As a mom, I worry. Okay, that’s obvious. I worry about my kids being accepted, capable, respectful, proud, and confident. When it comes to sports I feel like I need to choose wisely. Here is the deal, I am almost 6 feet tall and my husband is 6’2” so our kids are, well, giants. At 3 years old my son, Adam was the exact size of the average 6 year old. Now he’s 6 and I’m thinking about making him get a job he’s so big. I know everyone’s situation is different. You may have a child who is tiny, or overweight, or underweight, with special needs, or just completely uncoordinated… the only thing you need to worry about is to doing what’s best for your child.
I thought about having my son join football, but the problem was the sign-up sheets read “Don’t worry, we group the kids by size not age, so no one gets hurt” so he would be being tackled by 10 year olds. Not going to happen. I thought about wrestling which goes by weight, and he would be grappling with 10 year olds. Again, not going to happen. We tried soccer. He hated it. He is what you would call a “lover, not a fighter” so when someone wanted the ball, he would kick it to them… no matter what team they were on…
The one thing he really loves is riding his bike. It’s fun. He can go on long rides with Gramps to find Geocaches, he can go get dirty at the dirt jump part, or circle endlessly around the car in the driveway, doesn’t matter what, it’s always fun.
I will be the first to admit that I am competitive, and secretly want my kids to have that fire inside them too. When you sign your kid up for a sport and they really aren’t into it, it isn’t fun for them, you, or the coach who is desperately trying to wrangle your inattentive “lover boy.”
After I started working at STRIDER, I discovered USA BMX. Talk about an intimidating sport! Full face helmets, giant jumps, a loud gate that crashes down and sends your child down onto a dirt track that you are sure is going to scar them for life… It’s not like that. Turns out the 6 year old novice class doesn’t do a whole lot of “jumping” the full face helmets, while intimidating in appearance, are really just there to save you some money on dental bills should they get their teeth bumped on a friend or their bike (on a side note, maybe parents should think about putting those on kids at soccer practice! I’m kidding!… sort of.) They crash, a lot, but I haven’t seen a single kid out for the night because of a wreck. It teaches them humility, you crash, you dust yourself off, you get back up. It teaches them respect, if there is a “man down” in practice, you get off your bike and help them off the track so no one gets hurt.
My first moments of watching Adam at the track were painful, he walked up almost every hill, and half the time he didn’t have enough pushing momentum that he just feel right over even if he wasn’t on his bike. When the kids ride before the moto races begin, all of the ages and abilities ride together. The STRIDER Class is riding right alongside the adults. (Although many tracks have totally separate STRIDER Tracks and practice times. Most, if not all, do have a time frame that allows only STRIDER kids on the track, and the actual STRIDER motos start and finish lines are only a portion of the full track.) As I am watching my son go around the track, slow, and crashing more than riding, the gate dropped for the second practice heat and he is only about half way to the finish line. There are 10 and 12 year old boys going fast, they are jumping, they are good. Adam is in their way. He’s going to get run over. They are going to be so annoyed that he is in the middle of the track with his bike tipped over, again. My nerves were building up as they got closer and closer to him and that is when it happened… They stopped. They picked up his bike dusted him off told him keep trying and they finished. And so did he. I took a deep breath and I choked up a little bit thinking about how I really hope those boys’ parents were watching, because seeing that is better than seeing a first class race finish any day.
We’re nearing the end of his first BMX Season. We know the lingo, and how it works (thanks to some awesome dads who were more than willing to answer all of my “so what happens if…” questions on the first night.) Adam still isn’t the most competitive dude. BMX has “moto” races which are usually two or three separate races that let you qualify for the “main” race at the end of the night, where only the top 4 riders of the first motos in each class are able to race. (That is the race where you can win the ribbons or trophies and get points.) The kids that don’t qualify for the main, get to participate in the “sportsman’s race” with other non-qualifying racers. All ages, even the STRIDERS.
Last week he didn’t qualify for the main, and the sportsman’s race consisted of: one 12 year old, two 8 year olds, Adam, who is 6, and one STRIDER rider. As you can probably imagine, they finished in that order as well. BUT… What Adam won in that sportsman's race was better and bigger than any trophy. At the end, he was approached by the 12 year old who gave him a great big high-five, and a piece of candy. And then Adam went to the STRIDER rider, gave him a big-high five, and reminded him that everyone in that race wins candy, so don’t forget to go get his piece too.
USA BMX has the slogan “Nobody sits in the bench in BMX!” I’m so proud to say that my son’s bike is his sport. And I am so excited about all the STRIDER kids that race with him. I know those kids will be the 12 year olds giving the high-fives someday.
Even if you have decided as a parent that you would rather not participate in an organized sport, putting your child on his or her STRIDER bike, having them interact with friends and instilling confidence in them everyday means you don’t have to worry. You’re doing it right.
Not too far from Boise, you'll find the sports oriented town of Eagle, Idaho! Eagle Foothills BMX is located On the edge of town at the foot of the Sawtooth Mountains. If you're in the area and haven't checked it out with your STRIDER rider, you should...the track is always open!
2. Race Day: Tuesday Sign-ups: 5:30pm-6:30pm Racing: ASAP Practice Day: Whenever, the track is always open.
4. STRIDER race/practice fee? No fees for non-point races, $5 race fee for point races. Practice is free and always open!
5. Why did you build a STRIDER track? So the younger riders would have an activity at the races. The regular track is very long and developed so this gives the toddlers an alternative area to develop skills and not be in danger of not being seen by the older riders.
6. The track was completed in 2010 and took about a 1/2 day to build. Unsure what the costs were because it was built at the same time as the new main track.
7. Space and Materials? Plot Size: 40 x 150, Yards of dirt: 40
8. Track Layout? Total course length: 200 feet, Starting hill width: 10 ft (on the list to be widened), Straightaway width: 12 feet. The track consists of rollers, 3 jumps (3-4 ft high), and 1 berm at the turn around.
9. Special Features: It sits within the main track
10. Overall Experience: The STRIDER program seems to be growing more and more every year. We are developing new riders and the 5 novie class has been expanded as riders have moved up.
11. Special Events: Olympic Day, Race for Life, Redline Cup Qualifier, State Championship Qualifier
Florida is one of the hot spots for BMX racing in the US and Charlotte BMX is definitely one of the more unique tracks. Their signature yellow announcers nest and bridge are mirrored in their amazing STRIDER specific track!
We sent track operator, Amanda Carr (yes, THAT Amanda Carr), and asked her some questions about the construction of the track and the success of their STRIDER program.
2. When are you open?: STRIDER practice ($3) is Monday & Wednesday 6pm-8pm, Sunday 2pm-4:30pm with STRIDER races ($5) the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month at 3:45pm.
3. Why did you build a STRIDER track?: Charlotte BMX understands the root of BMX Racing is with the youth. We recognize that STRIDER BIkes will help build rider retention and an overall enjoyable family experience at the BMX track!
4. Completion date, cost, and time spent?: The track was completed on January 1st, 2013. It took about 6 months to completely build it, but racing/practice took place throughout the building process. Total cost was around $1,500.
5. Space and Materials: Base is 8-10 loads of fill dirt with a surface top of 1-2 loads of 80/20 Red clay and Soil Tac. Track was built with volunteers, a small tractor, shovels, rakes and concrete mixer (for soil tac and slurry).
6. Track Layout: Total course length is 127 ft. The track consists of Starting hill (7.5 ft wide), 3 turns, 9 rollers, and a 10 ft wooden bridge!
7. Overall Experience: STRIDERS are a great way to get little ones started with BMX racing. Families with multiple children, STRIDERS are a way for the younger siblings to get started and have fun at the track! Charlotte BMX races our STRIDERS at the beginning of our races (on the big track), the parents and riders enjoy watching the little ones stride! They add a new element to our facility.
If you are from the Punta Gorda area, or are ever in the area, make sure to stop by and say hello to Amanda and don't forget to bring your STRIDER riders!
Your little STRIDER rider wants to ride + your local USA BMX track wants to grow their program = Win/Win!
Getting involved riding/racing BMX as a family is a great way to spend time together while honing your 2 wheeled skills. Luckily, there are tracks all over the country! You can start as early as the 2 and under STRIDER class and the oldest current USA BMX member is in his 70's!
Here is a STRIDER video from Box Elder BMX. Go and look for your nearest track on the USA BMX website and go have some fun.
Have a great Saturday...now get out and ride!
5 Year Old STRIDER
Brody "Bad Boy" Murphy - Team Gold's Gym - Magnolia, TX
Gage "12 Gage" Weidman - T & K Repair/AZBG - Phoenix, AZ
Landden Richardson - Victorville, CA
Colin Baldwin - Team Stylin - Randallstown, MD
4 Year Old STRIDER
Peyton Keesee - Joshua, TX
Jude Avellaneda - Henderson, NV
Waylon Honnold - COSTA MESA, CA
Levi Toia - Henderson, NV
Makayla Allred - Oceanside, CA
Brodie Chote - Bakersfield, CA
Addison Kirkpatrick - Meairie, LA
Joseph Vandaam - Loyalton, CA
Joshua Carey - Henderson, NV
3 Year Old STRIDER
Jeremiah Rodarte - Albuquerque, NM
Aliyah Yungker - Team Empowered Clothing - Peoria, AZ
Isabella "The Gremlin" Leija - Team Chico Corsa - Chico, CA
Spencer Patterson - Bullhead City, AZ
Jaxson Worth - Coalinga, CA
Ella-Blu Rickards - Houston, TX
Gavin "HOK" Yogues - "Team HOK9" Corona, CA
Aspen Lavin - Las Vegas, NV
Diesyll Mastenbroek - Rio Linda, CA
Owen "Rocket" Garthe - Team X Factory - Phoenix, AZ
Jax Phillips - Anaheim, CA
Dylan "SHowtime" McAtee - Team Jalapeno Eexperience - Mesa, AZ
Adyson Abbott - Track Rats BMX Club - Rosevile, CA
Jude Phillips - Anaheim, CA
Bradley Baldwin - Sparks, NV
Quinci Chambers - Team ORP Racing - Surprise, AZ
2 & UNDER STRIDER
Darius "Little D" Chapman - Team Bighorn Reno NV - Sparks, NV
Gavyn Degiacomo - Westminster, CA
Viggo Leoncio - Bellflower, CA
Kaden Cota - National City, CA
Talon "FIshy" Gaona - Team Papa Kelly Auto Mexhanix - Desert Hot Springs, CA
Brandon Smith - Imperial Beach, CA
Tristan Kay - Las Vegas, NV
Addie Redford - Riverbank, CA
Carson Conway - Boulder City, NV
"Spicy" Thai Martin - Long Beach, CA
Arlo Sexton - Boise, ID
Kayden Hemphill - Eliminator - Las Vegas, NV
Gunner Clinedinst - Apple Valley, CA
Jack Carrier - Las Vegas, NV
What an awesome Saturday of STRIDER US Championship racing in Main Street Square! A huge thank you to all the STRIDER riders, their parents, and vendors. Below are the resullts from the A Main in each age category.
Some photos can be viewed below or go directly to our Flickr page. More photos will be added as we continue to compile images from various photographers. Share your photos and stories with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
2 and Under STRIDER
1. Parker Case
2. Stylz Grall
3. Liam Dixon
4. Talon Mason
5. Dax Crowley
6. Alexia Henderson
7. Mason Hagen
8. Wayne Sander
3 Year Old STRIDER
1. Breken Walker
2. Bryant Zimmerman
3. Caleb Studer
4. Lily Karn
5. Ava Doll
6. Talyn Shuffield
7. Hunter James Larson
8. Carson Gulk
9. Marleigh Kleinsasser
10. Dane Rumpf
11. Fritz Rangitsch
4 Year Old STRIDER
1. Rider Knight
2. Sophia Lewis
3. Ziah Torpey
4. Amelia Sander
5. Colter Johnson
6. Bridger Massa
7. Hamilton Pszanka
8. David Sheldon
9. Dylan Ulmer
10. David Lewis
5 Year Old STRIDER
1. Taylor Bertolotto
2. Jaxson Pszanka
3. Wyatt Brumbaugh
4. Kannon Falken
5. Ryland Sedevie
6. Reed Meyer
7. Stephan Kroeten
8. Ava Wendt
9. Lorelai Dubbelde
4 Year Old STRIDER
Kayla Ward - Union, IL
Christopher Nielsen - Rockford, IL
Madalena Mazzarese - Machesney Park, IL
Matthew Jahnke - Team Answer-SSquared-TLD - North Prairie, WI
Francesca Mazzarese - Machesney Park, IL
Payton Robinson - Findlay, OH
Nathan Nielsen - Rockford, IL
Emma Lehnen - Springfield, IL
3 Year Old STRIDER
Deegan "Daggar" Ertman - Team Action Extreme - Sheboygan, WI
Ryder Karr - Rockford, IL
Alessandra Lupo - San Carlos, CA
Andrew Nielsen - Rockford, IL
Evan "The Destroyer" Okey - Answer/Rennen - Libertyville, IL
Juan "Jelly Bean" Mandujano- Team K9 - Rockford, IL
Noah "Non Stop" Schumacher - Fond Du Lac, WI
Logan Ahonen - Winthrop Harbor, IL
Isaiah Liermann - Sheboygan, WI
2 & Under STRIDER
Gunnar Trimolt - Team ZMX Racing - Munster, IN
Jackson Pochmara - Team Motor City BMX - Lake Orion, MI
Gavin Strain - Indianapolis, IN
Avery Speagle - Team Motor City BMX - Oxford, MI
Balance Bike Toddler Athletes Compete in Rapid City, SD
Family Fun Day Activities for All Bike Enthusiast Families
Rapid City, S. D. June 17, 2013 –These days, even preschoolers can be national race champions. On Saturday July 13, Strider Sports Intl., Inc., is throwing down the gauntlet to all fun loving toddlers and their bike enthusiast families by hosting the first ever STRIDER U.S. Championship balance bike race!
This national event will see STRIDER’s famous no-pedal bike race course take over Rapid City’s Main Street Square as toddlers face off at the start line to show their skills on two wheels. The young athletes will get the chance to showcase their ability to balance, handle their STRIDER No- Pedal balance bikes, and compete like real cyclists on the custom designed racecourse.
The event also includes fun activities for the entire family with the racing action starting at 10:00am for two years and under. Three year olds compete at 11:00am, with four year olds at 1:00pm and five year olds closing down the racing at 2:00pm in the afternoon. The U.S. Championship is a qualifying event for the 3rd Annual STRIDER World Championshiptaking place in Sarasota, FL October 11-13, 2013.
“There’s absolutely nothing more amazing than watching toddlers lined up on their STRIDER bikes like they’re in the Olympics racing for gold,” says Strider Founder and CEO, Ryan McFarland. “And the race course itself is going to be incredibly fun, combining all of the best parts of what we’ve learned from holding STRIDER races around the world. The U.S. Championship event is just one part of our global movement to bring early childhood riding skills to young children everywhere” , says McFarland.
The top 8 finishers will get trophies in a true podium ceremony, and all participants will receive a medal. Each registered STRIDER rider will also receive a Strider backpack and a Strider race jersey. Online registration is open until Friday, July 9 at 12:00 p.m. (MST) and costs $15 per rider. Same day registration will begin at 9 am. Parents should register racers at least 30 minutes prior to race start time.
Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota and just 30 minutes from the Mt. Rushmore National Monument, the STRIDER US Championship also makes a great stop for any family on their summer vacation.
Have you been wanting to try out STRIDER Racing, but didn't know where to start? The next couple weeks USA BMX tracks all over the country will be celebrating Olympic Day in commemoration of the June 23, 1894 convening of the first International Olympic Committee.
What else is cool about Olympic Day? FREE Racing!
It's coming up quick though so go over to www.USABMX.com and find a track near you.
What do you need? 1. A STRIDER for your toddler
2. A bike for yourself (Once you see others racing you'll want to get in on the action)
3. Long pants, long sleeve shirt, closed toe shoes, and a helmet (adults require full face)
4. A sense of Adventure!
4 Year Old STRIDER
1 Willow Francis - McDonald, PA
2 Gavin Saez - Bel Air, MD
3 Tyler Meyers - Ft Edward, NY
4 Addisyn Moore - Team Generation II - Crownsville, MD
3 Year Old STRIDER
1 Dean "Deango" Stewart - Team Stylin - Clifton Park, NY
2 Jackson "The Tank" Corbett - Eldersburg, MD
3 Carson Hooks - Oak Ridge, NC
4 Jerrick "Super" Decker - Team Grippen Park BMX - Windsor, NY
5 Ryder Allen
6 Scarlett Borror - Callaway, MD
7 Erica Greene - Severn, MD
2 & UNDER STRIDER
1 Richard Dymond - Team Generation II - New Freedom, PA
2 Timothy Scott - Hagerstown, MD
3 Kash Krickler - Eldersburg, MD
4 Joshua Austin - Forestdale, MA
5 Giuliana "Gigi" Powell - Team GTV Racers Edge - Catonsville, MD
6 Rylyn Tinsman - Sykesville, MD
7 "STRIDER" Ryder West