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Cycling in Headington area

The best way of travelling from Headington to Oxford is by bicycle. The quickest and most obvious way is to go straight down Headington Hill, but this is not a very pleasant or safe route, and alternatives are suggested below. For those who can’t cope with the gradient on the way back up, Morrell Avenue is more manageable.

Bike wheel

 

Left: Always lock your bike in Headington, but not just by its front wheel.

If your bike gets stolen or lost, simply email the East Oxford Bike database providing details about the cycle including frame number, colour, make and any distinguishing features. The details will be added to a local police database, and when the police stop a thief on a cycle they will check the details against the database.

Oxford City Council: Report abandoned bicycles online

Headington PC Chris Miles give advice on You-Tube on how to prevent your bike from being stolen:


Cycle track through the University Parks

This is a longer but much more pleasant alternative route from Headington to Oxford, finishing up in South Parks Road. This track starts at the bottom of Ferry Road (off the Marston Road), and there are various ways of getting there, depending on your starting point in Headington. Here are three suggested routes:

  • From Old Headington: go via Dunstan Road, Saxon Way, and Copse Lane;
  • From Sandfield Road: go via Staunton Road, which crosses the Marston Ferry Road and leads straight into the east-west stretch of Jack Straw’s Lane that emerges into the Marston Road (see map).
  • From Pullen’s Lane: Cuckoo Lane is a footpath and very narrow behind Headington Hill Hall, so should be avoided; but there is a lane beside Pollock House that leads into John Garne Way.

The Cycle Track and Mesopotamia are always CLOSED on 25 December and 1 January (even though the Parks are open) to prevent the routes, which belong to the University, becoming rights of way.

When there is flooding in Oxford, always check the University Parks Cycle Track information page. Note that if there are no recent messages, everything is probably perfectly all right; but at least once a year it becomes impassable. You can sign up here to have updates sent to you: they only come occasionally, when you need them; or follow @marstonbikepath on Twitter.


Short cycle track through the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre

This hidden short piece of track is very useful: you can avoid the perils of Windmill Road and save yourself a few minutes.


Cycle track from Cherwell Drive to Summertown

This is the best way to reach Summertown. Cycle down Headley Way, and when it becomes Cherwell Drive there is cycle track all the way.


Further afield

From the Green Road roundabout, there is a two-way cycle track in three directions:

  • Along the eastern bypass towards Cowley
    This track is also easy to access from Trinity Road in Headington Quarry
  • Along the northern bypass towards the north Oxford roundabout
    Also easy to accessed from the end of Barton Road or from Marsh Lane.
    Unless you have powerful lights, avoid this route at night: the cycle track is safe, but the lights from the bypass are inadequate.
    If you don’t mind pushing your bike a short distance along a quiet and sometimes muddy footpath, the prettiest way to the northern bypass is from Stoke Place in Old Headington, via the public right of way to Elsfield.
  • Along the London Road towards Wheatley
    This starts at the Green Road roundabout. Don’t attempt to cycle around the roundabout: wheel your bike through the subway.

Both bus companies to London are able to carry up to three bikes in their luggage compartment free of charge.


Maps showing cycle tracks
  • Cyclox cycle map of Oxford
    The best and most accurate map
  • OpenStreetMap
    Shows footpaths and cycle tracks accurately, so very useful if you are going further afield
  • Google Maps
    If you click on Directions and then the cycling symbol, you will find the cycle routes shown are very inaccurate: some are missing, and some non-existent

Local cycling links

Repairs
  • Although the G.H. Williams has closed, Bob Williams is still doing repairs from home: tel. 01865 762664 or mobile 07962 896663 (strongly recommended, but repairs cannot always be done immediately)
  • “Bike Recycling” at 9A Windmill Road does repairs as well as selling recycled bikes
  • Back on Trax offers regular service days at the John Radcliffe Hospital and Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre

Notes
  • The county council is responsible for the maintenance of all cycle lanes that are painted green. These are are only found on major roads such as the Headington/London Road. Problems: email Ashley Prior
  • The city council is responsible for the maintenance of all uncoloured cycle lanes on minor roads, as well as dedicated cycle tracks. Problems: email A. Burchett
  • The city council is responsible for the cleaning of all cycle lanes: telephone their Cleansing Service Division, 01865 725912
  • Both types of cycle lane can be either mandatory (solid white line) or discretionary (broken white line). Beware of the latter, as cars and buses are allowed to drive in them; and if they only have a single yellow line, vehicles can park in them.

Oxonbike

Oxonbike

 

The Oxonbike self-service bike hire scheme is designed to get people from the Park & Ride to all Headington’s major places of work (hospitals, Brookes, University of Oxford Old Road campus, shopping centre).

 


Two (very occasional) perils of the cycle track through the Parks are cattle and floods:

Cows on the track

Floods on the track

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© Stephanie Jenkins

 

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