THIS week I have been leafing through two cycling books that you might well want to put on your Christmas present list…

The Northern Echo: Haynes Bike Books

What are they?

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Haynes has always been the go to manual for cars, but in recent years the publisher has branched out to offer expert advice in other areas.

Their latest two hardback books are the Road Cycling Manual and The Bike Book.

Tell us about the Road Cycling Manual?

Whether you are new to the sport or are already a keen rider this book will both inform and entertain.

Written by Luke Edwardes-Evans, former editor of Bicycle magazine, and with a foreward by Tour de France stage winner Sean Yates, it is set out in eight easy to read sections – The World of Road Cycling, Buying a Bike, The Bike, Clothing and Accessories, Bike Set-up, Fitness and Training, Sportives and Racing and Maintenance and Repairs.

Who it is for?

Unless you are a qualified expert on the subject, the Road Cycling Manual will have something in it that you didn’t already know. I have been cycling for around five years, a mere heartbeat compared with some people I know, so there was plenty for me to soak up.

It doesn’t condescend, Edwardes-Evans writing in a style that is both understandable and authoritative. What’s more, his passion for the subject comes across, a passion we all share.

I don’t mind asking stupid questions, it comes with being a journalist, but there are those who do not like to look stupid in public.

The kind of questions you might want answers to in a cycle shop, whether when buying a bike or choosing clothing, are all answered here.

How is it laid out?

Design is as key a component to the enjoyment of a book as two wheels are to a bike.

This book is clean and clear with plenty of pictures to break up the copy. The technical sections are easy to follow and the photos that accompany them aid your understanding.

What about the Bike Book?

This is the seventh edition of the complete bike maintenance book and is written by James Witts and Mark Storey.

It eases you in gently with sections on Choosing a Bike and Routine Maintenance and Repairs, before getting deeper into the subject with the likes of Braking Systems, Drivetrain, Contact Points, Wheels and Frames, Forks, Steering and Suspension. It finishes with a helpful section on Safety, Security and Accessories.

Who is it for?

Like the Road Cycling Manual, this book will appeal to both the novice and the well-versed cyclist. I am to DIY what the Rev Richard Coles is to dancing so anything that can help me keep my bike on the road has to be worth having.

I have tackled jobs I would never have previously contemplated thanks to earlier editions of this book and have come to appreciate my bike’s nuances and idiosyncrasies as a result – rather than viewing it as a whole, I now understand it is a series of inter-connected parts that must be cared for and nurtured.

How is it laid out?

Again, like the Road Cycling Manual, this book has been designed with a great deal of care and thought. There are more than 1,000 colour photos within its 194 pages.

The design is clear and concise, words are kept to a minimum and there’s little or no complicated language to get in the way of your understanding.

How can I get copies?

Both are available at good book stores, priced £22.99 and £18.99 respectively, or via www.haynes.com