17/05/2023 - Cotic goes to the Ride Free Festival

Ride Free Festival Weekend Roundup

Hannah, Sam and Cy ventured to Forest of Dean for a demo weekend at the new women's Ride Free Festival. A women's lead and run event, with a strong aim of inclusivity and inspiring confidence, and joining in not matter your ability. Here's how it went for us...

Ride Free Festival

Hannah: Heading to Forest of Dean, and it dawned on me that I'd never visited and it not be raining! What a treat this was, stunning blue skies, and even bluer Bluebells carpeting everywhere as we arrived.

After setting up our stand we headed out on a Cotic social group ride, joined by 23 women who had also just arrived and got their camping tents up, and were keen to explore the area on a beautiful evening. Following Cy's Komoot route on his Garmin, as no one knew the route, we set off on an adventure! Straight onto a lovely piece of bluebell lined bridleway, the trails were nice mix of descents with some steep climbs back out the valley and home. Straight away the group felt relaxed, with a buzz for what was to come on the weekend.

The whole event continued to have that nice, social feel around it. Everyone just having a lovely relaxed weekend, enjoying riding bikes - despite the wet muddy conditions on the Sunday! Many demo riders trying something new, and getting stuck into the guided rides, riding and mechanic skills sessions, yoga mornings and evening campfire talks! It was great to see, and for us to be a part of.

Cotic at Ride Free FestivalRide Free Festival

Over to Sam...

What a lovely way to kick off this year's event season. Such a welcoming and relaxed weekend. After a long winter it was brilliant to see so many people out making the most of the sunshine, bikes and great company.

The biggest take away for me was the supportive and inclusive nature of the event, riders from all backgrounds of cycling with all sorts of experiences to share. Some who'd come with friends, some who'd come on their own, all getting stuck in with a very encouraging feel and no pressure to be the fastest or ride the furthest.

It was really affirming to be part of an event like this, and the UK needs more of this vibe.

Good cider too!

Cotic at Ride Free Festival

And over to Cy: From my point of view there were a few things that stood out. Firstly, I thought the fact it was a riding festival, not surrounding a race, made a big and welcome difference to the attitude and atmosphere. There wasn't any of that slightly distracted nervousness you get and big events that are hung on a race. I think there is something to be learnt there, as I think both men and women would have a great time at a festival where it was a bit more chilled and a bit more about just riding, rather than racing.

Ride Free Festival

This might be because of the lack of racing, or maybe it was because it was a women only thing, but the riders were much more relaxed and open to chatting. It was so nice!

Another thing riders were open to, and curious about, was different genres of bike. There were a lot of gravel riders who hadn't ridden a modern mountain bike, and plenty of mountain bikers who liked the thought of a gravel bike to compliment their fat tyre flyer. The wonderful thing was that pretty much all the riders who tried something new came back absolutely buzzing having had a great new experience. It was infectious and made it such a fun event.

Finally, big thanks to Beth, Karen, Aoife and all the volunteers and riders that made it such an enjoyable event to be at.

Ride Free Festival

See our future demos and events…

Order Merch …