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Ellen K Shares the Story of Strider Bikes

Ellen K Shares the Story of Strider Bikes

In the News

Ellen K Shares the Story of Strider Bikes

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Ellen K, beloved radio host of the Ellen K Radio Show on KOST 103.5 FM, perfectly summed up why Strider Bikes has made such a positive impact for children and families across the world. Ryan McFarland, founder and chief enthusiast, just wanted to share with his son the joy that riding on two wheels can give. His son was only two at the time, but he knew with just the right bike, his son could gain the balance and confidence needed to get riding good and early. It turns out he was on to something!

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Strider Cup Virtual Event

Strider Cup Virtual Event

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Strider Cup Virtual Event

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Get Your Strider Indoor Ready

Get Your Strider Indoor Ready

Strider Maintenance tips

Get Your Strider Indoor Ready

Spending more time inside, with wild kiddos, is the reality for most of us these days. Usually, during this time of year, when the days are getting longer and warmer, we start excitedly pulling pogo sticks, baseball bats, and bikes out of the shed to prepare for picnics and barbeques. This year things are definitely different. Luckily, Strider Bikes are fun to ride both outdoors and in. So, go ahead and get that bike out anyway. We’ve got a few maintenance tips to get your Strider Bike ready for a new season of riding (with extra cleaning tips to prep for the great indoors).

1.  Grease the Bushings

When a bike sits unused through the winter, dust particles can accumulate and cause parts to get “sticky.” You might notice that the handlebars catch or do not turn smoothly. If that happens, quickly greasing the bushings will save a lot of wear and tear. The bushings sit inside the stem where the handlebars and fork attach. Remove the handlebar clamp, take out the handlebars, and remove the fork. Put a small amount of grease or Vaseline on the end of a Q-tip and rub inside the top and bottom bushings, located in the stem. Put the handlebars, fork, and clamp back together. A little grease goes a long way to smooth out steering and keep your Strider in tip-top condition.

2.  Bike Wash

A good, thorough bike bath is perfect for an afternoon activity with your toddler. Whether you’re cleaning the bike for hours of indoor fun or getting it ready for rides outside, every bike can benefit from cleaning off dust and mud. Fill a bucket with warm water and a drop or two of mild dish soap. Find an area outside that won’t create mud when wet, like a thick grassy area or a patch of cement. In a pinch, a bathtub will work. Use a sponge or washrag in the soapy water and wash all parts of the bike. Make sure to spin the wheels to make sure they are cleaned adequately. Rinse the bike, then let it dry.

3. Replace Parts

Give your Strider Bike a careful inspection. Check the condition of the seat, handlebars, grips, and wheels. Perhaps some little critter nibbled on them all winter, or they’re showing signs that they have been well used (and loved). No need for a new bike, we have replacement parts (CHECK THEM OUT!); some are even available in multiple different colors for a chance to add some personal style.

4. Readjust

Kids grow like weeds; we don’t have to tell you that. As they grow, check seat and handlebar height often. To check seat height, have your kiddo sit on the bike with shoes on. Adjust the height of the seat until there is a slight bend in their knees. The best starting point for handlebar height is to set it with respect to the seat. If the seat is at its lowest setting, set the handlebar to also be at its lowest setting, etc. Try multiple adjustments to find out what makes your child feel the most comfortable and confident.

To check seat height, have your kiddo sit on the bike with shoes on. Adjust the height of the seat until there is a slight bend in their knees.

5.  General Check

Now is the time for you and your kiddo to give the bike one last thorough look-over together. Go over it part by part. Check the frame to make sure nothing has been cracked or bent. Spin the front and back wheels to make sure they move freely. Move the handlebars back and forth to check that they turn smoothly. Yes! Now your bike is all ready for another awesome riding season – even if it starts indoors.

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From One Strider Parent to Another

From One Strider Parent to Another

From One Strider Parent to Another

Strider Parents Share Tips to Keep Kids Active on a Strider Bike During Quarantine

Schools and daycares have been closed all across the country for weeks (wait, months? Years? Who can keep track?). Parents and children are getting A LOT of bonding time, and it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. Kids have abundant energy, and parents…not so much. Luckily, Strider parents are among the most creative and inventive. Here are some tips and tricks, passed from parent to parent, to keep your kids active and occupied with a Strider Bike.

  • 1. Create a loop they can ride on repeat.

    “We just ride up and down the hallway and loop back thru the kitchen…we made up a stop sign and taped it to the wall for a collision prone area (because safety and the kids thought it was fun!).” – Jessica Largen

  • 2. Set Up A Strider Photo Shoot.

    “We did a photoshoot with my son and his Strider.” – Victor Clementi

3. Teach Kids How to Build A Bike.

“Stay Home Activity – Strip down and learn the part various parts of a Strider. Rebuild it with Daddy.”  – Martin Sng

  • 4. Utilize the Unfinished Basement

    “Our unfinished basement has been a lifesaver! We set up little orange cones.” – Lindsay Solie

  • 5. The Stirder 2-in-2 Rocking Bike

    “The rocking base!” – Sara Hagerman

A fun, creative idea is a terrible thing to waste. We could all use some inspiration these days! Share your Strider parenting tips and tag @striderbikes.

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Becoming KIND

Becoming KIND

Becoming Kind

Competitive Biking Teaches Life Lessons Far Beyond Metals & Trophies

By Susie Marcks, Marketing Manager at Strider World Headquarters

When my son Adam was just three years old, he was the size of an average six-year-old. At almost 6” tall myself and a husband who is 6’2’’, our offspring tend to seem like giants. As a mom, I worry about my kids being accepted and becoming capable, respectful, confident, and kind.

Given his size, when it comes to Adam and sports, I feel like I need to choose wisely. When I looked into football, the top of the sign-up sheet read, “We group kids by size not age, so no one gets hurt.” That means Adam would likely be getting tackled by ten-year-olds. Not going to happen. Wrestling goes by weight, so he would probably be, again, grappling with ten-year-olds. No, thank-you.

We tried soccer, and he hated it. He is what you would call a “lover, not a fighter,” so when someone wanted the ball, he would kick it to them… no matter what team they were on.

The one thing Adam really loves is riding his bike. Who can argue with that? Riding a bike IS fun. My little (big) guy can go on long rides with Gramps to find geocaches, get dirty at the dirt jump park, or circle endlessly around the car in the driveway. Whatever it is, it’s always fun.

After I started working at Strider, I discovered USA BMX. Talk about an intimidating sport – full-face helmets, giant jumps, a loud gate that crashes down and sends your child zipping onto a dirt track – but it seemed like the best option for Adam. On his first day, some moments of watching him at the track were painful for my mama heart. He walked up almost every hill, and many times didn’t have enough pushing momentum and just fell right over. But, he stuck with it.

Before a race begins, all of the ages and abilities ride together—the young kids in the Strider class right alongside teens and adults. On this particular night, I sat and watched my son go around the track, slow, crashing more than riding when the gate dropped for the second practice heat. Adam was only halfway to the finish line. Ten and twelve-year-old boys were going fast, jumping, and highly skilled. Adam was in their way. I was terrified he was going to get run over, or that the older kids would be annoyed that Adam was in the middle of the track with his bike tipped over…again. My nerves were building up as they got closer and closer to him. And then, it happened…the older kids STOPPED. They picked up his bike, dusted him off, and told him to keep trying. And so did he. I took a deep breath of relief and choked up as I watched the riders that day becoming kind. I hoped those kids’ parents were watching because seeing kids becoming kind is better than seeing a first-class race finish any day.

We’re nearing the end of his first BMX Season. We are starting to understand the lingo and how it all works. Adam still isn’t the most competitive dude. In BMX races, to win trophies, ribbons, or get points, you have to qualify for the “main” race at the end of the night. Only the top four riders in each class can go on to ride in the “main.” The kids that don’t qualify get to participate in the “sportsman’s race” with other non-qualifying racers: all ages, even the Strider class. Last week, Adam didn’t qualify for the main, and the sportsman’s race was made up of a twelve year old, a couple of eight-year-olds, Adam, who is six, and one Strider rider. As you can probably could have guessed, they finished in that order as well. But, the best part of the entire race was what happened next. The twelve-year-old went to Adam, gave him a great big high-five, and a piece of candy. Then, Adam went to the Strider rider, gave him a big high-five, and reminded him that everyone in that race wins candy, so don’t forget to get his piece too.

I’m so pleased to see that biking is my son’s sport! But mostly, I am proud his bike is not how he wins medal or recognition, but how he is becoming kind. One day, all of those little Strider riders will be twelve-year-olds, and I know they will be the ones to give the high-fives and encouragement. AND REALLY, WHAT MORE COULD A MOTHER WISH FOR?

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Becoming KIND One Small Stride at a Time

Becoming KIND One Small Stride at a Time

Who are they becoming?

Becoming KIND One Small Stride at a Time

None of us ever imagined the start of the summer would look quite like this. Most kids have been out of school or daycare for weeks already. Pools are closed. Travel plans have halted. And the cancellation of fairs and festivals leaves a void that the smell of kettle corn, sunscreen, and hot grease once filled. This situation is less than ideal. But, the worst of times brings out the best in people! Our little Strider riders are no exception.

We know that learning to ride isn’t JUST about the end goal of pedaling, but about everything children gain in the process. From the moment your baby sits on a Strider seat, they are gaining strength and confidence. They experience failure and success. They are becoming determined. They get discouraged by fear and learn to overcome it. They are becoming brave. They learn the thrill of taking risks and the wisdom in slowing down. They are becoming balanced. Riding a bike allows them to make a connection with others, nature, and themselves. They are becoming kind. These skills and character traits spill into the rest of their life as they continue to grow and have new experiences.

Whether it is singing from balconies, making signs for loved ones in assisted living, delivering meals to people in need, or sending letters to those in isolation, we have seen so many examples of how the world is becoming KIND. If we pay close attention, children are often the instigators of small, random acts of kindness. We see Strider riders all the time giving high fives, helping each other up hills, and taking breaks to sit together and share snacks. At Strider, we want to keep that kindness momentum going, both on and off the bike. We have put together suggestions for ways to show kindness and empathy to those around us. The world, right now, is depending on us all becoming the best we can be.

Let’s continue becoming kind together! For the month of July, join us for a game of KINDNESS BINGO.

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:

  1. Download and print the KINDNESS BINGO card.
  2. Place numbers 1 -24 randomly in each empty square of the KINDNESS BINGO card.
  3. Each number has a correlating act of kindness.
  4. Check Strider’s FB and Instagram stories every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, beginning July 1st. We will “call out” one bingo number.
  5. Find the correlating act of kindness, and do it together as a family. Then, put an X over that number on your KINDNESS BINGO card.
  6. Keep playing until your family gets a BINGO!!
  7. Share your family’s stories and progress with #becomingkind or on our social media platforms @striderbikes.

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Strider Homeschool

Strider Homeschool

Strider Homeschool

CLICK EACH TO DOWNLOAD

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Becoming Determined

Becoming Determined

STRIDER BIKES ARE A CATAPULT FOR BATTLING HURDLES AND WINNING RACES

Becoming Determined

By Charlie Brumbaugh, Quality Control & Fabrication at Strider World Headquarters

If you had told me that my kids would be in the top two in their class at the State BMX Championships and that it would stem from the beginning confidence and balance derived from riding a Strider Bike, I would have giggled. From this simple little bike with no pedals? C’mon!

My wife and I watched our boys get back up…again, and again. They bravely tried bigger and better things on two wheels. We watched, cringed, and dressed wounds beginning with our oldest son’s first face plant into the gravel in our cul-de-sac after bombing down from our yard above. We looked at each other knowingly. We invested in full-faced helmets right away to prevent massive dental bills.

Strider Cup races were loved, but only after they got over all of the other hurdles. Just showing up on any given day could be the hurdle. Going up to the start gate could be the hurdle. Going down the ramp from the gate start with the other racers could be the hurdle.

All of these hurdles were battled. Sometimes they lost, and nervousness and uncertainty won the day. Eventually, they became more DETERMINED and took off like a rocket,  placing in the top three for a trophy. Pedal bikes quickly followed for the fun of going faster, farther, and breaking earth’s gravity if only for a little distance.

Since that time, we have cruised across neighboring states racing BMX first as novices, then as intermediates, and finally as experts. I don’t think any of us could have guessed how fun it could be to race at all of the different tracks and visit all of the various cities. After watching my sons at a national race a couple of years back, a realization came to me. What other sport do kids as young as three-years-old compete on the same day, on the same track as the paid professionals and Olympic medalists? How cool is that?!

But why stop there? We live in a mountain bike mecca! We, of course, needed more bikes. We got more mountain bikes to add to our collection of two wheels that already filled the garage. Mountain biking provided more opportunities to race but also provided adventures in the beautiful outdoors where we live and in other states where mountain biking and mecca are synonymous. Since my wife and I were already mountain bikers, we could now ride as a family, although she and I are much less likely to huck it off of something big like the boys are. Gravity is less kind to us.

Not all, but most of this lifestyle could be blamed on falling in love with riding on two wheels, and my boys becoming ever more DETERMINED to grow, overcome hurdles, and test their limits.  I’m quite certain of that.

Not all, but most of this lifestyle could be blamed on falling in love with riding on two wheels, and my boys becoming ever more DETERMINED to grow, overcome hurdles, and test their limits.  I’m quite certain of that.

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Tips for Teaching Kids to Ride a Pedal Bike

Tips for Teaching Kids to Ride a Pedal Bike

Learn-to-Ride Process

Tips for Teaching Kids to Ride a Pedal Bike

With sunshine, shorts, and sunscreen comes more outdoor adventures and the perfect time to learn to ride a bike. At Strider, we know a thing or two about teaching kids to ride; we’ve studied, practiced, tweaked, and witnessed the process thousands of times. No need for frustration or training wheels! Here are some tips to make your child’s transition from balance to pedals a spectator sport. Grab an ice-cold beverage, a lawn chair, a pom-pom or two, and maybe even some tissues (to wipe tears of pride and joy) to prepare your child’s cheering section.

1. Watch for the Signs

Age or size alone is not a good predictor of pedaling success. Typically, kiddos who start as babies on the Rocking Bike and move to a 12” without the base are ready to begin riding quite early. Why? Because BALANCE is the number one most important skill for learning to ride a pedal bike! Regardless of when your child starts, we recommend all kids start on a balance bike BEFORE trying to pedal. That is why our Strider 14x model starts as a balance bike and converts to pedals. Watch for these signs; they are good indicators that your kiddo is ready to pedal!

“While riding a Strider Bike, my child…”

  • can support all their weight on the seat.
  • is able to gain momentum by running with the bike.
  • balances with feet up for extended periods.
  • is able to avoid obstacles in his/her path.
  • can lean through turns with feet off the ground.
  • is able to find and use the footrests while riding.
  • can control their speed.
  • is able to stop safely with only their feet.

2. Ignore the Pedals

Now that your kiddo has mad balancing skills, it’s time to put the pedals on your Strider 14x! But don’t get too focused on them just yet. The 14x has unique narrow “stride-around” pedals that allow little riders to continue to focus on their balance and use the pedals sporadically until they are ready to commit. Let your kiddo get used to the weight and feel of the bike with pedals attached. Encourage them to lift their feet and look forward. Mostly, this is a time just to let them play, ride, and have fun. If there is one thing we know and see over and over is pedaling will just happen naturally. Don’t put too much focus or pressure on the pedals. Your child might be at this stage for several weeks, days, or for some, hours. Everyone is different; trust the process!

3. Encourage Pedaling

It’s the moment of truth. The time to shine. The real deal. The crux. It’s time to introduce pedaling! But it’s no big deal; everyone is primed. Encourage your little rider to take a few big strides and just set their feet on the pedals. If it seems like they need a little help at first, place a hand on their back to help steady or to give a push. Don’t hold the bike for them at any point as it throws off their balance and causes them to rely more heavily on the help. It is best at this point to give your child some space. If they need a bit of inspiration, get out your bike and show them how you pedal. Most kids do best with trial and error at this point, sometimes the best thing parents can do is step back. They will likely go back and forth between striding and pedaling for a while, or only pedaling on slight downhills. Don’t fret! It won’t be long until they are pedal pros!

4. Learn to Stop

After pedaling, the next important skill to master is stopping. At first, your now pro pedaler will instinctively stop by using their feet because that is what they did in balance mode. That will work for now while the seat is low enough and they can easily put both feet on the ground. As they become more proficient pedalers, raising the seat will be more comfortable. It’s best to practice stopping now. Coaster brakes can be tricky to get used to, especially after all the work to learn to pedal forward. Telling your child to pedal backward can be confusing and counterproductive. Try instead, “push back with your heals” (you may need to show them where their heal is). Show them how to make skid marks and have them try; it’s a fun way to learn to brake! Once they’ve got it down, raise the seat and let them soar.

Learning to ride a pedal bike is a true childhood milestone. The moment can be bittersweet as you witness a marker of growth, independence, and freedom in your child. And it’s just the beginning of all of the ways your little pedaler will make their way through this big, wide, beautiful world. Now, grab that tissue, wipe your eyes, blow your nose, and be your kiddos loudest cheerleader.

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Mother & Daughter Becoming Bold – On & Off the Bike

Mother & Daughter Becoming Bold – On & Off the Bike

Becoming Bold

Mother & Daughter Becoming Bold – On & Off the Bike

My daughter never once corrected her 1st-grade teacher, who pronounced her name wrong the entire school year. She was so quiet, her teacher admitted to sometimes forgetting about her. While my daughter liked school and stayed engaged with the work, she preferred to go unnoticed, a little wallflower sitting cross-legged on the alphabet rug in the back of the room.

This worried me at the time. My daughter’s pint-sized demeanor seemed a far cry from the emboldened toddler who, with hair knotted and wild in diapers and bare toes, fearlessly grabbed our pet chickens with both hands and corralled them into her radio flyer wagon. She had zero reservations. More than once, we chased her down the block, shorts and T-shirt in hand, as she barreled through the neighborhood on her pink Strider Bike in Dora undies (with a helmet, because, safety). That pink, pedal-less Strider Bike was straddled between her chubby baby legs when she could barely walk. Maybe it was the speed with which she could travel or the stability it allowed her to tap in to, but that bike ignited her inner heroine. She and my son would ride their Strider Bikes, side by side, wearing superhero capes. Complete strangers would snap photos of them as they cruised through the park. Because she spent so much time on her little Strider, she transitioned to a pedal bike before she could correctly use a toilet. As an avid mountain biker, when I posted the video of her pedaling for the first time on Facebook, the caption read, “My daughter learned to ride a bike before she could poop in the toilet. Priorities. I couldn’t be more proud.” To which, one friend commented, “Nothing like a woman in charge of her life.” Her spirit was unabashed, and watching her brought me so much joy.

I, like many girls growing up, struggled to find my voice and find a way to exist unapologetically outside strict standards of beauty and value placed on women.

I battled disordered eating and intense body shame. I married quite young and spent years grappling with what it really meant to be a strong, independent woman. As I continued to age, I made it a point to be brave and to voice my opinions. I read books on women’s issues. I went to therapy. I said yes to group mountain bike rides with people I assumed were much stronger than me. I entered races. My bike, too, was a place I could resurrect my inner balance, strength, and courage. I decided I wanted to do my best to demonstrate, for both my son and daughter, that worth does not have to be measured by outside standards and expectations. Each of us must own our inherent value and foster and embrace the qualities that make us ourselves.

I thought I had made a great deal of progress. Until, my daughter, now in 3rd grade, emphatically declared that she wanted to shave her head. Over the last year, she had started to return to herself. No longer the docile girl in the back of the room. She had gone from afraid to talk out loud in class to throwing her hand up at every opportunity to let her voice fill the room, bounce off walls, seep through door jams and window seals, and make its way out to the edges of the playground and into the world. I was proud to witness how my once bold toddler, racing and howling through the neighborhood on her Strider Bike, now, was becoming a bold elementary school girl running for student council every chance she gets, speech in hand, even though she has yet to win. And still, my automatic response to her daring hairstyle request was no.

For months she persisted. I asked her why she wanted to shave her head. Where did the idea come from? To me, she never gave a satisfactory answer. She asked me why I wouldn’t let her. What’s the big deal? To her, I never gave a satisfactory answer either. Even if I had told her all the reasons swirling in my head – she would look like a boy, people might assume she was sick, she wouldn’t look cute, essentially, she wouldn’t be complying to the expectations of what it means to look like a girl – she would still be right. My reasoning was flawed. Even though I was more steeped in stereotypes than I would like to admit, she was free, wild, unapologetic, and becoming ever more bold, despite me.

I relented, caught in my own hypocrisy. My hesitation turned to admiration. My renegade daughter is everything I have ever wanted to be! Let’s do this, I thought eagerly to myself. I went to her, careful to veil the emotional rabbit hole I had been down to come to this conclusion. I was met with a shrug of the shoulders and an apathetic suggestion to wait until it’s warmer, and a “maybe I’ll just shave the sides.”

When my daughter was 5 years old, I took her on a bikepacking trip. We loaded sleeping bags, a tent, and food on our bikes (me pulling a trailer to lighten her load) and headed into the forest to spend the night. Just the two of us. The ride was fairly tough for a little one, but she didn’t complain much. She Just asked for a lot of breaks to dip her toes in the water and consider how far we’d come. We really have come so far.

My renegade daughter is everything I have ever wanted to be!

Emily Brown, Mother

My daughter’s bike no longer just takes her around the block, but to the coffee shop where she likes to buy homemade Nutella pop tarts and to the fish hatchery to use her saved quarters for fish food. When she babysits her little cousin, she puts him on his Strider Bike and shows him how it is done. As she goes from elementary school, to middle school (lord help her!), and beyond, I hope we will continue to grab our bikes, go out, and restore our courage to be bold with this life; because those two wheels are what helped us find it in the first place.

We have yet to go get my daughter’s head shaved. It’s no matter. I love her the way she is, hair or no hair. It wasn’t really about the hair, or her for that matter. It wasn’t really her who was BECOMING BOLD this whole time, it was me.

It wasn’t really her who was BECOMING BOLD this whole time, it was me.

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