It is likely you recall something about your first bicycling experience. That recollection might be the bicycle, the birthday you got it, or the first rides and maybe, first crashes while learning. Training wheels sometimes helped, sometimes hindered but eventually we mastered the ride that led us to motorized vehicles later in life; Motorcycles.
While there is motorcycle rider education through Motorcycle Safety Foundation and state programs offered for motorcycle riders’ licenses, in most cases we learned to ride bicycles in a more casual, even haphazard manner. Dad or mom walked along side helping with balance or catching us before we hit the pavement. But for about the past ten years there’s been a more formal training approach perfected by a youth bike manufacturer called Strider. Kids from 18 months to 5 years old can get formal experience and training at preschools, day care centers, parks and recreation centers. The bikes range from small frame push bikes to more typical pedal bikes, and programs use paved surfaces and mild BMX-type tracks as well.
Now on display at the National Motorcycle Museum are these bikes built by a range of America’s best custom builders; full custom “Striders,” most built from scratch. As you can see designs vary, but each builder was invited to be creative, use some of his or her signature themes, details, trick paint. These bikes went to the Mecum motorcycle auction in Las Vegas last January and were auctioned to the highest bidder. Proceeds went directly to the Strider learn to ride program to set up learn to ride programs around the country.
Jill Parham, National Motorcycle Museum Chairman, has been involved with the Strider Bike program for many years. “I see future motorcyclists in these kids that get involved with the Strider Bike program. But at a minimum, sometimes kids who can’t access a bicycle, or have no place to ride, no one to teach them, get a great physical and mental experience. I think we all can appreciate the grin kids have when they succeed on a two-wheeler as a helpful point of pride, of accomplishment, personal development, mobility!”
To get the programs working in a public setting like a park or school calls for some fund raising or sponsorship from an individual. For a few years prominent motorcycle builders have built and donated custom built and painted Striders to auctions to generate funds, and Jill Parham, who is a program ambassador, has chipped in a lot as well. The All Kids Bike program, a non-profit, states that every $10 contribution trains one kid. So it’s nice to know there’s this program working to make more bicyclists, likely some motorcyclists. If you want to get involved check out the STRIDER website, https://striderbikes.com