I grew up riding bikes with my friends, but I didn't keep it up once I went to University. A couple of my friends persevered and are really good riders, even building careers on their love of riding.

I bought a mountain bike in 2006 (a sort of "first pay cheque" treat after changing roles) but didn't really ride it all that often until this year. Once Lockdown began, I started going for early morning rides in order to get some fresh air and exercise.

Once I'd got into doing that I decided it was finally time to buy a new bike. I knew I wanted something more like a "hybrid" than a mountain bike but apart from that I was clueless. I couldn't even name the top manufacturers.

Ross Burton—a friend from the Debian community—suggested I take a look at Cotic, a small UK-based manufacturer based in the peak district. Specifically their Escapade gravel bike. (A gravel bike, it turns out, is kind-of like a hybrid.)

My new Cotic Escapade

My new Cotic Escapade

I did some due diligence, looked at some other options, put together a spreadsheet etc but the Escapade was the clear winner. During the project I arranged to have a socially distant cup of tea with my childhood friend Dan, now a professional bike mechanic, who by coincidence arrived on his own Cotic Escapade. It definitely seemed to tick all the boxes. I just needed to agonise over the colour choices: Metallic Orange (a Cotic staple) or a Grey with some subtle purple undertones. I was leaning towards the Grey, but ended up plumping for the Orange.

I could just cover it under Red Hat UK’s cycle to work scheme. I’m very pleased our HR dept is continuing to support the scheme, in these times when they also forbid me from travelling to the office.

And so here we are. I’m very pleased with it! Perhaps I'll write more about riding, or post some pictures, going forward.