The Joovy Caboose – a ‘double’ pushchair that’s practical, best suited to two slightly older children and good value for money. Which is lucky, because that’s exactly what I need thanks to the Wee Man’s current obsession with public transport.
Travelling home from Stratford station the other day, he was very excited to see the huge range of different trains and buses pulling in and out of the area. ‘Can we go on one of the big trains Mummy?’ he asked.
‘Yes’ I said. ‘Perhaps one Thursday’.
As any parent of a three year old will probably know, saying such things is incredibly foolish – because when the next Thursday came around he was hopping up and down in anticipation of going on a big train…
The Wee Man is hypermobile, and so guaranteed to want to stop walking after fairly short distances, in comparison with his peers. Add to that the fact that Bubby D at 15 months is showing little progress towards walking at all, and it’s clear that I need to take a pushchair with me that allows both children to be transported, yet still fits on trains and buses easily.
Setting off to get the bus to the train station, the Wee Man walked for about a minute and then decided it was time to hop on to the back ‘seat’ of the Caboose. Whilst Bubby D sits up front in a full size seat which is reasonably basic (no additional padding, for example, which helps keep the pushchair weight down to a very reasonable 11.7kg and also allows it to achieve an amazingly slim fold) whilst still retaining the features necessary for a comfortable ride – adjustable footrest, secure five point harness with three height positions and backrest with three recline positions – the back seat for older children is actually more of a sliding platform. This allows the Wee Man to sit down if he wants to, but also stand up easily on the built in ‘buggy board’ section too if he likes. It’s great for being out and about as he can hop on and off easily whenever he feels like walking, or not walking as the case may be. There is also a three point harness I can use should I want to make sure he is a little bit more secure on his seat – very useful when he is a bit more tired and not holding on to the padded handles either side of the seat.
Consequently, our walk to the bus stop is a pretty easy one. The pushchair is very sturdy – with its tubular metal frame it does remind me a bit of an 80’s throwback (the Maclaren Lullaby my mother proudly pushed my brother around in, back in 1988 comes to mind!) but this is very reassuring – I’ve never been worried it’s going to tip over with it’s heavy load. And it’s actually a dream to get on the bus, compared to other pushchairs I’ve used which aren’t slim enough to get past the seats and into the pushchair area.
The brakes are red and easy to find, and the Joovy sits happily in place in the bus while the children eject themselves and find a window to stare out of. Once again a triumph for the hop-on, hop-off-ness for the Wee Man, as moving quickly to a seat on the bus is a must if you don’t want to fall over!
Half an hour later, and we arrive at the train station. Getting through the ticket gate is no problem…but then I see the stairs…
…and no lift…
The Wee Man hops off, and actually, thanks to it’s larger than average wheels and high handle, the Joovy is remarkably easy for me to bump down the steps one by one. Then, even better, another passenger grabs the front and with only one child sitting in it it’s carried down the stairs with no problems at all – it feels only slightly heavier than a single stroller and it’s easier to balance with the all in one handle.
Ten minutes til the train, and the Wee Man is amazed by an express train whizzing past at top speed, while Bubby D happily entertains herself with a bit of a nibble from the food I put on her handy food tray.
When our train arrives, the train is higher than the platform – but the step at the back of the pushchair comes in handy for this as I just put my foot on it and push on the handle and the front end lifts really easily (and this is what I do for tall kerbs as well).
The Joovy sits snugly in the area by the doors, without blocking the route for other passengers to get on or off. Bubby D elects to stay in the pushchair this time, but the Wee Man hops off again and bounces excitedly up and down on a train seat instead.
By the time we reach Stratford and disembark we are pro’s at the public transport thing, and getting on to the tube to go back home is a breeze, thanks to a handy lift. In fact, the journey home ends up being entirely uneventful – aside from the Wee Man squealing at every passing train he sees – and we arrive home tired but happy. The Joovy folds down easily with just a push either side of the handle, and stands compactly in the porch – I’m amazed how little space it takes up (its only 35cm wide when folded) – stowed away ready for another adventure soon.
Despite my trepidation, it really was quite a fun and relaxing day. And as it turns out, we really do like the Joovy rather a lot!