What is a balance bike? I had never given this question a moment of thought until a few months after I came home from a mountain bike trip up in British Columbia to find out I was 9 months away from becoming a father. A balance bike is a simple bike designed to teach young kids how to steer and balance on two wheels without unnecessary pedals and training wheels getting in the way. The bikes are designed to move the rider forward by their own foot work or gravity, making learning the fundamentals and transitioning to a real bike easier. The Strider 12 Sport is light and comes with no-tool height adjustments for the seat and handlebars, as well as flat-free tires.

Ten months may seem a little early to roll a Strider 12 Sport balance bike out of the box for my son, but judging by the smile on his face and immediate interest, it’s never too early (they are designed for kids 2 years and up but toddlers as young as 18 months have been known to take off on their Striders). Watching him transition from tugging and pulling at the bike with a few handlebar chews and some drool on the seat for good measure to actually throwing a leg over the bike to plop on the seat for a parental-assisted roll across the living room or lawn has been awesome. At 14 months, he’s still mastering walking and more focused on that than tangling himself up in his Strider more days than not, but he is slowly getting it and seems more motivated to mount his ride and let us help him roll around after watching other kids in the neighborhood riding their bikes. A great opportunity to introduce kids to other young Strider riders is coming up on July 9 at Riverfront Park in Spokane. The Strider Cup Race will give kids 18 months and older a chance to race or just check out a free Strider Adventure Zone play area with games and Strider Bikes to test ride. MSRP: $119.99. Striderbikes.com. //