Free Wheelin’ with Cotic

We’re always looking for an excuse to get out of the office, so when the good folk at Cotic invited us to try out their range of bespoke mountain bikes, we were out of the door before anyone could remind us they didn’t come with stabilisers.

It’s a chilly Friday morning and I’m trying to pluck up the courage to charge headlong down a hill on a bike I’ve never ridden before. Not only that, but I’m trying to keep up with Sam Capper, someone who demos these things for a living.

Sam is part of the Cotic team, a specialist bike manufacturer based in Hope owned by Cy Turner. They specialise in high end bikes made primarily of steel, a substance more compliant than aluminium from which most bikes are made. Sam is a recent addition to the company, and his job involves travelling across the country, demoing bikes to prospective buyers. Nice work if you can get it.


Now I’m not a ‘ballsy’ kind of person. And I’m also not much of a cyclist. So trying to stay close to Sam as he charges down the hill is a bit like asking Dawn French to keep up with Usain Bolt. Throw in a load of bumps and jumps and some of the rockiest terrain in Sheffield and you’ve got one anxious biker on your hands.

But what is noticeable to even a rookie like me is how much of a difference having the right bike makes. As I cruise (and I mean that in the ‘going very slowly’ sense of the word) down the hill, I’m struck by just how safe it feels. Granted, I’ve not gone at the pace a serious biker will (just check out the video below compared to the one above for a feel of just how slow I went), but at no point do I sense the bike might let me down.

“Lots of people are getting into all types of biking now and the great thing about Sheffield is there is a real mix of abilities, so while there are loads of really amazing riders, there are also lots of beginners too,” Sam tells me. Sam recently moved to Sheffield and he says the scene here is like no other. “When there’s a cycling event, everyone gets together and supports each other,” he says. “And because you’ve got the right kind of countryside close by, it really is one of the best places in the country to learn to bike.”

I tested out the Flare from the Cotic range at Parkwood Springs off Shirecliffe Road, the first ever crowd-funded trail in the UK, or there’s Lady Cannings at Ringinglow – both of which have plenty for beginners and the more advance rider. If you are interested in getting your hands on a Cotic bike, you can visit their workshop in Hope or Sam will come out to meet you on a mountain bike trail and let you try before you buy. Frames start at £400 and complete bikes start at around £1500.

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