Back story: I posted a pic to instagram that pictured the double stroller I've used every weekday for the past three years. A couple folks said, hey, what's the deal with that double stroller, what do you like about it.
And my first reaction to those questions was: I like this stroller because IT. WAS. FREEEEEEE.
For six of my nine years as a momma, I've been pushing a double around. This is a topic I've thought about, a lot.
I've done the thing of paying $150 for a double jogger with two seats across (and that was, for us, not a winner). I've done the thing of looking up Bob strollers and City Stroller or whatever they're called. And I've contemplated buying them used off of Craigslist and spending just $300 instead of $500 or something. (And I've laughed at the prospect of me, Mary, spending $500 on a stroller. #cheapcheapcheapcheapcheap)
My last two double strollers have come to me as hand-me-downs from moms wise enough to know that their stroller still had lots of life left in it--and kind enough to know that I, heavy breeder that I am, would really, gratefully accept anything they had to pass down to me. So to Aunt Bridget and Michelle, I salute you, ladies! And I thank you.
Why is the best stroller a free stroller?
Because second to only maybe a high chair or the car seat, the stroller takes the most abuse of all the kiddie gear. My stroller is regularly:
- saturated with spilled milk from sippy cups
- covered in sand from the beach
- filled with crumbs from the free cookie at the grocery store bakery
- doused with juice
- filled with rocks, sticks and moss collected from the park
- pee (let's be honest)
- the opposite of pee (it's happened at least twice)
Maybe there's a reasoning that says: since you touch/use the stroller daily, then it follows that having a nice stroller with all the bells and whistles makes that interaction more enjoyable.
I'm not of that school of reasoning. We're a family that drives cars into the ground. And strollers too apparently.
When that whole list of "stuff" drips on, spills on, or generally beleaguers my Graco DuoGlide, I, blessedly, do not freak out. I've taken a hose and a bottle of Dawn to it multiple times, and done so with gusto.
For those that want the actual details on it, and what specifically I like about a beat-up front-back double stroller, here you go:
- I believe it's a Graco DuoGlider (looks like this, new)
- front-back strollers fit though store doors more easily
- front-back strollers have bigger under-carriage baskets, better for grocery shopping
- the two Graco front-back strollers I've used have both accommodated infant car seats--not in the official "snap in" sort of way, but I've been fine with how securely they fit
- front-back strollers can be collapsed more or less with one hand, and for me, they've always been lighter than side-by-sides.
- We do not run with this thing--it is purely a walk and push. It goes to the park, the beach, sure, but I'm not expecting it to survive a 10k. Or a 5k, for that matter.
If I hadn't been the lucky recipient of two used front-back doubles, I would have marched myself down to Once Upon a Child and grabbed a used one, hopefully for less than $50.
This current DuoGlider at times holds a toddler and bigger toddler, a toddler and a 6-year-old, a toddler and a watermelon and 2 gallons of milk... and she's maybe a 10-12 years old at this point. Her basket fabric is finally starting to rip, and that makes me sad.
But not too sad. I've got nothing to lose, because the dang thing was free. And that's the best.