“The beauty of the Internet is that, even from the most remote locations, you can still be connected to the whole world.”Ryan McFarland
Founder & CEO
As a motorcycle enthusiast, Ryan McFarland couldn’t wait to share his passion for biking with his son. By the time his toddler was two years old, the eager father had already prepared a fleet of little vehicles—everything from four-wheeled scooters to an electric dirt bike with training wheels. “I was super excited to see where all of this was going to go, and had dreams of big adventures with him,” Ryan recalls. “But then I realized that all of this stuff was too tall, heavy, and complex.” Undeterred, he spent a Saturday afternoon modifying a bike in his garage. The result was what is now the Strider, a simpler and smaller bike that “truly fit my son exactly where he was in size and developmental ability,” Ryan describes. “His confidence shot way up, and he wasn’t afraid of biking anymore!” As strangers constantly stopped Ryan to ask about his son’s bike, the business opportunity became clear. A year later, in 2007, he launched Strider Sports International, building simple bikes for children of all ages.
Strider Sports International is a Rapid City-based company with a worldwide presence. Using a digital-first marketing strategy, they have sold nearly 1.9 million bikes across 75 countries. AdWords, Google’s advertising program, helps fuel their growth and drives nearly 30 percent of their online traffic. The team also reviews their Google Analytics daily to optimize ad performance, observe traffic trends, and discover new ways to improve their website. All the while, their YouTube channel taps into the excitement of parents seeing their children ride a bike for the first time. “We have a highly engaged customer base out there. They’re so thrilled about what their kids are doing on the Strider that they’re making marketing videos for us,” Ryan says. “The Internet really is the prime location to run a business in today’s world,” he adds.
With over 4,000 U.S. retailers, 43 international distributors, and an annual growth of 20 percent, Strider Sports International has come a long way since that Saturday afternoon in the garage. They have also started a nonprofit, the Strider Education Foundation, dedicated to helping kindergarteners across the U.S. learn how to ride a pedal bike. “This really has taken on a life of its own, beyond the product,” Ryan muses. “We can’t imagine a childhood that doesn’t include biking, and that’s why we do what we do.”