The Strider Cup balance bike race series is returning to the UK to give kids a chance to show off their bike handling skills. The events will be split into various categories and are designed to give children aged between 18 months and five years the chance to hone their balance and co-ordination in a friendly competitive atmosphere.
Heats will be held at BMX tracks in London, Gosport in Hampshire, Gravesend in Kent, and Birmingham. The final venue will be the national BMX track in Manchester, which will hold its own heats and the finals on 22 September 2013.
While the 2012 Strider Cup events were free, this year there will be an £8 entry. However, there will be Strider balance bikes for children to try out if they don’t have their own. The winners of the Manchester finals could be in with a chance of winning a trip to the Strider world championships in Florida in October.
Last year, a number of standalone balance bike events attracted around 700 children, series organiser Melanie Thomas told BikeRadar. She’s hoping to build on that this year.
“It was outstanding actually – we didn’t know what to expect because it hadn’t been done before and we didn’t know what the kids were going to be capable of,” she said.
Thomas added that the aim was to keep things lighthearted and fun for children, but that ‘pushy parents’ have turned up on occasion: “[Last year] we had one parent who called up and just complained that the race her son was in should have been restarted because one of the other parents pushed her child too quickly and it wasn’t called back. You know, at the end of the day, it’s just a bit of fun for the kids.”
Sam Foakes, manager and head coach at the National Cycling Centre BMX track said: “Not only will this help build confidence and coordination but will also inspire a generation of children to get on a bike and have a go.”
Visit stridercup.org for more information and to sign up.