meet our friends, Phil & Ted

28 11 2009

For the past three years I have been stopped at minimum once every time I visit the mall for someone to oggle my red stroller and say, “I have never seen a stroller like that before!”  And when C1 and C2 are riding tandem, for some reason it’s never apparent that there’s a passenger in the backseat.  If I had a nickel for every time I heard, “Oh!  You have TWO!”… well, you know — I could probably buy another stroller — not that I would because we purchased the Phil & Teds (then E3 model) so that we would never have to buy another stroller.  Just the other day, P was stopped by a woman who is evidently a gramma-to-be who wanted the 411 on our revolutionary Phil & Teds stroller to pass along to her expectant daughter.  So, here’s the “skinny” on this ultra-lean, very slender, inline buggy.

Phil & Teds strollers and other products are designed in New Zealand (manufactured in China) by what appears to be a very cool working group – at least, their website is fun to navigate!

In Canada, you can take a Phil & Teds for a test drive at most major baby stores, including Babies R Us.  There appear to be several models now available, which vary by some convenience factors.  (We bought the E3 three years ago, which looks like the “Classic” model they now sell.)  The base model retails for approximately $500 – so this one is kind of middle-of-the-road.  Add-ons, including storm covers, UV sunshades, saddle bags, cocoon, travel kit (to attach an infant carrier), and the doubles kit range from$35-70.

I have to admit, I can’t accurately comment on the new models, which obviously have been tweaked over the years…. but, I can tell you that, overall, our experience with the E3 over the past 3 years has been quite positive.  Weighing in at 24 lbs (I can’t be sure, but I think this is with the doubles kit attached), the P&T stroller is 24″ wide, rivaling an umbrella stroller for stealth – great for getting through tricky places in stores – especially the check-out at the grocery store.  It’s a three-wheeler with a front wheel that can adjust to be stationary, presumably for jogging or “off-roading,” or swivel for urban strolling.  I prefer the swivel – it is highly maneuverable.  The older model has two positions for the handle-bar; I believe the new models have an infinitely adjustable handle-bar.  Remember, I’ve said before that an adjustable handle-bar height is important when considering stroller selection.

The front seat has four positions, from fully upright to fully reclined (which is recommended position for your newborn).  It’s great – today I was out with C2; he had fallen asleep in the car and I was able to transfer him into the stroller lying down where he slept for an hour while I shopped!

Everyone always expresses concern for the guy riding in the back… “But, he doesn’t get to see!”  Well, C1 loves to ride back there because he thinks it’s the “cave.”  I mean, I honestly don’t know what C2 thinks about getting a back seat, but he can see plenty from back there and at his age, I doubt he’ll have any memory of what he saw or didn’t see from his vantage point… and he hasn’t complained so far.  Afterall, he doesn’t live in the stroller.

Is it a jogging stroller?  Err… well, kind of.  It was originally recommended for occasional jogging.  An authentic jogger has the large wheels.  I have jogged with my P&T a fair bit and have found it to be perfectly fine… although not so much with two kids on board — it becomes too heavy to comfortably jog with (24 lbs of stroller + 60 lbs of children).  Some people have told me that their legs are too long and they connect with the back of the storage space.  I personally haven’t experienced this — I’m around 5’4″.

I have had my P&T in for repairs three times – once for each wheel.  The front tire came away from the rim, which I think was because I neglected to inflate it properly.  Both rear axles needed to be replaced due to rust.  To be fair, my stroller has been through sleet, snow, ice… and the salt – in a Canadian winter, one should expect this type of wear and tear.  Fortunately, we have a great baby shop in our neighbourhood that specializes in stroller repairs – Macklems in Roncesvalles – and they’ve gotten me back out onto the streets in no time.  Anyhow – the tires are great for the trails and Canadian winter weather (and the storm covers keep it unbelievable toasty warm inside!).

There is a tipping factor.  Phil & Teds do address this in their manual about safely operating the stroller.  However, I believe this is a bit of a design flaw that could be remedied by attaching some anti-tippers (like you see on wheelchairs) to the rear.  You always have to remove the back child from the stroller first.  If you don’t, the stroller becomes back-heavy and will tip over.  I always adhere to this – but, it is a bit tricky from a logistics standpoint – C1 often wants to get down – NOW!  And taking the little guy out isn’t always convenient for whatever reason.  Of course, you can overcome this little issue with a bit of pre-planning.

I’m so thankful for the tip I received from a colleague of mine to check out the Phil & Teds.  When we had our first baby, we anticipated having a second (and were blessed!) and selected a stroller that we knew would accommodate a growing family.  Phil & Teds is really the only stroller brand that offers a solution for the toddler-newborn, toddler-toddler combinations in the tandem configuration (of course, you can always go for a bulky doubles stroller).  I’m pleased to say we have only had one stroller and hope that Phil and Ted are with us for a few more years to come.




One response

1 12 2009

Hi Deirdre,
I work at phil&teds here in NZ, and was so rapt to read your true adapt&survive real life blog! Would you be able to email me? It’d be great to get in touch with you!
Hope to hear from you soon,
Warm regards

(pr connector)

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