Portland is the Land of Bikes: Worker-bees commute on them; students pedal to school; families go for a ride together on sunny weekend afternoons (and often rainy ones, too!); mother runners cross-train on them. Everyone, no matter their age or fitness level, bikes. We start 'em young: My son, John, mastered riding at age 3 while I was off doing a marathon training run. (Of course.) And we believe training wheels are anathema; instead, many children learn on balance bikes, pedal-free bikes that teach children how to, you guessed it, balance.
But instead of me explaining what they are, let me share part of a conversation I had with Susie Marcks, a mother runner of two who ran her first half-marathon earlier this year. Susie is also a marketing and communications specialist at Strider Bikes; she helped developed Strider Camp curriculum, which helps teach children as young as 18 months to master a balance bike.
Q: How do you describe a Strider Bike to someone who has never seen one?
A: It's a bike without pedals. Children simply walk with it first, then when they become comfortable with it, they put their bottoms on the seat and glide with their feet up. Any child who can walk can ride and comfortably ride at their own pace through that progression.
Strider Bike v. training wheels: discuss.
We like to call training wheels 'restraining wheels.' Training wheels give a false sense of balance. The only things training wheels teach is that when you lean to one side, the training wheel on that side will hold you up on that side. With training wheels, you can't go around a corner too fast and you can't go on any terrain except flat, smooth surface; they teach you everything wrong. One cool thing about a balance bike: They are all terrain. Can go on dirt, gravel, or a country road.
When your child is ready, they transition from a balance bike to a pedal bike, whether that's at age 2, 3, 5 or 6: Every child is different.
What are some other differences between a balance bike and a regular bike with training wheels?
A Strider Bike is light weight, about 6.5 pounds. It's so light weight, a child can walk over and play with it on their own terms and pick it up. A bike with training wheels with chains, cranks, and the whole bit weigh a ton. You don't realize how heavy it is until you try to throw it in the trunk of your car. Then you realize you're asking a 30-pound child to ride 20-pound bike. It's like asking me to ride a 100-pound bike!
We hope you are now raring to get your kiddo on a Strider Bike, because we have a special giveaway today: Three winners will each get a Strider 12 Sport bike. Thanks to easy, no-tools-needed adjustable handlebars and seat, the Strider 12 Sport fits children ages 18 months to 5 years. (It even comes with a bonus padded seat and XL post, in case you grow your children tall!) Each winner gets a choice of one of seven colors. To enter to win, tell us how bike riding fits into your life. Do you do triathlons? Pedal to do errands? Swear by Spinning? Ride your kids to school? There's no right answer, so be honest. Click on the Comments ribbon under this post on our website, and clue us in on where you land on the cycling scale.
We are pleased to announce this giveaway kicks off a special promotion Strider Bikes is doing with Another Mother Runner: If you use the promo code HRTSTRIDE on any purchase of $89.99 or more at Strider Bikes website now through December 31, 2015, you'll get free shipping. Even better: Strider Bikes will donate $20 to AMR's non-profit partner, Heart Strides. Might we suggest you hop on holiday shopping to take advantage of this great offer that lets you give the gift of running shoes to a mother runner via the charitable outreach of Heart Strides? Please share this deal with your gal-pals, too.
[Some fine print for this fine prize.] This sweepstakes is open to those over 18 and residents of the United States and Canada. Part of a series of weekly running giveaways, it begins on10/21/15 and ends on 10/27/15. We will announce three random winners on our Facebook page on 10/29/15, as well as notifying the winners by email. One entry per person. The value of each prize is $119.99. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Void where prohibited by law.