Strider Sports helps special needs kids enjoy life on two wheels

Photos courtesy of Strider Sports

Strider Sports is well known for its line of kid-sized balance bikes that help children learn the key element of cycling—balance—before worrying about pedals or brakes. But not as well known is it has taken that same philosophy and expanded it to help kids and adults with special needs expand their freedom and enjoy life on two wheels.

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While the most popular Strider model has 12-inch wheels, there are also models with 16 and 20-inch wheels and hand brakes that can fit riders from age six to adulthood.  They were developed specifically for individuals with special needs, such as Down syndrome, autism or cerebral palsy.

Strider doesn’t just make products for the special needs community, it contributes to their well-being with the Rider Fund, program to support individuals in need. Created in 2014, the Rider Fund donates bikes and accessories to non-profit organizations and has earmarked half of its funds for 2015 for special needs groups. One percent of Strider Sports gross revenue is collected into the fun, and a dollar is added for each Strider bike registered online. To date, the Rider Fund has donated more than $300,000 in bikes an accessories. Strider also works with Special Olympics Young Athletes Program and sponsors the 2015 National Down Syndrome Society Buddy Walks.

Strider also hosts its hugely popular Strider Championship Series for kids to race, and this year it is expanding the series to include race classes for athletes with special needs. Most will not have previous experience on a two-wheeled bike, so Strider has a special, weekly training plan for the individuals to be ready—and excited—for the starting line. Riders will practice starting gates, riding side- by-side, ramps, passing, and other obstacles typical in a racing environment. They’ll also practice podium fist-pumps, since all athletes are treated to an Olympic-style podium award ceremony after their race. Four national races will be held in Bradenton, Florida (April 25), Ventura, California (May 9), Pittsburgh (June 6) and Salt Lake City (August 8).

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Strider encourages others to consider adding to the Rider Fund so even more individuals with special needs can improve their physical—and emotional—health:

  1. Donate to the Rider Fund on Strider’s website.
  2. Purchase a Strider bike: Strider donates one percent of Strider Sports’ gross revenue from all sales worldwide each month toward the Rider Fund.
  3. Those who already own a Strider bike, can register it: Strider donates $1 for every bike registered.

 

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Strider announces dates of 2015 Strider Championship Series

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There are few things in all of cycling as cute and fun as Strider racing. Kids aged two to five show off their skills on the brands’ line of no-pedal bikes in a friendly and fun atmosphere.

Today Strider Sports has announced the dates and locations for its 2015 Strider Championship Series, a national racing series for children. These family-friendly races for the tiniest competitors will give small children a chance to put their Strider balance bike skills to the test at four stops across the country this spring and summer, as well as the final worldwide event this fall, the Strider World Championship.

Children of all sizes and skill levels are welcome to participate. Strider No-Pedal Balance Bikes are developed for both learning the ropes of riding and honing advanced skills in racing.

You’ll find Strider Championship Series races in the following cities this year:

  • Saturday, April 25: Bradenton, FL on Main Street at Lakewood Ranch
  • Saturday, May 9: Ventura, CA at the Pier
  • Saturday, June 6: Pittsburgh, PA at Station Square
  • Saturday, August 8: Salt Lake City, UT at the Gateway Mall

There will be races for 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-year olds at each event. Registration fee is $25 online or $35 on site. Racers will receive a Strider goodie bag valued at more than $50 with their registration. Pre-registration is open now.

New this year, Strider will host races and demo opportunities for athletes with special needs at each of the events. These athletes will race the 12-inch models, as well as Strider’s new, larger 16-inch and 20-inch balance bikes, which the company launched in 2014 specifically for the Special Needs Community. Strider bikes have transformed the lives of many individuals with special needs, such as those with Down syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy, by improving both physical and emotional health. The physical benefits mentioned by family members and physical therapists include improvements with motor skills, strength and balance. Some of the emotional benefits include freedom, confidence and increased social interactions with peers. Strider believes every person should have a chance to ride and last year gave more than $100,000 worth of bikes to the Special Needs Community.

A typical Strider race scene has young parents and grandparents holding their breath as bright yellow cowbells are rung and the starting gate drops. Toddlers, some still in diapers, lean forward, grasp their mini grips, kick their short legs, and embark upon their 600-foot plus journey over obstacles from dirt mounds to wooden ramps. All young racers are treated to an Olympic-style podium award ceremony immediately following their race, where trophies taller than some of the riders are given to top finishers. All participants receive medals and pose for the crowd of proud parents and spectators.

Participating in any of these events will automatically qualify the rider for the Strider World Championship. This series-ending race will be held August 28-29 in Rapid City, South Dakota, the world headquarters for Strider Sports International, Inc. Visit the Strider World Championship website for more information.

 

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Strider giving away 7 bikes a day to kids with special needs

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Image courtesy of Strider Sports

The joy of life on two wheels doesn’t come easily for everyone. For kids with special needs the freedom and excitement of wind in their hair can be far more challenging. This year Strider Sports is donating seven bikes every day to kids with special needs, and you can nominate a family member.

Strider’s balance bikes aren’t just for toddlers either. They build three models that can fit anyone from ages 18 months to adulthood. While Strider balance bikes weren’t originally designed for users with special needs, they are easily adopted because the users’ feet can stay on the ground for balance.

If you have a family member who you think would love to receive a Strider bike, just take a photo, submit their story and include the name of the special needs organization to which they belong. You can send your nomination through the Strider Sports website.

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Rapid City to host Strider World Championships this weekend

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Courtesy of Strider Sports

Rapid City, South Dakota, will host the fourth annual Strider World Championships from September 19-21. The event, presented by FedEx, is the culmination of a series of qualifying races held in North America, Asia, Europe, and South America. Nearly 200 riders from age two to five are registered to compete. Twelve countries will be represented in the world’s premier balance bike racing competition.

Hosted by Strider Sports International, the event kicks-off on Friday, September 19 with opening ceremonies, a Special Olympics South Dakota exhibition race, and a final qualifier for the World Championship Races. The Final Races will be held on Saturday, September 20 at Main Street Square, followed by an awards ceremony and trophy presentation to the top eight winners in each age category: 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5- year olds. In addition to the competition there will be a free Strider Adventure Zone for kids to ride demo Strider bikes. Admission for spectators is free.

On Sunday, September 21, there will be tours of the brand new Strider Sports World Headquarters, the Black Hills, and Mt. Rushmore for the international distributors and their families.

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