4.27.2008

The Cult of Phil & Ted's

I am on one side of the street, she the other. I see her coming from about half a block away, her silhouette distinctive.

As our trajectories cross from opposite sidewalks, we acknowledge one another – a knowing, friendly smile. It is a greeting not unlike the ones that bikers, or at least vintage v-dub owners, give each other on the road. It’s like the peace sign Deadheads would flash each other as their stickered-up, hotboxed Honda Civics leapfrogged the highway on the way to the next show.


If we had been walking down the same side of the street, we would surely have stopped to chat – congratulated each other on our shared consumer savvy. We would have looked at each other in the eye and simply said, ‘It’s great, isn’t it?’

We love our stroller, and we’re not afraid to admit it.

If anybody had told me three years ago that I would be recommending – nay, gushing about - any stroller, let alone one that cost about $600, I would have told you that were smoking crack.

But that was a long time, and two children ago.
Today, I have joined the cult of Phil & Ted’s. I am a proud member. This stroller is it. I’m not afraid to declare my love. Not anymore.

It’s funny, because when I first saw this stroller, in all of it’s two-seater glory, I was the smug new mother of a single baby who was being pushed around in a practical Graco that had a few fringe benefits, but not too much to brag about. I could not believe what I was looking at –

The baby’s practically on the ground!
At the very least, she’s sitting in the basket!
The two kids never get to interact!
Dogs could lick that baby’s face!
That mother does not love her children!

And for almost two years I pushed my child in my practical Graco, whose wheel would occasionally fall off, and whose molded plastic tires made heavy work of our snowy Toronto winter walks.

And then I became pregnant with Dove, and I went into research mode.

Tandem! Side-by-side! Jogger! Umbrella! Used! New!

The double-stroller options were endless. And they all sucked.

I gave them a chance, trust me, I did. I shlepped Chris and Bee to every high-end, low-end, mass and boutique children’s store in the city to test-drive doubles. Bee sat, I manoeuvered and Chris lifted into our hatch. Nope, nope and nope. They seemed to only be available in three sizes – huge, massive and gargantuan, and three weights – super-heavy, holy fuck, and not-on-your-life.

With each of these strollers, I felt like a midget behind the wheel of a semi, and knew that none of these would do. I was beginning to consider one of the most expensive as the only option, and even then I knew I would be unhappy.

And still, at each store, as the strollers and their price-tags got bigger, I shunned the P&T. ‘Hate it.’ I would say decisively, refusing to even give it a whirl around the store.

Until one day…
It was nearing the end of autumn and my pregnancy. Me and Chris dropped Bee off at my mum’s for the afternoon and went stroller shopping. Again. I took Chris to a larger, very well-appointed baby store where we were determined to make a choice.

Not sure if it was because I was feeling particularly open-minded, or particularly worn down, but we tried it.
The saleswoman was so kind, and patient.

And the stroller rocked.

I fell. Hard. Harder than I did for River Phoenix when I was twelve and he started to cry in Stand By Me.

Don’t know if it was heartburn or excitement, but I felt it. This was the one. With every glide, every hairpin-turn, every trial fold and after insisting on shlepping it folded, with one hand, down an aisle, I was hooked.

And it fit in the hatch. And Chris’ parents offered to pay for it.

And it came in blue camo, which I thought was very hip without being TOO obvious.

And now it’s mine. All mine. Ok fine, and Bee’s and Dove’s and sometimes Chris’ too. But mostly mine.

And someone recently dissed my stroller, and I was ready to pounce. But I know now that she just didn’t get it. She didn’t understand.

But we – we stopping each other on the street to share our maternal and consumer joy, we understand.

We speak as proudly of our stroller as we do the children 5-point harnessed in them. We talk about how we ended up with our colour choice; how we wanted bright apple green but the huz wanted conservative navy, so we split the difference on the blue camo and are now the hippest mama on the block – without being too obvious, of course. We talk about these strollers as though we had a hand in creating them.

We attract attention wherever we stroll with our spiffy design, and beam when able to take a first-time discoverer on a tour of all its ingenious features. Our children dutifully smile and look adorable, adding to our sense of righteousness. It’s sad, really, but I can’t help it.

And it’s not a status thing, I assure you I could care less about that. My smugness, my righteousness comes from a place of purity, of revelation, born of hard-work and diligence and investigation, and finally, of surrender.

I am a convert, and I thank the kind Kiwis for solving my double-stroller dilemma. Just one question, though – just one itty-bitty little complaint about what could be seen as an oversight, particularly to the mothers that had their children fairly close together and haven’t slept in oh, about three years –

You included a nice little strap so the thing can’t get away from you; the rain cover and the sun covers fit like a glove and you can even fold it up without removing the toddler seat.

But honeys - a cup holder for my coffee. Would it have been too much to ask?

And now I see that there is a new design - something about a Vibe, and I think it has a bigger basket, and what if I should have waited for that one, and why wasn't I on a mailing list or something, and, and, and, what if --

Ok, I must calm down. I've already copped to being a convert, but really; nobody likes a stroller zealot.

We'll leave that to the Bugaboo pushers.


***

33 comments:

  1. We got the orange one when Stewie was a couple of months old. It ROCKS! I've been stopped by parents in Atlanta, New Jersey, Florida and on the streets of Toronto!

    Now that Linus is older, though, he mostly walks. The double can now be used for our stuff, since the basket is fairly small.

    We've been preaching about this stroller for a good long time, too!

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  2. Back when I had Fric and Frac (over a decade and some ago) they didn't make tandem strollers that were not less than a thousand dollars and they were small buses. Completely impractical.

    Life was not fun back then.

    Almost makes me want to get two young ones to try it out.

    Almost.

    But I love the colour.

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  3. Well, you know I'm a card-carrying member of the club. And I have been stopped and exclaimed at many a time. The stroller is the perfect choice for us.

    Oh, and I love your weight classifications, btw..ha, ha!

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  4. laughed out loud!We are currently doing the stroller research thing too-
    It's a bit intense. I think we're going for a BOB.

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  5. My stroller is a used jogging stroller that my dad got me for $50 at a farm auction last summer. That's just how I roll, apparently.
    I'm going to invent a coffee holder for strollers and then I am going to be RICH.

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  6. I'll keep this in mind; just in case.

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  7. It's purdy! I haven't even thought about the double stroller issue for when the new baby comes along, but I don't think that Pumpkin is going to let us put her in one for much longer, so I'll wait and see. If we need one, I can at least you've done the research for me already.

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  8. That wasn't English, was it? Two thoughts merged into one incoherent sentence. Sorry.

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  9. I LOVE YOU! I loved out phil and ted's (which grandma graciously bought for us). it was way better than the crap graco that broke after one winter in rochester. but my wee ones aren't so wee anymore and they walk their butts everywhere now (they are 7 and 3 1/2) so we just sold it. i almost cried.

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  10. I indeed have stroller envy - I have one of the Fisher Price Sit N Stands and it's a beast to push!

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  11. I bought into the stroller cult. I tried to fight it too, but you're in. There is no escape. You get what you pay for and then there is always a newer model......

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  12. when we bought our first two doubles...there were NO options. i got the front to pag $750 peg perego that i HATE and a side-by-side piece of crap...graco, i think.

    i refused to use either. i'd rather take two strollers or make one kid walk. or not leave the house. hahaha!

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  13. Our neighbour has that stroller, too. I must say, I like it way better than those monster SUV strollers that take up the whole damn sidewalk! It seems practical. My only small hitch on it is that the kid in the back has nothing to look at but the back of the other seat, and it seems kind of cramped, but I suppose you are only using it when the young one is quite young anyhow.

    Luckily for me, pumpkinpie is big enough to walk or bike, so I can avoid the whole damn thing. I may try to find one of those little riding boards for her, though, for when she's tired.

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  14. I have also succumbed, but not to the same stroller. We got a Joovy and though the plastic wheels are not the best in the snow, it was the lightest, most compact sit and stand I could get my hands on. Fitting in the trunk was a huge deciding factor.

    Nate loves to stand and look at his sister. And when he feels like sitting and staring at my crotch, he has that option too. Plus it's a bit cheaper than yours, which was a factor after our first stroller got stolen.

    Oh, and it has a cup holder. I'm just sayin'

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  15. I wonder about snowbanks though.

    When I had my girls all we had to choose from was twigs and rocks. Cue monty python.

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  16. Harder than I did for River Phoenix when I was twelve and he started to cry in Stand By Me.

    You are HILARIOUS.

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  17. Lisa - the Bob is cool; that was the double we almost went for. I think it's perfect for you, my little country mouse.

    Bec - had I not a tiny car and city sidewalks to contend with, I would have been shopping solely on craigslist.

    Scarb - happily, Bee will still sleep in the stroller, though I think we'll look for a used sit n' stand for the days when she refuses to be strapped in. However, since I'm shorter than you, she'll only have the lovely vista of my paunch to stare at.

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  18. We bought one. I'm fearing it will be a tad too small for Chicky, who just went through a growth spurt. But I'm going to stick her in it anyway because I love it and we got a floor model on super clearance so I only had to sell half my left arm to afford it.

    Oh, and they make attachable cup holders. Oh yes they do.

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  19. My kids are nearly three years apart. I do like that new gadget, but I stuck to the classic pram. Perhaps if my kids were closer in age....

    What the hell's a Bugaboo?

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  20. Coffee holders are mandatory aren't they? Demand a detachable one pronto. Oh and I'm sold if I ever decide to have another one (not happening).

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  21. HA! I do love the Bugaboo comment. But I love your stroller even more. It's fab!

    I'm new to your blog, by the way...A fellow Toronto Mom blogger...Just wanted to say Hi.

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  22. not that we need a double stroller- but if we did, that one rocks.

    sadly we are almost finished with our stroller.
    (yikes...a very well used original bugaboo)

    wonder what they are going for on ebay these days?

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  23. Love the camo P& T... I almost bought that one for the boys. But I fell hard for the Vibe.... So when #2 came along we handed down big brother's clothing, bought a second hand crib and mattress...and splurged on the Vibe. I have to say that I love it and I like the fabrics and the hood better than the sport..And...TaDA Clip on cup holder. It's sturdy and HUGE. Humm.. will I be exposed to more PBA if I fill my Nalgine with Coffee?

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  24. I found myself within your post. While I don't have a P&T (but do think they are beautiful) I am just as passionate about my new Baby Jogger City Mini. I actually squealed when my husband said we could pick it up.

    Alas, I do not have a cup holder either, but amazon has some nice affordable clip on options.

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  25. don't feel bad about the vibe--it actually sucks. the dash, however...

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  26. I am a fan too!!! It as been handed down to us by my brother-in-law and has saved our lives many times! We went on tour with the youngest sleeping in the "couffin" and the oldest watching Calgary and Vancouver go by! We could catch the "C" train, the ferry and Stanley Park all at once (Well maybe one after the other - but it sure felt like we could fly with this marvel!) This is IT! - though a coffee holder would be neat, especially on those 6h00 am show calls day.

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  27. We have the apple green one, and
    it must be said, I have an unhealthy love of the dear.
    Our oldest a newly 4 still likes to ride, but he looks like a giant in it, and the littlest at 18 months doesn't mind the back at all. When we're in the car he doesn't see much either, in fact I think he sees more in the stroller because he can see out both sides.

    I think I've heard that they're no longer selling it, but we bought a matching apple green p&t cup holder and pouch thing. It's almost as wonderful as the stroller itself!

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  28. I ♥ the P&T so so much. I still can't believe that I spent so much on it. Or it's accessories (hello, the travel bag SERIOUSLY ROCKS). But I love it. It fits through doors. It doesn't always have to be a double. It TURNS ON A DIME. Kisses to the kiwis.

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  29. I just bought a Phil and Ted's (used mind you), and I love it.
    This is my eighth stroller!
    My only complaints...
    No coffee holder. The cup holder you can buy would virtually spill my Americano all over my toddler's head.
    and...
    The seat isn't as comfy as my Zooper Zydeco.
    No tray for the child. Not even a cup holder.
    I'm designing my dream stroller in my head.
    Zooper Zydeco seat.
    BOB construction.
    Peg Perego reliability.
    Phil and Ted's toddler seat concept.
    and...
    The Jeep, yes the Jeep, parent tray and toddler tray.
    Why can't all stroller's come with snack trays for kids?
    Otherwise, I just love my PandT. It's everything I need.

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  30. Love the stroller,my husband and I thought we were sooooo smart to jump to the double even with just the one kid, and now with number two coming we saved ourselves the hassle of looking for a double. I too would love the new Vibe, but the price tag and the fact we have the sport, makes it a no sell with the husband:0)

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  31. Help! I just found your blog post (via Google)about your stroller and I was wondering if you could answer one question for me... can you fold it with the toddler seat on the bottom? That's supposed to be the big improvement with the Vibe, but your post made it sound like you can with the Sport also! I am a card carrying member of the stroller cult. I had a Quinny Buzz for my first son and the Phil and Ted is the only double I have found that MIGHT be able to compete with my first true love... my Quinny. I hate to fork out the extra $300 if I can fold the sport with the seat attached. Please PLEASE help!

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  32. AnonymousMay 03, 2009

    I feel like a pioneer in this whole P&T world...I bought mine in May '05...is that considered "vintage" these days? The stroller is just fabulous, can't say enough about the different configurations, kids have no prob with back seat...and it's not a tanker.

    Gotta say, I thought $350 was a lot for it back then...it's not seriously pushing $700 now is it???

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  33. AnonymousMay 05, 2009

    wanted to post about my experience with the Phil and Ted Sport. I went to the local baby store, ordered the stroller in apple green, waited 2 weeks (because it was backordered) finally the owners called me and offered to let me use the floor model. I fell IN love, I also have the bob duallie which I use for walks, but I love these both equally, for different reasons! When they finally called me after using the floor model for 3 weeks they said they didn't have the sport right now but did I want to upgrade to the vibe for all my trouble? Of course I said yes, was drooling at the thought. But we got it home, took it on a few walks and it ended up not pushing as nice as the sport. Also the handle is too bulky, it made my long walks difficult. Beautiful to look at, but doesn't push as well as the Sport. There is sun protection you can purchase from Protect a bub for the front and back seat...

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