Sunday, 10 July 2011

I Go, We Go, U'Go!

I've never been one to shy away from the silly title, you know that.

As a Graco Ambassador, I'm lucky enough to be sent a range of Graco products to try out, and to make my life that bit easier.  The latest toy I've received is a U'Go stroller.

We had a lightweight stroller that we took on holiday with us.  While it lasted out the trip, Squeaky's not overly keen on it, and we get major dramatics most times we try to get her in it.  I'm also a bit wary of it, as it feels quite flimsy and exposed, though I like the lightness and how small it folds.  So, I asked Graco if I could try out one of their range, and chose the U'Go for the combination of compactness and looking a bit more secure.  I wasn't disappointed.

Compared to my previous Graco products, the box the U'Go came in was tiny!  Well, I should have guessed with it being a lightweight, umbrella fold stroller. As usual, very simple to put together, clipped the wheels on, adjusted the shoulder straps and we were ready for the off.  Squeaky looks unimpressed, but this is because nap-time was delayed for photos. The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice twitter open in the background, I doubt I was saying anything exciting.

The first thing I noticed was how much more comfortable the U'go is than the "average" lightweight stroller.  The black & grey seat cushion is really thick & squishy and despite the sulky look, Squeaky got in & settled down without complaint - none of the am-dram of our previous lightweight. It also feels impressively sturdy right from putting it up.

Off we went on our adventure. Up the hill, down the hill and into the village for a spot of shopping. The handles are well padded, and the angle makes them comfortable to push - in fact, the angle makes it easier to push the stroller one-handed.  That's something that's becoming more of an issue as Squeaky gets older and wants to walk herself more & more.  I can't push most buggies one handed and go in anything resembling a straight line, but the way the angled handles direct the pushing action across the buggy, it works.  (I know, my explanations aren't all that good).  Round the shops, and the narrow wheelbase came into its own.  There's an aisle of our corner shop that I still can't get down, but then again, you can't actually walk straight down it, as there's a stupid great pillar in the way, so you have to go sideways, but with the U'Go, I can get round all the rest without catching myself on things, and reaching the till with half a dozen things I wasn't planning to buy stuck to the sides of the chair. The generous basket underneath the U'Go was more than big enough for my bottle of squash, newspaper & loaf of bread.  And I found a very VERY useful pocket on the back of the hood.  Just the right size to fit your purse, keys and emergency bottle of diet coke!  With a velcro fastening so you don't need to worry about things falling out.

By this time, Squeaky had given up on her earlier sulk and succumbed to the comfort of the padded seat.  So I got to try out the recline.  Five recline positions, taking the seat to a complete lie-flat, making the U'Go suitable from birth.  You can tilt up the bottom where an older child's knees bend, so that small babies have a little more protection & don't wiggle down.  The recline is cleverly controlled by two slide mechanisms at the back of the buggy, you couldn't release them by accident, it takes a deliberate manoeuvre.  Very simple though.

Errands over, and the sky's looking ominous.  Time to head home. Back up and down the hill (I live in a really awkward place, ok?).  The hills are a nightmare with a heavy buggy, but the U'Go is so light it's no problem at all.  Evicted Squeaky from her seat, and folded up the chair.  And then I find not one, not two, but three of my favourite things about the U'Go.  First, the folding mechanism itself.  A lot of chairs claim to be one-handed-fold.  And a lot of them lie.  But the big twist handle, and the little finger-lift really do work.  So much so that SqueakyDaddy can manage it with ease, and I've never seen that happen before!  Second, the rigid clip on the side that keeps the chair folded, big enough to see, but not to get in the way.  And third?  My favourite thing of all?  On the side, when folded, there's a carry handle.  Such a simple idea.  And a work of flaming genius.  Really.  No need to tuck it under your arm, struggle with it upright, just grab the handle & carry it off.

The chair feels really sturdy & secure.  I said that was one of my concerns with our previous lightweight, but I don't have that issue with the U'Go, despite it being so light & narrow, it really does feel very safe, and I'm not paranoid about people squashing Squeaky in it.  We've taken it on the train, the bus, round the park, to In The Night Garden, shopping, and it's coped admirably (I even took it on the escalator, despite the signs, because there's not enough lifts in the shopping centre I was in, but being so light I managed it fine)  And unlike a lot of buggies on the market at present, the frame is narrow enough for so-called "universal" parasols to fit on.  Great if we get some summer!

Since I got the U'Go, I've seen quite a few of them about. (Yes, I'm one of THOSE people, a buggy geek. Sorry)  I'm really pleased with it, and it's a welcome addition to our household.  I'm sticking with the Symbio for everyday use, but the U'Go is now officially Daddy's buggy, which means it gets nearly as much use, as Daddy is normally at home a couple of days a week while I'm working.

The U'GO is available from ArgosKiddicareBHS DirectDebenhams Extra and probably a whole lot more places besides.  I can't recommend any particular supplier, these are just a few I found online this evening.

Disclosure: I was provided with the Graco U'Go free of charge as part of my ambassador relationship with Graco.  I was not told what to write, and all opinions are my own.  Links are provided for your convenience only, I am not a member of any affiliate scheme & will not receive reward for their use.

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