I have posted numerous times about the fantastic balance bikes from Balance 1st (formally Strider Rider) Spud was lucky enough to get one just before Christmas so we have spent the last two months putting it through its paces!
We opted for a balance bike because Spud either couldn’t reach the pedals on his trike or couldn’t work out the pedals on bikes when we tried him on them in shops. He probably would have learnt it eventually but I didn’t want to buy something that he then couldn’t or wouldn’t use. I also discovered stabilisers, which a 3 year old with pedals would require, actually limit development.
Here is what I wrote about Balance 1st Strider Bikes last year –“Suitable from 18 months to 5 years+ they enable a child to master balancing on two wheels in 3 stages. The child starts by sitting on the bike, mastering balance and steering and using their feet to walk it along. They then move on to the Gliding stage where they lift their legs up for short periods and “glide” along the ground. The final stage is Striding. They have sufficient balance to be able to rest their feet on the non slip foot rests and zoom around both on and off road. The Strider Bikes aid development and bypass the need for stabilisers which are known to limit a child’s mobility skills. The Strider Bike is highly adjustable with the seat height ranging from 28cm to 40cm. An extra seat post can be purchased to extend it even further up to 48cm. The handle bar is adjustable from 51-56cm so it really can be suitable and comfortable for a long period of time. It is made from thin gauge steel making it a mere 3kg in weight (light enough for a toddler to lift!) It has puncture proof EVA polymer all-terrain tyres which are both long lasting and maintenance free.”
With all this in mind I was anxious to see how well Spud would cope on the Strider Bike. When we gave it to him his face was a total picture.
He was so excited that he had his own bike and was extremely keen to go out on it. I was shocked at how quickly he “got it.” Straight away he was able to use the bike in the Gliding stage and had some brilliant speed behind him.
Spud has always had brilliant balance and when he was 21 months he got a much bigger balance type ride on toy which he used daily. I definnately think this helped to contribute to him starting on the Strider Bike in the second stage but even so he only took a couple of days until we saw some evidence of striding.
Spud being Spud he showed no fear from day 1 and attempted speed and hills head on. Unfortunately this resulted in our first Strider Bike crash and he lost control and landed face first on the pavement. He now doesn’t go quite as fast but he did get straight back on so it hasn’t affected him that badly! I was really pleased to see that when the Strider Bike hits the dust the handle bars go flat to the ground. They are designed so that in an accident they do this preventing handlebars from digging in to little bodies and causing unnecessary injury.
Spud finds the Strider Bike extremely easy to control so we have been using it most days on the school run. Considering he would beg to go on the buggy board because his little legs were tired he hasn’t once asked since we started taking his Strider Bike with us. It means I can walk at a decent speed especially if we are running late. The Strider Bike is so lightweight that I can then carry it home and push the pushchair at the same time. Spud has no trouble lifting the Strider Bike clear off the ground and he isn’t even 3 yet.
The Strider Bike is available in 6 colours and retails at £84.99 which is extremely good value for money considering a toddler bike with stabilisers retails for the same price and only lasts about a year. The Strider Bike is so adjustable that I have no doubt that it will last him until he is 5 when we move onto a bike with pedals. We are about to purchase the extended seat pole because at 98cm tall he is nearing the end of the standard seat pole that is supplied with the bike and we will be adding the rear brake kit* to give him a bit more confidence on the hills.