Bicycle sales in top gear before the bells ring out

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ALL we want for Christmas are bicycles!

That’s the message Sheffield’s cycling shops have been getting this festive season following a surge in bike sales.

Customers are seeing two-wheeled transport as the ideal gift as more people turn to cycling as a pastime and a cost-effective way of getting to work.

Bike shops in the city have sold hundreds of cycles for children and adults, and are predicting a last-minute rush this week as people buy their final Christmas presents.

Chris McDonnell, deputy manager at JE James Cycles on Bramall Lane, said bike sales ‘seem to be better’ this year.

“I think what’s happened is that adults have been buying bikes and then their little ones have been wanting to ride bicycles as well. They’re making it more of a family thing.

“You get a lot of dads coming in and saying they want to do something with their sons and daughters.

“Also, if you take away the Christmas side of it, a lot of employers are doing bike-to-work schemes, so they’ll use their bike to get to work and for recreation as well.”

Chris said customers have been spending from £150 to £500 for bikes as Christmas gifts.

“A lot more people are buying bikes for the first time, but they don’t want to spend silly money,” said Chris, who’s worked in the cycling industry for 20 years.

“We spend two or three hours with customers getting them kitted out. You see them coming back and getting better and fitter. It’s good for everyone.”

Adam Bedford, manager at Bike Tree on Abbeydale Road, said the shop is on course to sell more than 100 bikes in the run-up to Christmas Day with a ‘mixture’ of people shopping.

“We’ve certainly seen a lot of people interested in cycling to work rather than driving, because financially it’s far better, and when children are growing up one of the main things they always want is a bike.

“It’s something that’s always going to be an easy gift for a parent. We’ve seen a few couples in looking at bikes for each other for Christmas too.

“I’ve definitely seen a last-minute rush.”

But the sudden rise in numbers of novice cyclists could spell rich pickings for opportunist thieves.

This year bicycle thefts increased in Sheffield city centre, mainly during the day when bikes were parked up.

South Yorkshire Police are advising cyclists to ensure their bikes are locked up when left unattended, ideally using a secure D-lock and have their crossbar stamped with their postcode.

People should park bikes in well-lit, well-used areas and use proper cycle racks instead of chaining bikes to lampposts.

A free website - www.immobilise.com - offers cyclists the chance to register their bike’s frame number free on a national database. If the bike is stolen, it can be traced back to the original owner.

To have bikes stamped with yoir postcode, call police on 0114 220 2020 and ask for details of your local safer neighbourhood team.