Bobby and I have been getting out on some Dad ‘n’ Lad bike rides these last couple of weeks in way of training for something he wants to do as a charity fundraiser later in the year. He wants to ride 100-miles in a day for charity. The idea came from a documentary which we both watched a few months back about Raleigh Bicycles where one of the interviewees recounted her first bicycle and going out on a 100-mile bike ride with her dad in Yorkshire when she was 9-years-old – that’s the same age as Bob.
Commuting by bike from Bicester to Oxford
Although we went from Kidlington, we regularly cycle from Oxford to Bicester when we spend time in the city on our boat, so I wanted to cover the potential of using the Bicester to Oxford route for commuting.
This 15.6-mile route is relatively easy to do and is on either cycle paths or quiet roads all of the way. It should take around 1 hour and 20 minutes, but a disproportionate section of this time is waiting at the traffic light controlled crossings by the junctions of Bicester Village, Aylesbury Road and Tesco. In fact, it took us about 15 minutes to navigate these lights yesterday – a distance of just 0.26 of a mile!
This is madness in a climate where we should be giving pedestrians and cyclists the priority as they are not polluting their surroundings or making the air toxic like cars, vans and lorries.
This route took the National Cycle Route 51 between Kidlington and Bicester. This is a lovely route for a weekend amble, but for commuting it would be great if there were a better route which avoided the hill at Bletchingdon. A route along the Oxford Parkway to Bicester train line would work well and would knock valuable time of cyclists commutes.
Cycling in Bicester
I was born in Oxford but brought up in Bicester. I remember being my son Bobby’s age and disappearing with my mates for a ride around Bicester. I remember it taking 45 minutes – and that was with loads of stops to climb the odd tree or sneak onto the old RAF base to play in the old pillboxes.
Today, Bicester is very different. Although cycling infrastructure needs work, compared to Kidlington, near where we started, Bicester is much more cycle-friendly.
Saying that though, the car is obviously still ‘king’ in my old hometown. That’s obvious from the endless waiting for us cyclists at crossings where cars belching our pollution still have the priority.
We did though have a great ride up from town. After enjoying some chips we went through the Market Sq then on to Hunts Close on a path and then up along Queens Avenue towards Kings End.
The bikes we took
Bobby was on his trusty Claude Butler road bike and I took my 8Feight cargo bike. I needed to collect a large tent from my folk’s house in Bicester so the cargo bike worked really well for this. I would say though that the barriers between Queens Avenue and Hunts Close were a bit narrow, but we made it through. I need to keep this in mind though as I am on the team launching Cycling Without Age Oxfordshire over the next months and these barriers will mean this joint cycle/pedestrian path will be out of limits to our bikes and service users.
Over to you…
Have you cycled this route? I’d love to hear what you thought of it!
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