Don’t immediately ditch the stroller!There will be a transition period while your mini warrior builds up his or her stamina and you’re going to want a backup plan during that period. Bring the single or the double stroller along, even if your mini has also brought their bike or scooter. There were MANY times where my son lost steam (sometimes only 5 minutes into our run!) and there was no moving him. I am so happy I still had the stroller and could let him climb in with his sister. I’d put his bike on top of the stroller and continue on my way.
Don’t feel like your child needs to go from stroller to bike, there are many other options. Many have found the scooter to be a wonderful transition between stroller rider and biker. With the scooter, your mini won’t be able to go as fast, and therefore it will be even easier for you to keep them in site. The scooter also gives them the chance to build their muscles and their stamina without the height of a fall off a bike. Strider bikes are another great alternative. Keep reading to learn more about strider bikes.
Strider bikes work! Strider bikes look like regular bikes but they don’t have pedals. They’re also usually lower to the ground. I can tell you from experience, strider bikes work to teach your kids how to ride a bike, STRESS FREE! I remember learning to ride a bike as a kid. After my parents took off my training wheels I fell off into the bushes and onto the ground more times than I can count. It actually made me afraid of biking. I remember my Dad having to run alongside me to make sure I didn’t fall or try to catch me if I did. Thankfully those are not my parenting memories of teaching my kids to ride a bike! We used strider bikes for all 4 of our kids. They learned to balance first and learned to pedal second. Once they got the hang of balancing on their strider bike, it was literally a day or two later that they were able to jump onto their regular bike and head off –without falling! My kids can keep up with me on their strider bikes, and I feel so much safer with them on their striders than on regular bikes while at a Stroller Warriors workout. All they have to do to stop is put their legs down. If you want a stress-free learning to bike experience, get a new or use strider bike.
Go to the track!If your local track allows bikes and scooters, that’s a great place to get them started and build their confidence right along with their muscles. They can gain a little bit independence from you and you both can stop whenever you’re tired. No trek back home required.
Build up a trusting relationship with strong boundaries. They’re new to this, and likely very excited! However, sometimes there are roads to cross and other runners and strollers to be aware of. Take the time to teach them the rules of the road/trail. Teach them to say, “On your left” if they will be passing someone, and to move to right if someone says, “On your left.” Teach them all of your rules and boundaries. How close to you do they need to be? Do they need to stay with a certain person/friend? Can they cross streets without you or do they need to stop and wait? Can they turn around and bike back towards you? or do you want them to pause where they are wand wait for you to catch up?Setting up your expectations ahead of time, will make your day go a whole lot smoother.
Use your tribe!Many warriors have talked about how they sometimes have a fast mini warrior and a slower mini warrior, all at the same time. What are you to do when you can’t be in two places at once? Use your tribe! Talk with your fellow warriors and plan out who will be with the fast kids and who will be with the slower kids. Switch it up so one person doesn’t get stuck always in the back or always in the front. In the past I have asked our lead runner if it would it be okay for my child/children to bike with her? When she has said, yes. I’ve made sure to have a talk with her and my kids to go over my rules with them. For example I usually say, “You can’t go past Mrs. Lindsay, and you need to turn around when she turns around. You also need to listen to her, just as you would listen to me.” I also check in with her after the run to thank her and make sure they listened well and she didn’t run into any problems having them with her.
Remember two key words, patience and practice! When you first start out, you will likely be waiting on them. There will be falls, and scratches and all kinds of delays. Keep practicing. Practice a lot. Practice prior to Stroller Warrior workouts so they can get the hang of riding their bike or scooter before being with a crowd on a bike or a scooter. You can break it down into multiple small segments from the house, 3 minutes out and 3 minutes back and build from there. You can practice multiple times a day. Take small steps to help build their confidence and their muscles. Before you know it, they will be zooming past you on their own.
Which reminds me, don’t forget the helmets! Safety comes first! You never know when an accident is going to happen. Traumatic Brain Injuries are a very real and scary thing. Helmets were invented for a reason. Keep an extra in your car if you need to, to help you remember to have one on hand for your mini warrior.
Remember snacks and water. I can pretty much guarantee if you have a biker or a mini warrior on a scooter, they are going to get thirsty. They may want to stop 3-4 times to “have a rest” and take a drink. Make sure you have enough for you and them, so that no one is left wanting. Their muscles can benefit just as much as yours from a post-run snack. Research shows that eating something small within 30 minutes after a workout helps your muscles to quickly repair and rebuild faster than if you don’t eat anything.
If your biker is having trouble keeping up, check out the tire size of their bike. My son was having trouble keeping up with us. He was getting frustrated and not having fun. We upgraded his bike to the next tire size and literally the next day he could keep up! With the bigger tires he was able to use the same amount of effort to go further and faster.
We’re so happy we could help you along in your transition in this small way, by sharing our best tips and tricks. If you have more tips and tricks we haven’t talked about above please post below and share with your fellow Stroller Warriors!
Kelly and the SWHQ Team