About this site

Every year since 2003 a small group of friends have cycled around the borders of a county in the UK over the course of a weekend in September.

We started with Oxfordshire, raising over 12,000 for children's cancer charities in the process. Over the years since then we've CircumCycled the counties bordering Oxfordshire - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Wiltshire, and then the counties with borders touching those.

Very sadly during the first ride Francesca, Barney's 10 year-old daughter, lost her battle with a brain tumour and died on the Sunday morning. At around the same time Claire, the teenage daughter of another of the team, started treatment for her cancer. Claire is now living life to the full after several years of hardship. She still needs checkups, but so far her treatment seems to have been successful, and she celebrated her 21st birthday in 2012.

Part of the reason we carry on cycling every year is so that the people who battle alongside the Francescas and Claires of this world can continue their amazing work.

How did it start?

It all started off one cold winter's evening just after Christmas 2002 when a group of us got together and realised we were all getting old. Not only old, but unfit as well.

Now the standard reaction to this sort of conversation in the run up to New Year's Eve is to make a New Year's Resolution. And as you know, these usually last such a short time they aren't even worth the bother of a capital letter. We wanted to do it differently, and realised that a goal was needed. A long-term goal. Something difficult, but possibly do-able.

What did you decide?

We happened to be at my sister's house in Thame, Oxfordshire at the time, and her husband, Graham, pointed out that Oxfordshire was roughly circular, and had a long-distance cycle route around it called the Oxfordshire Cycleway.

The conversation then went something like this:

"Er. Isn't Oxfordshire quite a, um, big county?"

"Well, yes. Something like 180 miles. I agree that's a big number for people like us who haven't been on a bicycle for years. But we need a big challenge to make this work!"

"Let me think about it for a bit."[1] [This really means, "Perhaps it'll all die down in the New Year and we can safely forget about it." Ed.]

Sadly, Graham just wouldn't let it lie. We were going to cycle around Oxfordshire. We were going to take it seriously, and train, get fit, and split it into manageable chunks over three days. To find out more about what happened next, and how it went, see Barney's story.

That was back in 2003, and we've done a major ride around something almost every year since then.

What should I do?

We'd love you to be encouraged by this site, and maybe even join in. We aren't asking you to sponsor us. We aren't asking you to sign anything. We'd be happy if you looked at the routes we have published on 'Map My Ride'. [If you click on the thumbnail picture of the map on the various route pages you can open the entire route, and print or download it in a format suitable for many satnavs.] We'd be really happy if you got a couple of your friends together and actually cycled them. If you do, please let us know.

1. Tom's response was, "I'd rather give birth!" - He hasn't joined us on any of our rides yet. Graham lives in hope.