Tyler Hamilton, the Olympic gold medalist who recently confessed to doping and accused Lance Armstrong of using performance-enhancing drugs, spent the weekend leading bike rides for Outside in Aspen, an annual summit we host. Last night, Hamilton went to dinner with friends at Cache Cache [pronounced cash cash], an Italian French restaurant that also happens to be one of Armstrong’s favorite Aspen hangouts. (Armstrong has a home here, but Hamilton thought the seven-time Tour de France winner was out of town.) During dinner, Hamilton left his table to go to the bathroom. As he walked out of the bathroom, an arm blocked his path. It was Armstrong. The two hadn’t spoken since Hamilton’s 60 Minutes appearance.
“He wanted to get into it,” Hamilton told me this morning. “I was like, ‘Let’s step outside and talk away from the crowd, but he wouldn’t. He said, ‘No one cares.’" Then, according to Hamilton, Armstrong began to berate him.
"If your toddler can walk, your toddler can ride." That's a tag line from Strider Sports International, a Rapid City, South Dakota, company, and maker of its namesake Strider "scoot bike" for small kids. The point with the product, which is a scooter with no pedals, chain or gears, is to teach balance on two wheels and let kids skip training wheels altogether to go right to riding a bike.
It works. Our young boy, Charlie, rode a Strider for a couple weeks before turning four-years-old this spring. Just after his birthday, he put down the Strider and gripped the handlebars of a small kid bike without training wheels. Despite a wobbly start, Charlie was pedaling and riding in fine balance within a few hours all the way down our block.
Friends of mine tout their kids were riding a bike by age three years thanks to a Skuut Toddler Bike, which is a similar product. Both the Strider (www.stridersports.com) and the Skuut (www.skuut.com) cost about $100. The Skuut is made out of wood and has rubber wheels. The Strider has a steel frame and hard foam wheels that cannot pop.
Charlie took right to the Strider. He started slow, sitting on the seat and walking down the sidewalk with the wheels rolling along. As he got used to the motion, he'd push off and lift his feet to glide.
To accommodate foot placement, the Strider has built integrated footrests into the frame. With minimal instruction, Charlie found the footrests, which are on both sides of the frame in front of the rear wheel, and stepped naturally back to rest and ride while the wheels glided free. When the Strider slowed, our son would remove his feet and stand up to stop.
The skills learned on the scooter translated quickly once Charlie stepped up to ride his "big boy" bike. The balance, hand grip, and the general motions were the same. The only difference is now he pedals for momentum instead of "running" with his feet.
Beyond Strider or Skuut, companies including Schwinn and others make similar pedals-less, "learn-to-ride" products. If you have a coordinated, adventurous young kid and want to skip the training-wheels stage, in my experience these made-for-kids bikes are a must-buy.
--Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com. Connect with Regenold at Facebook.com/TheGearJunkie or on Twitter via @TheGearJunkie.
In 1999, Camille Seaman gave up her seat on a one-hour flight from Oakland to L.A. and scored a round trip ticket anywhere in the world. She chose Alaska. Once there, she decided to walk from a coastal town named Kotzebue across the ice towards Russia. After feeling cold, lost, and somewhat panicked, she had a moment where she stopped, looked around, and felt a connection to the earth. That one moment ignited a passion for Arctic landscapes that she turned into a career. --Joe Spring
When did you get started as a photographer? Not until I was 32 did the switch come on that I needed to use the camera as the tool.
What caused that switch to come on? It was two things. Most specifically it was the fact that I went to high school in Manhattan. One of the jobs I had was as a bike messenger, and I used to deliver things to the World Trade Center all the time. Also, just being a student in New York, all of these pictures of me and my punk rock friends had those towers in the back. So that, when they fell, I had these pictures that had a very different meaning. I understood for the first time the importance of a photograph as a historic document—you know, proof that these buildings existed.
At the same time, I had a child, and she was almost two, and it seemed strange to me that she wouldn't know those buildings the way that I did.
And so, I actually remember the moment. I was watching one of those CNN reports. We were attacking Iraq and there were all of these cool night vision scenes of bomb exploding, and I just remember thinking, What can I do to counter all this negative cynicism? It just seemed so bleak. I remember watching the TV and thinking the only thing I could do was make pictures. And just like that a switch came on. I knew that I wanted to use a camera to show that there were some pretty amazing things about life and about this planet.
Hi, my name is Katie and today I'm launching this blog, Raising Rippers, about bringing up adventurous, outdoor kids. Before our first daughter, Pippa (that's her below), was born, a friend of mine gave me the best parenting advice I’ve ever gotten: Start off as you mean to go on. Sandy was raised in Zimbabwe, has lived in African bush camps and now organizes super-swanky safaris, and, with her bush pilot husband, has two intrepid little girls of her own, so anything she says in her crisp, British/Zimbabwe accent concerning adventure parenting has instantaneous cred. What she meant was, whatever you like to do in life, keep doing it once the baby arrives, because otherwise you will become rusty and everything will only seem harder and more complicated.
I decided to make this my mantra and took it as license (with my doctor’s OK) to keep hiking and skiing and traveling throughout my pregnancy, which made childbirth and those early days of parenthood easier and a little less world-rocking, if that’s even possible. Somewhere beneath my sleep deprived, spit-up splattered outer self, the old adventurous me was still there—the one who’d gone fly-fishing three days before the baby was due, the one who liked to mountain bike and climb and travel. I knew she was in there—it was only a matter of mustering up enough courage to let her out, with the baby in tow.