywhere between 5 mph and 25 mph.
In planning the routes we’ve tried to follow two main rules – good road surfaces and a feel for the surroundings. In Oxford that means taking in the architecture and the history, like passing under the Bridge of Sighs, crossing the Magdalene Bridge and cycling through the back streets of Jericho. Wherever possible we’ve used much of the National Cycle Route network, which has been well designed to send you past many of Oxford’s famous and historic college buildings. So my advice for cycling through Oxford is to go slow for at least these few miles and enjoy the sights, especially as the summer now seems to have arrived.
If you’re just passing through from or to the Cotswolds then check out the excellent cycling friendly Handle Bar Café in St Michaels Street for coffee and cakes. Or if you’re stopping overnight in one of the quality small hotels or guest houses that Velobreaks have chosen then I recommend venturing out into the heart of the city for a pint in the quaint old Turf Tavern before strolling out to one of many great restaurants. There’s a world of choice in Oxford with every taste and budget catered for.