Disclaimer: This is more of a parenting/baby gear post than a running post. Also, it is not meant to publicly shame people. Read on if you like.
I remember when SuperGirl was a baby, and I was so excited to be one of those moms who runs miles and miles while pushing her baby in a jogging stroller. I wasn’t excited enough to fork over $400 for such a stroller though. I found a floor model BOB Sport Utility stroller at a nearby baby boutique for $200, so I jumped at the chance to have one of these luxury running machines. Once I started using this BOB, I envied the other moms with their BOB Revolution strollers with the swivel wheel. This must be why the Sport Utility was so cheap- the damn front wheel doesn’t swivel. It’s impossible to navigate a stroller with a fixed wheel! If I had a swivel wheel my life would be so much easier. Maybe it would be easier, but it wouldn’t be safer.
What I quickly learned is that the swivel wheel isn’t there to make running a breeze. It’s there to make negotiating the aisles of the grocery store or the mall more feasible. It’s there so that you can have your jogging stroller and everyday stroller all tied up in one nice little bow. I had a sedan with a not-so-large trunk, so keeping a BOB in there full time was not an option. Plus, it doesn’t really fold up that easily. I had a separate stroller for everyday use, so my jogging stroller was just used for jogging/running, and it was stored in our dining room because we had no garage. Now we have a garage, so it’s basically a stroller grave yard.
The thing is, I have seen lots of people running with the swivel wheel unlocked. I have also seen people jogging with strollers that aren’t mean for any type of jogging whatsoever. I won’t even get into that here. People, this is NOT SAFE. Do you want to know why? Because if you run “over even a small pebble with a swivel wheel at running speeds could send the stroller quickly veering in an unplanned direction.” See Runner’s World’s Guide to Jogging Strollers. Also, even if you have a swivel wheel that can be fixed, there is “always some jiggle in the wheel one way or the other.” If you look at the BOB Revolution owner’s manual, it specifically says not to run with the front wheel in swivel mode. I am not a huge stickler for rules like obeying the speed limit or not turning on a red light. But if the stroller manufacturer is telling me not to run with a swivel wheel, and most “serious” jogging strollers are only made with a fixed wheel, then I am not going to take that chance.
I have seen people comment on message boards that it would be “too hard” to push their kids with the front wheel fixed. Here’s the thing: pushing your kid(s) in a jogging stroller is not supposed to be easy. It’s hard work. It makes you a bad ass, because you can watch your kids and exercise at the same time. It doesn’t make you as badass as this guy, but you are still way more awesome than someone who thinks that having kids and exercise don’t go hand in hand. Parenting is hard work. There are some things that would make parenting easier, like putting your kid in her carseat without taking the 15 seconds to fasten the 5-point harness. Or leaving your kids at home asleep with no baby sitter for a few hours because they sleep like rocks anyway. Or not installing a baby gate because you would have to find your drill, or making sure your wine isn’t on the coffee table because little Timmy might drink the whole thing (we all know you pour more than 6 oz). But easy doesn’t mean safe.
Over the years I sold the BOB and acquired a double stroller that had a swivel option. I only ran with it in the locked position, but I found it was not as sturdy and I worried that at any moment it could become unlocked. Also, I didn’t like how small the wheels were. I ended up with the Baby Jogger Twinner which is one of the best things to ever happen to me, besides my family and Amazon. You can’t put an infant under 6 months in it but this isn’t a problem for me. I talked about Big Red in a previous post so I won’t bore you again, but a big wheel and lightweight frame are crucial if you want to make pushing a jogging stroller easier AND safer 🙂