Stride Right: Tots take Balance Bikes to the next level

written by: Christie Marcy

There are people who are really into biking and it takes over their whole lives,” says Justin Hewett. “That’s not the case for me or my wife,” says the Draper resident, “but it is for our kids.”

It all started with the purchase of a balance bike for their oldest son, the now-5-year-old Hawk. “We saw the benefits right away,” Hewett says. “Hawk was becoming independent—what one- or two-year-old can gain independence?” When the couple went online to buy another balance bike, this time for Hawk’s little brother, Lincoln, they saw an advertisement for the Strider Cup—an annual event hosted by the Strider bike company for cyclists between the ages of 2 and 5 at locations all over the world, including Salt Lake.

This year, the worldwide races will culminate in the Strider Cup World Championship at the Gallivan Center. There, kids will run the 600-foot course, complete with ramps, tunnels and other obstacles to keep it interesting. Strider Events Manager Ted Huettl says he’s received confirmation that attendees will travel to Salt Lake from as far away as Asia. “It’s the big enchilada,” he says. “It’s the culmination of all the Strider Cups around the world.”

And in addition to the 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-year-old categories, the Strider Cup offers races for special-needs racers of any age—in fact, Strider offers larger bikes for this category. It’s a touching event, watching them cross the finish line, says Huettl. “In many cases, these kids were told they couldn’t ever ride a bike because of physical limitations,” he says. “But yet, there they are, and they’re keeping up with their brothers and sisters.”

Justin Hewett agrees. “The independence has given my kids a lot of confidence that they can do other things,” he says. “It’s part of who Hawk is, his bike. It’s a big part of his identity.”

The Strider Cup World Championship will be held July 21 3:00 – 8:00 p.m. and on July 22 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at Gallivan Center, 239 Main St, SLC. Spectators welcome. For official rules and registration details visit

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Christie Marcy
Christie Marcy
Christie Marcy is a former managing editor at Salt Lake magazine. Though she writes about everything, she has a particular interest in arts and culture in Utah. In the summer months, you will find her at any given outdoor concert on any given night. In the winter, you will find her wishing for summer. Follow her on social media at @whynotboth.

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