I was near tears. My four-year-old son was pedaling his little legs as hard as he could all by himself … and he was in complete control. He’d never successfully ridden a pedal bike in his life until that moment. This was five minutes after I finished assembling his new Strider 14X bike with the pedal conversion kit.
I’m an old-school guy, so I must admit, the first time I saw a Strider, I was a bit skeptical. I always figured that I’d teach my son to ride a bike the old-fashioned way, with training wheels, the same way that I learned. So when we received a second-hand Strider as a gift from a family member when our son was only a few months old, I simply set it aside until he was big enough for it.
Fast forward about a year and it caught our son’s eye one day in the garage. He was stoked about it, so I adjusted the seat to the smallest setting, he hopped on, and we haven’t been able to keep him off of it since.
Here he is at two years old:
Here he is at three years old:
When I originally heard about the Strider 14X bike (the latest development from the company), I was chomping at the bit to get my son on one.
The concept is actually quite simple: Strider bikes get children comfortable with the balance aspect of riding a bike. From what I’ve observed over the last couple of years, it gives little ones the comfort to stomp their feet down at any time and not be concerned about getting caught off balance in a critical situation. This took the fear factor away from my son’s thought process almost instantaneously.
But what makes the 14X so revolutionary is the fact that it comes with a pedal conversion kit. The conversion kit is a set of pedals with a crank and a chain (all in one piece). You simply place the kit on the underside of the bike, attach the chain to the cog on the rear wheel, tighten one bolt using the included allen wrench, and your child’s classic Strider is now a legitimate pedal bike.
The video below was taken only minutes after my son got on the bike for the first time. He’s four years old:
Right out of the box I assembled the bike without the pedals (the way it’s recommended) and let my son jam around the neighborhood as a classic Strider bike. I had mentioned to him that this new bike has pedals and that we’ll put them on when he’s ready for them — and after one day of charging around the cul-de-sac with the older kids (most of which were on bigger, pedal bikes), he decided that he was ready.
Assembly of the pedals took less than 10 minutes. I took him to the park up the street, gave him a little push, and he was off. It was a big day for him, and for me: He was riding a bike completely on his own.
Now, I understand that the whole process did take a couple of years, but it was a completely pleasant experience from start to finish. My son had never gotten frustrated with his Strider along the way, he was simply having a blast while testing his limits on different terrain.
However, he had mastered the classic Strider and was now ready to move on to the next level. The 14X made that transition seamless.
As of now, Strider offers the 14X in blue and green, and the $209 pricetag includes free shipping from Amazon. Strider’s suggested height range is 37-49 inches for riders 3-7 years old on the 14X, but everything is adjustable, so chances are your little one will be able to find their fit.
Strider even set up their own “Learn-to-Ride” process, which involves the Strider Rocking Base for kids 12-24 months, followed by the Strider 12-inch bike, then finishing off with the new Strider 14X.
While not every child is going to have the same experience learning to ride, I certainly feel that Strider has developed the best program around from beginning to end.
That day was a proud day for me, as a father, and I intend to utilize the exact same program for our two-year-old daughter.
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