Since the advent of the bicycle, the industry has taken participation by children for granted. And that was fine…until now.
Not so long ago, the universal symbol for “we’re hanging out at so-and-so’s house after school,” was a pile of bikes in the front yard. Today, biking has taken a backseat to structured activities, competitive sports, and technology. Only 5% of American children ride a bike on any given day and a majority of kindergarteners don’t even know how to ride.
“I see biking as the best way for kids to be active because it involves a good bit of decision-making, independence, and responsibility.” –Ryan McFarland, President and CEO of Strider Sports.
“Kids are spending multiple hours per week doing organized sports. Bicycling just kind of got left behind. The bike industry didn’t realize there was a competition going on because we were winning by default, but it’s time to step up and match the fight,” said Ryan McFarland, President and CEO of Strider Sports.
This realization led to QBP and Strider partnering up to launch a learn-to-ride program with Minneapolis public schools. In the fall of 2019, QBP donated $5,000 to the Strider Education Foundation to go towards the purchase of a fleet of Strider 14x bikes and helmets to be used in eight elementary schools in Minneapolis. Next year, that number will expand to 20 schools.
The eight-week curriculum kicks off by going over the basics of biking: how to get on and off, how to fit a helmet, etc. From there, the class works on becoming proficient in striding with the bike in balance mode. On the sixth lesson, the drivetrain gets installed and the kids practice coasting with their feet on the pedals. By week eight, the days of training wheels are permanently in the past.
When it comes down to it, what makes this program so successful is the bike. Strider 14x bikes start out as a balance bike and can be converted to a pedal bike. The geometry keeps kids sitting low so that they’re comfortable and confident while the narrow drivetrain allows kids to stride with the pedals on — a crucial step in the learn-to-ride process.