Do you remember when you first learned how to ride a bike? Chances are, you started with training wheels and then upgraded to a standard two-wheeled bicycle once you were brave enough for that step. That has been the usual learning process for many of us and worked out rather well through the years. Recently, however, there has been a new trend in bike riding that actually involves skipping the training wheels all together. As odd as the words “balance bike” may sound, the theory behind it is actually quite genius.
When our oldest was learning how to ride his bike, it became apparent that he was relying on his training wheels a bit too much. After some time, he actually began using them as a toy as opposed to utilizing them for the assistance they’re meant to provide. He would intentionally find a small hole to ride alongside and set either of the training wheels inside. While the bike itself remained on level ground, he’d purposely teeter the bike into the hole and back out again as if his bike were some sort sideways seesaw. We decided to take the training wheels off and just go for it but he was understandably apprehensive. When you’re so reliant on having the training wheels there to essentially save you from yourself, taking away that safeguard can be scary. It was then that we found it – balance bikes. After looking a bit more into the ideology behind it, we decided to take a step back and start new. After trying to learn the conventional way for some time, we handed him a balance bike. To our surprise, he took off! Within a week, he was back on his big boy and now permanently two-wheeled bicycle. Now that our youngest is ready to learn how to ride alongside of his big brother, we’re back at it.
Recently, we had the opportunity to give the Strider bike a try.
What defines riding? Does pedaling define riding? Downhill mountain bikers don’t pedal, road bike riders descending on a highway don’t pedal, BMX riders in a half pipe don’t pedal, and motorcyclists don’t pedal. They are all riding. So what do they all have in common? The ability to balance on two wheels, and lean through turns regardless of what put them in motion. For children, walking and running are natural means of propulsion. The simplicity of Strider bikes allows children to concentrate on the fundamental skills of balancing, leaning, and steering while propelling the bike in a natural way.
See, it’s genius! The motion of pedaling is a simple one but if you haven’t yet grasped the more important skills in regard to balancing and steering, mixing it all together all at once is a disaster waiting to happen. Just ask my brother. When we were young, I “taught” him how to ride his traditional bike by taking him to the top of a hill and letting go. Let’s just say that the tree at the bottom of the hill hadn’t yet mastered the “getting out of the way” skills either. Thankfully, for my own children, things are much simpler these days. Strider strips it all down and helps kids learn to ride by building on movements that they’ve already mastered.
After putting his own son on a Strider bike at only 2-years-old, he quickly realized that he had a fantastic product on his hands.
With our oldest and now, again, with our youngest, their learning paths followed suit. And, as any parent can attest to, once a child learns to walk, they’re soon off and running. Eventually their walking with the bike turned into running with it and, of course, that eventually lead to their experiencing with coasting. Although they started out slowly, knowing that their feet were already at the ground helped to put their minds at ease. Whenever they felt unsure of themselves, all they had to do was simply lean over and put a foot down. Right there; safe, solid ground. Riding becomes something fun for them as opposed to something scary and, because of this, it opens the doors for a world full of adventure. Soon, they’ll be riding up and down hills, across the yard, through muddy puddles, and so much more!
Strider bikes are available in a variety of sizes and models for all ages. From toddlerhood through adulthood, everyone is able to perfect the art of bike riding with help from Strider.
For our family, we were lucky enough to be able to try out one of their smaller bikes.The Strider 12 Sport is not only the company’s top selling balance bike but it is the newest addition to our own family. Available in seven amazingly vibrant colors and geared for children ages 18-months through 5-years-old; the Strider 12 Sport is the perfect starter bike for children to begin their journey into bike riding.
“The 12 Sport model offers every feature a child (or parent) could want. It is the perfect balance of performance, options, and value, featuring more than 8 years of design evolution and manufacturing improvements.”
– Ryan McFarland, Founder
The green color option was my little one’s favorite of the bunch but the Strider 12 Sport is also available in black, blue, orange, pink, yellow, and red. There is certainly one to best compliment your little one’s style!
At nearly half the size of its standard counterpart, the Strider handlebars are made of steel and, together, it allows for easier and better control of the bike as a whole. Perfect for little hands, the Strider handlebars look just as cool as they maneuver. With handle grips, protective ends, and even a tool-free adjustment feature, they are a breeze to use.
The Wheels & Tires
Set atop a sporty five-spoke wheel design, the tires are actually made from EVA polymer which is actually a type of industrial foam. Talk about durability! The best part, however, is that the foam actually helps in regard to keeping the bike lightweight. Not only will you never need to worry about needing air or having a flat tire, but the combination of the tire set on a top-quality wheel base means that the bike will always stay rolling smoothly to keep up with your little one’s will to ride.
Similar to the previous Strider ST-4, this particular model differs in the updated graphics and the design of the seat. Quite durable and made to withstand all weather, there are two seat versions for this bike. The smaller mini-saddle is designed for younger riders and beginners to better accommodate for their smaller hips. The larger XL saddle, however, is padded and its longer design helps to better fit kids within the latter end of the age range.
This is probably one of the best features in a parent’s eyes. Instead of needing tools or including screws, nuts, or bolts for height adjustments, the quick release clamps allow for quick and easy adjustments whenever needed.
How many times have you ridden your own bicycle and, while coasting, lifted your legs off of the pedals? Strider allows riders that same sense of freedom but on their own terms. With perfectly positioned footrests built into the frame of the bike, riders can set their feet down and simply enjoy the ride. Surprisingly it also doubles as a way to subtly hint at future riding because it promotes the ability to stand or even pumping and jumping the bike.
Strider bikes do offer a brake (sold separately) that can be mounted on the rear of the bike. Once children are comfortable and well-skilled with the use of riding the bike as is, the Strider exclusive foot-operated brake can be added.
I cannot even begin to say enough about the Strider brand and their extensive line of products. Not only do they offer children and folks everywhere with an incredible new take on bike riding but they’ve gone so far above and beyond just that. While my little one is certainly enjoying his own new Strider bike, I am proud to say that the company has made it a mission to truly give the experience of riding to everyone. Between their Strider Adventure Zones and race events to the Strider Camp and their participation with special needs children through AblePlay, Strider is so much more than just the new “it” bike.
- Strider bikes are ultra light weight and easy to control.
- Strider bikes increase balance, coordination, and confidence.
- Strider bikes allow children to focus on learning balance first.
- Strider bikes are free of chains, pedals, and protrusions that can harm a child.
- Strider bikes provides a safe, smooth, and natural transition to a pedal bike.
You can purchase the Strider 12 Sport, currently priced at $119, as well as other Strider model bikes direct from their website. Bikes are available for those ages 18-months through adulthood and Strider also offers a line of special needs bikes as well.
Be sure to keep up with Strider on their social media pages to stay up to date on all of the latest news, fun activities, new product releases, special promotions, and more.
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