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).



21/10/2021 - Bike Fit Part 3

chatting bike fit part 3

We're back again, this time with a quite often overlooked part of the bike fit/comfort equation.

Rolling Weight and Gearing

If you're riding a small size bike, there is a very strong chance you aren't putting out as much power as a taller rider. It's here that weight of certain components and gearing becomes important. And it's not just women vs men. Paul is 5ft 8in and has been riding the Jeht to help me with some development. When he first got on the demo bike, it was running our harder hitting tyre setup - WTB Verdict Light Slashguard front, Trail Boss Tough rear, and the stock 32t gearing.

I ride an XL 29er bike, and I run a similar setup, just with the slightly lighter (but still 1100gram) Slashguard version of the rear tyre and find it no problem at all. There's an element of getting used to it, and it's not really fitness either. Paul's very fast, but more weight needs more strength, not necessarily more fitness. I'm hardly a squat legend, but being taller and heavier I'm naturally a little stronger.

Paul's usual bike for the last 3 years has been a Flare with 27.5" wheels and recently the Wolfpack Trail 2.4 tyres. Whilst he eventually got on with the WTB tyres (he needed the beefy setup for racing Ard Rock), he only got comfortable with it by dropping the chainring to a 30t to even out the gearing compared to his smaller wheeled bike. [side note - 29" wheels effectively make your gearing about 10% harder that 27.5" wheels due to the larger diameter, hence the need to gear down on the 29er]

He's now fitted the Wolfpack tyres to the Jeht too, which are better suited to his local riding and also the best part of 300 grams per wheel lighter. It's something I've really noticed this year when setting up the bikes for my daughters too. They could pedal a lot longer once I put some Wolfpack tyres on their bikes, and making the gearing lower too.

Ard Rock Reunion

Under Pressure

Tubeless is also worth considering if you haven't already. Although it seems daunting and faffy if you haven't done it before, the reliability benefits and much lower weight are well worth it. You can also run very low pressures. In fact, it's really worth spending some time experimenting. With my fairly stout WTB tyres, even weighing 85kg and riding a RocketMAX I can run my tyres at 19psi front, 21psi rear. Lighter tyres aren't as supportive, so need slightly higher pressures, but if you're a lot lighter than me, you won't need as much pressure either

FlareMAX outdoor shoot

Extension of Suspension

Think of it like an extension of your suspension; you wouldn't run the same pressure in your shock as me, so why run the same pressure tyres? Also, unless someone is the same weight as you and runs the same brand tyres, there's no point asking other people what they run. I have to run 2-3psi more in Maxxis tyres than WTB to get them to feel right and not constantly bottom out on the rim on rocky descents. Don't be afraid to experiment. The best thing you can do is buy a digital tyre pressure gauge (the Topeak one is good), and have a go.

There's an element of choosing appropriate tyres for the terrain here. The Wolfpacks are a fantastic light, all round option, but if you live somewhere like the Lakes with a lot of slate to cut tyres, they are not the one at all. Likewise if you're planning to race a few enduros, but your riding consists of built trails and some woodsy riding, with occasional visits to bigger terrain, go with something that suits 90% of your riding. We're always happy to advise if you have any questions.

As for gearing, because of the nature of how we have to buy groupsets, our stock gearing is 32t chainring on the mountain bikes. However, if you do feel you want an easier option, just let us know. We can usually source smaller rings if that's what you would prefer. And if you already have your bike, aftermarket rings from the likes of Superstar or Unite are UK made, easily available and great value.

Ard Rock Reunion

Hopefully that's another element of bike 'fit' that you have found useful. I guess it also shows that fitting your bike isn't just about the dimensions of the frame, it's worth thinking about other parts of the system too.


Women of Steel Facebook group…

Read Part 1 here…

Read part 2 here…

Contact us with your questions…


20/10/2021 - Jo Shwe Ambassador

No way... It's Jo Shwe!

Jo Jeht

Jo is the newest addition to our roster of awesome ambassadors. Hailing from Essex, now in Wakefield, Jo is a teacher at a Pupil Referral Unit and one of the main instigators of the Trash Mob Academy.

Jo JehtJo JehtJo JehtJo Jeht

Jo got in touch with Dom from Trash Free Trails back in 2020, asking to use their logo on a set of lesson plans she was developing to help her kids. Things snowballed very quickly and we ended up working very closely on the Trash Mob academy project and through that got to know Jo better.

Her passion for connecting her pupils with nature and easy-going attitude when faced with all manner of issues is what endeared her to us. Jo is working with us to bring cycling & nature to more diverse communities who might not feel like they have a voice in this area. More people on bikes is only ever going to be a good thing. You can read about the TFT project here.

Jo Jeht

She was introduced to mtb by her partner Gavin and has since spent more than a lot of time riding her bike in the mountains of France and the mini-mountains of the Peak District. After riding a FlareMAX on one of the many sessions at Leeds Urban Bike Park, she was convinced that a Cotic would be her next bike but with a few bikepark and uplift trips planned, a Jeht was a better choice.

Jo Jeht
Jo JehtJo JehtJo JehtJo Jeht

"Joey Jeht" was put together around a Gold Eagle build - Cane Creek suspension, Hunt wheels & WTB tyres. Burgtec finishing kit is on its way but since she was keen to just get out on the new bike, we found some spare bits to get her rolling.

Who is Jo?

Profession/passion: Work within an alternative provision for students with Social Emotional mental health needs and have been excluded from mainstream education. It is my professional passion. I am also a passionate Trash Free Trails ambassador that loves to incorporate their core values and nature connection into my teaching.

First bike: Pink Ladies Rayleigh Zest, got it second hand brakes only worked for me and only had 4 working gearsÖ I was the only one that loved the bike 😍💗

Current bike: Cotic Jeht 😍🖤😍

Favourite trail: The Return ride from Morzine to Les Gets

Dream trail: Not sureÖ somewhere in BC or New Zealand would be a dream to ride.

Best mtb invention in the last 10 years: Good E-bikes - Iíve seen so many people being able to continue riding thanks to them.

Pick two cyclists from history to be your parents: Missy Giove and John Tomac

If you could be anyone for a day who would it be: Iím quite happy being me right nowÖ although Iíd love to be the person who knows all the government secretsÖ that would be cool 😎

If you could do another job for a day what would it be: Food Critic on Master Chef

What would be the title of your autobiography: Just JoÖ

One thing people probably won't know about you: I used to be in a street dance hip hop crew and Iím really good at chess. (I know thatís 2 😝) xx

We're super stoked that Jo is part of our crew. Cotic ambassadors all bring something a little different to the table. Click on the links below the photo to have a read about our awesome family and follow their adventures on our socials.

ambassadors comp

Ambassadors…

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08/10/2021 - Bike Fit Part 2

chatting bike fit part 2

Saddle Height

This is your saddle position in the highest point (dropper up) for good pedalling. There's a rule of thumb called The Lemond Method where you measure your inseam in millimetres, multiply by 0.883 and this a good start.

As with everything human and bike related, there are variables. I (Cy) had a professional bike fit this year (to try and sort out my decade old rubbish right knee), and my saddle height was brought down from where I had had it for years at 815mm, to 807mm from BB centre to saddle top.

Using the Lemond Method, in bare feet it gives me 799mm. In my cycling shoes it gives me 816mm. All of this is affected by your crank length. I run my saddle at 804mm on my gravel bike, because the cranks are 5mm longer than on my mountain bike, but the pedals are thicker so the foot platform is closer to the saddle. See? Lots of little variables. However, what I would say is that based on my own experience, doing the Lemond calculation for bare feet and then cycling shoes and going somewhere in the middle would be a great place to start.

If you're keen on a pro bike-fit and are in the Sheffield area, I can highly recommend Fit4Physio. Otherwise, ask around your friends and see who has a good reputation in your area.

Women of Steel

Saddle Position

Another outcome of my bike fit was to push my saddle forward to help reduce the torque on my knees. This is something that's becoming easier on modern mountain bikes as seat angles are steeper than they were a few years ago. One thing I didn't do at the same time was change my saddle angle. Because I had quite a rearward saddle position (because I've been riding for years it's where I've come from and what I'm used to) I would have quite an angled down saddle at the nose, so take pressure off and makes things comfortable.

When I moved my saddle forward, I was sat up straighter and my hips were more open. After a few weeks I had a really stiff back, and after chatting to Fit4Physio., and a bit of experimenting I found that it was my saddle angle. I was having to hold myself really stiff through my back which made it sore. I adjusted the angle, tipped the nose up a little and basically rode it better in a couple of rides. There's an element of my being middle aged and therefore stiffer and more sensitive to these things, but it's a lesson we can all learn. If you are having back trouble, try moving your saddle a little for a couple of rides. Move it forward, seeing how it goes. Tip the nose up a little, see how that goes. Don't like it? Tip it down and see how that goes. A little bit of experimenting goes a long way, and in this more than any other thing, EVERYONE is different.

Contact Points

Saddle and grips are key to any cyclist. For the saddle, we have been really impressed with the WTB Fit Right system which helps you identify the correct saddle width based on your wrist measurement. Sounds mad, but it really works. Saddles are also quite counter-intuitive. My wife used to run quite a wide, thick padded comfort saddle, but on longer rides it would actually get less comfortable. We used the Fit Right to find a WTB Speed She saddle. It's still quite deeply padded, but it's much smaller and narrower than her old saddle, and also much more comfortable. At the other end of the scale, just because your female, doesn't mean you necessarily need a women's specific saddle. My youngest daughter is only 13 and quite slim built, and based on the Fit Right measurements would actually suit a medium width men's saddle. At it happened the suggested size was pretty much the same as the Fabric Scoop saddles we stock, and it really suits her. Much more than the WTB Speed She, which was really a bit too wide.

Hannah:

There's a lot of saddle chat on women's cycling groups! It's a much debated topic, and so different for everyone. I find that the WTB Deva saddle works for me and Cotic ambassador Kelly-Jayne likes the WTB Koda saddle. Saddle height was something I found took a little while to get perfect when I first starting out cycling, perhaps a combination of things contributing to this - shiny new Five Tens and trying out different saddles! If you aren't sure about your saddle, see if you can borrow a couple from friends. Some brands and shops even do demo saddles now, so ask around.

Discomfort in saddle height or saddle angle can show up in your lower back or as knee pain, so it's worth spending time to experiment as Cy says, get it right to avoid any injuries.

DSC_1909

Stretch! Move!

An often overlooked part of fitting your bike better. Stretching, more flexibility and mobility is the best way to pain-free and more enjoyable riding. Do something. Rich and Paul here at Cotic use one of the Youtube yoga channels. I (Cy) learnt a lot during Strength and Conditioning training over the years, combined with physio mandated specifics. Hannah used to dance so has a lot of experience from that and finds working stretching into your day the best way - waiting for the kettle to boil? Have a quick stretch! Advert break? Stretch! Little and often.

I have always stretched before a ride, but now I do a few minutes morning and evening (see also: stupid stiffening middle aged body). Throw in a few exercises. Do 5 minutes, it doesn't have to be loads before you feel the difference. We cannot recommend it highly enough. It's different for everyone, and it's always worth changing things up to keep it fresh, but the key thing is to do it.

There's quite a lot in this one, but we felt it was all very interconnected, so worth mentioning it all.

Look out for the next bike fit tips!


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Read Part 1 if you missed it…

Contact us with your questions…


29/09/2021 - Bike Fit Part 1

chatting bike fit part 1

Bike fit is a big subject, and we are all still learning about it. A recent conversation with Hannah sparked the idea for some helpful how-to's on this subject. We were chatting about my kids bikes. This year my two daughters graduated onto full suspension bikes. Both girls now ride a Small sized FlareMAX, but each bike is tailored quite differently to suit the rider. In discussing this with Hannah, we realised that although they're similar heights to her [OK, who am I kidding? They're both taller than me now...Hannah] we all have different set-ups and preferences, it isn't a one-size-set-up-fits-all and there isn't a magic answer in bike set up. Even for a bike designer, it is a trial and error, give things a go process, especially when helping less experienced riders with totally different proportions fit their bikes.

Out of all this grew the idea for a short series of explainers and tips from Hannah and I for making your bike work better for you. This first one is about bar width and cockpit setup.

Cy's bar set up

Bar Width

It stands to reason that if you're on the shorter end of height spectrum, you probably won't need bars quite so wide. We offer two options with our bikes as a stock offering - 780 uncut, and 750 cut down. However, we cut them to order, so if you know you prefer something narrower, just let us know.

At the moment we supply Cotic Calver bars in 25mm rise, and on the 29er bikes you might prefer something a little lower. We can get the optional Renthal bars down to 10mm rise, and if you have a set of favourite bars you can always send those in to us to fit onto your new bike. Remember, it's Your Bike Built For You.

HannahTEAL

As an example, my youngest daughter Cara (13) is 5ft 6in, but really prefers narrower bars. She's not super strong, and doesn't ride very often, so wide bars just make her shoulders ache. She runs 700mm wide bars flat bars and I put a couple of spacers under the stem to lift them a little to make it more comfortable for seated pedalling. My eldest daughter Lauren (15) is a little shorter at 5ft 5in, but is a totally different body shape and likes a little higher and wider front end. She uses Race Face 12mm rise bars cut to 740mm with the stem on it's lowest setting with no spacers under it.

At the other end of the scale, at 6ft 3in on an XL RocketMAX, I run a 25mm rise Calver bar cut to 770mm so it measures 780mm across the ends of the grips. I run a 5mm spacer under the stem. I've tried 38mm rise bars, and although they're comfortable for steep descents, I found them really hard work on my back on climbs, like my hands weren't low enough so I was kind of 'pushing' them up rather than 'pulling' back strongly on the bars to brace my pedalling effort. Paul recently found similar when jumping on a Jeht demo bike where a customer had previously put 20mm of spacers under the stem.

Over to Hannah....

On my Small Flare (27.5" wheels, so it has a lower front end stack height than the FlareMAX Cy's kids ride) I run 760mm bars when measured across the grips. It's suited me up to now, but I recently tried Lauren's FlareMAX and enjoyed the 740's, so I'm going to give something a little narrower a try. As I'm still relatively new to mountain biking, I assumed that slightly sore shoulders were possibly just part and parcel of riding (which up to a point they are - Middle Aged Editor), so I'll be keen to see if a slightly narrower setup feels more comfortable for longer.

Here I am with my Flare!

Hannah S Bike check

Kind of opposite to what Cy and Paul found for their setups, I run 25mm rise Calver bars with 20mm of spacers under the stem. I really like an upright riding position, and it suits me. I think it's possibly my background riding horses, but it works for me. That said, on Lauren's bike (the 29er), the stem is right down and the bars felt about the same as on my 27.5" bike.

Experiment!

As you can see, there's no hard or fast rules for bar width or height, but a bit of experimentation is key.

Firstly - height. All Cotic's are supplied with 20mm of spacers on the steerer for adjustment, and even if your bike doesn't have this much, it's worth trying out with what adjustment you do have. If you are on the shorter end of the height spectrum - particularly if you ride a 29er - get that stem as low as possible and see how that feels. If it feels good and you might want to go lower, see if any of your riding buddies have lower rise or flat bars in their spares box you could borrow for a ride or two. Going too low with very wide bars can limit your ability to lean the bike, so do just think about how the bike is working. It's so quick to change you can even do it on the trail if you like.

If you are a little taller, try the extremes of adjustment and see how it feels. Which do you prefer? You'll soon figure out where the compromise lies.

Width - Obviously cutting bars down is a very permanent change to a component on your bike, so if you think you might get on with narrower bars and want to try it, here's a little hack: buy some cheap double clamp lock on grips with open ends. You can now fit these and slide them in from the ends of your bars without cutting them for a few rides, to see where you feel comfortable. Just remember to measure from the end of the bar to the grip and make it even on both sides. You might have to be a little careful between the trees whilst you are trying this out, but it's a small thing compared to trashing a set of bars by cutting too narrow. Also this way, you can try a couple of different options and see what you like most. The key thing is to try it for 3 rides at least to make sure you feel any differences fully. Once you are happy, cut the bars down.

Women of Steel

That's it for the first instalment. We'll be doing these every week or so for a while to cover a bunch of subjects, and get you feeling better on your bike. And we really want this to be a conversation, so do reply to this email and ask some specific questions if you have them. We're here to help.


Women of Steel Facebook group…

Contact Us To Discuss…


01/07/2021 - Bolehills Women Of Steel 2021

Women Of Steel - Bolehills 2021 Jam

First big meet up of 2021

Women of Steel at Bolehills

Our first "big" meet-up of 2021! Finally! We decided to meet up at Bolehills, a large pumptrack in Sheffield. The Bolehills crew have worked so hard on the track during lockdown, it was great to go back and see what's been done. The track has something for everyone, with a pumptrack, roll-able jumps and moving up to the big jumps. That week we happened to have Lauren and Lily from the local school for work experience! Hannah now wasn't the only girl at Cotic HQ! We invited them along to our Women of Steel Bolehills event, here's how it went:

WoS at Bolehills

Lauren writes....

At first, both Lily and I were nervous to get started as it had been a while since we last rode our bikes. But once we got comfortable, it was a really enjoyable evening. It really helped that everyone there was super supportive and considerate to the fact that we were beginners.

When we first got there, we were both really nervous about what to expect. We worried that we would need to be more experienced riders to attend. But Cy assured us that that wouldnít be the case. And it wasnít. Everyone there made us very included, and they all encourage us to push ourselves. This attitude made us (and no doubt other beginners) feel welcome at the event. Another thing that helped us to feel more comfortable was that so many other people (of different levels of experience) were there.

WoS at Bolehills

We decided to start out on the pump track, instead of going straight onto the proper track. We did this to get used to being on our bikes again, after a while. Lily also rode around the field opposite the track to familiarise herself with riding her bike. After a while of stumbling around the pump track, we attempted the back straight on the actual track. We chose this part of the track because it was easy enough for our ability, but still challenged us. Cy made sure that we were okay and guided us around the track when we first got started. The whole event had an amazing atmosphere. It was really laid back and relaxed. Meaning we didnít feel pressured to be on the track the whole time or having to ride at a certain standard.

WoS at Bolehills

Lily writes...At the end of the night, Rich bought fish and chips for everyone there. Everyone was chatting to each other and sharing bikes (and food). It felt really special. We both felt really inspired by all the experienced women riders there. They are incredible! And they made us want to continue riding in hopes of becoming as experienced as them in the future. Thank you to everyone who came out for the event, it was a really great night!

WoS at Bolehills

Women of Steel Facebook group…


16/06/2021 - Big Ride = Big Smiles

Peak District Challenge

100 miles, big smiles

Emma Morris Adventures

Keen cyclist, member of the local uni mountain bike club, founder of Women In Cycling Festival and all-round lovely person Emma Morris set herself a challenge of riding 100 miles of mountain bike trails, she faced more obstacles than you can imagine - but overcame it all to complete the challenge, and she came away smiling.

Emma writes... Last year whilst undertaking the obligatory COVID zoom quizzes, my friends and I decided we wanted to ride 100 miles whilst conquering all the great Peak district descents. Our first attempt was on Summer Solstice 2020, but some bad route planning and poor time management meant we only managed 81miles.

Convinced we had it in us, we planned for another attempt in late 2020 but a few mishaps got in the way. First, I broke nine bones by face-planting a car, and then my friend Diesel - jealous of my broken bones - decided to shatter his leg in a motocross accident. But, after all that we remained keen. All year we were chatting about the ride, refining the route and getting hyped! In another obstacle, our bikes took a bit of a beating during some seriously intense winter riding. My new Cotic Jeht not yet ready, Cotic were generous enough to lend me a Flaremax for the big day. We just had to hope Diesel's bike would survive the ride.

Setting off at 2.40am - with our bikes and bags fully loaded - it felt like we were going on a proper adventure and we were stoked! We reached 50k by 7am and we were feeling great. The furthest point was Glossop so we were never that far away from home. It was both awesome and depressing looking around the hills and seeing exactly where we had been and where we had got to go. We'd done Stanage, Bamford, Hathersage, Froggatt, Curbar, Baslow, Hassop, Longstone, Eyam, Shatton Moor, Bradwell before 10.30am.

Emma Morris Adventures

As we were riding up Pindale, we decided to save energy and cut out Cavedale and Winnats Pass. BEST DECISION EVER! Instead we headed up Rushups Edge to Jacob's Ladder - boy was that painful when you're tired and carrying 21 hours worth of food and water...

About 100km in (around Potato Alley) I hit the wall- it was the biggest test of mental strength I've had. We were pushing as fast as we could but still going slowly. Tiredness and hunger hit me hard and I had a silly crash. All was fine though and we kept saying 'just keep pedalling and just keep smiling'.

Emma Morris Adventures

As soon as Glossop was in sight it was like a second burst of energy. The hype was high and so was the energy. We were pedalling some comparatively easy miles and at this point we knew we were going to make it to 100 miles. This felt incredible!

However, half way down Cutgate, Diesel's free hub started seizing - oh no, here we go! Luckily, we bumped into some unprepared riders with a flat tire and whilst we provided them with the tools to fix it, they helped us to get Diesel's cassette spinning again. This was our longest rest point and the first proper conversation we'd had with anyone but each other.

Emma Morris Adventures

We hit 100 miles around Ladybower after coming back over Cutgate and now the final part: getting home.

We were determined to finish on our local routes, so we headed back up via Bamford Edge, past Stanage and along Burbage. By this point, our bums hurt, our feet hurt and we'd been pedalling for 15 hours (20 hours elapsed). We were very tired so we decided to avoid a nasty crash on the tracks and head home on the road.

21 hours after setting off we had done it. Although our bodies were in pain, we felt incredible! We'd ridden 114.5miles (184km) and it felt great to know that we had really pushed ourselves mentally and physically - sooo cool!"


Women of Steel Facebook group…


10/10/2020 - Kelly-Jayne's Cotic Escapade Pregnancy Flat Bar Conversion

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Cotic Escapade - The Pregnancy Version

Our Brand Ambassador Kelly-Jayne Emmerson is pregnant, but she's been determined to keep riding. For the first half of her pregnancy she has been getting out, and sticking to more tame terrain aboard her Shimano Gravel Union Cotic Escapade.

Kelly-Jayne Emmerson, Cotic Escapade, gravel bike, steel gravel bike, steel is real, Shimano GRX, riding when pregnant
Kelly-Jayne, 28 weeks pregnant with her Cotic Escapade, in regular drop bar guise with full GRX800 2x drivetrain

Now well into her third trimester, Kelly was getting too uncomfortable grabbing for the drops, and needed a much more upright position to keep her comfy and rolling on the trails. So, the idea was hatched to do a flat bar conversion on her Escapade. This isn't something we usually recommend as for most riders it would result in a position far too short and upright, but short and upright is exactly what is needed in later pregnancy when a rider needs to make space for bump. Kell says....

ďDo you know what, Iím so happy that Iím still riding, so many women that Iíve spoken to told me that they had to stop at around 25 weeks, just Ďcos it was so uncomfortable, so I feel really lucky that the guys have hooked me up. It would be so boring if I couldnít go out riding. Just getting out there.Ē

It wasn't the work of a minute to do the change, as these days drop bar and MTB drivetrains are almost entirely lacking in cross-compatibility. In the end, after much discussion between Cotic and Gravel Union sponsors Shimano, we went for an XT 8100 1x12 drivetrain, SLX brakes with flat mount to post mount caliper adapters, Cotic Calver MTB riser bars cut down to 720mm and a diddy PRO Tharsis 35mm stem.

Kelly-Jayne Emmerson Cotic Escapade flat bar conversion, Cotic Escapade, gravel bike, steel gravel bike, steel is real, Shimano GRX, riding when pregnantKelly-Jayne Emmerson Cotic Escapade flat bar conversion, Cotic Escapade, gravel bike, steel gravel bike, steel is real, Shimano GRX, riding when pregnantKelly-Jayne Emmerson Cotic Escapade flat bar conversion, Cotic Escapade, gravel bike, steel gravel bike, steel is real, Shimano GRX, riding when pregnantKelly-Jayne Emmerson Cotic Escapade flat bar conversion, Cotic Escapade, gravel bike, steel gravel bike, steel is real, Shimano GRX, riding when pregnantKelly-Jayne Emmerson Cotic Escapade flat bar conversion, Cotic Escapade, gravel bike, steel gravel bike, steel is real, Shimano GRX, riding when pregnantKelly-Jayne Emmerson Cotic Escapade flat bar conversion, Cotic Escapade, gravel bike, steel gravel bike, steel is real, Cane Creek eeSilk, riding when pregnant

ďItís awesome, so upright. I donít have to lean forwards at all which makes it so comfortable, Ďcos itís got such a short stem and the flat bars just makes such a difference. My thighs were hitting my bump when I had drop bars which really wasnít ideal, so Iíd have my legs spread open wide way too much and be really uncomfortable cycling, so yeah, Iím really happy now.Ē

Kelly-Jayne Emmerson Cotic Escapade flat bar conversion, Cotic Escapade, gravel bike, steel gravel bike, steel is real, Shimano GRX, riding when pregnantKelly-Jayne Emmerson Cotic Escapade flat bar conversion, Cotic Escapade, gravel bike, steel gravel bike, steel is real, Shimano GRX, riding when pregnant
Kelly-Jayne Emmerson Cotic Escapade flat bar conversion, Cotic Escapade, gravel bike, steel gravel bike, steel is real, Shimano GRX, riding when pregnant

We're wishing Kelly-Jayne all the very best for the rest of her pregnancy and beyond. If you're pregnant, then we hope this has inspired you to keep getting out on your bike if you can. What an exciting time!


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Read more about Kelly-Jayne's cycling adventures here…


10/03/2020 - Women in Cycling Festival

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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

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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

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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 donít 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. Itís 200,000 feet of climbing which is the equivalent of climbing seven Everestís from sea level. Itís 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 didnít 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 couldnít - 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 Iíd 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 didnít know much about frames, Jamie from ĎCycle Inní 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. Iím no hard-core rider, I was just someone who was sparked by the Tour Divide. I believed beyond doubt I was Ďmeantí 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 itís all together head out for a mini adventure, this way you figure out what works or needs tweaking.

What would I say to anyone whoís 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, itís such an energising feeling. Then each day do your best and celebrate all your successes, itís 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 itís 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.

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

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