When Jason and I were preparing for Cyrus's arrival, I did copious amounts of research on all items baby-related. I spent hours pouring over my Baby Bargains book (absolutely indespensible if you are preparing for a baby, in my humble opinion) and spent days and days reading reviews on the Babies R Us website before completing my registry. One of the items that I found most overwhelming was the stroller. There were just so many choices, and such a huge range of prices. Jason and I spent one evening at Babies R US trying out strollers, and by the end, I was exhausted and confused. I decided to take the advice of the Baby Bargains book and just buy a snap-on frame for our carseat for a mere $60. It seemed to be a cheap, short-term solution that would get me through the first several months until I figured out what I wanted and needed.
I have to say, I'm glad I took this route. As it turns out, what I want is a jogging stroller, and I definitley didn't anticipate that all those months ago. While I used to be an avid runner (that's a story for another time), I haven't run consistently for the past two or three years. And, while I figured that I would probably take up running again at some point, I didn't figure that that time would come shortly after giving birth. However, seeing as how the baby weight has been taking it's sweet time to depart from my body, and the time and money for a gym membership isn't really in the cards for me at the moment, I have started going on daily walks with Cyrus through our neighborhood. It is a rather old neighborhood with very few sidewalks, lots of gravel roads, many, many hills and a little park with a 1/4 mile walking path. The hills have provided some good cardio workouts, but, I guess "once a runner always a runner", because that 1/4 mile walking path was just begging for me to start running it. And I have been. For the past five weeks or so I have gone on a 40 minute speed-walk 4-5 days a week, and have built up to running about a 1/2 mile within that walk.
I've realized pretty quickly that my little snap-on frame stroller just isn't cutting it. It's probably not the safest thing to be jogging with, or even speed-walking over gravelly roads with, and I'm pretty sure I'm giving it undue wear and tear in the process. Well, as luck would have it, right about the time that I started walking daily, a friend invited me to a Baby Boot Camp class (stroller fitness) and let me borrow her jogging stroller. It was one of these:
That's a Bob Revolution. It's pretty much top of the line. I fell in love. Then I saw the price...$399! Yikes. Remember how I can't really afford a gym membership? Well, then I really can't afford nearly $400 for a stroller! So I started shopping around, both used and new, and found that I could get a decent used jogging stroller for around $45, and a decent new one for about $150 or so. (I could even buy a used Bob Sport Utility, which sells for $300 new, for around $100.) However, most of these strollers had fixed front wheels - good for jogging, bad for everything else.
In the meantime, I realized a couple of things. First of all, I'm kind of a cheapskate. I knew at some point that I was going to have to buy a second stroller, and I knew that it would probably cost around $150-$200. But that was just for one stroller. I never planned to buy more than one additional stroller (after all, I have one already). So to buy one stroller that can only be used for jogging and then buy another stroller for everything else seems both unaffordable and impractical, especially since I'm not planning to train for any major running event anytime soon. Second of all, we plan to have more children, and probably at least one of those will arrive while Cy is still using a stroller, which means that at some point, I'll need a double stroller. And, if I keep jogging, I'll need a double jogging stroller too. So even if I could afford a Bob stroller, I just can't bear the thought of spending that much money when I'm going to have to buy another one in a few years.
So, with all that in mind, I had two choices: I could either buy a jogging stroller that can function in every day life as well, or I can forgo the jogging stroller and just buy an all-purpose stroller. I opted for choice #1. I realized that I would need a jogging stroller that has front wheel that can both swivel for maneuverability, and lock in place for more stable jogging. (By the way, that would have been the Bob Revolution, but again - money!) After doing some research, I found this stroller:
This is an Instep Safari, and it costs about $170 new. While not the top of the line, it's rated pretty well overall, and is far more affordable. However, still looking for a deal, I figured I'd try to find it used before I shelled out all that hard-earned cash. In fact, I have been scanning craigslist every day for the past month looking for this stroller. It is nowhere to be found. Perhaps it is too new, or perhaps it is just that good, but no one is selling. So then I went on Amazon.com, and found it for $135. Sweet! However, since I had never seen this stroller in person, or used it, and since I knew I'd be comparing it to my Bob experience, I figured I should give it a test run in person. So I went to Instep's website and found several places listed that supposedly sell this model. Easy enough, right? Wrong. No store seems to stock this stroller in the actual store - you can only buy it online! The one exception was Fred Meyer, but there it was all boxed up and not available to test run. I've probably been to half a dozen stores, and called at least a dozen more, and it just doesn't seem to exist in real life.
So here I sit. I desperately want my new jogging stroller, preferably before I destroy my current stroller. But I am nervous about purchasing it online in case I don't like it and it is a hassle to return. So in the meantime, I will keep searching for this stroller and keep praying that my stroller lasts just a little longer.