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Strider Sport International designs balance bike for individuals age 2 to 102.
When most people think about balance bikes, they immediately thing about toddlers. However, many people from age 2 to 102 have never learned how to ride a bike, or need to re-learn confidence on two wheels. Strider Sports International, Inc. is a balance bike company, but rather than just focusing on children, the design bikes for anyone learning to ride.
Kyla Wright, Public Relations Manager for Strider Intl. Inc, and founder and CEO Ryan McFarland, were kind enough to answer some questions for us about the innovative bikes and their applications.
One of the areas Strider focuses on is balance bikes is for special needs children or adults with special needs, since their largest frames are able to accommodate an adult. According to Wright, approximately only ten percent of individuals with Down Syndrome ever learn to ride a bike without training wheels.
Wright also said a number of families and therapists have reached out to the company, when they “saw the way a STRIDER could be used to increase activity, improve balance and keep people moving while having fun.” As the Strider family began visiting with pediatric therapists around the country at various conferences and events, they heard firsthand the success stories. Now, Therapists and teachers are using the Strider to help special needs people practice a range of flexibility, strengthening, and balance motions.
The bike has also been rated by AblePlay, a company that tests and rates toys in terms of their suitability and beneficial results for special needs children. AblePlay found that using a STRIDER bike promotes major developmental skills including: Physical, Sensory, Communicative, Cognitive, and Social/ Emotional.
In 2014, Strider created the STRIDER® Rider Fund to facilitate a more accessible system to get bikes to organizations that serve children with or without special needs. By the end of 2015, Strider expects to have donated over $400,000 to non-profit organizations as well as over $200,000 to the Special Needs community. Additionally, Founder and self-proclaimed Chief Enthusiast Ryan McFarland has promised one percent of Strider Sports’ gross revenue from all sales worldwide each month toward the Rider Fund. Strider will correspondingly convert every $100 in the Rider Fund to $300 worth of STRIDER bikes and products which will then be donated through a grant application process.
The Largest 20” STRIDER was launched in June 2014 at the US Special Olympics games in New Jersey, which has allowed for another growing application: active elderly. Wright noted that the company is “thrilled that the bike is working so well for seniors and elderly people who had otherwise given up hope that they would ever ride again.” She also mentioned the positive effects the bike can have for individuals who have suffered injuries or serious impairments, such as a stroke. The 20” STRIDER bike can be used as a rehab tool to re-learn balance and coordination, “And it’s so much more fun!” Or even for the ninety-year-old who hasn’t ridden a bike in over eighty years, “The smile tells the story.”
As a specific example, the Westhills Retirement Community in Rapid City, SD, currently uses the Strider in their wellness and rehab therapy for residents. “I was told by the instructor,” Wright related, “that the STRIDER Class is so popular with residents that it has a wait list!” Without the fear of falling, or other balance challenges, seniors have the opportunity to enjoy exercise and the joy of riding again.
The STRIDER Balance Bike can be used by anyone, at any age. Many children or adults who were told that they would never ride again are finding success in the balance bike. “And you should see the parents who witness this,” said Wright, “Not a dry eye.”
The STRIDER makes it possible. McFarland tells us, “The Greatest triumph is when the impossible is proven possible.” This is the core of Strider Intl. Inc. It is when parents have been told their children can’t ride, and then are “stunned when their child proves otherwise. Every teen with special needs that has been told he/she will never ride a bike, and then proves otherwise as they glide along on two wheels with feet up.” It is the elderly person facing “loss of independence due to lost mobility that can now stay active in a fun way that puts a smile on their face,” McFarland stated. “Every one of these instances is triumphant!”
Ryan McFarland would be right a thousand times on that account. With the growing applications of the bike, the company is still discovering more ways it can help people. Wright commented on future applications: “Remember, it took us 7 years to sell over a million of the little 12” STRIDERs for toddlers… Let’s just say this: If you don’t know how to ride a bike yet, contact www.StriderBikes.com. We’ll teach you how.”