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Get Out and Get Fit

It's a rainy, stormy, floody day here in Chicago. And it looks like we may get some showers and about 40 degrees tomorrow morning, too. Will have to break out the running gloves for our Chicago Dads Group event!

The makers of BOB jogging strollers (Britax) have set up a win-win-win situation that I can't say enough how much I support. They've provided about a dozen members of our group a free BOB Revolution stroller in exchange for coming out to a family fun run on a crisp fall Saturday morning. Now this is the kind of marketing campaign I can get behind.

A company paying attention to dads and encouraging dads to spend time with their kids. Families getting a chance to engage with a product that, let's be honest here, is out of the price range for many because jogging strollers are not cheap. And--most importantly--encouraging fathers to get active. And it's that last one that I hope I partly encourage by posting the adventures of a back-of-the-pack runner and triathlete dad on this blog. You don't have to win. You don't have to race. But you should have fun doing something, anything that helps you get fit and exercise. You certainly don't have to run with your jogging stroller for miles on end like me. The Mama plans to use ours for her shorter run-walk (she calls it wogging) sessions with a local women's running club. It's men though...we're the ones who are generally less active, in poorer health...who probably need the most incentive and help being motivated to get out that door for a run. I love seeing Britax getting dads to participate in setting a good exercise example for their kids. Like I said, everybody wins!

If you go back through the blog archives, some of you may remember when my kids were younger and I had another company's jogging stroller. I haven't had a chance to really take my new BOB for a test run yet to compare--so tomorrow will be its christening--but I can at least give you the lowdown on the unboxing basics...

It arrives in a box with everything neat and tidy, wheels in separate bags, and appropriately guarded against damage. Nothing is too difficult to figure out here, but there is a nice instruction manual and plenty of options for registering your new product. It has a variety of settings and buttons so I suggest following along rather than trying to wing it. Especially when it comes to folding and unfolding and some of the settings, it differs from many other strollers (including jogging strollers) that I've seen. So you may not be expecting parts to pop out of places.

There is a nice strap to keep the stroller closed and I had both my kids sit in the stroller to adjust the straps and see how it worked for both a 25 lb and 35 lb kid. Fairly easy to make the sizing smaller and larger. Fairly easy to unfold and fold once you know what to expect (though not as easy as my previous stroller). But where this stroller really shines is the "you get what you pay for" quality of the parts and pieces. Everything is super high quality from the mechanical to the fabric. It's well-constructed and designed and the kids were both enthusiastic about going for a ride.

Please pay careful attention to the quick-release, cycling-type wheel design because the right amount of force is required to hold the wheels in place safely. If you're not familiar with QR skewers from a bike, the manual explains it fairly well. But these aren't wheels you can unlock via a button to take them off. My other comment and possible negative about the wheels is that the stroller uses plastic tires which do need to be inflated. And my universal bicycle/sports tire pump had some trouble getting in the small spaces of the stroller wheels to make it onto the Schrader valve.

Aside from those small issues, this is a pretty fancy machine I can't wait to use on a regular basis. It stores fairly flat, has a nice easy-to-use foot brake for parking (my model does not have a hand brake to use while running), and the storage strap also functions as a safety strap while jogging. I'll let you know about the ride after tomorrow's event, but I'm fairly impressed it has a tracking adjustment in case you find yourself pulling to one side or the other in use. The front wheel locks or swivels. The handle has multiple positions to be at just the right push-height.

Once again, a big HUGE thank you to Britax for hitting all the right notes here. Dads, get out there and enjoy some active recreation with your children! And, even if you're not in Chicago, there may be a City Dads group near you around the nation. I definitely would encourage you to seek these guys out for support, socializing, and---yes--maybe even some free stuff.