By Andy Chivers

It’s Christmas time again, and thoughts naturally turn to presents for our family and friends...but spare a thought for your best friend – your bike. If you think calling your bike your best friend is a bit over the top, consider – it is there for you come rain or shine, never demanding anything in return, helping you achieve things that would otherwise be impossible. So your bike deserves at least some small present at Christmas.

What would your bike like most? At the very least it deserves a spot of oil on the chain. Better still see if its brake blocks need replacing and if the chain slips at all when you are pressing hard on the pedals, it’s probably time for a new chain. If you replace the chain you should always change the rear cogs at the same time as they will have worn down at the same rate.

But these are really the equivalent of the socks or hankies you get from Auntie Vera; they are nice but are just replacing things you already have. What is your bike dreaming of as it looks in the bike shop window? Perhaps the most exciting would be a hub dynamo and lights. Not a trivial purchase but one that will give years of security, pleasure and confidence to you both. Imagine bike lights that are as easy and reliable as car headlights – always there, always bright and, being bolted on they are much less vulnerable to theft. Some of them even detect when the light is fading and come on automatically.

Another present which would raise your bike’s self-esteem might be a rack. Overnight your bike adds a whole new dimension to its functionality. From being a stunningly effective person carrier, it is now also helping you carry all sorts of loads. If you already have a rack and you’re thinking of a stocking filler, some bungee cords enhance your bike’s ability to take even strangely shaped items home.

If you want to take load-carrying to the ultimate level, and you have somewhere to store it, a bike trailer is another option. It might replace your car for many journeys and you can amaze your friends with your (modestly understated, of course) stories of what you have transported.

Another idea is a frame lock. As the name suggests, these are locks that fix to the frame so they are always on your bike and make it easy to immobilise it quickly and cleanly, since there is no need to fiddle about getting a D lock through the grubby wheel. For additional security you can connect a chain which will wrap around a lamppost or bike rack.

And perhaps what your bike would like best on Christmas Day would be a ride along those quiet country lanes.

Happy Christmas!