How can you get a grant for your school to teach kids bike safety skills?
Katherine Dowson, Executive Director, Friends of Pathways (FOP), shares how their organization secured funding for a fleet of Strider Bikes to teach bike safety through their “Kids on the Move!” program in Jackson, WY, and surrounding Teton County areas to children ages 2 to 10 years old. She also talks about the impact the bikes have had in the community to improve the skills and behaviors of younger riders on pathways.
1. How did you first hear about Strider Bikes and why did you pursue a grant for them?
We have always done bike safety classes in the PE classes at local schools. Before using the Strider Bikes, kids would have to just walk and do hand signals, or sit on platforms with wheels instead of bikes and skootch around the floor.
Our Education Director Lauren Dickey said it would be great if kids could actually practice on a bike. But that presents several challenges, such as kids having to bring their own bikes to school, and some kids don’t have bikes. Lauren knew about Strider Bikes and suggested FOP pursue a grant from the Teton County School District No.1 Recreation District to help purchase a fleet of bikes and integrate them into the PE classes. That way all kids have access to a safe and appropriate bike they can ride for the program.
Sometimes there is a big discrepancy of who can ride bikes and who can’t by the second grade. Having them all on the same type of bike evens the playing field. It also saves the parents the hassle of getting bikes to and from school. In addition, the Strider Bikes are better than a pedal bike with training wheels, because training wheels don’t teach balance.
2. How did you secure the grant?
Raising money is always a challenge. It’s easier once people understand benefits of what you are providing. We knew from the beginning that we would have to invest some of our own money to show others the impact it would have. So, FOP purchased the first 10 bikes and tried them out in the PE classes.
The bikes were incredibly popular, but there were up to 30 kids in class, so eventually we applied to the Recreation District to help us acquire another 15. Fortunately, the Recreation District has discretionary funds to award to non-profits and schools, mostly for capital equipment.
We now have 25 of the bikes, in both the 12” and 16” sizes. Even the kids who know how to ride a pedal bike can practice and improve balance skills on a Strider Bike. They are also used by the adaptive sports programs for individuals with special needs, making it an inclusive program.
3. How have you expanded the program and continue to maintain it?
We worked with a local community foundation to purchase a trailer and now have a mobile Bike Lab. It includes an obstacle course of ramps, beams and cones. Besides the two-week PE programs at local schools, we also take it to community events, such as festivals and outdoor concerts that have up to 5,000 people. Thousands of kids have been able to ride a bike and learn bike safety skills through this outreach
Sponsorship money for the Bike Lab comes from local businesses and helps support the ongoing program to cover costs for staff and bike tune-ups. For events, we put the logos of local businesses on the trailer so it is good advertising for them.
4. What are the results you’ve seen?
It’s definitely working! We have found through the last three years that kids who have taken the class are better equipped with safety skills to use the pathways. They know how to signal, pass on the left, use their bell, and put their feet down at stop signs.
The program is instilling bike safety knowledge and early balancing skills that lead to riding a bike at an earlier age. We get the kids to be confident in the PE class, and find they have an easier transition to pedal bike. This is especially important if they don’t have access to a bike from a young age, when they’re more open to learning.
Koreen Sheridan retired this year, but managed the program when she was the PE teacher, and shared these comments about the program:
“The Strider Bikes have had a huge impact and helped many kids. Close to 600 kids go through the course each year. Some know the rules better than some of the grownups. The kids practice balance skills, do figure eights, go over ramps, zig zag around cones and learn how to obey stop signs and turn signals. They also practice riding around pedestrians and saying, ‘on your left.’
One 6-year-old girl who had never ridden a bike was scared and didn’t want to get on it. Being able to walk with the Strider helped ease her fears. After the class, her mom was amazed by her confidence and ability.
Overall, the balancing skills learned from riding a Strider help in other sports, so it’s a great thing for young kids to learn. We even do some strengthening exercises, by having them get on and off a bike, pick it up and turn it sideways, kind of like some local racers do in cyclo cross races.
Another great benefit is that the Strider Bikes are so durable and need very little repair or maintenance. One issue we had though, was that the school nurse was concerned about sharing helmets. So, we got a donation for blue surgical caps to put underneath them, for kids who did not bring their own helmets. We told the kids the caps were the same ones that doctors and chefs wore, so they were ok with wearing them.”
5.Why is learning to ride a bike and bicycle safety so important for young kids?
We’ve built a beautiful pathway system and want everyone to have access to it. Kids can safely ride several miles to school. The program makes the pathways more attainable for kids and teaches them to be a responsible user of our pathways, for both winter and summer activities.
Biking is an important mode of travel, especially until you are 16 years old and learn to drive a car, so it’s important to know the rules of the road and be safe and confident.
6.What advice would you give to an organization trying to secure a grant for a program like yours?
Make sure your school district is on board and is willing to work with you once you secure the grant. We are blessed to have PE teachers dedicated to developing cycling skills. If you can’t work within your school district, find a venue that is safe with a surface that is flat, perhaps a parking lot that can be secured from cars and traffic.
It’s something that is duplicable in many settings and it’s an important service we offer to the community to ensure safer cycling.
For additional information on the program, check out this recent article in the Jackson Hole News Guide, School district approves funding for youngest bike riders.
Highlights impact of Strider Balance Bikes for individuals with special needs
Rapid City, SD (September 13, 2016) — South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard recognized Strider Sports Int’l., Inc. with the Distinguished Service Award for its contributions to the rehabilitation and employment of South Dakotans with disabilities at the 2016 Governor’s Awards today.
Since its inception in 2007, Strider Sports International Inc. has donated over $600,000 which includes cash and bikes to organizations that benefit children and adults, including individuals with disabilities. The Strider Bike line-up includes the 12” model for younger riders and the 16” and 20” models, developed in the last couple of years for older children and adults with balance and coordination challenges, such as Down syndrome and autism. Research in 2015 showed that riding a Strider Bike helped children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
“Strider Sports Int’l has done amazing things for our program at Rapid City Central High School,” said Amy Heuston, a Special Education teacher who submitted a letter of reference for the award application. “They not only have given us thousands of dollars in bikes and helmets, but have given their time and love to our students with severe/profound disabilities. Strider Bikes have made ENORMOUS impacts with many of our students, and in many skill areas.”
Heuston uses 13 Strider Bikes in her classroom and has seen benefits in PT, OT, Speech, Behavioral and Social, as noted in 5 Areas of Impact Strider Bikes Have with My Special Education Students.
Physical therapists such as Kim Burke, PT, MPT, of Lifescape, use Strider Bikes, “to empower children and adults with disabilities to lead fulfilling lives,” as she wrote in her letter of reference. “Strider Bikes have been a great tool that continues to challenge balance, strength, endurance, motor planning, etc., in a fun and functional way.”
Many people with special needs never learn to ride a two-wheeled bike because of challenges with balance and coordination. Strider has worked with several organizations to change that, such as the Special Olympics Young Athletes Program. Starting in 2015, the Strider Cup Racing Series included Special Needs Races for individuals of all ages and abilities.
The Governor’s Awards ceremony is co-sponsored by the Boards of Vocational Rehabilitation, Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Statewide Independent Living Council and the Department of Human Services.
August was yet another month full of amazing Strider Calendar Contest Entries! Below are the top 3 photos as voted on by the staff at Strider HQ. You can check out all the entries on our Flickr page.
If you were one of the top 3 selected for August you will receive an email with your gift certificate information.
Don't forget to keep snapping and capturing the cute, intense, and fun moments for your September entries!
1st Place - Rocky Mountain Ride
2nd Place - Strider Graduate
3rd Place - Swimming With Strider
July was yet another month full of amazing Strider Calendar Contest Entries! Below are the top 3 photos as voted on by the staff at Strider HQ. You can check out all the entries on our Flickr page.
If you were one of the top 3 selected for July you will receive an email with your gift certificate information.
Don't forget to keep snapping and capturing the cute, intense, and fun moments for your August entries!
1st Place - Quadruplets!
2nd Place - Pure Joy
3rd Place - Summer Puddles
June was yet another month full of amazing Strider Calendar Contest Entries! Below are the top 3 photos as voted on by the staff at Strider HQ. You can check out all the entries on our Flickr page.
If you were one of the top 3 selected for June you will receive an email with your gift certificate information.
Don't forget to keep snapping and capturing the cute, intense, and fun moments for your July entries!
1st Place - They Own the Block
2nd Place - Getting Muddy
3rd Place - All-In-One Triathlon
Rapid City, SD (June 14, 2016) — Strider Sports International, the world’s premier manufacturer and marketer of no-pedal balance bikes for kids ages 18 months to 5 years old, is pleased to announce that the license for sales of the Honda Strider 12 Sport Balance Bikes has been expanded worldwide. The Honda licensed Strider Balance Bike enables children as young as 18 months to begin their love of all things two-wheeled, and connect that love to the Honda brand.
Since 2011, Strider has been licensed in the USA and has enjoyed tremendous success, with Strider Bikes sold across the nation. ”We are very excited to be expanding the license worldwide. Our international distributors and Honda fans from around the world have been waiting for this expanded territory,” says Ryan McFarland, CEO of Strider Sports Int’l, Inc. “We are always eager to put more kids on bikes. And that’s good for everyone’s future – especially the motorcycle industry.”
About Strider Sports International, Inc.
Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Rapid City, SD, Strider Sports designs efficient, no-pedal balance bikes for children as young as 18 months, as well as for older riders with special needs. Strider’s mission is to simplify a bike to its essence, so proper size, weight, and simplicity combine to eliminate any fear of riding and instill confidence in the rider. Strider No-Pedal Balance Bikes are industry-leading training bikes that help children as young as 18 months learn to ride effectively on two wheels. Strider also manufactures balance bikes for individuals with special needs and for seniors wanting to stay active later in life. The patented Strider Balance Bikes focus on the fundamentals of balancing, leaning, and steering without the distractions and complications of pedals or training wheels. Strider Bikes are now distributed in more than 75 countries worldwide. In 2015, Strider sold its one-millionth bike. Through its charitable Rider Fund, Strider Sports has donated over $250,000 in cash and over $350,000 in Strider products since 2008.To learn more and to find a retailer in your area, visit www.StriderBikes.com, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram.
As the photos for May came in by email we were reminded once again how awesome our Strider riders and their parents are! You can check out all the entries on our Flickr page.
If you were one of the top 3 selected for May you will receive an email with your gift certificate information.
Don't forget to keep snapping and capturing the cute, intense, and fun moments for your June entries!
Without further ado...
1st Place - Downtime At the MX Track
2nd Place - Stride On Cowgirl
3rd Place - Perfect Strider Form
Toddlers as young as 18 months to race and enjoy family-friendly activities at event
Rapid City, SD (June 7, 2016) — Strider Bikes, the world’s leading manufacturer and marketer of children’s no-pedal balance bikes, is returning to Pioneer Park for its 2016 Strider Cup Series with the Strider Cup Race presented by Intermountain LDS Hospital on June 25 in Salt Lake City.
The June 25 race is the second of three events in the national Strider Cup racing series, in which toddlers as young as 18 months old put their Strider Bike skills to the test. These family-friendly races also feature a free Strider Adventure Zone play area with games and Strider Bikes to test ride.
“Strider Bikes build up so much confidence and helped my boys be independent at a young age,” said Justin Hewett, of Draper, Utah. His 4-year-old son, Hawk, competed in 2015 and since then has quickly and easily transitioned to a pedal bike. He still loves his Strider Bike and is competing this year. His 2-year-old brother, Lincoln, will be racing for the first time. “We had such a great experience at the Strider race last year. My wife and I were so impressed, it totally exceeded our expectations!”
The event includes races for 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds. The registration fee is $25 online before June 21 or $35 on-site. Racers will receive a Strider jersey, number plate for their bike and a goodie bag valued at more than $50 with their registration Pre-registration is open at http://www.striderbikes.com/saltlakecity.
A typical Strider race scene features hundreds of excited and proud young parents and grandparents eagerly encouraging their young racers while ringing bright yellow cowbells as the starting gate drops. Toddlers, some still in diapers, lean forward, kick their short legs, and embark upon their 600-foot plus journey over obstacles such as dirt mounds and wooden ramps. All racers are treated to a celebratory podium award ceremony immediately following their main race, where they will receive either a trophy or a medal and pose for the cheering crowd.
On May 25, Stoel Rives LLC teamed up with Strider to give away 120 Strider Bikes to local youth, including 50 bikes to the Lolie Eccles Early Education Center: Childcare, Preschool & Kindergarten, part of YWCA Utah, and another 50 to the Wasatch Christian Early Learning Center. Several of those recipients are expected to participate in the June 25 Strider Cup Race.
The Strider Cup events also include races for athletes with special needs in conjunction with the Special Olympics program in each city. In Salt Lake City, 24 Special Olympics athletes received Strider Bikes and are learning to ride for the June 25 race. These athletes will race the 12” models, as well as Strider’s new, larger 16” and 20” balance bikes, which the company launched in 2014 specifically for the special needs community. Strider has waived the registration fee for riders with special needs.
The other two Strider Cup races will be held June 11 in Lincoln, Nebraska and July 9 in Spokane, WA. Participating in any of these events automatically qualifies the rider for the Strider Cup World Championship, July 29-30 at Pier 35 in San Francisco, California. The Strider event page, http://www.striderbikes.com/events has more information on all of the races.
About Strider Sports International, Inc.
Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Rapid City, SD, Strider Sports designs efficient, no-pedal balance bikes for children as young as 18 months, as well as for older riders with special needs. Strider’s mission is to simplify a bike to its essence, so proper size, weight, and simplicity combine to eliminate any fear of riding and instill confidence in the rider. Strider No-Pedal Balance Bikes are industry-leading training bikes that help children as young as 18 months learn to ride effectively on two wheels. Strider also manufactures balance bikes for individuals with special needs and for seniors wanting to stay active later in life. The patented Strider Balance Bikes focus on the fundamentals of balancing, leaning, and steering without the distractions and complications of pedals or training wheels. Strider Bikes are now distributed in more than 75 countries worldwide. In 2015, Strider sold its one-millionth bike. To learn more and to find a retailer in your area, visit www.StriderBikes.com, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram.
About Intermountain LDS Hospital
LDS Hospital has a long tradition of quality healthcare that dates back to 1905. It has since grown to a 220-bed, elite, full-service community hospital serving northern Salt Lake and southern Davis counties. Nestled in the heart of Utah’s most historic neighborhood, we offer a complete range of high-quality wellness, diagnostic, and treatment services to the community while providing excellent clinical outcomes and extraordinary personal service. https://intermountainhealthcare.org/
You’ve made the excellent decision to purchase a Strider balance bike for your kiddo, but did you know that you can take that gift to the next level with their own personalized book? Your little one will enjoy sitting down with a story made just for them!! When you order, we will customize the story with his/her name to help engage them in an amazing adventure in which he/she is the hero. In fact, not only will your child get a personalized story book, they will get a Strider Superhero Cape as well! Encourage your child to dream big with Strider’s personalized book and Superhero Cape combo!
The first annual #WorldStriderDay was a huge success with over 250 photos entered from all over the world!
Ten winners from all those that entered were randomly selected. If you see your photo below make sure that you're watching your inbox for your $100 gift card from your local distributor!
See all of the photos entered over on our Flickr page HERE!