I pushed my 2-year-old for seven miles the other night on a run with the BOB Ironman Sport Utility Stroller (www.bobgear.com), a $349 three-wheeler with a slight and speedy build. My dog was tethered to my waist as I ran too. Yes, can you believe it, the Gear Junkie here has grown from dirt-bag climber man into one of those kind of people oh so fast.
But seriously, pushing a kid while running — and I step onto that proverbial creaky old limb to proclaim this — is kind of annoying. I like my arms to swing free when I run. I don’t want to maintain a grip bar, steering a stroller. My daughter loves it, though, so that’s the trump card for me slapped down right there.
If you’re going to run — and I mean serious training sessions, multiple times per week — then you want the best of the best jogging stroller. My wife and I have a cheaper, heavier, bulkier jogging stroller from a few years back. The BOB outshines it like the sun.
At $349 (did I mention that price?) the BOB Ironman Sport Utility Stroller is about as much as I can imagine ever spending on a child-pushing device. But this little chariot is nice to run along with, as it tracks straight and rolls effortlessly down the paved trail.
Little pushing is required once momentum takes over, just a steady hand on the grip bar.
The stroller isn’t perfect, though. For example, the caliper hand brake for the front tire is kind of low-grade. Mine’s needed a couple adjustments already.
I’m not a fan of the foamy handlebar grip. Once you start to sweat, the foam gets kind of nasty and looses some grip. It’s also too warm and insulating for gripping constantly on a run in summertime temps. I think a grip tape or even something rough like the sand-coated film from a skateboard deck might be in order.
Speaking of the handle grip, I wish the designers at BOB had thought out the placement of the brake cable. It lays on the back side of the grip, above the foam, and your hand is in constant contact with that small bit of cable piping. No biggie, but it does become noticeable on a long run where you’re gripping the handle for 45 minutes or more.
On the upside, the stroller tracks perfectly straight. It’s fast and smooth-rolling.
For the kid sitting inside, the seat is comfortable enough. There are cup holders. This year’s Ironman Sport Utility Stroller included an increase in seat padding for extra comfort and support and an extended seat recline that offers a full 70-degree recline from the stroller’s upright position.
My little girl often falls asleep while we are on a run, and the 70-degree recline allows me to subtly undo two buckles for her to lay back and snore.
The stroller has stiff suspension that helps with maneuverability and response while jogging. Its 16-inch aluminum wheels come with high-pressure, slick road tires to provide a smooth, seamless roll on sidewalks and trails.
Another nice feature is the stroller’s large canopy, which folds to enclose your kid in a shady seated oasis.
The stroller comes in yellow or navy blue.
BOB strollers are sold in baby stores, bike shops and sporting goods stores nationwide. Or go to www.bobgear.com for more info.