I’ve posted a lot about running with Nat in my jogging stroller. Until last week, however, I hadn’t ever taken Angelica out running. You aren’t supposed to take your kid out in a jogging stroller until they are around a year old, since they need fully developed neck muscles to keep all the jostling and bouncing from doing bad things to their little bodies.
So for the last two years or so, I’ve just been one of those crazy guys who goes for a run while pushing a large stroller with his toddler in it. But no longer. I am now one of those REALLY crazy guys who goes for a run while pushing a MASSIVE double stroller with both a three year old AND a one-year old it in.
The model I have is the Baby Jogger Performance Double. While I am a huge fan of the BOB line of strollers (the single jogger I have is a BOB), they are like the BMW’s of the jogging stroller world — a new BOB double is $640. Baby Jogger is cheaper, but $525 for a stroller is still a lot (at least in my world). I’ve been keeping an eye on Craigslist for a few months now, hoping to find a good double-jogger for cheap, but they don’t show up often.
The problem just wasn’t just that double-joggers aren’t all that common, but that I’m pretty picky about what I want in a jogging stroller. Most jogging strollers are designed for just that: jogging. If you look at any kids’ department store under “jogging strollers,” there will be dozens of models, but only two or three that have 20″ tires and a fixed front wheel — most have a swiveling font wheel, 16″ or smaller tires, and some even have two front wheels. They aren’t built with serious, long-distance or high-speed running in mind. The two things that I think are essential in a running stroller — large, 20″ tires and a fixed front wheel — are two things most normal stroller users find to be a huge disadvantage, since they make the stroller rather difficult to steer.
When you are running long distances, however, they are great, as you they keep the stroller rolling fast and straight; with a fixed wheel, you can take your hands off and just run behind the stroller without it swerving into traffic. Most people just want something they can run a mile or two with. I ran up to 18 miles with Nat. What I want in a stroller is much less common and more specialized, thus the $500 price tag new and no luck with Craigslist. So when M send me an e-mail telling me that a local second-hand kid’s store had this stroller listed at $60, I pretty much ran over there right away.
I’ve only taken this beast out twice: once to run both kids home from the store, and then a 4 mile round-trip to Home-Depot via the playground today. It’s funny — the single jogger seemed to have marked me as a crazy-ass white guy, while this monster here seems to have marked me as a crazy-ass and yet also somewhat bad-ass white guy. While I was out running today, two thirty-year old guys stepped aside for me, and after I passed I head the one say to the other: “Dude is running with TWO kids.” His friend responded: “Now that’s gansta.” (Super Grover agreed.)
And I will admit, pushing this thing IS quite an impressive feat — it’s 33.5″ wide, and weighs 26.5 pounds empty. Put in a 50 pound Nat and a 20 pound Angelica, and that’s almost 100 pounds rolling down the side-walk. A Bugaboo Donkey is an H3; the Baby Jogger is the original Humvee. The downside, of course, is that it drives like one. Anyone whose ever played Mario Cart knows that the Toad accelerates fast but then hits a slower top speed and is easily knocked out of whack, where as Donkey Kong and Bowser start out really slow but then reach a very stable cruising speed (mass times velocity equals momentum). This stroller is Bowser. The other draw-back to Bowser is the poor handling, and this sucker definately makes my old fix-wheel jogger seem nimble — turning corners is small workout by itself, and I definitely take up more than my share of the sidewalk. Since I take up the ENTIRE sidewalk. I aim for bike-lanes, and assume I’ll be heading straight to Prospect Park once the weather is better, rather than meandering around the back-roads of Brooklyn.
The stroller has all the basics that one would want as well — independent hoods so each child can have theirs up or down; reclining seats for when the run lulls one (or both!) kids asleep; pockets for stashing keys, cash and gels; mesh pockets for stashing larger items; and an under-carriage basket, just in case you are crazy enough to want to add groceries to your already overly encumbered run (you’re pushing a double-jogging stroller — of course you’re crazy enough). The two accessories I don’t have are a rain cover and a water-bottle holder, two essentials I had for the BOB I will most likely have to get before I do any serious running with this.
Even more than the singe-BOB, the Baby Jogger Performance Double is a single-use stroller; I will use this for running and that’s it, and will plan my outings around not having to go ANYWHERE before or after. This thing won’t fit in our door — taking it on the subway or into the narrow isles of a New York grocery store would be a nightmare. But that’s not what its for. Its to let me head out to do what I love with the two kids I love. Taking up the entire sidewalk is just an added bonus.