My dad is my hero. Literally. He was born into a poor West Virginian family in the 1950’s. He spent most of his childhood bed-ridden with what seemed like an incurable case of Scarlet Fever. He used education and faith to rise above his circumstances, becoming the first member of his family to graduate from college. He went on to become a successful physician, paying for his two children to go on to Ivy League colleges. He adds value everywhere he goes. He can fix anything, build anything, and can offer you up to date health advice to top it off. He is not only hard-working, he is happy. He wakes up happy, makes people laugh, and has infinite patience. There is nothing I love more than getting a coffee and taking a walk with my dad. My dad is my hero.
I want you to keep this image in mind as I take you back in time to 1988. I was five years old and learning how to ride a two-wheel bicycle without training wheels for the first time. Like 99% of all kids, this process involved the training wheels being taken off and my father holding the back of my seat while I found my balance, running beside me before flinging me forward to “balance” on my own. Time and again I fell. With each fall, my dad got more and more frustrated. With each fall, I cried more and more. Yelling threats came out of my dad’s mouth. I’m not sure how in the end I learned to ride a bike, but I can tell you one thing - 30 years later, it is still a traumatizing memory.
I am now a mother of three and I want to juxtapose my first bike-riding experience to my three children’s. All three of my children learned how to ride a two-wheeled bicycle between the ages of three and four in fifteen minutes or less. In fact, I never had to hold onto the bike. In fact, I watched from the front porch while this happened. Furthermore, there were never any training wheels. All three of my children taught themselves how to ride a bicycle.
For this installment of our product design excellence series, I am going to tell you about the most valuable product I ever purchased: Strider’s Balance Bike.
The concept of a Balance Bike is relatively simple. It is essentially a small bike without training wheels. Small children sit on the bike and move forward by walking (and then eventually running) their feet along the ground and rolling as they go. Over time, children naturally learn how to balance their upper torso and they start lifting their feet, gliding along with said feet tucked under their bodies. They become self-propelled balance experts, gliding down hills and moving at paces that keep an in-shape parent panting for breath. The initial upside of this product is pretty simple. Your child gets worn out, sleeping earlier and longer and they feel fiercely confident and independent, keeping up with the big kids on two-wheelers.
The truly remarkable thing about this product, though, is the magic that happens when it’s time to ride a two-wheeled pedal bike. Because their bodies already know how to balance, training wheels become obsolete. Once they get the knack of pedaling, they take off. This process is quick, easy, and painless - for child and parent (and here's the video to prove it).
Balance Bikes: Design that Keeps Giving.
What made this purchase so valuable to me is it took a difficult, seemingly miserable process and not only made it easy, but enjoyable. That value far exceeds the initial $100+ purchase point. In fact, it’s hard to put a value on something that profound.
This concept epitomizes our design philosophy here at Qore Performance. Our goal is for every one of our products to not only exceed your initial expectations, but to provide value in ways that surprise and delight you as you become a dedicated user. Many customers have already discovered this process with IcePlate. They purchase it with the initial goal of staying warmer/cooler or better hydrated. What they increasingly discover though over time, is that burdensome tasks become less burdensome and more enjoyable. They realize this carefully crafted product is compatible with their preexisting gear, perfectly matched with their Plate Carriers, the defining hydration hack for their long-haul flight, a product they can use while working, working out, or spending time with their family. Its reach is far and its benefits many.
Life is challenging and brings even the best of men to their knees (case in point, my dad!). Here at Qore Performance, we look for products that make the day to day simpler, allowing us to perform in ways we couldn’t imagine before. What is a product that has profoundly changed your life for the better in ways you never imagined as a result of great design? We’d love to hear from you!