Inspired by my workout buddy, I decided to buy a running stroller, when our daughter turned six months. I have used it a lot since then, and in this post, I’d like to share my review of and experience with the BOB Ironman Running Stroller.
For some people having kids is an excuse to work out less or not at all. I saw the arrival of our daughter as an opportunity to work out even more. I chose running as my workout routine because I could take her with me and give my wife a break. Besides, what baby doesn’t like to be pushed around in a stroller while getting some fresh air? As an added benefit, the more weight she gained over time, the more difficult it became pushing her up those inclines along my favorite jogging route.
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Why A Running Stroller?
The main differences between a regular and a running stroller are:
- Better suspension and larger, air-filled tires for better ride comfort
- Single, fixed front wheel for increased stability
These key features are especially important if you run on any surface that’s not perfectly flat and even. You could probably use a regular stroller if you ran on a flat surface but for anything else you want a good suspension and a single/fixed front wheel and large air-filled tires.
Before making any “significant” purchasing decision, I usually do extensive research. But in this case, I relied on the research my buddy had done, and so I just went with the yellow version of the BOB Ironman Single Stroller. I don’t regret this decision as the BOB Ironman is a great running stroller that hasn’t given me any troubles so far.
Lean and mean, this BOB is born to run. Selected to be the official stroller of the IRONMAN Triathlon.
The BOB Ironman is a relatively light-weight but sturdy running stroller that’s comfortable for both the passenger as well as the person pushing it. Assembly took only a few minutes and consisted mostly of attaching the wheels and front fender.
Running with the BOB Ironman
It takes some getting used to running without your arms swinging. With both hands on the handlebar, you’ll probably have to adjust your stride a bit. Alternatively, you can use only one hand on the handlebar and let the other one swing as it normally would. I often find myself in this one-handed position when I’m exhausted.
When you run on an uneven surface, you pretty much need both hands on the handlebar due to the fixed front wheel. Changing direction means lifting the front wheel slightly off the ground by pushing down on the handlebar and then turning the stroller in whatever direction you want to go. That may sound odd and uncomfortable, but it isn’t. At least not after you got used to it. You can certainly do that with one hand, but especially when you’re exhausted, quick adjustment to your direction are easier done with both hands on the handlebar.
During my first few runs with the BOB, I noticed that I often had to adjust direction, which makes jogging with only one hand on the handlebar more difficult. I wasn’t sure if the culprit was the terrain and uneven surface or misaligned wheels. So I did a test at home on our hardwood floor and noticed that the stroller would bear right when pushed straight to the front.
The cause of the problem was an improperly seated front wheel, which was easily fixed by re-seating it. Additionally, the BOB has an adjustment knob on the front wheel that can help with fine-tuning the wheel alignment. In my case, that wasn’t necessary.
Traveling with the BOB Ironman
Despite its overall size, the BOB Ironman is a great travel companion. You can fold the stroller and quickly remove both rear wheels through the quick release levers. That way it easily fits into the trunk of most cars. We usually leave the wheels on and just fold the stroller before putting it into the trunk when we take it somewhere.
At home, we fold the stroller and lean it against the garage wall, so it doesn’t take up much space.
The BOB Ironman comes with two interior mesh seat pockets, one large pocket on the seatback and a large cargo basket underneath the seat.
That’s good enough if you use the stroller only occasionally. If you use it often, I would recommend the following accessories:
- Handlebar Console: Holds two bottles and has a compartment for your cell phone, wallet, or keys. In the beginning, I just threw my water bottle and iPhone into the cargo basket but having that stuff in arms reach, is undoubtedly more convenient.
- Weather Shield: I don’t mind running in the rain. While I don’t care about getting wet, I don’t expect my passenger to feel the same way. The weather shield makes sure both stroller and passenger stay dry.
- Snack Tray: We don’t have the snack tray because our toddler likes to put her bottle into one of the seat pockets, but if that’s not the desired option, the snack tray is a great alternative. My running buddy has the snack tray, and his son loves it.
Alternatively, to the handlebar console, you may also want to consider the Buggybop* Air Tire Stroller Organizer, the first stroller organizer that has a pump and tire repair kit built into the organizer.
What I like about the stroller
- Well-built, yet light-weight: You can easily maneuver the stroller in even the most challenging terrain.
- Storage and transportation: The stroller can be easily folded for storage and transportation.
- Excellent seat comfort: Thanks to the adjustable suspension that caters for passengers of various weights, riding in the stroller is very comfortable.
- Adjustable handlebar: To cater for runners of all heights, you can adjust the handlebar. I’ve used the default configuration since I got the stroller.
- Large canopy: Extends twice to keep the sun and bugs out of the passenger’s face, even during early morning or late evening runs.
What I dislike about the stroller
- It’s expensive: But I see it as an investment in our health. Because of the BOB Ironman, I workout more and my kids see that and hopefully get motivated to do the same someday. Isabella loves going for a run with me, even if she isn’t the one running yet.
- Location of the brake: The brake caliper, used to slow down the stroller is located on the front wheel. Braking with the front wheel only works if the wheel has contact with the ground. When you’re exhausted, it’s raining, and you’re on a downhill slope it’s very easy to accidentally push down on the handlebar, thus lifting the front wheel off the ground and rendering the brake useless. I’d have preferred brakes on the rear wheels instead. The rear wheels do have a brake, but it’s only meant to park the stroller.
Best jogging stroller for runners
The BOB Ironman is a great running stroller that I have used a lot over the past two years. Now that we have two kids, I’m considering getting the BOB Ironman Duallie so that I can fit both. Fortunately, I still have at least four more months to decide, before Lucas turns six months and is ready to tag along.
Update: My older daughter doesn’t want to go running with me anymore unless we stop at the playground. Lucas, on the other hand, loves it and so I have been taking him for rides. I still haven’t gotten around buying the BOB Ironman Dualli, but I will update this article if and when I do.