Three distances on offer in Cotswolds university town

Oxford gets a new cycling festival next year in the form of Bike Oxford on September 7 next year.

The event centres around three rides of 20, 50 or 80 miles starting from Oxford University Rugby Club on Iffley Road. Organisers hope to attract 1,000 riders for the inaugural event.

Bike Oxford is the brainchild of Breathingspace Activities, They also run Bike Bath, which this year attracted 1,100 riders to become one of the biggest bike events in the South West.

The 20-mile ride is billed as a “family and commuter challenge” for those new to cycling or riders who cycle to work and would like to take up leisure cycling. To encourage riders to register, an early-bird discount is being offered and training advice will be published on the Bike Oxford website.  Closer to the event, local Oxford cycle club, Cowley Condors, will be organising training rides and sharing their cycling knowledge in a fun and friendly way.

The longer rides will head out into the Cotswolds. On finishing all riders will receive a limited edition Bike Oxford award and a gift bag. Spot prizes will be awarded to riders out on the course including sports sunglasses from one of the event sponsors Academy Eye wear.

Supported by Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council as well as local businesses, Cyclescheme and the universities, Bike Oxford aims to promote cycling in the area as well as attracting cyclists to the city.

Councillor Colin Cook of Oxford City Council, said: “We are delighted to support the launch of Bike Oxford, a cycling festival which show-cases not only the city but the surrounding countryside. The event will benefit the city in a number of ways and we look forward to welcoming cyclists and their friends and families for the weekend.”

Breathingspace Activities are now trying to garner support from local businesses such as food and drink producers who would like to showcase and sample their products at the event.

Steve Baxter from Bike Oxford said: “We’ve been talking with key stakeholders in the city for some time. We are now able to announce our plans, launch the website and open registration. We aim to create an iconic cycling event in this historic city.” 

Bike Oxford will also make a donation of £1 per rider to Sustrans.

For more details see the Bike Oxford website  or follow the event on Facebook or Twitter.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.