Canalside rolling


in Oxford, The outdoors

Statue at St. Hugh's College, Oxford

I discovered another nice Oxford bike trek today. Begin by reaching the Port Meadow, by any means, then cross the southern portion westwards, move north along the Oxford canal, cross it, then head north and west to The Perch. This is not the time to stop for a drink. From there, turn left (south) and follow the undivided blacktop road (Quicktime!). This runs very pleasingly along pastures and farmland. The surface is especially nice – a situation that forms a marked contrast to other parts of the ride.

At one point, I thought to myself: “I can’t believe there are sheep in the background of this Nine Inch Nails track! The things you learn when you listen with headphones.” Moments later: “Oh, wait. These Apple earbuds let in external noises, and there are about 200 sheep in that pasture right there.”

That road ends in Botley, where you should turn east. About three kilometres away, you should see the green spire of Nuffield College. Very soon, you will reach a bridge across the Isis / Thames. As soon as you cross it, head up the path on the eastern bank. Watch out for the many other people who will be using the path, particularly if you do this in the evening, as I did. This path follows the river in a way that feels much more properly woodsy than most of the canal-side paths, and it ends at the southwest corner of the Port Meadow. From there, if you are feeling adventurous, you can ride right across the Port Meadow to the bridge that ends near The Anchor pu (where a micro geocache is hidden).

One word of warning: riding across the Port Meadow can be a very bumpy business. In my case, so much so that I had to re-align my rear tire afterwards so it wasn’t rubbing against the frame. Using a thin-tired hybrid bike on some of Oxford’s paths is a good way to force yourself to learn in-the-field bike maintenance. I now carry patches, pump, and spanners everywhere. My MEC sling-pack serves the purpose very well, when I don’t have books and things to carry about at the same time.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben July 4, 2006 at 11:59 am

I wouldn’t rule out sheep being in a NIN track… What song was it? (Not that that’s particularly relevant, now you’ve established it didn’t actually have sheep in)

Milan July 4, 2006 at 12:13 pm


The track was “Hurt,” from the Downward Spiral.

Ben July 4, 2006 at 4:56 pm

I’d have thought you’d have heard the sheep then…

Milan May 10, 2007 at 2:28 am

Apparently, there has been a nasty fire at The Perch

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