28/02/2023 - The First Cotic CC Gravel Ride Report

Ride Report - The First Cotic CC gravel ride

Last week saw our first ever Cotic CC ride from our shiny new HQ, and our first ever CC gravel ride.


Something we knew as soon as we first laid eyes on our new place was that it'd be perfect for hosting rides and events. It didn't take long for us to figure out several route options out the door for rides, after all, some of these are the very trails we used to develop the Cascade!

Last Friday afternoon was the first one, the first 'drop bars only' Cotic CC ride. 13 of us including staff gathered in our pop-up showroom eagerly awaiting the gravelly goodness, and with the sun poking it's unexpected head out from behind the clouds, we set off. Almost immediately it became obvious I hadn't tightened the valve up enough on one of the demo bike tyres, oops! Just a quick fix, but it put the demo rider and I on the back foot, no steady warm up for us, time to play catch up!


We caught the group most of the way up the first climb, and thankfully they'd stopped for a gate and a chat which gave me chance to get my lungs back inside my body. I'd borrowed the Cascade demo bike for this ride, not being a gravel bike owner myself, and as we set off again past Darren's camera lens, I wondered if it would wheelie. Turns out with some effort, it does! My concentration face in full effect, but Chris's Escapade clearly loves back wheel:


Over the curly bridge crossing the bypass and a short double track descent soon fed into a short and spicy sprinkle of singletrack, bit of a wake up call to those on Escapades, but everyone soaked it up no bother. We then span up the road to do a short and sharp descent which features on one of our new demo loops. It's hilarious how much fun hooning down bridleways is on a bike which feels just about capable enough. You soon realise it's actually the rider holding the bike back! Once the eyeballs had stopped rattling, it was a steady road climb up to Holmesfield.

Time for one of the main events of the ride, Cartledge Lane. Paul was tweaking the Escapade demo bike he'd borrowed; brake lever reach in, saddle down, he meant business! This is a great descent, fun on a mountain bike, very exciting on a gravel bike. Nothing the bikes or riders couldn't handle though. It's a long one, over 1.5km of fast and loose descending with a bit of mud, rocks and roots. Everyone loved it.


Rested and a few energy bars scoffed at the bottom, we set off up the next road spin. Whippets at the front shot off and left Chris, Darren and I behind. We had a 50/50 choice at a road junction we hadn't seen which way the group went. We chose wrong. A bit of extra climbing never hurt anyone right? Regrouped again, we chugged up towards Jonnygate Lane. Climbs always feel better when you've got people to chat to, distracting you from the sore legs and keeping your mind from wondering how much longer it can go uphill for. Eventually we topped out, and dropped into another long and fun off-road descent.


Although not that far from home for me, this was one I'd not done before, and is at the 'spicy' end of gravel biking. Safely down and more grins all round, we cruised up the last road climb. I love how the stoke from a fun descent can carry you a good way up a climb before your legs start to complain again. It's also great how the mixture of Escapades and Cascades munched up these long, rough off-road descents and still span up the country lane tarmac climbs with ease. You really should give them a try.

More lovely singletrack followed, one highlight of the ride for me was watching Dan Trent desperately try to bring his under-tyred Escapade to a stop as the group in front of him anchored on to pass some walkers. Slick tyres probably weren't the ideal setup, but run what you brung eh!? Fair play to you Dan.

The slalom challenge of the appropriately named 'dog shit alley' successfully navigated (gross, please pick up after your dog people!) we razzed through the last lovely section of woodland singletrack past snow drops and bunny hopping off tree-stumps. That Cascade really does encourage hooligan like behaviour, I strongly advise following Tom Hill when he's riding his, scandi-flicks on drop bars are exciting to watch!


Riding straight up to our newly branded up front door at the end of a fun ride with everyone nicely tired and happy was a great feeling. Tea, donuts and chatter ensued with bikes to browse and lots of 'when is the next one' talk. I think we're on to something here.

We are aiming to do lots more Friday afternoon rides like this, both for gravel and mountain bikes. Keep an eye on the mailing list and social media channels for news of the next Cotic CC ride. Remember, if you own a Cotic, you're in the Cotic CC. Doesn't matter if you bought it second hand, or from us; last week or 20 years ago. You're in the club and we can't wait to ride with you.

Thanks to everyone who came, we really enjoyed it.



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