Oxford is a relatively flat city and so bicycles are the favourite form of transport. In the city centre many of the streets are wholly or partly closed to motor vehicles, and the speed limit is 20 mph, making the roads fairly safe for children (though they should still be accompanied by parents). For general information about cycling in Oxford and the surrounding area, visit the Oxford City Council pages on cycling, or of local cycling advocacy group Cyclox.
Buying a bike
Oxford has numerous bike shops. Some offer discounts for University staff or take part in the bike schemes offered by the University. You may prefer to buy a second-hand bike: look for listings in Dailyinfo. If you are member of the Newcomers' Club mailing list, used bicycles are advertised for sale on a regular basis at the end of term and academic year.
The University provides a mobile repair scheme free of charge. For information on safety while cycling, how to keep your bicycle secure and information on buying bike locks and lights at discounted prices, look at the University's Cycle Security pages.
The Broken Spoke Bike Co-op is a community social enterprise that offers DIY workshops and other cycling-related services such as road safety and women’s mechanics courses. Visit their website for more information about what they do and how they give back to the community. They also share a lovely courtyard with The Story Museum, so the whole family can bike to the Co-op and pass the time waiting for the repairs to be done in the museum!
Cycling and scooting with children
Cycles and scooters are a popular choice of transportation for many school children. Parents with very young children can cycle their children to school using a child seat attached to the front or back of their bike. Child seats are available from most bike shops. Parents with older children can ride tandem bikes with up to three children, or use bicycles with trailers for between two to four children attached to the front or rear of the bike.
Cycling and the law
It is not a legal requirement to wear a helmet but you are strongly advised to wear one, along with high-visibility clothing, as Oxford roads can be very busy at peak times. Cycling on pavements and pedestrian-only areas is prohibited, except for scooting. There will usually be signs and road markings that indicate when and where you are allowed to cycle. If you are cycling after dark, you are required by law to use a white front light and a red rear light on your and your children's bicycles.
Cycling under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and you are likely to be prosecuted if caught.
Although most drivers are used to Oxford's many cyclists and are careful, accidents do happen and it is always best to be cautious when cycling. Try to plan your route ahead of time, looking for dedicated cycle paths and lanes wherever possible.
Unfortunately, bicycle theft is quite common in Oxford. Buy a lock and always lock your bicycle to an immoveable object!