I am a new convert to jog strollers. I never bought one of these contraptions before because it seemed excessive (not being a jogger) and quite expensive. But having now borrowed a Kidactive jogger from a friend for our car-free trip to Washington DC with my 7 and 3 year-old, Iím sold.
Yes, jog strollers are big and expensive, but having now used one for a week, I canít imagine life without it. The good news is, there are numerous types and variations of strollers available, depending on whether you will be using it for walking or for actual jogging, the size of the children in question, the portability needs and more. If you arenít picky, jog strollers also abound on many local freecycle lists or on craigslist.com.
Whatís Great About a Jog Stroller?
Quite simply, the handling. The jog stoller on our trip easily negotiated mud, cobblestones, indoor floors and carpets, grass, tree roots and more without missing a beat. While visiting DC during the busy Cherry Blossom Festival, I was able to go over sidewalk curbs when ramps were thronged with people or take shortcuts across unusual terrain.
The stroller requires very little force to propel, being on air-filled, smooth-moving wheels. Shocks cushioned my little one (and sometimes my big one Ė she can fit in it!) from my varied surface choices. I was even able to take stairs easily when the stroller was empty and even a few when holding the baby.
Jogging Stroller Caveats
There are a couple downsides to using a jogger that are important to consider. First of all, they are huge. There are models now that tuck the front wheel under the stroller itself rather than having it jut out the front, but I donít think these would be quite as smooth or stable for those negotiating varied terrains or actually jogging. There were times I was nervous about fitting into an elevator, although I always ended up making it in, and sometimes folks around me got hit by that front wheel (although Iím getting better!). If portability is an issue, aluminum frame strollers are better and be sure to check how it folds down (some are more compact than others, or have removable wheels).
Because these strollers are so easy to push, they can also get away from you. They come with a ďleashĒ to be put around the wrist when pushing the stroller in case it gets out of control near roads or hills -- use it! Many strollers also come with a hand brake on the handle to help control the stroller speed on ramps or hills. Traditional jog strollers also do not have a swivel wheel in the front Ė when making a turn, slight downward pressure on the handle will lift the front wheel ever so slightly and reposition it. This is not a big deal, but takes a little getting used to for newbies.
In general, for those taking walking-heavy trips (such as DC, where we didnít even bring car seats and relied totally on public transport and our own feet) it is a must-have. I canít even imagine having done this week with my regular Graco Metrolite (also a great stroller for everyday use) Ė I would be sore and exhausted and Iím not sure the stroller would have survived the relative beating the jog stroller has taken.
I am also excited now to know how easy it makes distance walks and plan to greatly expand my pedestrian tendencies when I return to Southern California. For weeks I have had an ambitious plan to walk to my daughterís elementary school once a week, then walk her to ballet class nearby and let my husband pick us all up after he gets off work. But our regular city stroller has always made this seem out of reach and now I am completely confident in my ability to do this walk.
If you have never tried a jog stroller, but would like to get out and experience nature more, borrow one from a friend and take a long stroll, jog or hike. Like me, you may be surprised at quickly youíll find this type of stroller indispensable.
Considering a jog stroller? The Kidactive stroller I used doesnít seem to be easy to purchase anymore, although there are many available through resale. However, many mothers I know and trust swear by the Bob stroller brand, and Jeep has an excellent reputation as well. Hereís two highly rated single strollers to consider (remember, jog strollers come in double and even triple configurations as well for those with multiple children).