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Strider Bikes - The bornonthetrails.com VETERAN Tips for balance bikers



Strider Bikes - The bornonthetrails.com VETERAN Tips.


VETERAN TIPS for Strider Bike owners or owners-to-be.

Essentials and General Tips
  1. Never try and steer for them, they’ll never thank you in town, or when learning.  It will hold them back. A reminder to teach them to go “around” people not through them of course is self-evident.
  2. Choose the absolute lowest gear (or not) on your own bike and either follow them or have them closely follow your wheel in country parks and similar.  It’s great practice for you to ride at extremly slow speeds, and you can demonstrate good ettiquette for other park users. For ultra-proficient MTB’ers or BMX’ers use it as an excuse to practice your trials and tricks skills.
  3. Learn what PSI is, and how to adjust it once you have pneumatic tyres.  Learn where to buy inner tubes for a strider bike though we have never had a puncture for ours which has heavy every-day use.  Pay attention to the printed tyre pressures on the tyres but initially you don’t even have to worry about that due to the solid tyres, but when you upgrade to pneumatic wheels make sure you adjust accordingly.
  4. The strider bike keeps its appearance fantastically, but will need washing gently and maintenance before and after the winter season - and in case of discovering any cow-pats :)  Maintenance in another article another time. All you need is a bucket of warm soapy water in which your young one can definitely help.
  5. Wheels have a rotational direction, learn what this is and ensure the handlebars are “raked” back as they are designed to towards your rider.
  6. Learn basic maintenance, the Striderbike 12 Pro’s simple construction will give you confidence at changing tyres, greasing components and maintaining a good riding position.  Valuable for your rider in the future and even you if you are an absolute beginner with an allen key and spanner. Always replace grips if they become damaged to avoid injury from the handlebars.
  7. Don’t worry about over-tightening bolts on wheels and mounts, you can’t really damage anything.
  8. Carry the correct tools with you when you go out, especially if it’s a special trip.  Having the right allen keys and/or spanner with you can avoid spoiling the event. Carry it with you so you don’t have to go back to the car.  Obvious if you are a keen cyclist. That means allen key for the saddle, and spanner for the wheel nuts.
  9. Always make sure the bike is checked over for anything loose before riding.   In particular don’t rely on the saddle clamp alone to ensure a tight seatpost.
  10. Ride all the time, and if your rider doesn’t want to ride, take the bike anyway, it’s that light you will hardly notice it.
  11. Make sure your rider isn’t riding with water filled shoes, or wet socks from the last puddle, or other water-filled items they might be wearing.  A nappy isn’t a good cycling padded short, a wet one even less so and isn’t good for your riders mood as you will be starting them very young i’m sure.  Equally only wearing wellington boots while riding isn’t very effective as cumbersome footwear can cause falls.
  12. Take plenty of water with you when riding, and remember any ride is an excuse to stop off at a coffee shop.  Their experience of that culture will serve them well.


Advanced Riding
  1. Distance wise wont be a problem once they are gliding along, but remember certain terrain is a lot harder effort on a balance bike than on a pedal bike, and is potentially more boring for young ones.  Pump tracks are great but so are “spontaneous” obstacles, mud, roots (once you have pneumatic tyres) and slopes. Creating fun about going “up the hill” is also a valuable lesson to learn early.
  2. Striders are as happy off-road as they are on the pavement.  Your kid will have more confidence than you on terrain, but don’t make the mistake of “assisting” them up a high hill or ramp and then expect them to “learn by falling” by you pushing them or assisting them going down.  They’ll know if they want to push off and go down a slope themselves.. It’s a destructive and confidence ruining attitude from downhill racing when people foolishly believe that if you don’t crash you aren’t riding hard enough.
  3. There are alternatives to the default pneumatic tyres once you purchase the wheelset, Schwalbe Blackjacks do a 12” tyre that are excellent, and the first time they need some grip going slightly sideways after a steep descent they’ll thank you for it.  If in doubt consider how your almost-slick city bike would do on some terrain then consider what they would need? You’ll find the increased resistence of a knobbly MTB tyre like the blackjack would be a problem but it won’t be even to a 2 year old, and once they get up some speed they’ll need it.
  4. Keep a spare inner tube with you, and you can even get angled valves if you look around.  I’ve only ever had one puncture on the strider pneumatic wheelset before we switched to the schwalbe’s but it’s a good opportunity to learn to change tubes and patch them when you get home (and get your rider to help and do it too).
  5. Never forget the helmet, and if you do - go back home and get it, just like an adult rider.
  6. Indoor or outdoor Skateparks and ramps are great for balance bikes once they are very confident on a variety of terrain, after about a year of frequent riding.  Make sure the tyres are fully pumped up and the bike (and tyres) are clean before you go as it’s just good courtesy. Helmets are a must, gloves next important and knee and elbow pads next but by no means essential if you have good lined trousers and shirts/jackets as many kids get irritated by pads and their speed isn’t high enough to merit the protection they offer.
  7. Racing and Events are many for balance bikes.  “Strider” bmx style pump track events, fun-family closed-road city rides (criteriums), and even downhill/cyclocross if you are prepared to travel.  There are also special rides immediately before during major Internationa UCI / National Cycling Federation events. Learn to be flexible, and don’t push it if your kid is too tired to be interested, or just needs a break.  Events are best viewed as “experiences” and the academic work on the value of the sights, sounds, shouting and lots of riders for future competiton is there to be discovered by any interested parents.

1 comment:

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