Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hacking the Strider “Bike”

You’ve seen them on Pinterest, the news, at the park.  They’re bicycles, but they have no pedals.  Balance bikes or Striders were created to transition kids from tricycles to bicycles without training wheels.  And you know what?  They totally work!  Kids learn balance just scooting along without pedals.  It’s fantastic to see.


But they’re so expensive: $100+ for a pedal-less bike you will have to replace with a real bicycle fairly quickly.  But lo, a new, regular 12-inch bicycle is less than $50 at Wal-Mart, and next to free on craigslist or at a garage sale near you.  What to do, what to do?


When Charles was two-and-a-half years old, we bought him a bicycle as an incentive to potty train.  In retrospect, he was totally ready for the bicycle and not so much ready to potty train.  But I digress.  A year later, he still hadn’t given up the training wheels and he was frustrated and wanted to go faster.  Enter my genius husband, who turned our regular, old, cheap 12-inch bicycle into a strider bike by simply removing the pedals and lowering the seat all the way down (and removing the training wheels, obviously).  Charles scooted that thing around like crazy for two weeks.  Then we put the pedals back on and he was off!  No training wheels, no balancing woes, just riding like a bat out of hell.


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August 2012


So here’s my parent hack of the day: don’t buy a strider bike.  Buy a cheap, little bike and remove the pedals for awhile.  Your kid will be doing wheelies in no time.


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This is Charles, the day we put the pedals back on.  I’ve been yelling at him to slow down ever since.


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Jennifer L. said...

We had a friend who did this as well and now we're planning to do it with Henry. However, I seem to be having trouble finding a tiny bike at the store. I kind of wanted to buy it in a store rather than online so I could size it up a little better. How big is Charles's bike and at what age did you first give it to him? It's been too long since I bought a starter bike.

Amelia said...

Jennifer, we first bought a 12 inch bike, which is what is in these photos - it was $50 from Fred Meyer, and I've seen them a bit cheaper at WalMart. I wouldn't worry too much about "cheap" if that was ever a concern for you - kids grow out of them so fast that they hardly have time to break them! When Charles got so big for the 12-inch this spring that he was falling a lot (he would overpedal and turn too fast), we bought him a 16-inch bike at WalMart for $50 and added on a $5 parts warranty. We keep them in the garage, so they're not rusting. You might be able to find a good 12-incher on Craigslist. Charles was 2.5 years old when he got this bike and it lasted almost 2 years before we upgraded. Jamie's not quite big enough for it yet, so we are letting a friend borrow it for the summer. Having met Henry, I think a 12 inch bike would be about right, but he'll grow out of it pretty quickly. Alternatively, you could try to find a 14-inch bike with a lower frame. The most important thing for Charles seems to be being able to reach the ground while sitting on the seat.

Jennifer L. said...

Thanks. I think I was trying to find an 8 or 10 inch bike. I'm horrible at guess what size kid item I need. The obvious solution would be to take him bike shopping, but I know that will end in a screaming fit at the store, so not very tempting. 12 inch bike here we come!