Buying a bike

Check if you are eligible through your work to purchase a new bike through a cycle scheme. These schemes can offer excellent payment terms and discount the cost of a new bike.
Make sure to go to a reputable bike shop so that you can be advised on the most suitable bike/size of bike for your needs.

Refurbished 2nd hand bikes can be purchased from Broken Spoke. From personal experience, I found that buying a good bike (i.e. top of budget) meant that I rode the bike a lot more and went longer distances. However, it's also a greater liability and so if your bike is expensive, it's worth insuring it.
Bike shops and Repairers
If you are a member of Cyclox or Cycling UK, you will receive a discount at a number of local bike shops – ask before you buy, you can make big savings!

Several LCEO members have been long-time customers of Reg Taylor Cycles and they speak very highly of them:
285 Iffley Road, Oxford OX4 4AQ, 01865 247040

I have been a regular customer at Beeline Bicycles who have some helpful and knowledgeable assistants:  205 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1XA, 01865 246615

Broken Spoke are also good for bike repairs and servicing and they have lots of second-hand parts for sale. Their repair days run on a first come, first served basis.
DIY Bicycle maintenance
Maintain your bike under the watchful eye of the experts at the Broken Spoke bike co-op.
Check their website for opening times

Cycle training
If you're new to cycling and want to try commuting by bike, try to find a cycle buddy at work – someone who cycles in from the same direction as you.

Fix up a meeting place and time en route and cycle in together.

This can help you until you build up confidence to commute on your own. A short course on road sense and assertive cycling can increase your safety even more.

See more about cycle training in the notes below.


Where to cycle
For suggested routes try looking at Cycle Streets' journey planner, Ride with GPS, or Isis Cyclists under  “A Selection of Isis Cyclists’ Routes”.

There are over 50 cycle routes of different lengths, from ambles around Oxford to 50-mile explorations, and also car-assisted rides to get you further away from the city. See for example the vaccination circular ride to the Kassam Stadium!

Lots of other useful information on cycling in Oxford can be found on Cyclox website, here and here.

Cycling UK have an informative page with useful local links on Cycling in Oxfordshire.

There is also information on planning routes on Cycling UK website, and a journey planner.

Want to join a group for a ride?

Check these out:

Isis Cyclists: Founded in 2008, Isis Cyclists is an informal member group of Oxford Cycling UK. Isis Cyclists run short bike rides for women in Oxford with the aim of encouraging women to get back on their bikes and commuters to enjoy leisure cycling – all as a step towards health, having fun and meeting new people. Rides are led by experienced and knowledgeable members of Cycling UK: see the Meet the Ride Leaders page. They use the best of the city’s cycle paths and quiet lanes, heading towards open country wherever possible.

Joyriders are fairly new to Oxford and a great start for women wishing to try cycling. You can find them on Twitter and Facebook.
The local Cycling UK group organises great rides for proficient cyclists.

Inclusive cycling sessions for all are offered by Wheels for All.

Bike Insurance

I've had good personal experience when making claims for theft or damage to bike from collision through The Ethical Choice, which is an ethical insurer.

There are other specialist cycle insurance companies, and you can compare them on a website such as Cycle Insurance.

This type of insurance may be over the top if you don’t possess a top of the range bicycle, so you may prefer to include it on your home insurance policy, under the All Risks section. Some specialist companies require you to keep your bicycle indoors or in a locked brick shed, and secured to the floor. Home insurers are unlikely to specify this.

Third party cycle insurance
Cycling UK membership includes third party cycle insurance as well as many other benefits. Definitely worth becoming a member if you are a regular cyclist, both for leisure and commuting. They also have a legal advice helpline for members.

Bike locks
Bike theft is rife. Make sure to buy a high security D-lock and always to lock your bike to an immoveable object. It's also a good idea to secure your wheels when parked using a cable lock.

Bike parking bays
Residents of the Iffley and St Mary’s areas of Oxford benefit from a number of secure cycle storage facilities to allow them to keep their bikes safer from theft. This includes 104 new secure cycle storage spaces along eight streets between Iffley and Cowley Road from The Plain to Bullingdon Road. The need for secure on-street cycle parking in this part of Oxford was identified by Thames Valley Police in response to a problem with cycle theft in the area.

The Streetpod product by the Cyclepods company allows eight bikes to be parked securely in the same amount of space used to park an average sized car – 5m by 1.8m. When used correctly, the front wheel of a bicycle is automatically secured when its frame is locked to the Streetpod stand.
Around five on road parking spaces were removed across the eight streets to provide space for the storage areas.

Use them!!!

Cycle training

For adults and children, see Broken Spoke – they are currently (Nov 2021) offering cycle training for East Oxford LTN residents at a very competitive rate:
Joyriders are fairly new to Oxford and a great start for women wishing to try cycling. They organise short rides, including commuting rides for women who want to build up their confidence or learn new routes around Oxford. They will be able to lend bikes in future, and can currently lend equipment such as panniers.

Find them on Twitter and Facebook.

The Vaccination Circular ride

This is a great route when going to get your vaccinations. I wish I’d known about it before I went for my jabs! Riders can just pick up the ride from their location in East Oxford. It really makes the vaccination trip into a pleasant outing.

"This short town and country ride from Radcliffe Square is a refreshing 10-mile circuit taking a lovely long towpath section southbound on the NCR 5, and some road and cycle paths through Low Transport Neighbourhood areas of East Oxford.

The route was planned when cycling to receive the Covid-19 vaccination at Kassam stadium, which is half-way through the route. It takes about an hour of leisurely cycling – add another half hour if you stop to have your vaccination at the Kassam (Sarah T).” 



Do be particularly careful at The Plain roundabout.  There are many accidents, particularly with drivers emerging from Cowley Road and turning left without paying attention to cyclists.  If you are involved in a collision, (even if you are not hurt) do notify the Police so that this is logged and will show where the specific danger points are.

A high-viz vest is a really cheap basic accessory and although not elegant, it's easy to quickly put on over any outfit when you set out on your bike.  And don't forget your lights and to make sure that the batteries work.  Bike lights left on a bike when parked risk being removed by a light-fingered passer-by, so don't be caught out.  My tip is to keep your bike lights in your bag in a plastic container so that they don't get switched on by a mistake.  If you're carrying a backpack, make sure that there is something reflective on it so that you’re easily seen.

The best way to avoid an accident is to use your road sense and cycle assertively, knowing where you are going and signalling clearly to allow drivers to see you.  If you ride in the gutter, some drivers do not notice you, so riding 1 metre out in the road is much safer.  The County Council have finally recognised that the existing painted cycle lanes are too narrow and do not comply with National guidelines, so feel free to ignore them.