Sports fans filled the U.S. Bank Stadium area in Minneapolis to get a glimpse of their favorite competitors, and no we don’t mean the Minnesota Vikings. The 2019 Strider Cup Racing brought out the top racers from all over the world.
The twist is most of them are barely old enough to talk.
Most bike racers are teetering with suspense and can barely wait to line up at the starting line to put the pedal to the metal. This isn’t one of those races.
“There’s no pedals!” Dan Chell, with Strider Bikes, said.
There’s more than enough excitement. The competitors, children ages two to five years old, sit on strider bikes. They use their legs to move and then coast through the course.
Jackson Vandeventer: “You go fast.”
Dad: “You’ve got to push your legs really fast?”
Jackson even walked away with something.
This competition brought families from all over the world, including the winner who’s from Japan. South Dakotans also found their way to the race.
“This is our first strider race and it seems really really cool,” Brian Rains said. Rains daughter Annika competed in a race.
“There’s not too many events that give two-year-olds the opportunity to be surrounded by adoring fans quite like this,” Chell said.
There’s more at stake here than just some hardware. Though the competition isn’t that complicated, Dan Chell with Strider Bikes says a strider bike teaches children how to do something that’s pretty hard. The device teaches them how to balance and ride a bike.
“Training wheels and tricycles don’t teach that. So, that’s why you have a lot of kids learn to pedal, but they never learn that intuitive balance,” Chell said.
Rains says the rest comes later.
“It’s been a really really cool thing for little kids to learn how to get on bikes to start with and the transition to pedals is really easy from what we understand,” Rains said.
Strider bikes have even deeper South Dakota ties. The company started in Rapid City. A dad created the bike after his son was having trouble learning how to ride a traditional two-wheel bike.
The race is a lot of fun and teaches a lot of important lessons. For kids at the race, the competition strikes the right balance.