Too often people with cognitive, restricted growth or developmental disabilities have been unable to ride a bike or have been told by doctors and other health care providers that they will never be able to ride a bike. With the proper bike and a proven method to learn, Strider®is changing this.
For the last 10 years parents and teachers of children with special needs all over the world have been approaching us so we know how life changing our bikes have been for their children.
Balance Bikes are providing a means for inclusive social interaction and play. Suddenly, a child that had previously been sitting inside, while the other children rode their bikes is now riding right alongside their peers, grinning ear to ear.
So, why is a Balance Bike the best option for a person with special needs?
Balance bikes break down the overwhelming task of learning how to ride into a safe and natural progression; it's as easy as walking. With feet safely on the ground, a rider is easily able to manoeuver and ride our lightweight bikes. Confidence grows and a much needed sense of independence develops. Balance is learnt in a fun safe manner that encourages children to want to ride.
Strider Balance Bikes have turned individuals with Down syndrome, autism, low muscle tone, poor balance, arthrogryposis, and cerebral palsy into bike riding enthusiasts!
Our top tips for teaching someone to ride...
1. Adjust the bike properly to fit the rider! Strider have bikes for every age group so all children can ride. Saddle height is the most critical adjustment, followed by handlebar height. Set the saddle height so the rider’s feet are flat on the ground and both knees have a slight bend in them when seated
2. Be a cheerleader, not a coach. With the both feet on the floor, riders will want to start walking it along. Encourage them to do this and give them praise for any amount of time they spend on the Strider.
3. Let the rider set the pace. Some individuals jump on the bike and go, go, go. Others are more cautious; some may not even sit on the seat at first. This is OK! Their security is in their feet at this point, and we want them to feel secure. As they become comfortable walking around with the bike between their legs and using the handlebar, they will start to “trust” the saddle.
Striding is attained when they transition from 100% of their trust in their feet to 100% of their trust in the saddle (feet off the ground and balancing). Let them transition at their own pace... they’ll be striding along with their feet up on the footrests before you know it!
4. Support the rider — NOT the bike! We instinctively want to help the rider by holding onto the bike to keep it from tipping; don’t do this. The rider must be allowed to feel the bike tip sideways to learn how to keep it from tipping.