Since switching jobs in May, I’ve returned to mountain biking more in order to get fitter/lose the gut. I had access to a gym on campus in my previous job and had only been out on the bike infrequently. More regular midweek outings have been great, I’ve lost some weight and have re-learned some skills long forgotten [with some help from Ned Overend]. I find exercise is easier if you fool yourself into doing it, by enjoying it first and reaping the health benefits as a by-product.

Unfortunately, my old bike was a bit on the small side [Medium, allegedly]. It was never a problem until I started riding regularly. The small frame made it supremely manoeuvrable through the trees on my local trails, but it was cramped and uncomfortable and I was finding myself with neck and shoulder problems. Occasionally, bad enough to keep me awake at night. It slowly dawned on me that the bike was the issue. Having invested quite heavily in kit to ensure I can keep riding throughout winter, and with no other form of regular exercise likely to keep me motivated in the way cycling does, I splashed the cash on a new, large frame.

I’d promised myself a new bike if I reached my target weight of 15stone/210lbs/95kg [I’m not there yet]. However, if I can’t ride, I won’t lose weight. So a new frame was a compromise, I’ve transferred most of my existing components over to the new frame to keep costs down. Having said that, the frame wasn’t exactly cheap. Cotic are a small UK outfit, producing high quality steel frames. I first heard of them through Singletrackworld, as soon as I saw the frame, I fell in love with it. Despite it’s relatively understated looks [well, apart from the colour. Hopefully skinny, straight tubes will put off prospective thieves!], it’s a do-it-all frame and has been built quite burly to cope with my lack of finesse. Despite this, it climbs beautifully and really outlined just how much more difficult an undersized frame makes efficient pedalling. I felt like I could ride it all day, and that’s got to be a good thing. I felt less tired after today’s ride than I previously did on shorter rides with the old frame. I think I have a bit more fine tuning of saddle/bars to do, but I’m delighted with it. πŸ˜€