My Stroller Mishap This Weekend

I thought I would share with everyone a story of what happened to me yesterday.  It was our first major outing as a family since Sutton was born almost 4 weeks ago.  We were headed to downtown Chicago to the Lincoln Park Zoo to meet my brother-in-law and his fiancé. 

We packed up all three kids in a hurry because honestly I got up a little later than I should have.  But in my defense, getting up to nurse a newborn 4 times during the night makes me a bit tired.  So, we were flying around the house throwing things in diaper bags, getting the kids’ shoes on, and filling sippy cups.  At the last minute, I told my husband to throw the shiny new double stroller in the back of the SUV because we were sure to need it at the zoo.  I didn’t bother to check to make sure the stroller was ready to go.  “Just throw it in.  I’m sure it’s fine,” I said in my deliriously tired state. 

When we got to the zoo (30 minutes late), we loaded Sawyer, our 2 ½ year old and Sutton, our 3 ½ week old in the stroller.  Now, Sawyer is completely capable of walking on his own but he is what we affectionately refer to as the “runner”!  That kid will take off in a moment’s notice causing us to chase him full speed down the street.  Since we were downtown, we had to try to avoid this at all cost.  So, in the stroller he went.  As we walked to the zoo, I noticed that the back wheels of this brand new stroller were low on air.  Very low on air!  Knowing that the stroller had those fancy air-filled tires that make maneuvering on different terrain easy, I should have checked them before we left.  But I didn’t.

As soon as we met my brother-in-law inside the zoo, I decided that I had to fix the tires.  My mild OCD was kicking in and I couldn’t stand watching this fabulous stroller roll along on nearly flat tires.  It wouldn’t take but a minute.  I grabbed the stroller pump that came with the stroller out of the basket (I had enough sense to make sure that was along) and bent down to fix the tires right there in front of the lions.  After the first…oh, I don’t know…TEN TIMES that I tried to pump up the tire, I realized that this wasn’t going to take just a quick minute.  It wasn’t working.  And now I had managed to let all the remaining air out of the tire so it was completely flat and laying on the rim.  Nice job, Hollie.

Since I was right in the middle of the main walkway of the zoo, I decided to pull the stroller off to the side by a bench.  I tried a few more times to pump up the tire before I decided that I would have to remove the wheel from the stroller.  Now, this is one of those big side-by-side double strollers and I had it sitting all cocked to the side with one wheel removed.  This is where it started to get a bit embarrassing.

I was sooo excited to take this new double stroller out and about.  Even after quite a few years of testing and reviewing stroller after stroller, I still get excited over a brand new stroller.  My husband gets excited over new cars.  I get excited over new strollers! Just how it is!  So, I was feeling pretty special that I had this high end (what I would consider a luxury) double stroller out in the world that is filled with Gracos.  I felt fancy.  This was one of those double strollers that you can usually only get in baby boutiques or by ordering online.  Definitely not a Baby Superstore-type of stroller!  But there I am, broke down on the sidewalk in the zoo.  I felt like I had a broke down Pinto on the side of the highway.  Except this was no Pinto.  This was the Mercedes of strollers!

Everyone that walked by glanced at me as I was sitting on the bench trying over and over to pump up this stupid tire.  I even got a few “Gotta flat…huh?”  No, I just like to sit with the wheel to my stroller on my lap as I try to pump it up over and over.   Yeah, I have a flat!  All the Gracos are zipping by me.  Even those back-breaking $9 umbrella strollers are zooming by.  And I have a flat!  After about 30 minutes (I don’t know why I tried pumping it up that long), I decided that either the tire was busted or the pump wasn’t working.  I figured I would have to find another pump to find out.  With all the strollers at the zoo that day, someone was bound to have a tire pump. 

As I looked around the area that I was sitting in, I realized that there must be a Bugaboo convention at that zoo that day.  I have never seen more Bugaboos in one location in Chicago in my life before.  They were everywhere!  I knew that one of those Bugaboos had a tire pump!  But I was too embarrassed to ask anyone.  I don’t know why.  I decided I had enough and was going to push the stroller on the flat tire.  Maybe someone would offer to help?  Maybe not? 

I met the rest of my family because they had abandoned me after attempt #2 to fix the tire knowing that I wouldn’t give up on it.  But alas, I had given up.  On the way out of the zoo, I stopped one of the zoo employees in a last attempt to fix the tire.  I asked if they knew where I could find a tire pump and to my surprise they knew where one was.  They had a tire pump at the train ride at the entrance.  I ran over to the train and asked the employee to borrow the pump.  It was one of those bicycle tire pumps that you stand on and pump the lever like those old dynamite explosives that you see in the cartoons.  It worked!  It took 3 pumps that the tire was as good as new.  Now, I had the stroller back in tip-top shape just in time to head home. 

Now, the moral of the story is to make sure that your fancy stroller is in working order BEFORE you leave the house.  Check the tires!  And if all else fails, don’t be embarrassed to ask a fellow stroller mama to borrow a pump.

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Baby Gizmo founder Hollie Schultz is the proud mom of three adorable kids. This certified CPS (Child Passenger Safety) Tech and baby gear expert is the host of the Baby Gizmo video reviews giving moms the inside look at baby products before they purchase them. Hollie is also the co-author of The Baby Gizmo Buying Guide. A former resident of Los Angeles, she and her family now live in North Carolina where she is having a blast designing and decorating her new home.

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Avi Varon
“The shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot” 🙂 You must have loved the parade of mothers watching you trying to inflate the tires barely trying to hide their “this will never happen to my conventional wheels stroller” grin 🙂 Note that the Cameleon Bugaboo does NOT have air but foam filled rear tires, so they don’t carry a pump any more. I understand you did have a faulty pump … At any case, one of the reasons all-terrain strollers are commonly rejected is the risk of a flat tire. I tell parents that this is not a car or a bicycle… Read more »