Some top tips from Ben about cycling in Oxford, including how to get FREE bike checks and cycling training
Cycling in Oxford is fab. It’s fast, environmentally-friendly and great exercise. If you’re new to cycling generally or new to cycling in a city it might be a bit daunting so we’ve put together some super-simple tips for you to get on some wheels and explore Oxford!
Get a bike
There’s loads of bike shops in Oxford many of which sell second-hand bikes. You can also look on college or uni-wide Facebook groups as people are often selling bikes! See below for some top tips and places to look!
Make sure it works
Remember ABC: Air, Brakes, Chain. Check they’re all in good order each time you use your bike. There’s plenty of bike shops you can visit to get it checked over and fixed.
At Oxford SU we run a free drop in Bike Doctors a few times a term in Radcliffe Square (next to the RadCam!) where our team of mechanics can take a look at your bike. See the latest dates at: https://www.oxfordsu.org/activities/events/
Get and wear a helmet
Wear a helmet. It’s a simply as that. You can get funky ones and affordable ones plus you can lock them to your bike or carry them around. They’re as essential as a seat belt in a car or a mask in a covid-world.
Get and use lights.
It’s the law to have front (white) and back (red) lights when you’re cycling and police in Oxford have previously run spot check and given out fines on this so don’t get caught out. Make sure they are nice and bright!
Lock your bike up
Oxford has some of the highest numbers of bike thefts in the UK, mainly because there’s so many bikes. Make sure your bike doesn’t get nicked. The easiest way to do this is to get a decent d-lock. You can buy them from the Uni Security Services, many college lodges, or bike shops. Make sure you also register your bike so if it is stolen and recovered it can be returned to you.
Learn how to cycle safely
You can book 6 hours of FREE 1:1 cycle training with our Friends at Broken Spoke at http://bsbcoop.org/what-we-do/cycle-training/. Their instructors will help you feel safe and confident on Oxford’s roads. Join the calls to make Oxford more cycle friendly. Check out local cycling and campaign groups and support petitions or consultations on more cycling infrastructure for Oxford.
Check out this cycle map with lots of Oxford routes on!
Questions or ideas?
Here’s some tips on looking for a second hand bike and local bike shops from the Environmental Sustainability team at the University of Oxford:
- Size: You should be able to comfortably reach the ground with your feet while sitting in the saddle – if not the bike is too big/small or the seat needs to be adjusted up/down
- Type of bike: Choose what kind of bike you need. Road racing bikes usually have dropped handlebars, a light frame, thin tyres and are good for fast cycling. Mountain bikes have sturdier frames, thicker tyres and are good for off road cycling. Touring bikes are heavier, more comfortable, and more suited for attaching paniers and baskets. There are also many hybrid bikes.
- Test ride the bike before buying: Don’t buy a bike without viewing it first and testing it out.
- Cost: A second hand bike in reasonable condition – usually a reasonable quality bikes is around £100-£200. A reasonable quality new bike- usually from £200. Don’t pay until you have seen the bike and checked it out.
- Condition: The frame should not be cracked, tyres should be in good condition, chain not badly rusted, brakes working and gears changing easily.
- Stolen: Check BikeRegister’s database of stolen bikes against the frame ID or bike code of the bike you want to buy
Bike shops in Oxford:
Broken Spoke St Thomas School, Osney Lane, Oxford OX1 1NU, Cycle sales Tues 8.30-6.00pm
Stuart’s Bikes View online and arrange delivery, oxfordbicycles.co.uk 07889 050494
Oxford’s Reconditioned Bicycles View online and arrange delivery, oxfordsreconditionedbicycles.co.uk 07411 262957
Students of Oxford Swap – facebook
Local Bicycle Shops These sell new bikes & some second hand too. Show your card and ask for a University discount!
Beeline Bicycles 205 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1XA, 01865 246615
Bike Zone 28-32 St Michael’s Street, Oxford, OX1 2EB, 01865 728877
Cycloanalysts 150 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1JJ, 01865 424444
Decathlon 3-4 Seacourt Tower Retail Park, West Way, Oxford, OX2 0JJ, 01865 797910
The Electric Transport Shop 125 Magdalen Rd, Oxford, OX4 1RJ, 01865 243937
Halfords Botley Road, Meadowside Retail Park, Oxford OX2 0FE, 01865 251093
Oxford Bicycle Company 251A Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1XG, 07766 239800
Reg Taylor Cycles 285 Iffley Road, Oxford, OX4 4AQ, 01865 247040
Summertown Cycles 200-202 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 7BY, 01865 316885
Walton Street Cycles 78 Walton Street, Oxford, OX2 6EA, 01865 311610
Warlands 63 Botley Road, Oxford, OX2 0BS, 01865 723100
See more tips from the Uni's sustainable transport team here