National balance bike championships held this weekend

Youngsters to battle for national honours and a trip to Florida

Alexander Skjelten competing at Gosport balance bike qualifier

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Forget the Tour of Britain finale, balance bike stars as young as 18 months old will gather in Manchester for the Strider British Balance Bike Championships this weekend.

And among the favourites in the four-year-old category will be Manchester-based Alexander Skjelten, who, despite having qualified at the first heat in London, then travelled to four further events all over the UK – just because he loves competing, according to his dad.

The youngster will enjoy home advantage when he takes to the BMX track on 22 September at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester for the last set of qualifying heats and the finals.  

Alexander’s father, Terje said: “He is a really driven kid who is determined to do well whenever he puts his mind to a project – and since getting on his first balance bike last November, he has absolutely loved riding and racing against the other children at events.”

He added: “It was Alex that wanted to go to all of the events and when we saw that he loves racing so much we wanted to do everything we could to help make it happen – even changing family holiday plans to make the event dates.”

The balance bike champs consists of four categories with ages ranging from two and under up to five. Up for grabs is bragging rights as British age group champion, and one of the four category winners will be selected at random to represent Britain at the Strider world championships in Florida in October. 

Entries are still open for the Manchester qualifying round and cost £8. For more information, visit the Strider Cup website.          

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Balance bikes don’t have pedals and help youngsters practice balancing before progressing to conventional bikes.