Getting toddlers on two wheels

Bentley and his Strider bicycleTen months old. How many kids fall in love with two wheels that young? Not many, but imagine if they did? I met little Brently at a Strider race. His (smart) parents put a balance bike under him as soon as he was walking. At 18 months, he was whizzing around cones and making motorcycle noises. Hmmm, I see a pee-wee dirt bike in his future.

Last spring, in my blog Moms Spark Powersports Sales, I gave a few tips about getting moms more interested in powersports by focusing on engaging with their kids. Use the below ideas to cement the love of two wheels, starting with toddlers.

Start ‘em young!

If you don’t stock a balance bike at your store, consider it. When the little guys — and gals — come in with parents (or grandparents), why not have two wheels to pique their excitement? Start them young and encourage development of coordination, as well as core and leg strength, which will help with transition to moto.

Host a Learn to Ride bicycle clinic. Use these great tips from Strider that illustrate the best way to learn. Partner with an organization in the local cycling scene. Check out the Get Local list on People for Bikes for shops, clubs and events in your area. You could also work with a bike park, either indoors, such as Ray’s Bike Park in Cleveland, OH, or Milwaukee, WI, or an outdoor one such as Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, CO.

Some of you may be rolling your eyes. When I went from Harley to Trek, I was shocked to learn animosity existed between the cycling and moto worlds. Keep in mind, we ALL need safer roads, more attentive drivers and more people loving two wheels. So, think about the 95 percent we have in common, and not the 5 percent we don’t.

Transition from pedal to motor

How do you get them from pedal bikes to motorized ones? Make sure their balance and coordination are properly developed, and don’t let parents don’t rush them. Host a kid’s dirt bike demo and training event with super-easy course options. The MSF’s Dirt Bike School has excellent resources.

Kids like to emulate other kids, so get a few experienced tykes out there riding to show others and be encouraging to them. Put a few videos on your website and social media channels. When my 4-year-old nephew got a balance bike, showing him videos of other kids his age riding really seemed to connect with him.
Safety. Safety. Safety. Parents don’t want to have to get out the Band-Aids for ouchies or hear any wailing. If you do a demo, have plenty of gear for all kid sizes. When the family is ready to buy a dirt bike for their tyke, have a list of the best safety gear and share reviews from other parents.

Give them suggestions for local places to ride that are welcoming to newbies. Don’t have that in your area? Be proactive like MSF Dirt Bike School Instructor Stephen May and work with a local park to build a beginner-friendly training area. See the full scoop on this Spokane media story.

However you tackle the toddler market, be strategic. Focus your resources to make it successful. Instead of five events, start with one or two this year. Promote in advance to your customers and reach out to new ones, such as those at local elementary schools or even day care programs.




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