ARE you thinking of getting someone a bike this Christmas? Then there are a few questions you need to ask.

Firstly, find out if the intend would, in theory, like to ride a bike to get around town. Then, subtly find out what is stopping them. You know, the common pre-Christmas question. ‘If a bike just turned up, and you knew where to go, and you had a bit more confidence – would you use it?’ If the answer is yes then please follow our On Yer Bike Christmas guide to getting started by bike in Oxford.

1. Buy a bike. It doesn’t have to cost hundreds of pounds, there are a huge number of bike shops that sell both new and second hand bikes in Oxford. Be aware of buying privately unless you know a lot about bikes. If you can’t tell whether the frame is bent or damaged, or if the chain or cogs are worn, you might be getting a dud bike. You also need to make sure the bike fits. You could go down the Retul bike fit process at £180 or you could blindfold your recipient and sit him/her on the bike and follow a basic bike set up guide. They will never guess. Honest.

2. Storage: where will you keep the bike? It needs to be easy to access – bikes that are stored in the back of a shed, usually stay in the back of the shed. Bikes can live outside – buying a cheap cover will keep the worst of the weather off, so the bike lasts longer.

3. Route finding. For £1 you can buy Cyclox’s map, which shows all the cycle routes in Oxford. For free you can do a Santa Claus clandestine download of the Cycle Streets app on their smartphone (remember it is the thought that counts).

4. If you think they will cycle a regular route (perhaps to work), you could check it out in advance and load it on to cycle streets or Google Maps. Think about the person, would they prefer straight and fast, of quiet and slightly longer. Remember to check out all the cycle lanes – will they help? Are they continuous, or do they stop abruptly?

5. You need lights and a lock. Bikes must have lights at night, and there is nothing more dispiriting than finding an empty stand where you left your bike.

6. If it is confidence that is stopping them, book them in for a cycling lesson with the Broken Spoke Bike Coop or find another instructor through the Bikeability website. Going through cycle handling and then road craft in a methodical way helps with skills and confidence.

7. Buy them membership of Cyclox – only £10 per year. What we all need is proper segregated cycle infrastructure and a normalised cycling culture in Oxford – just what Cyclox campaigns for.

If might not be the cheapest present, you may have to club together to buy the separate parts. However, if it means someone can swap sitting in a car on a congested road, for daily exercise and wind in their hair, it will soon pay for itself.