Tricycles Weren't Meant to Teach Bike Riding
The first version of the tricycle was invented in 1680 by a German man named Stephan Farffler. This version was operated, not by pedaling the feet, but by a series of gears and hand cranks. The tricycle as we know it today (operated by pedaling) was invented by two Frenchmen – Blanchard and Maguier – in 1789. The tricycle introduced by Blanchard and Maguier has gone through relatively few changes since its inception.
By contrast, modern commercial toilet paper was introduced in 1857 by Joseph Gayetty. Watermarked with Gayetty’s name and packaged as Gayetty's Medicated Paper, the product was sold in packages of flat sheets. Over the last 170 years, our beloved bathroom tissue has gone through significant changes. Where am I going with all this? It’s simple. We’re teaching our children to ride bikes on an invention that is older and has arguably gone through far fewer changes than toilet paper. So why do parents start their children on something so archaic when we know there’s a better way?
I imagine many of the reasons we keep investing in the idea of the tricycle is because…that’s just how it’s been. We all look back fondly on those red tricycles with the white handles and think of all the fun we had on them through rose-colored glasses. What we don’t remember is how cumbersome, hard to turn, and immobile they were. Before you break out the pitchforks, remember how hard it was to get out of the grass if you veered off the sidewalk into the front lawn? Or how about how hard it was to pedal long enough to get some momentum going? Or how about if you took a turn too sharp and tipped over? Forget about that? Thought so.
Technology keeps improving every day at an almost exponential rate. Yesterday’s computer is obsolete tomorrow. Tomorrow’s new cell phone is old news the minute it hits the shelf. As a culture, we’re so willing to adapt to new gadgets and gizmos that promise to make our lives easier, but why is it that we struggle to adopt a new way of showing our kids a better way to learn how to ride a bike?
Balance Bikes Focus on Fundamentals, Tricycles Don’t
Balance and steering are the fundamentals of operating any two-wheeled vehicle (balance bike, bike, moped, dirt bike, motorcycle). Learning to pedal a bicycle or tricycle is the easiest part. The motion is as natural as walking. So why are we using tools that teach our children what they already know? The hardest parts about riding a bike, balance and steering, aren't taught on a tricycle.
Strider® Balance Bikes for toddlers offer a safe, effective, and proven approach for learning how to ride a bike. By learning the fundamentals first and foremost, your child can learn how to ride at a much earlier age. While tricycles might seem more stable, they actually have a higher center of gravity than a balance bike. They tip over easily and your child has much farther to fall. Balance bikes have a low center of gravity and your child always has two feet right next to the ground to help stabilize them and prevent them from falling.
Because of the way the tricycle is designed, steering is also not quite the same as on a bicycle. The pedals, which are typically located on the front wheel, make steering limited and create more work for the rider. To keep the front wheel straight, those little arms must work hard to counter the force being exerted on the pedals while your child pushes with each alternating foot. So, not only is your child working harder, they’re doing the opposite steering motions needed to learn true balance.
Strider Balance Bikes are the #1 selling balance bike for a reason. They work. Tricycles are an outdated solution to a mobility problem (don’t forget, they were invented for adults). They were never specifically designed to train someone how to ride a bicycle. In fact, bicycles were invented after tricycles in 1817 by German Baron Karl von Drais. His Laufmaschine, which is German for “running machine” didn’t have pedals either. Adults would straddle the bicycle, take long strides to get up to speed, and coast. Sound familiar?
About Strider Sports International, Inc.
Strider Sports designs efficient, no-pedal balance bikes for children ages 18 months – 5 years, and for older riders with balance and coordination challenges. Strider’s mission is to simplify a bike, so proper size and weight combine to eliminate fear of riding and instill confidence. Strider Bikes allow riders to learn balance, leaning, and steering; thus eliminating the need for tricycles or training wheels. Founded in 2007 in Rapid City, S.D., Strider has sold over 1.7 million bikes which are distributed in over 75 countries. It has donated over $850,000 through its Rider Fund. Visit www.StriderBikes.com, Facebook or Instagram.
This is the story of a very well loved Strider and its three proud owners!
From left to right: Rhett (youngest), Trey (oldest), and Carter (middle)
all started riding on the same first generation green Strider ST-1!
It all started in the Spring of 2010 when Trey was 3 years old his Mom found a little bike without pedals. She says, "I was skeptical that it would be a 'beginner' bike and as soon as the kids learned to balance they would be on to a pedal bike, and the Strider would be obsolete for them. This wasn't the case at all. They all (yes, even my 10 year old) still love the Strider Bike!"
Trey - 2010
"My kids were 3, 2, and 18 months when they started riding the Strider, and they loved being able to keep up with older kids on pedal bikes." Two of the boys (Trey and Carter), "never rode a bike with training wheels. They wouldn't even get on a pedal bike until we took the training wheels off! If I had known how well they were made, and how many years we would get out of our Strider, I wouldn't have waited so long to buy one!"
Carter - 2015
After seven years, one Strider has taught two boys, and another "ten counting daycare kids, cousins, and friends! I was so hesitant because I felt like it was a beginner bike, and they would need to upgrade right away, and that's just not cost effective. Boy was I wrong!"
Rhett - 2016
"Our youngest just turned two and I'm sure that as soon as he can reach the pedals on his big brothers' bikes, he will be off!" Until then he'll be riding his recently upgraded Strider 12" Sport that showed up at his door (above)! Can't wait to hear about his future success, and to check back in with this Strider 7 years from now!
At Strider we love riding bikes, and we love encouraging kids to ride! We love hearing your success stories, and seeing amazing pictures of Strider riders from around the globe. Share your stories and photos with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To share your best photos you can enter our monthly calendar contest HERE. If you're taking your Strider on vacation with you this Summer make sure to keep the "Where Has Your Strider Taken You" contest in mind for your truly epic shots!
Comments and photos from a very happy dad...
"Holy smokes, just took Estelle out for her first pedal bike ride without training wheels. She started riding the Strider over a year ago and today at 3 years and 4 months she went straight to the pedal bike w/out training wheels and she had no problem. Was riding in minutes! I have to help her start, but then it's off to the races. She even said, "I never want to stop Daddy!" Music to the ears of a dad who runs a bike touring business.