This weekend was not your typical weekend at the NASCAR Charlotte Motor Speedway. Where the stands are usually packed full of fans cheering on their favorite drivers speeding around the track there were empty seats. It was on the track itself where the magic and experience was happening.
61 kids ages 3-6 and their family had the opportunity of a lifetime this beautiful Saturday afternoon in November. The track was reserved for Strider Bikes' first U.S. Discovery Ride event. While most Strider fans are very familiar with the Strider Cup racing series, the Discovery Ride is meant to be a unique event that focuses more on a family-friendly, hands-on, non-competitive experiences. And an experience it was...
As the riders were directed on to the track they were split up into 10 groups. Each small group was taken by their personal tour guides to an interactive station. Every 10 minutes the kids would ride their bikes to a new awe-inspiring mini adventure.
Bubba Blackwell, a professional stunt jumper who has broken every single one of Evil Knievel's records and tours as a pro-flagger for the American Motorcycle Association Flat Track Racing demonstrated how the flagging process works before, during, and after a race. Kids got to check out his impressive flag collection and try it out themselves.
The pit stop demo showed the kids up close the ins and outs of how an actual NASCAR Pit Crew works together to get cars in tip-top shape and back on the track in record time.
Families were loaded into official Charlotte Motor Speedway track vans where they drove around the actual race track and banked the turns just like the pros... only not exactly at 200 mph.
Kids were thrilled to be able to climb on and get photos with dragsters, a replica of Lightning McQueen, and the monster truck "Tatanka".
Nothing makes you feel like a star more than being interviewed and featured on the real-life NASCAR Jumbotron!
Finally. A firetruck, ambulance, and a police car where you can actually run the lights and sirens. Dream. Come. True.
Now that the kids were obviously professionals after they watched the pro pit crew, they got to put their new skills to the test.
One of the stations that didn't have a place to park your bike was the Strider Time-Qualifying Course. Riders raced, two-at-a-time to see who could complete the course in the shortest time.
The day ended in typical Strider fashion with a quick one lap race around the pit stop area.
Finally, families gathered up for a trip to the Winner's Circle to celebrate an awesome day of riding and experiencing the thrill of NASCAR... and of course, confetti cannons.
Proceeds from the registrations for the Strider Discovery Ride were donated to Speedway Children's Charities which funds a wide range of charities - because communities have a wide range of charitable interest and needs. SCC's goal is to reach as many children as possible by supporting those agencies that are the unsung heroes in many communities.
Thank you to the riders, families, staff, and volunteers of this life-changing event. We know all of you are making a difference in our future, and the future of riding. Until next year... #StrideOn!
All photos from the Strider Discovery Ride will be available soon on the Strider Facebook page. Please download and share! www.facebook.com/StriderBikes
Once again, Strider is proud to be a part of the Friendship Circle of Michigan’s Great Bike Giveaway! Last year, with the help of generous donors like you, the giveaway awarded 17 Strider Bikes and several other adaptive bikes to children with special needs.
This year it’s going to be even better!
In March of 2016 the Great Bike Giveaway is hoping to give a bike to every contestant that enters!
Yes, you read that right… so now’s your chance to spread the word!
The process is simple:
1.) Go to the Great Bike Giveaway Website to enter and for complete rules about the contest.
2.) The contest starts on February 29th The Great Bike Giveaway will cap the amount of entries at 600 children— so you must act fast!
3.) Snap a photo of your child with special needs (or tell a parent of a child you know to snap a photo) and share their story.
4.) You will need to enlist the help of 10 friends to help spread the word anyway they can, through email, word of mouth, and especially social media. The Great Bike Giveaway calls these your “ambassadors”.
5.) Once your ambassadors have signed up, you’re in! Each ambassador is encouraged to raise $100 by spreading the word and encouraging others to provide online donations.
So what are you waiting for? Get your team of ambassadors ready and rally for a bike for a child with special needs!
At Strider we believe everyone should have the opportunity to experience life on two wheels!
Good luck and Stride on!
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
The Flame of Hope symbolizes the Special Olympics goal: shining a light on the talents and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities. On May 14, 2015, the Flame of Hope was lit at a special ceremony in Greece. It was then passed to Law Enforcement Torch Runners in their role as Guardians of the Flame to ensure that the Flame of Hope stayed lit as it traveled across the Atlantic Ocean and in the first ever cross-county Unified Relay Across America until it reaches it’s final resting place at the World Games in Los Angeles.
On May 21, 2015, the Flame of Hope was split into three flames – kicking off a 46-day, cross-country relay to Los Angeles on July 25th. The Unified Relay Across America is bringing awareness to the Special Olympics movement, and creating communities where everyone is included and respected. To show our support for Special Olympics, Strider Sports International along with athletes from the Black Hills Ups of Downs Family Support Group donated and participated in what has become the Special Olympics largest grass roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle.
With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games.
Photos from our leg in the Unified Relay, special thanks to Rapid City Police Department for keeping us safe and being our own Guardians of the Flame!
Wednesday, May 6th- The City of Rapid City, hosted by the Parks and Recreation Department, Presented Strider’s own Marty Martinez for the Commuter of the Year Award. In honor of National Bike Month the city holds an annual Bike to School Competition. Despite the rainy conditions, 76 students participated in the event.
The Parks Department notified Kent Jacobs, Strider US Sales Manager in advance of his award, and they must know how we love a great surprise!
Marty said “I get this text from Ryan [Strider founder, chief enthusiast and CEO] saying he needs some help picking out a bike for Kristi [Ryan’s wife] at Black Hills Bikes. He said it would give us a chance to “talk“so I was kinda sweating bullets you know?! Boss needs help picking out a bike and wants to “talk”. So we get in the truck and head on down toward the bike shop, we get in the turn lane to go into Founder Park. Still no clue of about what’s to go down. When we get out I notice the Strider van as we are walking I see Charlie [Strider QC] and start wondering what kind of event does he have planned? Then I see my Wife Julie with my youngest daughter, that’s when Ryan said that I had won the Commuter of the Year Award, I’m still not buying into it, but then more and more people start to show and well, the rest is in the books.”
Based upon his Strava statistics, he is averaging 65 miles per week and has logged nearly 1,000 miles since January 1. He averages about 20 days of biking to work each month, “not counting the fun rides in the forest with friends.” Marty says he isn’t training for anything right now, (although he has been known to kick butt in a race or two) but has the Xterra Aspen Valley and Xterra Buffalo on his radar.
He said one main reason he started commuting is because he made a deal with his daughter that if she got a job he would let her buy his Subaru. Of course she took him up on his offer…
Since his award last week, we received an email from Ryan letting the Strider Headquarters Staff know that Marty will be moving away from Striderville at the end of this month. Marty’s wife Julie had an amazing opportunity to take a new job in Boulder Colorado, and with their family’s love for the outdoors and skiing, Colorado seems like the perfect place for them. Thankfully though, we are excited to say that Marty will continue to represent the Strider Brand as an account executive from his new home in the Rocky Mountains.
Best of luck, Marty, on your new adventures. Stride On!
Did you know less than half of the Down syndrome community is able to ride a bike? In Celebration of World Down Syndrome Day we’re asking you to submit photos of your favorite rider beating the odds! The winner of our #321 contest will be announced on Saturday, March 21st and we’ll send some sweet Strider swag their way!
- By emailing the image to you are releasing the copyright of the image for use by Strider Sports International, Inc. for promotional purposes in perpetuity.
- Attach your photo as a jpeg . The photo will be uploaded to the .
- In order for the photo to be considered it must be a photo of the rider as the main subject, taken by you. If it is a STRIDER group shot you must have permission of all the other rider's parents to enter.
Wednesday, March 4th is the last day to enter The Great Bike Giveaway! In addition to the 6 bikes STRIDER donated to the campaign, 10 more bikes were funded by generous donors (like you!) to children with Special Needs, and there are more donations coming in by the minute! There are some very deserving individuals that could use your vote!
If you haven’t checked it out or donated, you should, every dollar counts!
Check out this awesome blog post from one of last year’s winners!
Rapid City Central High School’s adaptive physical education class took a field trip just across town to the Strider Bikes Headquarters and brought their fleet of bikes with them!
After a quick tour through the offices and warehouse we all headed out back to practice on the SSI pump track. None of the students had ever been on a BMX style track, yet they all rode like pros!
The smiles were astounding, and the tricks were second to none! The students have been practicing on the STRIDER Bikes for a few months. Central High School was able to obtain these bikes for their adaptive P.E. class through the 2014 Strider Gives Back contest where Strider Sports International gave away hundreds of bikes to people with special needs and the organizations to which they belong.
Logan Keiffer, a motorcycle enthusiast who is particularly loyal to Yamaha, had received a blue bike with a custom YAMAHA number plate which featured braille lettering because Logan is blind. When our friends at Yamaha Racing got wind of Logan’s story they sent some extra goods just for him, including some racing gear, cap and hoodie. He was elated, and his classmate all cheered for him when he received the goods. We wanted to do something extra special for Logan. He is such a great student and amazing role model for people with disabilities.
With the help of the Central High School teachers, Logan was able to enjoy the pump track with the rest of his classmates, and the faster they went, the better! (Clearly it wasn’t just the students getting their exercise out there!)
We want to send a shout out to the cobbler riders and everything they do every day to inspire us to be our best and get out there and Stride On!