1. Adjust the bike properly to fit your child!
a. Saddle height is the most critical adjustment, followed by handlebar height. b. Set the saddle height so your child's feet are flat on the ground and both knees have a slight bend in them when seated. A good starting point is 1" less that the child’s inseam.
c. Set the handlebar height with respect to the saddle... if the saddle is at its lowest setting, set the handlebar also to its lowest setting. If the saddle is in the middle of its adjustment range, also set the handlebar in the middle of its adjustment range… and so on.
d. Kids grow quickly, so you will need to take a moment to adjust the bike every couple months.
2. Keep riding fun!
a. Children will instinctively throw a leg over the Strider and want to go. Encourage them to do this and give them praise for any amount of time they spend on the Strider. Don’t push them to do things they are not ready to do or they may just rebel against the whole idea of riding. The worst thing that can happen is for children to get scared by trying something they are not ready to try. It can take months to undo what a scary moment can do. Let them set the pace. b. Many parents have told us that it was helpful to their children to watch some of our website videos of other children riding the bikes: www.StriderBikes.com
3. Support the child - NOT the bike!
a. We instinctively want to help our child by holding onto the bicycle to keep it from falling; don’t do this… it actually hinders the ability to learn balance!! The child must be allowed to feel the bike tip sideways to be able to learn how to keep if from tipping. If the adult supports the bike when it tips to one side, the child mistakenly thinks that the most stable place for the bike is tipped over to the side (not realizing that that stability was due to your assistance). This is the same reason training wheels DON’T WORK to learn balance! You as the ‘teacher’ should support the child’s body, not the bike. We suggest you walk behind them or next to them and hang onto the sides of their chest under their arms or hang onto the back of their shirt so that they can feel safe. Using this approach, you will find that they will learn the basic concept of keeping the bike centered underneath them in a matter of minutes and then your assistance will no longer be needed!
b. Many kids won’t even sit on the seat at first; this is OK! Their security is in their feet at this point, and we want them to feel secure. As they get comfortable walking around with the bike between their legs and working handlebar, they will eventually start to 'trust' the saddle. Older kids get to this point in minutes, extremely young kids may take months.
Gliding is attained when they transition from 100% of their trust in their feet to 100% of their trust in the saddle (feet off the ground). Let them transition at their own pace… they’ll be gliding along with feet up on the footrests before you know it!