So far, two Canadian kids are signed up for the Strider Cup Race in Pittsburgh on May 27. One is driving more than 9 hours to compete on his Strider Balance Bike. How cool is that! The delicious Pittsburgh perogies aren’t the only reason they’re coming. These two are excited to see how their skills match up with young ones in the Northeast United States.
Riding helps Lucas’ eyes
Lucas G. is registered to compete in the 2-year-old class, and is traveling from Wasaga Beach, Ontario, for the event.
He received his Strider Bike when he was just 16 months old. His mother Stephanie said, “We chose a Strider Bike because we liked the way the bike was made and the different accessory offerings. They had Kawasaki green, so we knew it was a right fit.”
Lucas rides his Strider Bike at the Wasaga Beach BMX Park and around the neighborhood in warmer temperatures. During the winter months, his parents set up a little course in their basement to help the active tot burn off energy – and practice his skills.
“Riding has helped improve his balance, and also his eyesight,” said Stephanie. “Lucas has had glasses since he was one year old. We feel like the riding has helped him focus and his eyes are getting better.”
What does Lucas say about his Strider Bike? Stephanie shared, “He always wants to ride and says ‘let’s do dirt jumps.’”
So do we!
Strider is “the coolest”
Four-year-old Jared C. from Espanola, ON, received his Strider Bike on his 2nd birthday and says his Strider Bike, “is the coolest.” We agree.
His mother, Felicia C., said, “when I bought him his Strider Bike, all he wanted to do was ride to the park and places and around the house.”
“It’s helped him with his balance,” she added. “He even started riding a two-wheeled pedal bike at three years old, without using training wheels.”
Asked why she chose a Strider Bike over other brands, Jared’s mom Felicia C. said, “I decided to buy a Strider Bike because I liked the design, how light it was and just the overall set up and attachments you could get.”
The Canadian winters don’t slow down Jared. He rides through the snow with his ski attachment. His family is used to driving for track time. In the winter, they sometimes travel six hours to the Rock City Indoor BMX track in Greenville, MI. In the summer, Jared races at the Milton BMX track in Ontario, a 5-hour drive.
Jared’s family will be traveling more than nine hours to Pittsburgh for the race. They’re also planning to go to the Strider Cup Race in Lincoln, NE, on June 11, and possibly the 2017 Strider Cup World Championship in Salt Lake City on July 21-22.
Now that’s dedication.
More info on the race is at www.striderbikes.com/pittsburgh.
Rapid City, SD (February 9, 2017) — More than 74 million kids in the U.S. ride bicycles. Unfortunately, some children with special needs never experience the joy and independence of riding a bike. For the fourth year, Strider Bikes, the world’s leading manufacturer and marketer of no-pedal balance bikes, is teaming up with the Friendship Circle for its 6th Annual Great Bike Giveaway.
Participants will have one month to earn an adaptive bike through fundraising efforts using an online crowdfunding platform. Families need to register online by February 14 at https://bikes.friendshipcircle.org/Registration. To earn a Strider Balance Bike, a family will need to raise $180.
The annual program has given away 900 adaptive bikes since its inception in 2012. The program website, https://bikes.friendshipcircle.org/, will start taking donations at 12:00PM CST. It will be possible to search for individuals seeking a Strider Bike. The Great Bike Giveaway ends on March 15 at 12:00PM CST.
“To date we have donated over $850,000 in cash and Strider Bikes to organizations that serve children and adults in need,” said Strider Bikes Founder and CEO Ryan McFarland. “At Strider, we give generously, and we love doing it!”
Strider formalized its benevolence commitment with the creation of The Rider Fund, which was first introduced June 2014 at the Special Olympics USA Games. Since then, Strider has committed one percent of gross revenue from all sales worldwide to this fund. For more information about the Strider Rider Fund, visit http://www.striderbikes.com/about-us/join-the-cause.
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.
About Friendship Circle
Friendship Circle is a non-profit organization that provides programs and support to the families of individuals with special needs. In addition to assisting individuals with special needs, Friendship Circle brings together teenage volunteers and children with special needs for hours of fun and friendship. These shared experiences empower the children, our special friends, while enriching the lives of everyone involved. Learn more and see our available programs at www.friendshipcircle.org.
When your dad drives a race car and you see how much fun he has on the track, wouldn’t you be excited to get on your race face and compete? Pasha Ali just turned three years old, and is pumped up for the Strider Cup Race Series, which kicks off in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 6. He’s already practicing his “Winner’s Dance.”
Pasha’s father, Nur Ali, has 19 years of racing under his belt. He raced for Team Pakistan in A1 Grand Prix - World Cup of Motorsport, captured two Legends Car Championships, and two Formula Mazda Championships. Nur has competed in twelve countries on five continents, as well as in select NASCAR Xfinity Series and ARCA Racing Series races. He now races in the Red Bull Global Rallycross (GRC) Series.
Nur first learned about balance bikes while surfing online and fell in love with the concept. After purchasing a balance bike when Pasha turned two years old, Nur went online to look for a racing series for balance bikes. He was impressed with how quickly Pasha progressed and knew if he found a series for Pasha to race in, that would accelerate his skills.
He came across Strider Bikes and the Strider Cup Racing series and said, “Imagine my excitement at that point; I told my wife, my sports agent, my brother and my parents about it and bought him a Strider bike.”
Riding his Strider Bike has helped Pasha improve his balance, coordination and develop quicker reflexes. With Nur’s motorsports background, he has been able to guide him on his balance bike and get him up to speed with things he’s learned over the years of being a race car driver.
Pasha loves his Strider Bike so much that he is constantly asking Nur to race him by running behind him. He says that he wants to be the 2017 Strider Cup Champion. Pasha takes one of Nur’s trophies and does a mock race inside the house. When he "wins" over Nur, he takes the trophy, climbs the staircase in the house to the top step and uses it as his own "winner's podium". He takes the trophy and raises it over his head and does the "Winner Dance"; what the family calls his celebratory gig.
He spent the entire 2015 Red Bull GRC race season and partial 2016 Red Bull GRC race season at the track with Nur, and he loves watching the racing on his tablet.
The Ali family is planning to travel to all four Strider Cup races this year; Fort Worth, TX, on May 6, Pittsburgh, PA, on May 27, Lincoln, NE, on June 11 and the championships in Salt Lake City on July 21-22.
Pasha, who is also known as a fashion model with a Texas PR agency, usually rides his bike in the neighborhood, local parks, and the golf course behind his house. The Ali family is also planning to go to some local BMX bike tracks to practice for the upcoming series.
“I’m very excited about this season for both of us, as this is the year both father and son race in the same calendar year; he in the Strider Cup and myself in Red Bull GRC series,” said Nur. “I've also got my sports agent working on possibly picking up a sponsorship for Pasha. That would be pretty cool!”
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.
LINCOLN SPECIAL OLYMPIC ATHLETES TRAIN FOR STRIDER CUP
Special Olympic athletes in Lincoln are now training for the City’s first Strider Cup Race from
9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 11 in the Railyard. Most of the 23 athletes who are learning
to ride Strider Bikes are on the Lincoln Shooting Stars, a Special Olympics Nebraska team
sponsored by the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department’s Easterday Recreation Center.
Strider Sports International donated 30 of the no-pedal balance bikes to Special Olympics
Nebraska, with 22 designated for Easterday. In addition to the 12-inch model for younger riders,
the company has in recent years developed 16-inch and 20-inch models for older children and
adults with balance and coordination challenges. A 2015 research study confirmed that riding a
Strider Bike improved stability scores of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Three Strider Cup training sessions have already been held in Lincoln, and two more are
planned. Media are invited to cover the training from 11 to 11:45 a.m. Saturday, May 14 at
Easterday, 6130 Adams Street.
“The training program is a wonderful opportunity for children and adults to overcome anxieties
about riding bikes in a fun setting with peers,” said Kerry Zingg, Easterday Center Director. “It
was so exciting to see such joy and enthusiasm from the youth who participated in our first week
of training. We look forward to seeing the youth develop confidence in their abilities in the
weeks to come.” Zingg said the athletes range in age from three to 16 years old.
The bikes were assembled by Scott Anderson, a Special Olympics athlete and part-time
employee at Special Olympics Nebraska; parents of those in the Young Athletes Program; and
Lincoln Parks and Recreation volunteers. Parks and Recreation Carpentry Maintenance staff
built two rumble bars and a bike ramp for the Strider Bike Program.
Special Olympics Nebraska CEO Carolyn Chamberlin said the agency is excited about the new
partnership with Strider Bikes. “Many of our athletes who previously could not ride a bicycle
are excelling on the Strider Bike, and it means so much to see them experience the thrill of riding
like their typically-abled peers,” she said.
“My son Matt struggled to learn how to ride a traditional bicycle, but excelled on his Strider
Bike,” said Alisa Hoffman, mother of Special Olympics Nebraska athlete Matt, 15. “He finally
learned how to balance while riding and has since become more independent in his play.”
The Special Olympic athletes will compete in the Special Needs Races during the Strider Cup,
presented by Raising Canes Chicken Fingers® franchise in Lincoln. Strider Cup attendees will
receive free admission to the Strider Adventure Zone, where riders can test ride all three sizes of
Strider Bikes. Helmets will be provided. The event is the first of three national Strider Cup
Races. Participants in the Lincoln event as well as those competing in Salt Lake City, Utah and
Spokane, Washington can qualify for the Strider World Championship presented by FedEx in
July in San Francisco.
This is the second year the series has included Special Needs Races for athletes of all ages and
abilities. Strider has waived the registration fee for athletes in these races. Strider works with
Special Olympics teams in each race city, but the races are open to any Strider Rider with special
ABOUT SPECIAL OLYMPICS NEBRASKA
Special Olympics Nebraska is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization founded in 1972. Its mission
is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type
sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The athletes have continuing
opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate
in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendships with their families, other Special Olympics athletes
and the community. For more information, visit sone.org.
ABOUT STRIDER SPORTS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Rapid City, South Dakota, 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, to instill confidence in the rider and to
help people 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. In 2015, Strider sold its one-millionth bike. For more information, visit
The 2016 Strider Cup World Championship presented by FedEx will be rolling into San Francisco's Pier 35 July 29th - 30th! Strider riders all over the Golden State are getting excited for the big day. Here are just a few stories from registered Strider racers:
Mit - Fremont, CA
Mit’s parents, Rohan and Mitali, bought him a Strider Balance Bike after he turned two and the toddler has been striding for about six months. He enjoys getting out with his friend, Viaan, who also started riding a Strider Bike when he was two years old.
“Mit wants to ride it all the time and always gets excited when we tell him that ‘it is time to ride your bike,’” said Rohan. “He mainly rides it in the park next to our apartment building in Fremont. Sometimes he rides it in our parking lot or at his friend’s neighborhood. Believe it or not he also rides it in our apartment.”
Rohan added that Mit likes doing superhero stunts on his bike by going down a hill, turning right or left and stopping all of a sudden.
“We are fortunate to live in a city where Mit has gotten a unique opportunity to participate in the World Championship at a very young age,” said Rohan.
Diego - Fremont, CA
Kristin's family was introduced to Strider Balance Bikes by a friend who invited them to watch the races at Santa Clara PAL BMX. Her son, Diego, was immediately intrigued, so they bought a Strider Bike for him just after his second birthday.
“A Strider Bike is top of the line when it comes to balance bikes and had the best reviews,” said Kristin. “It was actually quite affordable and easy to purchase.”
Little did she know Diego would turn out to be a racing phenom! He’s four years old now and has competed in over 100 Strider Balance Bike races across California, taking home more than 75 first place trophies. He is a National Champion under USABMX and has some impressive video and photos on Instagram at #Diego901.
Diego is even one of the first officially sponsored Strider Bike Riders on the West Coast by Black Crown BMX, of Atlanta, Georgia. Kristin added, “His Strider Bike has given him so much opportunity and he's become quite the people person. I am not sure what Diego loves more than his Strider Bike.”
Although Diego prefers his Strider Bike over anything, he did start riding his first pedal bike at three years old, going directly from a Strider to a pedal bike, with no need for training wheels.
“The Strider Bike has encouraged him to be more social and learn how to communicate better at such a young age,” said Kristin. “He talks about his Strider all the time. His Strider Bike also encourages him to simply go outside and play. He also gets exercise and it's definitely made him more active. Who knew something so simple (but awesome) could make such a huge impact!”
Keep watching for more Strider Cup World Championship rider highlights!
Excited children and their families came with fingers crossed to win a Strider Bike at Raising Cane’s Giveaway Party on April 17 in Lincoln, Nebraska, held at one of their four Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers® franchise locations.
Strider and Raising Cane’s teamed up to give away 120 Strider Bikes to local children. More than 50 of the bikes were donated to children and families at the Montessori School for Young Children in Lincoln. In addition, 35 bikes were given away to the general public who registered onsite at the April 17 party. An additional 20 bikes were given to customers who registered in-restaurant between March 28 and April 10, and the remainder was given to children of Raising Cane’s crewmembers.
Kids at the event loved the free Adventure Zone set up by the local SCHEELS store. The play zone was busy all day with toddlers and younger children riding demo Strider Bikes. The Strider cowbells and participation ribbons were a big hit as well.
"We thought this event was going to be great, but after seeing the excitement on the faces of so many children, it really sunk in how amazing it truly was," said Dee Walker, Director of Marketing for the Lincoln Raising Cane's restaurants. "We couldn't be happier with how it turned out and can't wait to see many of these kids racing at the Strider Cup in June."
Acacia and Tyler Gentrup came to the event hoping to win bikes for their sons; 2-year-old Cash and 4-year-old Cade. They were delighted to hear Cade’s name called early on, and he chose a blue bike. When Cash’s name was called a bit later, he also wanted a blue one. Unfortunately, just a few bikes were left and none of them were blue. Cade graciously offered to give Cash the blue one he won, and take a red one instead. How’s that for brotherly love!
Besides parents of toddlers, several grandparents came and were able to win bikes for their grandchildren. An older gentleman even came specifically to win a bike for a boy in his neighborhood. He wasn’t disappointed and took home a Strider Bike for the little guy.
The Lincoln Journal Star stopped by and wrote an article, Raising Cane's Gives Away Strider Bikes to Lincoln Toddlers. The local ABC affiliate, KLKN-TV, also came by.
Many folks left with smiles and brand new Strider Bikes. They have plenty of time to practice before the Strider Cup Race in Lincoln on June 11, www.striderbikes.com/lincoln.
Photos Courtesy of Ryan Hussey
Some people may think athletic clubs only cater to dads and moms who want to pump iron and do Zumba, while kids play in daycare. That’s not the case at the Almaden Valley Athletic Club (AVAC) in San Jose, CA, whose website home page boasts, “Something for everyone.” They mean it!
AVAC hosted their first Strider Camp in December and had ten kids, most of them 2-year-old toddlers. Now, they’re busy running two camps; one for the 2- to 3-year olds, and one for 4- to 6-year-olds.
“We learned a lot with the first one in December,” said Jeff Griffith-Jones, General Manager at AVAC. “There can be a big difference with the younger ones. Parents are worried they aren’t ‘getting it’ right away. Since they’re smaller, just having them walk with the bike is big deal. As they get more competent, they gain confidence.”
Jeff, who’s a mountain biker and road cyclist, has known about Strider Bikes for a few years, as both his sons started on balance bikes at 18 months old. His oldest is now 4 years old, and transitioned to pedal shortly after his fourth birthday.
“It’s so obvious when they’re ready for pedals,” he said. “We went on a long camping trip to Utah. When my oldest son saw other kids at the campground riding pedal bikes, he said he wanted pedals. After we got back home, we put him on a pedal bike and he started riding instantly – no training wheels and no falls.”
The group at AVAC made a “gravel road” from lattice for their Strider Camp. Jeff said riding across it makes a cool noise and the uneven terrain builds their bike handling skills. They built small ramps for the course and have a big cowbell that the coaches ring to keep it fun.
“The downslopes and upslopes help them gain confidence,” Jeff added. “Their eyes light up when they pick up their feet and feel the thrill of speed. That’s when they realize how much fun it is.”
Some of the kids in the camp already have their own Strider Bike. Their parents were a bit frustrated that the kids didn’t want to ride them at home so they signed them up for the camp.
“The camp setting is more fun, and when they see others riding they want to do it,” said Jeff. “It was similar with my oldest son. He had a scooter and other toys that were a priority before he got excited and really started riding his bike.”
Jeff added that because the younger kids have a shorter attention span, they schedule 45 minutes of class time and then 15 minutes of parent time and free play. Check out the cool video they made:
Mary Tafralis enrolled her 2-year-old granddaughter in the first camp and said, “She loved it all – from the warm-ups to the actual Strider Camp instructions to the ‘Happy and You Know It’ song at the end. The instructors were completely involved and interacted with the kids on an individual basis. It's been a few weeks since the camp and my granddaughter takes her little pink bike everywhere. She has not completely mastered the skills, but her balance on the bike is amazing. And she loves it.”
We have our first Strider Cup racer for the Spokane event on Saturday, July 9! Lyndsey Stuart signed up her 2-year-old son, Will. The little tyke got his STRIDER Bike on his first birthday and Lyndsey said he “mastered it by the time he turned 18 months old.”
Will loves his Strider Bike and tells everyone it's his "BMX race bike". His older brother, Drew (7) races BMX. Will attended practices with him last year, pretending to race with the big boys. Will is planning to race in the Strider class at the BMX track this spring. He should be in fine shape and able to navigate the fun Strider Cup obstacle course in July.
This is the first Strider Bike in the Stuart family. Drew and sibling Maggie (9) started on toddler ride on toys and tricycles before moving to bikes with training wheels.
“My older two got really frustrated with training wheels, they are loud and slow you down,” said Lyndsey. “We do a lot of trail riding, mountain biking and like to take our bikes camping with us. The training wheels just couldn't handle all that and it was very frustrating for everyone.”
She added that the Strider Bike has been a great improvement, “At just 18 months, this last summer, Will had no problem navigating and keeping up with the big kids. As a parent there seems to be a lot less ‘helping’ with the Strider Bike as well. He just gets on and goes.”
Strider looks forward to seeing Will and other racers at the Strider Cup in Spokane on July 9, and at the other two Strider Cup races this year; Lincoln, NE (June 11), and Salt Lake City, UT (June 25). The Strider Cup World Championship in San Francisco will be July 29-30, 2016. For more info and to check out all of the events, visit http://www.striderbikes.com/events.
Kids Learn Street Safety on Strider Bikes at Louisiana Children’s Discovery Center
Last year, the City of Hammond, Louisiana bought eight Strider Bikes to use with its Safety City exhibit, which it operates in partnership with the Louisiana Children's Discovery Center. The exhibit teaches kids about street safety and how to travel and walk safely from their house to school or around the city. The center hosts field trips almost every day with between 40 and 100 kids ages 3 to 11. In just four months, more than 2,000 kids have ridden their 12” and 16” STRIDER models. Check out the photos of STRIDER Bikes in the Safety City photo gallery on their website.
Below is a Q&A with City of Hammond Grants Manager Charles Borchers IV, who discovered and purchased the Strider Bikes for the City, and Leon Philpot, Interim Executive Director of the Louisiana Children's Discovery Center.
How did you first learn about Strider Bikes?
Charles: The City received a Louisiana Safe Routes to School grant to educate our school-age children about pedestrian, bicycle, and traffic safety. We bought the Safety City exhibit as a teaching tool, but quickly discovered that the included plastic tricycles just weren't sturdy enough to accommodate the number and wide age range of kids that the exhibit was seeing. So I started searching for something to replace the original bikes and stumbled across Strider Bikes.
I’d never heard of balance bikes before, but realized that, with no pedals, the bikes would take up less space in the Safety City's already crowded trailer. I also appreciated that the bikes were made of metal, but still fairly lightweight, and easily to assemble. We initially ordered five of the 12” Sport model and we were impressed enough with the build quality that we bought another three of the 16” Sport model. All eight bikes fit in the trailer.
Why did you choose Strider?
Charles: As local government agency, we're practiced in soliciting competitive quotes and researching companies before making purchases. I spent a lot of time looking at other balance bikes, but kept coming back to Strider Bikes. I was impressed by all of the positive reviews, options available, and the overall reputation and philosophy of the company.
What do you like about the bikes?
Charles: We’ve been very happy with the quality of the bikes. They're easy to assemble and adjust, and I particularly like that smaller models have solid wheels so we don’t have to worry about inflating tires. We actually had a lot of fun putting them together. We figured if we could do it, anyone could. It probably took longer to get each bike out of its box than to assemble it.
The bikes' low maintenance is also a huge plus. The City is responsible for the Safety City's upkeep and we want everything to work all of the time. With the Strider Bikes, we are less concerned about things breaking. The bikes are just solid. With the original bikes, we spent a lot of time chasing down pieces, like popped-off pedals and seats.
How do you use the bikes in your Safety City exhibit?
Leon: The Safety City Exhibit is set up to simulate signs and visuals they see in downtown Hammond, so as the kids ride them around, they learn the meaning of street signs, traffic signals, pedestrian walks, and to respect the signs. Since the display uses Strider Bikes as vehicles, they also learn to respect bicycle laws, such as stopping at crosswalks, riding on the right side and to stay to the far right if a car is coming behind them.
How do you know using Strider Bikes in the Safety City exhibit is effective?
Leon: When they do their first lap, if they violate any rules, such as running a stop sign, we’ll stop them and make them go back. They have to stop and look both ways. We also have a stop light, which shows them what to do with each light color. Sometimes it is tough with the younger kids to understand the concepts, but they’re having fun. If they keep violating the rules, then next person gets to ride. Usually by the second or third lap, they get it.
What do the kids think of the Strider Bikes?
Charles: From everything that I’ve seen and heard, the kids just think that they’re the coolest thing—they really respond to them. Most haven’t seen a pedal-less bike before and—especially the little kids—are very curious. As soon as they get on one and realize that they can actually ride it, they love it. It’s a phenomenal product. I have to admit though: when I first heard about balance bikes, I thought that the idea sounded like a gimmick. But after you see a three-year-old hop on one and start riding it around, it just makes perfect sense.
Did you have any issues with kids going too fast?
Leon: The track is pretty small, so they don’t go too fast. Since there is a railroad crossing in downtown Hammond, we also have one as part of the exhibit. They have to stop there when the light is flashing and the arm comes down. Then they must wait until arm comes up and look both ways before moving on.
Charles: That was actually one of the problems that we had with the original bikes: kids going too fast and crashing into things—or us. Mostly it was us. Because the Strider Bikes are foot-powered, the kids can’t really get them going too fast. The bikes actually force them to walk through the exhibit and give instructors more time to educate them about safety.
What’s your overall impressive of the bikes?
Charles: I don't think that we could be happier. The Strider Bikes have been an ideal fit and helped to make the Safety City exhibit even better. They really are great. If I had a kid I’d buy him one!