Views from a Newbie, well Kind of… My family has always been involved with people with special needs. My father was a Special Education teacher, then a consultant for the State of Minnesota for Special Ed, and ended up back in the classroom working with high school kids with special needs at the end of his career. My mom worked at a DAC – Day Activity Center which served pre-school and post school people with special needs. Later she worked in group homes for adult people with special needs. We were very active in ARC as I grew up, and I have a “Special” sister who is 45 and has been part of our family for 40 years; Amy Jo was born with Down Syndrome.
SO to the reason for writing is something I didn’t even register until I recently went to 2 Special Needs Conferences on behalf of Strider®. I was fortunate to attend both the National Down Syndrome Congress and the National Autism Conference and heard the same story told over and over by attendees at both events. They told me “I can’t ride a bike and I am scared to try because I was hurt trying to do it before”. What I realize is that people with special needs have better and longer memories then the rest of the world, and once they have distrust it is a long and careful road that must be walked to get them to give it another try. Which comes to the best part of my story, we were able to encourage and convince many of these special people to try sitting on a Strider®, then take one or two steps so they could understand the process, a few more steps and they are gaining confidence. Then the smiles start and “Hey Mom, Hey Dad are you watching? I am riding a BIKE, I AM RIDING A BIKE!!!” I am not sure who was prouder; the rider, the parent or the Strider Team. Traditional Bikes can’t give the access to the ground like a Strider®, training wheels don’t teach the balance that is the foundation of learning to ride on 2 wheels, and trikes are large and cumbersome to transport. So to all the loving and well-meaning family members who want to share their love of biking, STRIDERS are the best method to teach all people of all ages and all abilities how to ride.
Written by: Ann Hovdenes, Service and Education Specialist, Strider Sports Int'l, Inc.
We had the pleasure of meeting Susie last year at the National Parks and Recreation Conference in North Carolina. She had expressed her interest in learning to ride a bike since she had never had the opportunity growing up. With an open mind and an unchecked item on her bucket list, she was eager to learn! Here is her story...
Growing up in a small town in India during the 1960’s, I didn’t have the opportunity to learn how to ride a bike. Only boys were allowed to ride bikes back then. I have always wanted to learn, but was afraid of falling. In late 2014, I came across Strider bikes at a National Park and Recreation Conference. The concept of learning to balance first and then to pedal made sense to me and I decided to give it a try when the weather turned nice. I bought a Strider bike in spring 2015 right before Easter and I was able to balance on it rather quickly. The bike is light weight and very manageable which made me feel comfortable on it. I was thrilled when I first balanced on the strider bike and I kept riding it for hours that day. My children bought me a regular bike as a gift for Mother’s Day and I was able to learn pretty fast since I already learned to balance on the Strider bike. I now can ride a bike! I would not have been able to do this without the Strider bike! Thanks to Lori at Strider bike for all her help as I was trying to decide on a bike and also afterwards by checking on my progress.
Times have changed in India, even in the small town where I grew up. It is now a common sight to see girls and women on their bikes, scooters and mopeds. I am glad that I had the opportunity to learn even though it is at age 54! And again, it wouldn’t have happened without the Strider bike!
I have decided to keep the Strider bike for its sentimental value. All the children in my family will sure be using Strider bikes in the future to learn to ride a bike instead of training wheels.
-Susie Kuruvilla, CPA, CPRP