To follow up on this article I contributed to that was published yesterday on CMN.com, we thought we'd share more of our stroller shopping experience for The Dragon.

In the lead up to The Dragon's birth in June our very supportive friends and family threw us a few baby showers to celebrate. Because of their generosity, Yun and I actually didn't have to buy many of The Dragon's baby essentials. Plus, my sister lives nearby and with 3 children under 4 years old, she was more than willing to let us go "shopping" at her house picking up a crib, clothes, and other goodies. In the end, the only big ticket item we really had to purchase for The Dragon was a stroller. As a result, what I originally anticipated being a very easy, straightforward decision, turned into the first BIG DECISION we would make as parents. Yikes! 

Being A-type personalities, "Decision Stroller" consumed us for the better part of 3 months (yes, months not days) before we could pull the trigger! It took us longer and required way more debate to choose this stroller than it did our last car. Seriously! It was like studying for a final exam; we watched a slew of Youtube videos (we really like Babygizmo), read product reviews online, and made a list of the attributes we really wanted The Dragon's stroller to have. By the end of it, I was ready to be a stroller salesman. 

In addition to our neurosis, what makes the process so labored is that there is a surprisingly large number of different stroller brands and models available in the market. It's as if we're in a baby boom and the best business to go into is making strollers. Anyway, variety and choice is usually a great thing, but it definitely makes some processes more complicated than one would otherwise want them to be. Ultimately, it wasn't that we worried we'd make a bad decision as much as we wanted to make the best decision. We're Asians after all. What would we be if not overachievers. The most important factors for us were: price, size, comfort of the ride, design features, and functionality in some order.

We wanted to find a stroller that could fit easily into the trunk of a sedan without much heavy lifting and since we walk a lot, we wanted a stroller that wasn't too big to push around stores and the supermarket. Another design feature that was super important was how the stroller would fold down. We wanted the closing mechanism to be elegantly designed so that it would be simple enough for our parents to use if they take The Dragon out on the town, and we wanted a stroller that would fold up all-in-one, into a single piece. Some larger strollers require you to remove the seat before the stroller will fold down, and that just seemed too cumbersome and time consuming. The luxury of having a lot of options and multiple pieces did not outweigh the impracticality involved. Not for us. 

Enjoying the southern California weather and walking on a daily basis is important, so having a comfortable ride for The Dragon was paramount. We inspected seat padding, tested shocks, and literally kicked tires. We put these baby movers to the test!  We also considered the size of the accompanying basket and how large it was for all the blankets and toys we expected to have to bring along with us. The bigger and more accessible the basket, the better. Yun is a shopper! Lastly, we needed a stroller that would be appropriate for our different heights. Not that I'm a giant at 5'8", but Yun is 5'2" and the one stroller that we most agreed on (at the 2 month mark), frustratingly, was simply too tall for her, so we decided against it. 
Picture

We even considered some specialty strollers like a jogger, but ultimately decided that compromising The Dragon's comfort for the occasional jog wasn't a reasonable trade, so that was quickly nixed. 

All in all, we probably looked at 15 different strollers and seriously considered 3 or 4 before we made our choice. The brand name wasn't much of a factor in our decision though knowing that a company would happily replace any damaged parts was a comforting bonus.

Here are the top strollers we poked and prodded:

UPPAbaby: Vista


This was our #2 choice. It had everything we wanted, and I loved the matte black frame option, but there very limited colors that came w/ the black frame. Note to UPPAbaby: mistake! As a dad, there aren't a lot of masculine baby-related products, so you want to push around a cool looking stroller. Sadly, Yun needed to be 2" taller!

Baby Jogger: CIty Mini



If budget was our #1 priority, then we'd have chosen this one. It's very affordable, a nice ride and really easy to fold into one piece. A lot to like. Our biggest gripe was the seat felt a little cardboard-y. Okay, maybe a lot cardboard-y and we were worried The Dragon wouldn't like sitting in it. Also, the seat only faces forward meaning we can't stare at our beautiful bundle!

4moms: Origami


A very tech-y stroller for the 21st century. At the push of a button, the stroller would automatically fold up into a single piece. Talk about so cool! Unfortunately, SO HEAVY too! I think this was 30+lbs, which meant it would be pretty heavy for Yun though she's stronger than the average bear, but definitely too heavy for either grandmother. Out!

Orbitbaby: Stroller G2

A lot of thoughtful design options here. The seat swivels so you can turn the chair 360 degrees on the base. We liked the idea of the chair being able to swing from side to side without futzing with the stroller, but we ended up dinging it because it is a closed system that required you to purchase only their hardware (ie carseat & accessories) and we already had our carseat. Oh, and picking up their carseat was  like a trip to the gym.

So, here's what we chose: The Bugaboo Bee in Electric Blue (EDITOR'S NOTE: Yun wants me to point out that she was very pregnant in this photo:)
The Bee isn't perfect – it's not that masculine – but it satisfied most of the criteria we laid out: it's a smooth ride, it's not too big and has an accessible basket for Yun's shopping, it folds down into one piece and has a rather simple mechanism governing how it opens and closes, and it came in a fun blue color. Even though we didn't know her sex at the time, we didn't mind the idea of The Dragon in a blue stroller...  girls don't always need to be in pink. NOTE TO Bugaboo: Love the all matte black frame option, but we couldn't get it w/ the electric blue cover!!!

For the past four and a half months, we've taken the stroller in and out of our car, up and down the streets of Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto, and I'm happy to report that the Bugaboo Bee is the nicest, smoothest shopping cart anyone could ever own. What do I mean, you ask? After all of our research and well-intentioned testing, The Dragon doesn't much like her stroller!!! Kids, I tell you! The maximum amount of time she has ridden happily in her Bee is about 20 minutes. This is in no way a condemnation of the Bugaboo Bee, we're confident her aversion has nothing to do with the stroller itself. But, StrollerGate has become a running joke between Yun and me. Now, whenever we go out for a walk, invariably one of us will end up carrying The Dragon while the other pushes a baby-less stroller filled with all of our stuff. We're hoping she grows out of this sometime soon, before she gets too heavy to carry for long distances:)
NAOMI
12/6/2012

im deciding between the electric blue and royal blue canopy. this is only pic i found on line and im ordering on line. is the electric blue very flashy and is it more toward puple? threre is another outdoor picture used in the olimpic display of bugaboo bees is that an acurate color?

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