your heroine and her humble fleet of strollers. taduhhh! is this not ridiculous?
so.... there is no such thing as the perfect stroller. you can write that on my tombstone.
i used to feel really strongly that i only needed one stroller. i practically gave myself an ulcer trying to decide on THE STROLLER when we were expecting huck, so i could hang my hat on being so very minimalistic and practical. but. there is no such thing as the perfect stroller, we're going to have to reconcile ourselves to that fact right now. we can possibly also agree that probably everybody needs two strollers, but that most likely nobody needs four.
in my defense! i started out with just one stroller, as i said it was THE stroller or as close to it as we could get and i thought i was pretty swag really (swag is something they say in utah, i'm down with it), and then the volo was given to us when huck was 9 months old and i was like, "revelation!" oh the wonders of good umbrella stroller! then came the uppababy, an impulse second-hand purchase from a friend when she moved, because i was sure i'd be getting pregnant immediately and would need a family-style double stroller STAT (we've been trying to sell it since. you wanna buy it? pretty please?), and then bugaboo sent us the lovely cameleon 3, and... so. it kinda snuck up on me. but one of my girlfriends here in the city has owned over 11 different strollers in the five years she's been a mom, so... well i guess i don't feel that bad.
i can now say i've pushed three of the most commonly spotted strollers in my 'hood, so i figured i'd be all helpful and shizz and write about my experiences with them. whatever. right?
so please to enjoy this bit of a mini exhaustive stroller review that i threw together. putting my bizarre love of over-thinking things to good use or something!
(i've put it after a jump so it doesn't eat up my whole page. you have to click through if only so you can see my mad righteous macintosh paintbrush skills.)
bugaboo sweetly sent me the new cameleon 3 to try out last month. since this is the stroller i've been pushing lately, this is the one we'll start with. and i hate to say it, because the price point is so stratospheric on these suckers, but good gravy, this is a really, really great stroller. we've loved it.
a stroller is a very personal thing and what one person needs in a stroller may be entirely different from the next. for me, the end all be all in stroller specs is a narrow wheel base. store aisles are tiny and sidewalks are packed, and successfully navigating elevators and doorways with one hand while pushing the stroller with the other all hinges on the width of your stroller being not dumb. i cannot do a wide stroller. so even without its impeccable safety ratings, bugaboo had me at its width. it's actually not too much wider than my volo, and that is really saying something! (the volo is kind of my second baby.)
looks are another key for me, since my stroller parking happens to be my entryway and i can see my entryway from nearly every vantage point of my home. you don't want to be looking at a hulking ugly monstrosity all the live long day, and this stroller happens to be one of the prettiest out there.
the bugaboo handles cracked, bumpy sidewalks and the cobblestone streets of soho really well. switching to the bug after pushing the vo' for the last year was kind of like upgrading from a unicycle to a private jet. though i will say this: the bug is not a stroller for hopping curbs, which i do a lot. it's also awkward and ungainly trying to bump it up or down stairs, which i have to do pretty often. the cushy shocks are marvelous over rough terrain, but the minute you need to pop a wheelie it's like balancing an elephant on your knee. it seems to me like no matter how great your "big" stroller is, you are going to need an umbrella. you will pry my volo from my cold dead hands!
also worth noting is i've had a hard time getting the sunshade to say up and taut when i want it in its fully extended position, though i'm not sure it's not just user error (likely).
all in all, if i were purchasing a new stroller i'd absolutely consider the cameleon 3. in a heart beat. maybe second-hand if new wasn't in the budget. i mean, it's a private jet.
oh volo my volo! oh how i love my sweet volo!
the only thing i really dislike about this stroller is it doesn't recline (other maclaren models do but they're not as lightweight), and if you overload the handles with bags it'll tip over backwards the minute you look away--sometimes (usually) with your baby in it and then strangers will GASP! and you'll feel like a horrible mom. (luckily maclarens are made so well that nobody will get hurt, i promise. and some kids think it's kind of fun.) eh, it's also not really a great winter time stroller. i do like a heavier duty stroller with a well-fitted foot muff to keep my small person warm. oh, right, and after long days with the volo i usually come home with a righteously sore upper back. the volo is a work out. you should see my biceps!
(i hear the new volo models recline? b and i have been toying with the idea of swapping the volo out for a TRIUMPH, which reclines but isn't as heavy as the TECHNO, once we finally sell the uppababy (no but really do you want to buy our uppababy?.)
yes, my first years! i have deep and abiding feelings for my first years, man. it's the stroller that made me a mother. i did a million hours of research before buying this sucker. here is why we chose it:
we were living in under 400 square feet and needed something that would collapse easily into a very small corner, and it could NOT come with extra parts i needed to store (so, no separate bassinet, for example). the first years seat is both bassinet and toddler seat. it just takes a few clicks of some straps and you're set. magic. done.
performance wise, this stroller is pretty killer for the price. it's hundreds less than any other stroller we looked at, and it looks a lot like the bugaboo and in a lot of ways it behaves very similarly too, though it's not nearly as solid and one of the back wheels likes to click at me sometimes. but it's very pretty . very, very pretty, and well-designed, too. except for the foot brake, which sucks. it gets any slight piece of sand or gravel or dust in it and it stops responding immediately. no bueno. also the storage basket is laughably small.
this stroller also comes with a cool party trick: you can twist a little doohickey on the handlebar and then rotate the stroller seat all the way around. 360 style. like the girl's head in the exorcist. if your baby wants to see you, or your baby wants to stop seeing you and start seeing the world, you can turn him around mid stride. it is seriously the coolest. i used it all the time to keep the sun out of huck's eyes and to check on him while he was napping without having to stop in the middle of a crowded sidewalk.
oh yeah, and it was CHEAP. brandon keeps pressuring me to sell it but the thing is..... no. honestly if i were to recommend a stroller to anyone anywhere it would be this one here. i love it so. (in fairness, i'm sure if i started using it now after having used the bugaboo the last months i'd be like, "this thing is a piece of crap!")
don't get me wrong! this is an amazing stroller. i just don't need it for what it's best for. i bought the uppababy vista from a girlfriend when she moved to texas because, with the RUMBLESEAT and RIDEBOARD (both of which i also have), the uppababy is a family machine. it's a freaking SUV! i've seen five kids on one uppababy before, no joking. so if you're going to have a lot of kids all stroller age all at the same time, this stroller is perfect for you! but... we're strictly a one baby at a time type family thanks to my dusty baby box, and as a single stroller, well.... as a single stroller i just don't love it.
my biggest problem with the vista is its width. this sucker is w-i-d-e. sure, this gives the vista an unprecedented amount of space in the undercarriage basket, but who needs that much storage? it's so much space that i start to leave things in there that don't belong just because it all fits and i'm lazy. this stroller is just too dang big.
i also have a hard time with the handlebar extender, which seem to be located exactly where i'll accidentally activate it as often as possible. and because it's so wide, it's hard to maneuver in and out of doorways (though it has excellent steering and is by far the easiest stroller to push one-handed). also, while it's absolutely gorgeous when the bassinet is installed, it (and the STOKKE too) sort of reminds me of a praying mantis once the toddler seat is in?
that's it, you survived!
p.s. another stroller that's very popular among moms on the upper west side
(i haven't tried it . . . yet ;)
is the britax b-ready. see it HERE.