Bicester is a great home base for country riding — with a bright biking future ahead.
Some people are surprised to learn that there’s a real market town — with a thousand-year history and a cute centre — that’s associated with the world-class designer shopping mecca of Bicester Village.
That’s not to say that cycling in Bicester itself is easy: traffic, and growing pains, make commuting tricky. But there’s an ambitious ten-year plan in the works to reallocate road space to cyclists and double sustainable transport. And once you escape Bicester’s fringes on a road bike, you’ll be rewarded with peaceful scenery (emerald-green fields, honey-colored stone buildings), lumpy climbs to the west and rolling roads to the east.
Rushmere Country Park has both cross-country and downhill MTB trials, with sandy soil for year-round sessions. Hit the Ridge Riders Cross Country Trail for 6km of rollable jumps and nice berms. Jonesing for more? Shotover Country Park has a few decent features, too.
You can piece together mixed paved-and-gravel routes between Bicester and Oxford, or head for beech woods and open meadows of the chalky Chiltern Hills (where the Chilterns Gravel X and the Chilterns Wildwood Gravelcross rides take place every year). If you crave an organized event, Bike Oxford Sportive is a big one, with 25-, 50-, and 75-mile routes — and medals for everyone at the end.