Give the perfect bike for Christmas

Forget about Xbox and iPhones this Christmas - the best gift you could get your kid is a bike, says Cycling Action Network spokesperson Patrick Morgan.

"It's the gift of freedom, independence, joy. Learning about risk and consequences. Sweating, cruising, hanging out with your mates. Maybe a bit of mischief."

What should parents look for when bike shopping?
- you get what you pay for
- go to your local bike shop for expert advice
- avoid the big box retailers
- or go second hand, take a bikey friend with you to check it out
- ask around. Lots of people have a spare bike in the garage.

A bicycle is always near the top of the Christmas wish list, says Patrick Morgan.

"With new cycle trails now open all over New Zealand, it's going to be a biking hot summer."

For those lucky enough to find a bicycle at the foot of the Christmas tree, Mr Morgan has some tips:
· Cycling is fun; having fun is more important than going fast.
· Learn about your brakes and how to use them .
· Get started with firm tyre pressure.
· Be courteous when sharing bike paths with walkers.
· Give yourself space - stay out of the car door range.

In 2005 a British poll put the bicycle as the favourite invention since 1800, ahead of electricity and the internet.

Patrick Morgan says if your bike has been sitting in the garage since last summer holidays, take a few minutes to give it some TLC.

"Before each ride check your ABC: air pressure in tyres, brakes working and chain not loose or rusty. Check for loose accessories and worn tyres. Make sure your bike is not too big or too small for you to ride comfortably."

For tips to improve your cycling experience go to Cycling Action Network at

Patrick Morgan, Cycling Action Network
027 563 4733