Nicole Kotarac, Managing Director of Xchange Sports distributors of Strider balance bikes in Australia.
In 2008 my husband and I wanted to teach our child aged 2 how to ride a bike. We led an active lifestyle and wanted to give him the opportunity to spend some time out of the pram when we were out and about. We found it difficult to find a bike that wasn't too heavy or that was designed around really little people until we discovered the Strider Balance Bike. Our second son learnt to ride a Strider at 17 months. Both of our children learnt how to safely ride and balance a bike using a STRIDER® and very quickly their self confidence and coordination improved daily. On trips around the park or in the city, complete strangers, friends and neighbours asked where we got the "cool" looking bikes from and it was then that we decided to bring Strider Balance Bikes to Australia. In 2009 Strider Sports Australia became the exclusive distributor for Strider across Australia and over the last few years we have become the largest online retailer of Strider Balance Bikes in Australia. Much to our delight the feeling of success and self confidence gained from riding a STRIDER at such a young age has inspired our children now aged 10 and 8 to give a wide range of sporting activities a go ranging from BMX Racing to Rugby.
Strider have now sold 3,000,000 bikes world-wide and have taught more toddlers and young children how to ride a bike than any other brand. The man behind the design Ryan McFarland, was the genius who contributed to the companies success.
My name is Ryan McFarland, and I love riding dirt bikes and mountain bikes. When I was a boy, my dad owned a motorcycle shop and raced dirt bikes. Riding and racing have been in my blood ever since. When I became a dad and my son turned 2 years old I couldnt contain my enthusiasm any longer. I wanted to get him riding. I bought the traditional little tricycle and the cute little 12" pedal bike with training wheels, each one decked out in racing stripes and decals. My enthusiasm quickly turned to frustration as I watched my eager son of just 20 pounds struggle with the weight and complexity of these so called 'children's bikes'. The daddy in me wanted to help him succeed; the racer in me wanted to build him a better bike.So, I started cutting, grinding and unbolting every piece of non-essential weight I could find. When I got to the drive train (pedals, cranks, bearing, chain, sprockets), I realized this was the majority of the weight and complexity. Could I simply remove this completely ? Hmmm if it didnt have pedals, would it still be considered riding a bike ? What defines riding ? Again, the racer in me urged simplify, simplify, simplify. After all, downhill mountain bikes dont pedal, road racers descending a highway dont pedal, and motorcyclists dont pedal. They are all riding, so what do they have in common ? The ability to balance on two wheels and lean through turns regardless of what put them in motion. The ability to balance on two wheels and lean through turns regardless of what put them in motion. Pedaling is just one of many means of propulsion. Separating propulsion from the riding equation solved my dilemma. What can a kid already do naturally and instinctually? Walk! Perfect! I removed the entire drive train which dramatically lightened and simplified the bike. It also allowed me to cut the frame down further to lower the center of gravity and increase the stability. Now my little boy with his 12" inseam could sit on the bike with both feet solidly on the ground.
My son hopped on the bike and started walking without giving it a second thought. 100% of his focus was now on keeping the bike upright and centered under him as he walked. In short order, I could see him "experimenting" with holding his feet up between steps… trying to coast ever so slightly. At first, quite wobbly and only going inches before dabbing his feet back to the ground. But, he wasn’t FALLING, and he wasn’t SCARED, because his feet were on the ground. He was actually self-motivated to keep trying to glide further and further each time… with repeated "Watch me! Watch me!" as he beamed with pride. I simply let him play and learn at his own pace, and soon he was balancing and gliding at will, riding down hills, over the grass, and through puddles.
Fast forward a year… time for a pedal bike (3 years old). Lesson learned… buy a bike that is lightweight and simple… and no training wheels. This time, riding was the part that was natural and instinctual for him. The only new element was a change in the means of propulsion. So, confident in his own ability to balance, lean, and steer a bike, he could focus 100% of his attention on converting his 'striding' motion to a 'pedaling' motion. Easy! He was off, safely and proficiently riding in minutes.
Fast forward another six months… time for a dirt bike (3 ½ years old). Again, find the lightest, simplest dirt bike possible… OSET 12" electric trials bike… no training wheels. Again, riding was the part that was natural and instinctual for him. The only new element was a change in the means of propulsion. So, confident in his own ability to balance, lean, and steer a bike, he could focus 100% of his attention on twisting the throttle and pulling the brake. Easy! Literally within minutes he was riding around the field.
The essence of riding is balancing on two wheels and leaning through turns. Propulsion can come in many forms, the simplest of which is "striding."
We pride ourselves on our excellent customer service and aim to keep every customer happy, if you aren't happy please contact us. All bikes are sold with a 60 day no questions refund policy (less delivery charges).