Last month, we asked three members of the Mothering community to try out the STRIDER Bike, a balance bike made for children 18 months – 5 years. Balance bikes are a great alternative to traditional tricycles because they allow toddlers to build balance and coordination, which are the key skills for bicycling but are often overlooked as a child moves from walking to riding a tricycle or to a bike with training wheels. Balance bikes are smaller and more lightweight than tricycles or regular bikes, and they don’t have pedals, so toddlers can learn to balance without worrying about pedaling.
Three of our active community members received free STRIDER bikes in exchange for sharing their reviews with us. We wanted to hear everything about their experience and share their responses with you!
From the Mavens
From Amanda in Atlanta (on MDC: Jammomma)
“My three year old son was so excited when his STRIDER was delivered. He wanted to open the box and start riding it right away. I was worried that is was going to be hard to put together and that he would be disappointed if I couldn’t do it right then, but it turned out to be super easy and the only tool I needed was the Allen wrench that was included with the bike.
He got the hang of riding the STRIDER right away, within a few minutes of getting on it I actually saw him balancing on the bike, it was amazing to see. The STRIDER bike is very light and much easier and more practical to load into the back of my car and take to the park than his heavy tricycle. Even my son can lift the bike. And unlike his trike, my son has ridden his STRIDER all around our nearby park and he actually rode it back to the car instead of me carrying it. My son says the bike is fun and when I asked him if it was easy to ride he said he was really easy and he “wubs it” translation: he loves it.It is awesome to see our son so ready to challenge himself and to see such confidence in the little dude. I totally recommend the STRIDER; it has been an awesome addition for our family and for our child that I see getting a lot of use over the next several years.”
From Jaimee in Illinois (on MDC: Jaimee)
“I love that both the seat height and the handlebar height are adjustable. Fixed handlebar height is a common problem with other bikes; such that a taller child ends up leaning down to reach the handlebars. Not so with STRIDER! The wheels are foam so no worries about flat tires like with pneumatic tires and no worries about cracking like with plastic wheels.
Once outside, my son started off by walking the bike- sitting on the bike and moving one foot forward, then the other to move the bike slowly. He did this for a few days and progressed to scooting- using both feet at the same time to propel the bike forward. Once he had mastered scooting, he started to lift his feet up and glide down driveways. I showed him where he could put his feet and after struggling with balance for a bit, he eventually managed to put his feet up on the tubing and glide that way.
Every day for several weeks, he asked to go outside and ride the balance bike. This diligence and the balance that the bike instilled in him allowed him to graduate to his two wheel pedal bike. I absolutely love the fact that he and his older sister can now ride their bikes together without him falling way behind like he used to when he was using training wheels. I completely credit the balance bike and have recommended the STRIDER bike to everyone with young kids. In fact, one of our neighbors has a 5 year old son who was still riding a bike with training wheels and when he saw my son zooming around on the STRIDER bike, he asked to try it. Literally after an hour of practice with the STRIDER, he had gained the balance necessary to ride his pedal bike without training wheels. It was just that easy! I am completely convinced of the benefit of balance bikes and greatly look forward to the day that my youngest son can start riding the STRIDER bike, too.”
From Andrea in Los Angeles (on MDC: CherryBombMama)
“Everyone was excited [when we got the STRIDER]. It was very light weight. At one point I was carrying my infant, my toddler and the bike, and the bike seemed the lightest! I was happy that they would have a bike that seems easier to control. Even though my 3 year old has a bike with training wheels, he seems too way up high on it, like he could fall off at any moment. With this bike, he was lower to the ground and had better ability to steer and turn at will… My 3 year old was very happy and proud of himself after riding the bike.
He was so confident in his ability to ride this bike that he ended up going too fast and turned too suddenly, causing him to fall over numerous times. I was actually surprised that he got right back up and kept on riding. When he falls off of his training wheels bike, he pretty much stays off for the rest of the day. I LOVE how much control my son has while riding the bike. We will continue to use the STRIDER and I have already recommended it to others!”
More on Balance Bikes from STRIDER
There are a lot of options to consider if you are looking for a balance bike for your toddler, so we wanted to share some information from STRIDER Sports about balance bikes.
Here’s the list of features that are important to balance bike success:
1. The balance bike must be very light relative to the toddler. Balance bikes range in weight from 7 pounds to 13 pounds. A 5 pound range may not seem like much, but to a 2 year old even a couple of pounds is a lot. Look for a balance bike that’s as light as possible!
2. A quality balance bike will have a wide range of size adjustment. Toddlers grow quickly and come in all shapes and sizes. Seat height adjustment and handlebar height adjustment are key features to make sure the balance bike will fit and grow with your toddler!
3. The last feature that’s important falls in the category of having a balance bike that will continue to develop your toddler’s riding skills to make the transition to a pedal bike seamless. A balance bike really needs footrests so that when the Toddler is balancing (riding the bike) they have a place to put their feet, just like they would if their feet were on pedals. Pedals sit right below the seat of a bike. So it’s important the footrests are right below the seat too. You also don’t want the footrests to get in the way of a toddler’s legs while they are pushing the bike with their feet.
In summary, keep your toddler’s balance bike as light and simple as possible and your toddler will easily develop their own riding skills using their imagination! We’re excited that our Mothering Mavens reviewers enjoyed their experience with the STRIDER and saw that the STRIDER can make the transition from walking to riding easy.
What has been your child’s experience learning to ride a bike? Have they ever used a balance bike?
About Jennifer Ockelmann
Jennifer works with Huddler.com, Mothering's Advertising Representative, where she acts as a liaison between Mothering.com and our sponsors. She was raised by an attachment parent and is passionate about showcasing sponsors who match the values of the community. Jennifer grew up in California, and she loves swing dancing, Spanish food and the beach. She can be reached at Jennifer@Mothering.com.