Thursday, 12 June 2008

Oxford to London

start: Oxford, The Plain [SP522060]
finish: London, Victoria Station
distance: 98 km

Cycling to London is quite special. This route follows the A40 across the Chilterns and tries to avoid busy roads as much as possible. Further into London the route is along the tow path of the Grand Union Canal for a few miles and brings you eventually to the bus stop near Victoria Station of the Oxford Tube bus service which can bring you and your bicycle back to Oxford. Well, that's what I did anyway.

Route map:
Oxford to London, elevation profile This route is also published on MapMyRide


Sven said...

We went in the London -> Oxford direction this weekend (although only as far as High Wycombe). A very nice route, did you plan it on Google Earth?

Tommy said...

Hi do you guys cycle regularly around Oxford? I'm trying to look for new people to ride with around Oxford to get some longer rides under my belt, would you be interested?

Tommy said...

Oh and one other thing the gradient maps, how did you get them?

Anonymous said...

Some great routes on here! :) a few are quite similar to ones I have done already but some new ideas too! Keep posting and sharing them.


Ben said...

We used the same as Sven to get to the CTC "Golden Beeches" ride this weekend. Union canal was rough but effective, could do with some work in places and the intermittent gates can be difficult with a trailer. I can't think of a better way to do it though.

Thanks for putting it up for us :)

McHoen said...

Hey guys, great to see people are actually using the routes I published! (I just noticed your comments...)

The profiles are made with a combination of my GPS, the website and Excel.

I've been a bit lazy putting up new routes but I will get some more up soon.
Thanks for all the nice comments.

Rowan said...

Hi I am planning a bike ride for about 200 people and came across your Oxford to London route (we would do it from London to Oxford).

I just wanted to check if this route would be suitable for that number of people? I thought this route would work as it is 61 miles – all the others I have been looking at are about 90 which is too long.

I hope you can help!

McHoen said...

Hi Rowan, I wouldn't think that's a problem but I suggest you explore the route first, and see what you think. Let me know how you're getting on.

Rowan said...

Hello, I wrote back in Feb in regards the bike ride from London to Oxford. I have ridden most of this (!) but I still have to do the last bit into Oxford. I was wondering if you would be able to give me advice on the best way to travel in. Someone suggested we stay on the A40 when it becomes dual carriageway but I feel that is far too dangerous and a bit busy. Would the best option be the way that you mapped which is along the bike paths and then onto Barracks lane or is there any other ways that might be better for 200 tired cyclists?

Sorry for yet another question!!

P.S I really enjoyed riding the routes despite the killer hill!


McHoen said...

I agree that cycling on the dual carriageway A40 is a very bad idea! I suggest you stay on the route that I mapped. Between Wheatley and Horsepath is the last small hill, but it is the best option and never very steap. An alternative route would be to go from Wheatley via Garsington and then into Oxford, but that involves a hard-ish climb up ladder hill in Wheatley. Barracks Lane and the cycle paths thereafter might not be the best idea with 200 people. Alternatively take a left on Hollow Way and then a right on Oxford Rd, which changes into Cowley Rd. Good luck with further preperations. What date will the ride happen?

McHoen said...

To avoid juncion 8 A40/M40, because you're with such a large group, you could also turn left much earlier. Go left after Stokenchurch, just before the big descent. Follow the road (bridge over M40) to Christmas Common and then go right, downhill to Watlington (Hill rd). From Watlington it's then straight to Oxford via Stadhampton on the B480. Nice and easy.

Rowan said...

H thank you so much for this – it has been a great help! I looked at the B480 route you suggested but it is slightly longer and I am trying to keep to as near to 62/63 miles as I can. I was wondering – if the Junction 8 A40/ M40 is tricky could be hooking onto the A329, turning onto Thame road, through great Milton up Swordford Lane and joining London Road instead – do you know if this is suitable – if so this could be an option?

So sorry to keep asking you questions – thanks for all your help on this!!!


McHoen said...

Yes, that is a very good alternative route. Well done :-)

Tom said...

@Tommy - if you fancy joining me for a few of these I'd be up for it. Give me a mail on:

t o m 3 6 6 8 at


Lars said...

I followed your Oxford - London route part way (from High Wycombe to Islington). Nice route. I like how you managed to avoid the main traffic areas and hop onto the canal when it gets to South Harrow. What GPS unit do you use? I am thinking of getting one. I used my iPhone to follow your route, but it doesn't work well for tracking my own routes.

McHoen said...

Lars, I'm using a Garmin Vista Cx GPS device mounted on my handle bars.

Andy said...

Thanks for the route info. How would you recommend taking this online route from your site and translating it into a usable route? Is there a sneaky easy way to plug it into the iphone and do it that way?

When God is for us, Who can be against us said...


This is a great blog.. I am going to attempt my first ever long ride ( Fund Raising for a home for orphan children with AIDS in Chennai, India ) which is gonna be London - Oxford. Will it be too much for a first timer to go and return the next day. I regularly cycle to work 30 - 35 mins each way.

I am planning to start my training regime from tommorow .

I have got a Claudbutle San Remo road bike and a Carrera Subway 1 hybrid. Havent decided which one to choose for my trip.

Any advice for this trip and equipment would be really appreciated.



Robert - Dream it & Do it. said...

Hats off to the author. You have put in loads of your time and effort and I am not going anywhere for my cycling route. Also I was wondering how ma i going to find my way to witney from Oxford, and you other route got that info as well..

Will let you know how it goes, once I start training

McHoen said...

I would suggest you do some training before your ride from London to Oxford and back. It's not so important how many miles you do, more important that you get used to spending 4-5 hours on your bike.
Good luck with your cycling ambitions


Sean Ambler said...

Did this yesterday using iphone to guide me. Took ages (about 9 hours), but I did have rest stops for food, drink and to recharge my phone and was taking it steady. Only cycle routes I've done before are the boar hill and around otmoor ones, and I'm quite out of shape.

My main complaint was after High Wycombe I was getting quite tired and would have preferred a more direct, less hilly, route. The areas inside the M25, despite being countryside, weren't that nice too and a straight road would have been preferable. Grand Union canal bit was nice though, makes you realise how run down large parts of former industrial London are.

Overall cycle route gave me a strong impression of how massive London is.

I'll probably do it again sometime, but when I go back in a few days time it's on bus for sure!

Stefano Dedalo said...

Thank you I did it today from London (Golders Green) to Oxford. I don't know if you mentioned it, but some bits are off-road (along the canal and close to Oxford). On my way back I had to wait 2 hours to board a train because they were all full and they wouldn't let me in with the bicycle! It is probably better to book in advance...

Thanks again for posting this!

Tom said...

I can't work out how to get this to print out into a useable format in order to make the journey (Reversed, from london to oxford) Do you have any ideas? Cheers,


McHoen said...

I agree it's not very printer user-friendly. But if you view the larger map and zoom in to a scale you find useful, you could print out as many screen shots as you need. If you use Windows Vista you could use the Snipping Tool to grab the map images you want. I hope this helps and wish you a great ride to Oxford.

cafiofepa said...

My friend and I are going to cycle this route this weekend. We are starting at Regent's Canal in east London and will take three days to get to Oxford camping along the way (related gear in tow). We were hoping to have a mostly leisurely cycle i.e. cycling side by side (except along the canal) time to time and chatting on quiet country roads outside London, however, a couple of people have told me that the A40 is a very busy road. Can you confirm how busy the A40 is? We may try to map out an alternative route. Thanks in advance.

McHoen said...

Hi cafiofepa,
The A40 is not so busy in my experience, but cars do drive fast and it's not suitable for cycling next to eachother. I would suggest including the 'Phoenix trail' in your route. It's a car-free track between the Chilterns and Thame. Look for it online. My route follows the A40 as the quickest link to London. There are many quieter (and steeper) roads through the Chilterns. Have a great ride!

Ben said...

A quick question regarding this route: is it suitable for a road bike? How off-road are the bits along the canal?

McHoen said...

Hi Ben,
It's not smooth tarmac all the way, but I would consider it suitable enough for a roadbike, yes

Pithawat said...

I'm attempting this route this saturday, fingers crossed for good weather!

Alex Gabriel said...

Made it last month. Oxford to London and then London to Oxford the day after. Nice route and the hilly part quite challenging when you have 70 km in your legs already.
I have to say that in my way back, in a narrow part of the road, a van driver tried to overtook me a couple of times. As he couldn't (too narrow) he got hungry, was very aggressive very close to me and touching the horn all the time. When at last he passed me, he threw me a full coke can trough the window which impacted straight in my face. I felt really sad and humiliated =/ Anyway, sorry to tell you this, and good luck with the route, it is a nice one.

Roger B said...

I'm looking at riding from London to Oxford in late August. I see the last comment here was a while back so I just wanted to get any comments regarding the condition of the route and any suggested alternatives. I'm a strong rider, comfortable over 50 - 80 miles. Planning to leave London first thing on Friday morning to be in Oxford by mid afternoon. Any comments or suggestions welcome.

Anonymous said...

Oh my alex, feel sorry for you.

Is this route is bi-directional?

Any muddy/grassy/pebbled areas I should watch out for?

Am considering this to be one of my weekend rides.

Bhavin Adhvaryu said...

Hi Everyone,

Here I am looking for the cyclist who can ride 45 miles (Oxford to Uxbridge) and help raising funds for this great charity.

Just to let you know all, we are planning to arrange cycle ride from Oxford to Uxbridge (Middlesex)on Sunday, 4th May 2014 for one of the charity & their humanitarian work in UK & in India.

Would any of you interested? If so then please do not hesitate to contact me on

Your HELP would be appreciated for this charity and their work.

NOTE: Each cyclist has to raise min£1000/= and entry fee is £25/= non-refundable.

Kind Regards,
B Adhvaryu

Alex Gabriel said...


Thanks for your words! And sorry about my bad spelling, just got ashamed how bad written it is.

Yes, route is bi-directional. Just do it other way around.

Tehre is not a particular area to watch out. Tarmac is far from perfect in some areas and depending of weather you can find slightly flooded roads, but nothing major. I have done it mostly with a touring bike, which is the perfect bike for this, but done it once with a mountain bike (fat tyres) and another one with a racing bike (super skinny tyres) with no problem.

I have done it about 20 times yet, in nice weather, dark or rain. I have slightly modified it, specially in the London part. I have to commute to London during the weekend as my gf lives there, so what best than cycling to the capital! I got so used to it that my gf did it once with me. It took 8 hours as she is not a lot into cycling but we enjoyed a lot.

Arun said...

Its a informative post,thanks for sharing.