Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Joovy Zoom ATS & 360 Review

Peg Si, Mama Board, Dreamer, Joovy Zooms 068I'm often asked what, if any, strollers will work on the beach. The answer: Not many. The good news is, there are a few. And here are two of the newest contenders: the Joovy Zoom 360 and the Joovy ATS. The reason they can handle the soft sand is that they have the muscle of 16" wheels. Don't look for anything smaller. As an added bonus, the Joovy wheels have shocks, which really made the ride much softer on the bumpy pier. Peg Si, Mama Board, Dreamer, Joovy Zooms 070

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Peg Perego 2009 Si' Review 2009

Easter Si’

Every time Easter rolls around, I look forward to choosing a stroller. Since I am usually travelling to visit family, it has to be a lightweight. One year there was the aqua Maclaren Daytripper. Another year it was the lavender Inglesina Espresso. But this year, instead of going with a pastel, I chose the Easter-eggish “Corallo Stripes” Peg Perego Si’.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

TFK Mama Board & Dreamer Design Review

Mother's Day Mama Board on Park Avenue

Ever since I first saw a picture of a Euro mama "skateboarding" with this, while pushing her baby in a pram, I have wanted one. Heck, why should kids have all the fun? So natch I was thrilled when TFK showed up at the "2009 BIG Stroller Roll-Out", and announced they were coming to America! I was practically swooning over the Mama Board they had on display. Of course, the kind and patient Ms. Katy Halmen of "Trends for Kids" (TFK) thought I was a little crazy. Nothing new, there. But ANY way, TFK has finally made it to this side of the pond, which meant the Mama Board made it to the side of my strollers, haha!

I have this attached to the Dreamer Design Park Avenue. The axle must be thinner than the one on the TFK Joggster, because I couldn't get the strap quite tight enough. So it did slide around some, but it is not supposed to. It is very, very easy to attach, though.

The Park Avenue, by the way, is an affordable option for those looking for a reversible stroller. And it is rare to find a reversible 3-wheeler. It's too bad Dreamer went out of business. But you can still find the Park Avenues floating around. The stroller itself weighs 23 pounds. The seat back is 20". It has a front bar, height adjustable handle, and an easy trigger fold.

The Park Avenue has a one hand recline on the canopy, a pocket with small compartments on the back, a net pouch, and a decent sized basket.

But I think, all things considered, that it would be best to attach the Mama Board to a fixed wheel jogger with a hand brake. The Park Avenue has a swivel front wheel. And that, combined with a high center of gravity, made it somewhat of a tipping hazard.Especially since both the StrollerPrince and Princess were fighting over the ride. They did keep the wrist strap on at all times, but that doesn't help the stability.

One really nice thing about the Mama Board is how large it is, and it's high weight limit. As you can see, the StrollerPrince and StrollerPrincess can both fit nicely on it.

Even sitting down!

The quality is terrific, like a high-end skateboard.

As with any riding board attachment, though, keep in mind that the smaller wheels are not going to be able to handle rough terrain. Nevertheless, what a fun way get some fresh air and exercise, for both you and your little ones.
Trends For Kids

Happy Mother's Day to all of Strollerland!

Baby Jogger City Mini Review 3 wheel compared to Quinny Zapp

Baby Jogger Mini Check Mate

.I was thinking, because of the success of the Valco Latitude on my last trip to court, I would take it's Doppleganger to court this next time. And the success of the new Baby Jogger City Mini has been nothing short of amazing.  People love the Mini's light weight, huge canopy, and amazingly easy fold. The wheels are by no means all-terrain, but they do perform better outdoors than your average umbrella stroller. I like it's versatility. Because of the deep recline, you can put a very young baby in it. And since the seat is quite large, it can hold a pre-schooler. I have tried it out with both sizes. And you can still push it one-handed with a heavier child.As you can see, the under basket is pretty small. But there is another large net pocket on the back. To recline it, you just squeeze that clip that's holding the strap, and slide the seat down.Now a very cool feature is that when it is in full recline, you can unroll the back fabric, to reveal "voila"! the large net back vent. Great feature for air circulation on a hot day. You can see from both the back and the front how deep the recline goes. Now here is why I am going to court again. I was taking the original Stroller Prince to his first day of Chess. He was so excited! It was early in the morning and the street was deserted. I saw my neighbor walking from the front of the school. He told me to drive around to the back, because it would be closer to the class. Big mistake.  I drove up to the stop sign. On one side, there is an apartment building. On the other, the street was closed due to construction, and there was a big sign that said "Closed to through traffic." I glanced over at all the pavers and bull-dozers. And the next thing I know, a motorcycle cop sprang from behind the apartment building. I was happy I hadn't done anything wrong. Or had I? He was red lighting me! I pull over, and he asks for my license. "I'm sorry. " I tell him. "I was rushing to get my daughter to school, and to take my son to his chess class. I had their backpacks and I was carrying the baby and I had no hands left for my purse. It has my license and insurance card in it. I'll just run home and get it." "Step out of the car please", he says sternly. "The law says every time you go out on the highway, you have to have your license." "But", I say, "I'm not on the highway. I am just on a little old neighborhood street. I'm two blocks away from home!" Now he starts running a background check on me. "Mom, I'm gonna' be late! I'm gonna' be embarrassed!" SP yells. "Could I please just bring him to class?" I ask. "You could follow me." "You're not going anywhere, but he can go", motorcycle cop says. "You mean let him walk four blocks by himself? Do you think that's safe? " "I don't care" motorcycle cop says. OK, now I am getting mad. My son is crying, my baby is crying, and I am being held against my will. "Well, you SHOULD care!" I tell him. You took an oath to 'protect and serve.' You are neither protecting me, nor serving me. No wonder there are so many burglaries in my neighborhood. You are too busy hiding behind buildings and trapping school parents, because that is easy! Easy and lucrative. We don't shoot you, and we pay our fines." Now he is getting mad, too. "You know I could arrest you", he says. "What for, for telling the truth"? I say. "You have an illegal sticker on your car. Take it off", he says. Now, the sticker he is pointing to is mandatory for my area. It allows you to park on the street.  I try and explain that. "Nope, never seen it. Take it off", he says. "You REALLY aren't from around these parts, are you son?" I said. "AGH"! He waves his hand at me, jumps on his bike and takes off. But not before issuing me a bunch of tickets, including failure to come to a complete stop, no proof of license, no insurance, etc. As he leaves, he drives down the street that says "No vehicles allowed."  I drop my son off at his class, go home and grab my purse, and come back. There he is, hiding behind the apartment building, waiting to trap another suburban mom." "Hi there", I said. He jumped. "Here's my license and registration and proof of insurance", I say, handing it to him. "I don't want that. It's too late" he says. "You know", I say. "This is all so uneccessary. There is no through traffic here! If I really didn't stop long enough, as you say, you could have issued me a warning.  You could have shown a little compassion fo a mom juggling three kids, trying to get them all fed and dressed and off to school on time. We are all just human, doing the best we can. I'm sure that you didn't mean to go down that street that is closed to through vehicles." 'WHAT?!!!" He says. "Are you accusing ME of breaking the law?" "I didn't say that", I said. "I'm just saying we all make mistakes." "AHHH", he says, waving his hand at me again, and driving off. So once again,  I have to post another thousand dollar bail.

Baby Jogger Mini Stats:

Weight: 16.5  pounds

Folded: 24" x 29" x 8"

Width: 24"

Length: 34"

Handle height: 41"

Seat Width: 13.5"

Seat Depth: 9"

Seat to Canopy: 23.5"

Seat back: 21.5"

Drop to Footrest: 9"

Comparison of  Mini to Zapp 
Since both of these strollers are very hot right now in the lightweight category, I wanted to do a "mini" comparison. The measurements on these two are remarkably similar, as you can see from the stats. The biggest difference is in the length. As you can see, the Zapp has a much shorter wheel base. The handle height is shorter, too. The Zapp is a pound heavier, and has no recline. Whereas you saw how far back you could recline the Mini's seat.The Zapp's seat back and seat to canopy is about a half inch taller. Both have very wide seats, but the Zapp's is an inch bigger at it's widest part, then tapers down by the hips. It has an inch shorter drop to footrest.Both of these are on the wide side, at 24". especially for a lightweight. However, a 3-wheeler must have a wider rear stance than a 4-wheeler, for stability. OK, neither are technically 3-wheelers, but that is kind of their design. You can see how the Zapp can fold in smaller, with it's tripod legs that tuck in underneath the seat. Both have superb maneuverability.

Quinny Zapp Review

Zapp the Red White and Blue

It's Election Day! And of course, that requires a stroller that is patriotic. Not a problem! Take the new, cobalt blue Quinny Zapp. Add in an American flag, a red parasol, red Skip Hop, white and red Skip Hop wipes case (Swipe), white onesie on baby, and you're good to vote!
It was a terrific choice.  The husband called in advance to find out where our polling place was. Turns out, it was just down the block, and around the corner. So we didn't need to walk far. A big A/T wasn't necessary. But perhaps a one-handed push would be important. There is no umbrella stroller that is easier to push one-handed than the Zapp, period. And it's small footprint and great style makes it a really fun stroller to use.It has no recline, so it is best suited to a child six months and older. And it will suit a much older child. Look at all the growing room that SP 2.0 has! The seat back is one of the tallest I have measured. But it folds really tiny. In fact, the Zapp bills itself as "The world's smallest folding stroller." This,  and the raincover and travel bag that comes with it, makes it ideal for travel. Many have reported stashing it in the airplane's overhead bin. They say the travel bag looks like any other carry-on.All the children were excited to go to the polling place. I say all, because in addition to my three, I generally have four or five others hanging about. But of course, this election generated a huge amount of interest. The whole brood  even voted in their schools. After they decorated their bikes and scooters, they started discussing who the winner would be. And who they voted for. Discussing, then arguing. I guess politics isn't even a safe topic among the 10 and under set! They got another interesting lesson when we got to the voting booths.  Despite the fact that they told the husband my name was on the list, it wasn't. Which meant I couldn't vote. The lady in charge said she would  let me vote provisionally, if I could show her a valid ID. I couldn't. Yes, believe it or not, I don't always leave the house with the thought in mind that I will have to prove I am who I am. This has gotten me in trouble more than once, as you will see in the upcoming chapter in "Adventures in Strollerland!" Anyway, it was good to have the Zapp to zip home to get the proof  I exist.
Quinny Zapp Stats:

Weight: 17.5  pounds
Folded: 15" x 27" x 13"
Width: 24"
Length: 22"
Handle height: 39.5"
Seat Width: 14.5" Seat Depth: 8" Seat to Canopy: 24"
Seat back: 22"
Drop to Footrest: 8"

Quinny Buzz Review

Halloween Buzz

Halloween is such a fun time to pick a stroller. Of course, as with all holidays, the colors have to be right. In the past, I have chosen an orange Quinny Zapp, an orange Phil & Ted's E3, a black Micralite Fast Fold, etc. This year I have a little baby, so I wanted a stroller that faced me. I also wanted one that could sail over any bumps or cracks with ease. It's dark, there's a lot going on, and I don't want to have to watch where I am going. So the perfect choice is the new gold and brown Quinny 4-wheel Buzz!

When I tested it on the SQ Obstacle Course, the performance was stellar. The four wheels make it much more A/T than the prior 3-wheel version. More stable, too.  I really like it.

It's a good thing, because this year, we had a lot of chasing around to do.  Chasing a Star Wars Clone Trooper and Supergirl, that is. When it comes to kids and candy, speed is of the essence. It's kind of funny to see them running from door to door, as fast as they can, trying to hit as many houses as possible before everyone runs out of candy.

And this year, we all did. There were so many ghosts, goblins, princesses, clowns, Hannah Montanas and Barack Obamas out trick or treating this year. They started early, and they continued until late. For hours our sidewalks were packed. I mean shouder to shlouder, rush hour on the subway in NYC packed. The wide base did make it hard to weave through the crowd.  Although, as tight as it was, even my Shanghai Tang Mac Quest would have had problems. And it is the width that makes it so stable, so therein lies the trade-off.   I do wish it had a bigger basket. Though it wasn't something I needed on this night. You can get the optional "Buzz box" for more storage.

This stroller is extremely comfy. Look at the cozy footmuff, and the thick neoprene seat padding.

A wonderful thing about the 2009 Buzz is that it comes with an additional seat, a "toddler seat".  Not quite so plush, so there is more room for a bigger child's shoulders and hips. In addition, it comes with a raincover, and mosquito net. To complete the set, is the fabulous carrycot. SP 2.0 naps in this every day. It has the same soft, terrycloth-type lining as the footmuff. He loves to snuggle in to it. All in all, this is a great choice of a pram that can get you from newborn to toddler; even a pre-schooler.

Anyway, despite our best efforts, the Pumpkin, the Buzz, and I lost our Clone Trooper and Supergirl. Well not lost in a bad sense. The Clone Trooper ran into Commander Cody and Obi-Wan, and wanted to navigate the Halloween galaxy with them. And Supergirl stumbled across several classmates having a silly string war. So she was off to fly with them.

The Pumpkin, the Buzz and I attempted to do a few houses on our own. But that was mostly met with scorn. "He's too young for candy! That is really for you, isn't it! You are going to eat the candy!" Well, duh.

But all was not lost. My friend was playing "Twas' the Nightmare before Christmas" with a movie projector on a big screen. On her front lawn! We slowly strolled our way through the mob, past three haunted houses, down the hill and one block over. And there it was, Jack in the sleigh! The party had begun.

Quinny 4-wheel Buzz Stats:

Weight: 31 pounds
Width: 25.5"
Length: 29"
Handle height: 39"-43"
Seat Width: 12" (baby seat, toddler seat is wider)
Seat Depth: 9"-17" (footrest extended)Seat to Canopy: 24"
Seat back: 20"
Drop to Footrest: 9"

Mutsy Slider Review

Mutsy in Malibu and the Mansion

Summer was here, and we were invited to a party at a house in Malibu. Hmmm, now, who to take. It must be elegant but hip, cutting edge but classic. It must have nice summer beach colors. It must have a bassinette, (so SP 2.0 could have a nice nap), and it must be able to traverse the sand. Tall order, but...I had the perfect candidate. The Mutsy Slider!

As I predicted, the Slider was a real attention-getter. People flocked around it, asking me questions. Particularly the pregnant types, and the husbands thereof. Having the bassintte at the party was a great idea. SP 2.0 was overwhelmed a few times, from getting passed around by strangers. When I placed him in it, he calmed down right away. I think he felt safe. And the bouncy suspension was amazing. I just pushed down the handle a bit, and it's like the thing was on springs!
I also liked how high up it sat. Nearly as tall as the Stokke Xplory. Great for the sand. Or for the snow, slush, unpaved roads, tree roots, etc. How often do you find such shimmery beauty, and rugged functionality, in the same package? (Gee, that sounded like a new car ad.)
Now one thing I *didn't* think about, was how many steps there are to get up to a Malibu beach house. For this particular one, to have the breathtaking overhang view of the sea, there were a lot. And at 29 pounds, (that's with the bassinette. It's 25 with the seat.) hauling the Slider up them was no easy feat. Of course, it would have been easier if I did what the manufacturer recommends, which is to break it down into two pieces (very easy. The top half of the stroller just pops right off!) I was looking forward to using it again that next week-end. This time, it was at a party in a mansion in Beverly Hills. I had been there before, so I knew it was relatively flat. Now this particular mansion once belonged to a very famous TV star. Even though she has long since moved, it is still on the "Maps of the Stars Homes" tour bus route. We had to park on the street, because there were ponies in the driveway of the mansion. The minute we got out of the car, the tour buses appeared. And all the tourists were snapping pictures. Not of us, but, of the Slider! The Slider was a celebrity, haha!Well, I was a bit wrong about the flat part. At least in the back yard. This is a historic BH home. And there were brick steps that went up, and brick steps that went down, and brick steps that went up, and brick steps that went down. And yes, I meant to repeat that, because they kept repeating. And narrow, all of those walkways were NARROW. Despite it's fabulous manueverability, the Slider's 26' width meant the wheels kept getting hung up on the bricks. I guess that is the way they built 'em back in the roaring '20's. Well it was almost perfect. The best laid plans of mice and men...
Inside the party, the Slider continued to turn heads. My friend's mom said it reminded her of a pram she bought 57 years ago, which they had paid $10 for! Her husband asked, "How much does that one go for, about $50?" "Well no," I said. "It's a bit more. Actually", I tell him, "A lot of strollers are running up around a thousand dollars now". "A thousand dollas!" exclaims his wife, the one who bought the $10 stroller 57 years ago. "That's the price of a CAR!" "When mom, when?" shouts out one daughter. "And she has a bunch of strollers, hundreds", says my friend. "HUNDREDS???" says her sister-in-law. "Have you been on Ripley's Believe it or not?" And she's laughing her head off. "No", says my friend. "But she has been in the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, the CBS Early Show, the Today Show..." "But what about Good Morning America?" says her mom. "Have you been on Good Morning America? That's my favorite!" Now the sister in law, who has been sitting there thinking, says "Now WHY do you have so many strollers? I had one Maclaren for every kid, and that was good enough!" "Well", I say, "How many pairs of shoes do you have? How many bags?" (She is very well-dressed.) "But that's different", she says. "Not to her!" says my friend. She has a stroller to match every outfit, a stroller to match every bag, a stroller for every holiday." "And what do you DO with all these strollers?" demands the SIL. "I run them on the Strollerqueen Obstacle Course, up and down hills , one -handed, with a cup of coffe in the other" I say. At this point, the sister across the table spits out HER coffee, she is laughing so hard. "AHHH," says the SIL, waving her hand at me, "You're just nuts!" Now the mother chimes in again. "Stop talking and go to the gym!" she says. You all need to go to the gym and work out!" With that command,the daughters, granddaughters, and sisters-in-law dutifully stand up to go, pushing their chairs back under the table. "See", I said to the SIL, "If you had a jogging stroller, you could just take a good run instead".

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

TFK Mama Board Review

Mother's Day Mama Board on Park Avenue

Ever since I first saw a picture of a Euro mama "skateboarding" with this, while pushing her baby in a pram, I have wanted one. Heck, why should kids have all the fun? So natch I was thrilled when TFK showed up at the "2009 BIG Stroller Roll-Out", and announced they were coming to America! I was practically swooning over the Mama Board they had on display. Of course, the kind and patient Ms. Katy Halmen of "Trends for Kids" (TFK) thought I was a little crazy. Nothing new, there. But ANY way, TFK has finally made it to this side of the pond, which meant the Mama Board made it to the side of my strollers, haha!