The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Features

October 2, 2013

Balance bike racing for tots is catching on

EAGLE, Colo. (AP) — They gather at the starting line with their tiny handlebars nearly touching. Decked out in helmets, jerseys and protective knee guards, they wait at the gate, listening to the call of “On your mark, get set, go!” before racing off.

Between 18 months and 4 years old, they look like mini versions of BMX racers.

They are — sort of.

Yes, they are on bikes and they are racing. Difference is, these little tykes are on balance bikes, also known as Strider, kick or push bikes.

That means no pedals, no brakes, no fear.

Only fun.

“It’s awesome,” said Benno Scheidegger, whose daughter Kira became a nationally-ranked BMX racer after learning how to ride on a balance bike. “It really is a great thing. I recommend Striders for everyone who has little kids who want to ride.”

Balance bikes go back to the early 1800s, when the first bicycles, known as walking machines, featured wheels and seats but no pedals or brakes.

Racing on pedal-less bikes, at least by kids, didn’t really take off until a few years ago, when a mechanically inclined father decided to strip down his 18-month-old son’s bike so he could tool around on the family’s land in South Dakota. A mountain bike and dirt bike enthusiast, Ryan McFarland wanted his son Bode to ride along with him. Bode had plastic toys he could push around in, but he was too small to ride clunky, heavy tricycles and bikes with training wheels.

McFarland came from a family of tinkerers — his grandfather was a racecar engineer and his father owned a motorcycle dealership — and he held several patents from his own inventions, including a bicycle seat post and a suspension system for wheelchairs. So when Bode needed something different, it was natural for McFarland to take a blowtorch to his son’s bike, chopping it down and taking away everything that was unnecessary for a little rider who hadn’t been walking that long.

Text Only
Features
  • 4-21-14 Ash Borer AP photo Horticulturalists: Infestation of Emerald Ash Borer 'inevitable'

    CLINTON - Not everyone at the Bickelhaupt Arboretum can remember what happened to local horticulture in the late 1960s. They've all heard stories, though, about how Dutch Elm Disease laid waste to scores of trees across the Midwest. Now another infes

    April 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Women on Fire event is Wednesday at Vista Grande CLINTON -- For many years, women in business have been honored in the city of Clinton, but on Wednesday, they have a night all their own. The Women are on Fire event will begin at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Vista Grande in Clinton and will offer an oppo

    April 19, 2014

  • Paul Miller Scout master keeps Troop 74 going strong CLINTON -- Scout Master Paul Miller loves the outdoors, camping, fishing and scouting. For the past 13 years, Paul, of Clinton, has led this area's only Boy Scout troop for challenged individuals, Troop 74. While a typical troop allows boys ages 11

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • World Book Night A big love for books CLINTON -- Sharing a love for books is something members of the Clinton Public Library have always promoted and embraced. On Wednesday, they will join the rest of the world in spreading that love throughout communities. World Book Night, which conve

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-17-14 Trees forever photo 2 Let it grow (with Video)

    CLINTON - A new generation of trees will be planted by a young generation of Irish. Wednesday during class, Lisa Golden's Prince of Peace Prep third-graders continued their year-long biology education with the help of Clinton's Trees Forever organiza

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Communities prep for hunts CLINTON -- Easter weekend is nearly here and two local organizations are calling all children for the hunting event of the year -- Easter egg hunting that is. Both Camanche and Fulton, Ill., will host Easter egg hunts Saturday, each at different time

    April 17, 2014

  • Women's Expo set for Tuesday at Wild Rose CLINTON -- It is time again to gather the girlfriends and head out to the Ultimate Spring Women's Expo at the Wild Rose Event Center in Clinton. The third annual expo from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, hosted by the Clinton Herald, offers an opportuni

    April 14, 2014

  • Fulton housing loan Program to assist Fulton resident FULTON, Ill. -- Brian Hollenback and Beth Payne delivered good news last week, traveling to seven cities, three counties and two states, ending their journey in Fulton. Hollenback, who is the Northwestern Illinois Housing Coalition president, and its

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stutting Camanche native tapped to head North Scott schools CLINTON -- A Camanche native will return to his roots this June, after being selected as the new superintendent for the North Scott Community School District. Joe Stutting, a 1987 graduate of Camanche High School, has been away from his hometown for

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • preview-1.jpg Luau raises funds to support programming

    CLINTON -- Hundreds of supporters and volunteers gathered Friday night to endorse a lifesaving organization in the Gateway area. The 10th annual Gateway Area Red Cross Luau kicked off the night at the Tuscany Event Center at Rastrelli's with a buffet

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

Clinton Herald Photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.

Facebook