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Strider Bikes

Old 03-25-19, 12:28 PM
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Strider Bikes

Any tips for coaching my young son through his first few rides on a strider? He is easily disappointed that he can't go fast; telling him it takes practice doesn't seem to help. We will break our backs bending over if we try to "push" him along a bit -- so low to the ground. Did anyone go right to a pedal bike? Son is turning four. We tried introducing strider last year several times but it didn't take.
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Old 03-25-19, 07:29 PM
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lorenzo_de_leon
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Hiya, my son learned to ride on a Strider. He's 6 now but started scooting along on it when he was 2 - 3 years old and he has always been pretty small for his age. When we had the opportunities, I'd take him to the greenways and follow along on my bike or skate board. He could go down the hills with his feet resting on the rear fork which quenched his need for speed. Skate parks are also excellent training places (in the morning before all the super rad skater kids and mid life crisis dads show up) - the ramps and bowls and super smooth concrete make for an exciting place for a four year old boy with a balance bike, not to mention the chance to meet other small kids learning to ride or skate. This isn't to say your son is not ready for pedals, but the transition might prove equally frustrating without having learned the balance fundamentals. I can speak to their effectiveness - my son immediately took off on his first pedal bike Christmas morning without any practice period when he was 4 years old. I only know the small frame size we used, but is it possible the Strider is a bit too small for him, maybe cramping his style (and arms and legs...)?

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Old 03-25-19, 08:28 PM
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My first kid started out on a Strider. I got it for him at age 1.5 and chose it over others because he could stand over it already. But it was too soon, he didn't get the idea until he was 2 and didn't get good at it until he was 2.5. Then by the time he was 3, it was too small for him and he needed brakes and better tires. But he wasn't ready for a 16er, he couldn't stand over the ones at the bike stores or REI. (I didn't look a the Walmart ones, they are so obviously screwed up in body position, and the mail-order premium ones were too much for sight-unseen buy.) Lesson learned - it would have been better to get him a slightly bigger one slightly later. Instead I got him a cheap 12" pedal bike that looked ok from Chain Reaction, and took off the crank. It was a pile, I can't figure out how they made something so small weigh so much and all the bearings were cruelly overtightened, it wouldn't even turn over out of the box. But it got him through the next year. We'd go for 2 mile walks to get a donut. I kept urging him to try the pedals, I'd spend 20 minutes putting the crank and chain back on, he would go for a moment and then give up. It took to age 4.5 and his 16er to be riding for real. The 16er came with training wheels and they were like an addiction, I took them off after a frustrating few weeks of him crashing on curbs, but then he just refused the bike for months before his mom yelled at him a lot and he got it going. He had all the skills, it was an emotional block. He's an emotional kid.

I say get him a 16er, if he can straddle the seat in its lowest position (take off the reflector). DO NOT use the training wheels. Let him goof around with it in the driveway and sidewalk, or at a park. I never tried the skate park - the skate park nearest us has only a 2-hour slot every Wednesday during my work hours when bikes are permitted.
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Old 03-25-19, 08:51 PM
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I started my daughter on a regular pedal bike at 5. I just removed the pedals and lowered the seat so she could practice balancing without the training wheels.

After about 20 times or so down a slight hill, she was getting the hang of coasting. Then I put the pedals back on to give her something to put her feet on.

It took a few weeks but once she got the pedaling part down she was off. She's 10 now and love riding her bike all over the neighborhood with me.

I would suggest finding a hill that's not too steep that he can get some speed on and learn to coast.
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Old 03-27-19, 02:21 PM
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Both of my children learned on balance bikes. I found that they developed their balance faster after I set the seat high enough that only the front halves of their feet were touching the ground, just enough of the shoe to get some grip to propel the bike. This seemed to force them to glide a little longer between switching from one foot to the other. If I had known better at the time, I would have encouraged them to use the handbrake on the balance bike instead of using their feet to stop the bike. When they switched to a bike with pedals, it took a long time to break the habit of putting their feet down instead of using the brakes.

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Old 04-04-19, 11:32 PM
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My son was using a Strider for a walker before he could walk, gliding at a year old, pedaling a bike before two years old. Raise your son's saddle so that he's on his tiptoes to touch the ground, then let him walk/run with the Strider underneath him. The gliding will come. Keep the faith, he'll get it.

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Old 04-06-19, 07:03 AM
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Thank you all so much for your insight, advice, and stories about how your kids started out. It was especially helpful to see the suggestion about a slight incline to get the hang of coasting as well as advice about sizing. We will give it a go in the next week or two and see what happens!
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