Striding out: Strider Bike UK's Karen Wood on balance bike success

Robert Hutchins

By Robert Hutchins

August 18th 2015 at 10:45AM
UPDATED August 18th 2015 at 12:00PM
Striding out: Strider Bike UK's Karen Wood on balance bike success

Having notched up sales of over one million, Strider is looking to build further awareness for its range of balance bikes in the indie sector. ToyNews chats to Karen Wood, director of Strider Bike UK.

Can you give a brief background on Strider Bike UK and how it has performed to date?

Strider was founded in the US by Ryan McFarland in January 2007.

The goal of Strider is? to simplify a bike to its essence, so that proper size, lightweight and simplicity combine to instil confidence in young new riders. The original bike, built for the inventor’s son, evolved through numerous prototypes and was ultimately issued a US patent.

The patented Strider No- Pedal Bike is now distributed worldwide and has sold over one million bikes.

How long has the brand been available in the UK?

November 2009 saw the launch of the first Strider, called the pre-bike in the UK and Ireland.

Can you talk us through the range?

There are three models of 12” bikes suitable for 18 months to five years. There is a bike for every budget: Classic at £60, Sport at £80 and Aluminium Pro at £100. All have the lowest stand over height at 27cm to fit toddlers and are very light.

In addition we have a 16” model for kids aged six to twelve years that need some help to learn to ride or have special needs challenges (£150) and the 20” model that fits teenagers and adults (£190).

How does the brand stand out from its competitors? What is its USP?

The Strider ethos is about far more than just selling parents a bike. We want children to have opportunities to ride with others and hold events across the UK.

Quality and safety are equally as important. The bike is built to the highest standards, with every component being made by ourselves in our factory.

We also offer our customers a no quibble 60 day refund and deliver bikes next day in a one hour predicted timeslot.

Our customer service adds real value to the sale and gains them loyal and happy customers.

If any of our retailers find that a customer returns to a store with an issue with one of our bikes, we will make sure any fault is corrected within two working days and in addition we give that retailer an additional bike free of charge as an apology.

Strider runs a Rider Fund open to the UK. We donate free bikes to organisations that can make use of them in a free inclusive session.

Can you tell me a bit more about the events you run?

The Strider World Championship Racing is an annual global racing event and all Strider Riders are invited to take part.

Strider pays $500 towards flights for UK riders that fly out to attend. This year’s is in South Dakota, US on August 28th to 29th.

In the UK we run several races a year, open to all Strider owners and the next is at the Cyclopark, Gravesend in Kent on the September 6th.

Strider Adventure Zones are a great way for us to ensure the fun continues with our obstacle course that we set up at events across the UK.

Are you looking to move Strider further into toy retail – and independent stores in particular?

We welcome enquiries from independent stores. I retailed Strider for four years before becoming the distributor, so I understand what is required to build a profitable business, especially in times where online sales are constantly on the increase.

We only work with carefully selected partners that have physical shops and make sure that everyone keeps an exclusive geographical area and will happily promote them through our social media and newsletters.

We don’t particularly like to work with chains that discount hard to protect our small but passionate business owners.

Is there anything you believe independents may be worried about when it comes to stocking Strider bikes?

With the flood of balance bikes on the market seen in the last few years, it wouldn’t surprise me if retailers are nervous. Balance bikes work, but not every brand has it right.

Strider is an easy sell as the bike does exactly what it needs to do. It’s the lightest and the most adjustable so offers longevity and the customer will come back and thank retailers for selling it to them as they prepare to hand it onto the next child.

What would you most like to have achieved by the end of the year with Strider in the UK?

More smiles on our Strider riders faces and to have met new passionate business owners that understand that Strider is more than a bike, it’s an opportunity.