Introducing Women of Steel, an all new group from Cotic Bikes, aiming to encourage more women into our amazing sport. You don't have to own or ride a Cotic bike to get involved, unlike our COTIC.CC, this is open to all.

On this page, you'll find stories, interviews and events. We also have a Facebook group and Instagram page (@coticwomenofsteel).



10/03/2020 - Women in Cycling Festival

Women In Cycling

Women of Steel at the Women in Cycling Festival

Women in Cycling Festival

A few months ago Cotic owner, head of University of Sheffield Cycling Club and all round nice person Emma Morris got in touch asking what I thought to the idea of creating a cycling event for local women and local cycling groups on International Women's Day. I loved the idea and we got the ball rolling straight away with how the event could come together in a limited amount of time. We decided on Norfolk Arms as the perfect location, it's on the edge of Sheffield/Peak District and has easy access to a network of different trails for the mountain bikers, and great scenic road rides for the roadies. A plan started to come together.

Women in Cycling, women of steel, womenmtb, mtbgirls, womens cycling, women in sport, active, lifestyle, mountain bikes, cotic, coticbikes, bikes

We hired a marquee at the pub (which serves good food and drink!), got local bike-wear brand Polaris involved, Vertabrate Publishing books came and brought a pile of books, from guide books to inspirational women's adventure books, Komoot did an exclusive maps offer and sent some goodies for everyone to enjoy. Cafe Adventure organised a brilliant charity raffle to raise money for RideForCharlie, the prize donations were so generous. We had a great event, we just needed the weather and the riders! We expected around 40 women, and hoped for more, but didn't know what to expect with it being the first event of its kind. Before we knew it we looked round and had nearly 80 eager women ready to ride!

Women in Cycling

The riders were split into groups, MTB long ride, MTB short ride, Gravel ride, Road ride. Some riders took out a Cotic demo bike, it was a great opportunity to try something new! The atmosphere was buzzing, everyone came back smiling and chatting. The raffle raised an impressive £176.05! What an amazing turn out and event, same again next year, Emma!?


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21/01/2020 - Women of Steel Beat the Blues

Beat the Blues

Women of Steel

Cotic Women of Steel, steel, full suspension, mtb, cotic, womencycling, cycling, enduro, reynolds 853, peak district, winter ride, mountain bike ride, riding group, cycling club, adventure

The fourth Cotic Beat the Winter Blues ride, and the only one without any snow! For January the Women of Steel joined in on the Cotic CC ride and set out on a Peak District ride. W certainly picked the right day for it, we were so lucky with glorious sunshine; vitamin D levels were topped up and we were all smiling for it. More write up from the Cotic CC to come, Women of Steel keep your eye out for the next couple of events to be announced soon!

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02/01/2020 - Nat Rainbow Tour Divide

Women of Steel

Lantern Rouge - Tour Divide 2019

Hannah writes: In November 2018 I met Nat, she came into Cotic's office wanting to look at a SolarisMAX and told me all about her plans to ride the Tour Divide. Her attitude was contagious and I had no doubt that she'd complete it, even though she had little bike knowledge! I followed her progress on her tracker and was so pleased to see that she'd finished - and enjoyed - the experience. She's written about her journey below, have a read, get inspired and set yourself a challenge for 2020...

Nat Tour Divide 2019, solarismax, tourdivide, adventure, gravel, tour divide, bikepacking, offroad.cc

We can't all be the best, but we can do our best

Nat writes: The Tour Divide, for those that don’t know, is a 2745 mile off road ultra-endurance mountain bike race. It goes from Banff in Canada, all the way down through America to the Mexican border. It’s 200,000 feet of climbing which is the equivalent of climbing seven Everest’s from sea level. It’s self-supported. There are many challenges and dangers, the wildlife; bears, mountain lions, rattle snakes and tarantulas. Extreme weather conditions, desert riding, hike a bike sections, wild camping, the tiredness of riding consecutive days and travelling solo in new countries.

What can I say? I like a challenge and as soon as I read about the Tour Divide, I knew I had to do it. I didn’t own or ride a bike when I made this decision in November 2018! I just had a strong feeling this would give me the opportunity to improve my Rheumatoid Arthritis whilst facing more fears and becoming braver. My training began and seven months later, this June, I headed out into the wilderness with around 160 other racers.

Nat Tour Divide 2019

What an epic journey it was! The winner, Chris, finished in 15 days. It took me 42 days, 1 hour and 38 minutes, averaging 65 miles a day. I was last! But then in context, less than 50 percent of those that started the race completed it. I reckon the bears helped me out a bit!

This was a huge adventure, physically and mentally. How did I complete it? I decided from the start that the important part was to finish. I knew there would be many challenges along the way, some I could try to prepare for, and some I couldn’t - like doing a puncture repair on my backup water bladder the night before I went into the great basin dessert and having 96 miles to ride before the next resupply. To add to the challenge, when leaving in the dark I went the wrong way and added another 10 miles to my ride that day!!

Nat Tour Divide 2019, solarismax, tourdivide, adventure, gravel, tour divide, bikepacking, offroad.ccNat Tour Divide 2019, solarismax, tourdivide, adventure, gravel, tour divide, bikepacking, offroad.cc

The enormity of the challenge sparked and inspired me. I am so thankful to have the mental and physical well-being to be able to take on this wonderful challenge. I find joy in the most challenging circumstances. I am just so grateful to have this new lease of life after successfully managing my Rheumatoid Arthritis through lifestyle. To be able to ride over a mountain, in a thunderstorm, with noise so loud it rattles your bones, the lightening so close you find a fellow rider hiding under a fallen tree, as they were so scared of getting struck. One day, I was wet through as it had rained for hours and I knew I had to keep riding otherwise my body temperature would drop too low. On arriving at Platoro mountain village, in the dark, desperate for a warm shower and bed, the place was closed up! Thankfully a kind individual got myself and the fellow rider I’d bumped into that day, beds for the night. Had he not then it would have been a cold night in tents, but then that would have just been another equally awesome memory.

Nat Tour Divide 2019, solarismax, tourdivide, adventure, gravel, tour divide, bikepacking, offroad.cc

I loved it all, the highs, the lows, the nature; especially the precious little hummingbirds and bears. The lovely locals, the riders I met and the inner peace I found along the way. When I finished last, it felt like the biggest win, on a personal achievement level but also as a collective: the Tour Divide community had supported and encouraged me via the Facebook group, throughout my journey, following me on my tracker right over that finish line. That final day, after 42 days of consecutive riding, I realised something that has really stuck with me: we can't all be the best, but we can have the best time, and try our best.

Nat Tour Divide 2019, solarismax, tourdivide, adventure, gravel, tour divide, bikepacking, offroad.cc

Firefly was my teammate throughout. She was built around the Cotic SolarisMAX. I didn’t know much about frames, Jamie from ‘Cycle Inn’ of Beeston recommended Cotic and I headed up to Hope Valley. Such a lovely bunch and good vibes meant I left very happy. Her vibrant red colour influenced her name and I fell in love with her and riding. I’m no hard-core rider, I was just someone who was sparked by the Tour Divide. I believed beyond doubt I was ‘meant’ to ride and complete the race, I decided I could, and I would. The only reason I gave myself for not finishing was being on the way to hospital in an ambulance.

Nat Tour Divide 2019, solarismax, solaris, cotic, steelisreal, tourdivide, adventure, gravel, tour divide, bikepacking, offroad.cc

Before heading out to Canada my training was partly around learning to ride off road and becoming fitter. More so it was about over coming fears, learning to ride solo, in the dark, in strange places, camping on my own, then gaining the experience and confidence in myself to care for Firefly. There was lot of preparation involved, the bike and equipment took some sussing out, so many options and opinions. As a complete novice coming into this new world it was all very daunting. My advice on this would be to use the Facebook groups to research, reach out to people for advice, then step back, write a list and make your decisions. Once it’s all together head out for a mini adventure, this way you figure out what works or needs tweaking.

What would I say to anyone who’s going to ride the Tour Divide? Firstly, enjoy the whole journey, from the moment you decide to ride until the finish line and then back into life after. This ride is life changing. Secondly, go with a positive mentality, make the most of it all, the good, the mud, the pain, the heat, the tears, the laughs and the scary bits. My most challenging times became my strongest memories and had the most profound lasting positive impacts. Finally, approach with flexibility. The Tour Divide is quite a beautiful beast and has no interest in your plans. It likes to throw the unexpected at you, some of the front runners this year were caught up and held back by a severe snowstorm. Flexibility enables an acceptance of going with the flow, facing challenges as they arise and adjusting to accommodate the unexpected.

Nat Tour Divide 2019, solarismax, solaris, cotic, steelisreal, tourdivide, adventure, gravel, tour divide, bikepacking, offroad.cc

The best advice I gave myself and share with others is to be completely present in the experience, every moment. It is such an intense experience, even months after finishing I can close my eyes and be right back there, it’s such an energising feeling. Then each day do your best and celebrate all your successes, it’s your personal journey and the Tour Divide will send you away with many gifts. It truly is a life changing experience.

Know that you can never be prepared for every eventuality, but you can have the confidence in yourself to resolve the challenges as they arise on route. I learnt so much from the ride, but especially to pack light, then pack lighter and then make sure it’s even lighter, I got this about right on the last few days!

This journey, as with life, was about embracing and enjoying it, being grateful for good enough health and to be there, taking part. To have the opportunity and means to be able to take on the challenge. Then to acknowledge that each day is a gift and an opportunity for joy, to smile and spread some happiness.

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06/12/2019 - Women of Steel in Leeds

Women of Steel

The Women of Steel headed to Leeds Urban Bike Park for a day of 'sessioning', aiming to improve skills on drops, jumps and cornering rather than a doing a big ride. Sarah Weir organised the day, here's what they got up to.

Women of Steel

Last Saturday, the Cotic Women Of Steel braved sub-zero temperatures and headed North from Cotic HQ to Leeds Urban Bike Park. We were a mix of WoS regulars and first timers to the group.

Women of Steel

There’s a lot of variety at LUBP: from a steady blue run, pump track, BMX park, woodland red and green routes, black chutes and a couple of jump lines. We started on the blue to warm up then did a circuit of the park so everyone could get a feel for what was on offer. It’s been designed so that all the technical features are progressive and you can choose to push yourself as much or as little as you like. There was encouragement and advice as we approached the chutes with everyone choosing their own limits. It was great to see demons being banished and the smiling of success.

Women of Steel

There was more “Sesh-Oning” (is that really a word Kelly?) on drops and berms before we drifted back towards the café for hot drinks and lunch. I say “drifted” because a splinter group were persuaded on to the jump line….just to see. It was loads of fun. Until it wasn’t. Nothing too serious but enough to make me think “I might stop now. Now where’s my cup of tea?”

I had a great day hanging out with some awesome women. It’s not just about the riding. It’s an opportunity to catch up, swap tips, covert/try out each other’s kit and have a giggle. Hope to see you all on the next meet up


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18/11/2019 - Women of Steel Ride Out

Women of Steel

Women of Steel - Lady Cannings

9 of us headed out in what can only be described as a rain cloud (see photos!) on Sunday. We planned to do a Blackamoor ride, sadly the weather didn't play nicely and the weeks leading up to this ride washed away the trails and left a river in place of where they once were! We ended up sticking to Lady Cannings and Houndkirk Road, on the edge of Sheffield/Derbyshire, not the ride we had planned, but we made the most of it and still had fun.

Women of Steel - Lady Cannings

We had 3 new faces on the ride which was so nice. We chatted away and planned our future Ride Outs so we could meet up to ride again. I couldn't believe so many turned out in awful conditions, only to be smiling and enjoying being out on a ride with other awesome women. There was a lot of frozen hands and shivering by the time we got back to the car!

The next Women of Steel ride is at Leeds Urban Bike Park, join our Facebook group for details or if you're not on Facebook and would like to join us drop me an email: , hannah@cotic.co.uk

Women of Steel - Lady Cannings

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02/08/2019 - Cotic Women of Steel Ride Out

Cotic's Women of Steel is a group encouraging more women to get out riding bikes and meeting other like-minded women. We're hoping to get more women out on the trails and share the joy of cycling.

For this Ride Out we went out to Sherwood Pines, a place that some women in the group rode weekly, and some of us had never been. It seemed like the perfect place to meet up and be showed around.

Cotic Women of Steel ride out Sherwood Pines

We've had some terrible weather recently (especially those in North Yorkshire! Poor Ard Rock), so a few women opted to miss out on this ride, completely understandably... I wondered whether or not to pack my snorkel. It was great to see familiar faces and a new one join us as we got ourselves ready to hit the red trail.

Women of Steel at Sherwood Pines

Dodging the puddles we wove our way through the trails - quickly accepting that we were going to have soggy feet and get very muddy! We visited the DH track and encouraged each other to start at the top of the start ramp, quite a daunting thing when you haven't been on one before. We all did it and got a real buzz! We had a great time and I look forward to seeing everyone again soon.

Cotic Women of Steel ride out Sherwood Pines

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10/06/2019 - Women of Steel Black Rocks Ride

Women of Steel

Ride Out

Cotic Women of Steel

Yesterday was the second Women of Steel Ride Out, but Hannah's first! After missing out on the first one due to illness I (Hannah) was very keen to get out and enjoy this one. Ambassador Kelly Jayne has been so excited to show us around her local trails, where she regularly goes to build and maintain the trails. It was somewhere new to ride for many of us, and Kelly Jayne made the perfect guide as she knew the woods so well.

Starting the ride with quite a sudden warm up uphill to Black Rocks, if you've been before you know what I'll mean! We were relieved to make it to the top and enjoyed the sunshine and views across the valley. The first couple of climbs and descents were fantastic, rocky boulders and techy in places. We chatted up the climbs and cheered eachother on down the descents.

Cotic Women of Steel Ride Out

We then made our way back down the hill on some challenging trails, so different to what I normally ride - in a good way! The sun continued to shine, and we only came across this one puddle...

Cotic Women of Steel

We headed back in the search of cake and went to Lea Gardens. If you haven't visited the Rhododendron gardens before I can highly recommend, the food, drink and cake were lovely and it's run by local mountain bikers who had some great tips and knowledge of the trails.

Cotic Women of Steel Ride Out

We then headed out to Bow Woods for more fantastic trails. I had a little 'lay down' and got a nettle sting to the eyelid(?!). I really loved these new-to-me trails and riding with these friendly, supportive women. It's all about getting out, meeting up and enjoying the outdoors. If you'd like to join in on our women's rides then join our Facebook group and look out for the next event.

Cotic's Women of Steel

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21/05/2019 - Women of Steel Interview

Women of Steel

WideopenMag Interview

Pete Scullion got in touch with a few interview questions about Women of Steel. Hannah having never had to respond to a journalist asking questions before it was quite exciting! We'll soon be announcing the next Ride Outs, keep your eyes peeled. Have a read of the Wideopen mag interview

Bike Rafting photos by Nick Kowalski

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29/04/2019 - Women of Steel Ride Out

Women of Steel

Ride Out

Hannah's update: On Saturday it was Cotic's annual Spring Party. As part of this we hosted the very first Women of Steel Ride Out. It's been so exciting being part of this group of awesome women and I couldn't wait to meet and ride with everyone!

Women of Steel

Saturday saw Storm Hannah (well named) come in and the weather turn from what has been glorious to somewhat soggy. Sadly I was so full of cold there was no way I could ride or go out sharing germs around! Kelly-Jayne, our fantastic ambassador, stepped up to lead the ride.

Women of Steel

Although it was soo soggy we had 16 riders on our first Women of Steel Ride Out - what a brilliant turn out! Thanks to everyone for coming along and making the first Ride Out a huge success. Everyone had a great time.

Women of Steel

We are the Women of Steel. Smiling faces and out riding our bikes. See you at the next one.

Women of Steel

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17/04/2019 - Kate Potter - Women of Steel

Women of Steel

Kate Potter's story

You may have heard us mention the brilliant AQR Holidays before, or that time a Cotic was ridden at the World Champs (still getting our head round that!).

The woman behind these is Kate Potter. A talented Aussie who caught the eye of the National Team coach and took her Cotic Soda to the Thredbo World Champs 2009. She's still riding Cotics, only now in the glorious Pyrenees, guiding and coaching. We asked her if she'd like to be involved with our new group 'Women of Steel'. This group aims to encourage women into our amazing sport, and who better to inspire and encourage you than Kate?

Kate Potter

Portugal is where I discovered mountain biking, and met my future husband Ian, 17 years ago. I had booked myself on a mountain bike holiday without understanding what mountain biking was at the time. I was captivated by the glossy brochure of people riding bikes in the Portuguese sunshine and enticed by the idea of discovering a new country on two wheels.

However, what I didn't realise it that I'd be riding with two ex elite down hill racers! When the guide asked me what experience I had on a mountain bike I wanted to hide. I had to admit I didn't even know what a mountain bike even looked like, let alone how to ride one at the time! My fears were soon forgotten though, as by the end of the first day on a mountain bike I was hooked! I loved the freedom I experienced flowing down the single track, followed by the accomplishment of climbing a hill as there was always a fantastic view and a descent to follow on the other side.

I was also drawn to the social side of the sport; my first mountain bike holiday brought 10 strangers together. For one week I felt part of a very close knit group who never made me feel like my inexperience was a problem for them as I fumbled my way along technical single track. I really had no idea about suspension or what gear choice meant at the time. My mantra was ride straight towards every obstacle, pedal fast, hold on and see what happened. Thankfully it was only one crash before Ian taught me a few basic skills to stay upright...1 year later we married and I entered my first race!

Kate Potter

In 2009 the Mountain Bike World Championships were being held in Australia at Mount Stromlo located in Canberra. It was a really special day for me, not only because I was representing my country, but just as importantly I was representing Cotic. Although I was born in Australia, it was the UK where I developed my skills as a mountain bike rider. My husband Ian had taught me the basic skills of how to ride a bike, but when he was guiding in Greece and I was working in the UK, both Cy and Paul encouraged me to ride with their group on a Wednesday nights and weekends.

I remember at one of my first night rides seeing Cy turn up on a bike he designed, this was before Cy had even considered starting Cotic. I remember very clearly Ian telling me he was going to pester Cy for one of those bikes as he really loved how it felt when he rode it. And a few years later Cy designed my perfect race bike - The Cotic Soda! This particular Cotic Soda in this photo helped me achieve a British National Series title in both cross country and marathon racing, as well as my best results at world cup racing. I will never part from this bike and we have plans to hang it on the wall when our Luchon Bike Centre is finished. I would never have experienced such an amazing day on the bike if it weren't for Cy and Paul from Cotic. Racing a Cotic bike at the world championships in Australia was the highlight of my race career.

KATE WORLDS

Fast forward 17 years and I can look back on a fantastic career that included mountain bike guiding and racing all over the world. During this time I made new friends and hopefully played a part in helping other women get involved in mountain biking too. I have also seen huge changes in the industry in regards to the technology and the growing demand for enduro style bikes, riding and racing. When I started mountain biking it was either cross country or down hill...these days I just prefer to call myself a mountain biker as I like all aspects of the sport. What hasn't changed is the way in which mountain biking continues to create a community for people.

Kate Potter

I know Cotic also value the community aspect of mountain biking as can be seen in their support for the Sheffield mountain bike trails, their own race team and now the 'Women of Steel' community group. I must admit when I stopped racing I felt quite lost for a while as I really missed being part of the Cotic community. However I was burnt out and needed a change from the demands and pressure I put on myself to race to the best of my ability. When I stopped racing there was always a part of me that wanted to reconnect with the Cotic community in some way and to return to when I had the most fun on the bike. So I'm really thrilled to be invited to be part of a new community 'Women of Steel' and can't wait to connect with other female mountain bikers out there.


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