Bike riding is a skill that should be available to everyone, regardless of their physical, mental, or financial abilities. Chances are, most of us remember learning how to ride a bike for the first time. Eyes clenched shut, hands with a white-knuckle grip on the handles, arms shaking as we tried to figure out how to stay upright, we were given a big push and told to “Go!” But riding a bike is still considered one of life’s greatest rites of passage. Thankfully, times have changed, and the Learn-To-Ride process has become easy and enjoyable, even for individuals who need a little extra help in the process.
Strider Balance Bikes are hands-down the best way to learn how to ride because of their simplicity. The entire Learn-To-Ride process is broken down into a series of micro-progressions for the rider. Once the rider walks with the Strider between their legs, they get a feel for the weight. They then learn to sit on the bike and walk; balance and steering come to them naturally at this stage. Finally, the rider becomes comfortable sitting on the bike and begins striding around while they steer, developing their balance along their way to riding like a pro.
Why is learning to ride a bike so important? Well, there are many reasons. Learning to ride a bike helps develop spatial awareness, develop balance, and gives the rider a sense of independence and freedom all while providing a big boost to riders’ confidence.
In addition to personal development, bicycling is great exercise and keeps children and adults active and outdoors. For kids, bicycling is a one-of-a-kind medium for playing and socializing with other children, and is an excellent alternative to sedentary activities like computers, televisions, and video games.
Bicycling is fun, accessible, inclusive, and is a healthy activity that can be enjoyed by families, young and old alike!
"The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind."
Strider Education Foundation believes the importance of cycling is more than a list of health benefits, (although it certainly helps!). Below are a couple of ways Strider Education Foundation is able to change lives for the better with donations of Strider Bikes…
Many individuals with disabilities or financial limitations don’t have immediate access to transportation. Riding a bike can drastically change that for a person who was previously limited in where they could go. Riding a bike for transportation provides more than just a way to get from point A to point B, riding gives you freedom!
"It was wonderful to watch the kids demonstrate the coordination and balance skills that we’ve been working on through the APE program and achieve a new level of independence when riding the bikes…And because Strider Bikes is donating the bicycles to the students, they can further their progress at home with their families."
Dr. Amanda Young, Physical Education Teacher, KinderFrogs School and Starpoint School
"Stability scores in all body planes were significantly improved during the five-week duration,” said Shim, who conducted the research at the Pier Center for Autism in Sioux City, Iowa. “Starting on a STRIDER Bike can assist children with special needs in transitioning to a regular, two-wheeled bicycle without the anxiety of falling or using training wheels."
Dr. Andrew Shim, Chair of Briar Cliff University's Kinesiology and Human Performance Department
"This is all about the process of learning to ride in the right steps and never contradicting what you’re learning. So, they learn the proper balance and steer techniques that are identical to when you move onto pedal bikes. And what happens is with that success, all that stuff was kind of…that was out of reach or filed away, you say, OK, we just broke through what they told us was going to be the barrier, so now we don’t know how far we can take this."
Ryan McFarland, Founder, President, CEO, and Chief Enthusiast, Strider Sports International
"I currently have 8 bikes for my classroom and a wide variety of students use them. Students with physical impairments, BLIND students, kids with Down Syndrome, kids with autism; basically, anyone who can walk on their own (and even several who are a little shaky). We use them for recreation, social skills, community skills, physical therapy, adaptive PE, language development, and behavior interventions. They’re incredible."
Amy Speidel, Special Education Teacher/Special Olympics Coach
"The training program is a wonderful opportunity for children and adults to overcome anxieties about riding bikes in a fun setting with peers. It was so exciting to see such joy and enthusiasm from the youth who participated in our first week of training. We look forward to seeing the youth develop confidence in their abilities in the weeks to come."
Kerry Zingg, Easterday Center Director
"We would often stride to Super America on Lake Street and his goal was to get there in less than 25 minutes and if he did so then he could get a cherry icee! It definitely was a motivator."
Kathryn Jensen, parent of a 9th grade student
"I have 2 students that are twins, 8 years old, and in the Autism Program in Minneapolis. In recent years, the 2 have made significant gains in their motor abilities. I had the opportunity to work with the two using a strider and it was extremely beneficial to their balance and coordination. They were so excited there was a bike their size that was not overwhelming because of the pedals."
Troy Kirby, D/APE teacher