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Getting back into cycling

Do you want to start cycling, or cycle more often? If, so you’re not alone. In this post, we’ll explore simple ways to get back into cycling.

Finding Your Way

Finding the fastest, quietest and safest way to get from A to B on a bike isn’t always obvious or necessarily easy. Fortunately, there is modern technology that can help fill the gaps in local knowledge.

Many people will be familiar with the ‘cycling’ option within the navigation section of Google Maps, but this is blown out of the water by the extraordinarily detailed and accurate routes offered by the fantastic CycleStreets app (or website). Using the Open Street Map data, this service considers a far wider range of paths and tracks, and might pleasantly surprise you with the variety of routes it offers.

Get Friendly Support

There are a number of cycling organisations dedicated to supporting and promoting cyclists and cycling across Oxfordshire.
With over 400 members, Cyclox is the voice of cycling in Oxford, and campaigns tirelessly to improve the provision of cycling facilities and raise the profile of cycling within local government. They also organise regular events and work to improve the provision of cycle safety training, especially within schools. Get in touch to see how you can join in and help out.

If you would like a gentle re-introduction to cycling, or have specific requirements that make most bikes hard or impossible to use, the friendly volunteers of Wheels For All may be able to help you. While you are welcome to bring your own bike, they also have a huge number of specialist bikes on-site - including tricycles, hand-pedal bikes, recumbent tandems and cargo bikes that can carry a wheelchair up front. They run bi-weekly drop-in sessions at Horspath Athletics Ground on Friday mornings.

If you would like to spread your wings further and ride on the road with a club, the vibrant, friendly Cowley Road Condors organise regular rides including ones geared specifically to newcomers and have a dedicated women’s section.

Fixing Your Bike

All bikes need maintenance and a regularly serviced bike is likely to keep going without unexpected problems. Alongside the great array of independent bike shops across Oxford, there is also the opportunity to learn how to fix your bike yourself, in a friendly and well-equipped workshop. Local social enterprise Broken Spoke Bike Co-Op, run open workshops Thursday to Sunday - just drop in, though plan to arrive early as it can be very popular!

There are also regular pop-up bike repair stations at the regular swap shops and farmers’ markets around Oxford, and Oxford Repair Cafe will also perform basic bike repairs (as well repairing almost anything else you might need mending).

It’s a great place for cycling

If you can find routes that you are comfortable with, Oxford is a great place to be a cyclist. There is much room for improvement, however, and many groups, like Oxfordshire Liveable Streets, eager to make the change that would turn Oxford into a true ‘Cycling City’. If you are interested in making this change happen, why not get in touch with your local councillor and MP, and tell them why you would like better cycling provision within Oxfordshire. You could also support OLS' campaign to create a Mini-Holland in East Oxford.

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