September 17, 2008

Maclaren Wheel Covers: Are We Really A Nation Of Stroller Whiners?


As most Maclaren press releases are careful to remind us, Owen Maclaren, a former fighter plane engineer, changed the parenting world over 40 years ago when he invented the folding umbrella stroller. Which means that for at least the first 38 of those years, parents were fine when the wheels folded up and got a little road dust on the canopies of their rigs.

So how to explain the introduction by Maclaren at the ABC Kids Expo of freakin' wheel covers? Did a focus group mom [oops, parent, same thing, right?] two years ago complain about how unacceptable it is that her Burberry lined canopy gets dirty? Have we seriously become so obsessive as parents that we demand a way to keep dust from our precious children's hypoallergenic presence?

Maybe, but that's not why Maclaren wheel covers exist. They've been available in Japan for a while. That photo above has wheel covers with the old, til-2006 Maclaren logo on it, even. And if there's one thing I can believe about a country that individually wraps its marshmallows and that equips its public toilet with white noise machines to drown out the sound of your pee, it's that wheel grime in any amount would be a huge dealbreaker for Japanese moms.

Me, I just hope I can use them on the bottom wheels, which always rub against my pants leg when I use the shoulder strap. I totally hate that.

ABC Kids Expo 2008: Maclaren Wheel Cover [babble]
Maclaren Front Wheel Cover - Small (volo/daytripper-compatible), 1,733 yen [yahoo shopping jp]


This is one of those things that, if it came with the stroller, I would probably either never bother to take out of the box or I'd put it in a closet somewhere and forget about it. If not, I'm sure I'd lose it within a week out on the street. If it's not completely integrated into the product, it's a bad design.

Forget wheel covers. White noise machines in public bathrooms?! That's the best idea I've heard all week.

I saw these on another blog earlier this week and my first thought was actually "hmm, I wonder if that would solve daddytypes' issue with the Volo wheels dirtying his pants."

I always feel slightly bad when I put the Maclaren in the stroller closet at daycare and have to lean my filthy wheels on someone's nice clean stroller. No one's ever actually complained, though (that I know of).

As for dirtying the pants...wouldn't the usual shoulder-strap scenario be something like: arrive at subway station or other steep flight of stairs; unload baby and hold in one arm while folding Maclaren; sling Maclaren over shoulder? I'm not quite sure where you'd get the extra hand for placing wheel covers on the wheels...

if this were a hard shell case for the wheels, maybe i'd understand. we've had one wheel bend and break after airport manhandling. what sucked even more was seeing a mom with two kids and a fully useless stroller. the guy didn't really know what to say, except, "uh sorry."

so, yeah who cares about dirty wheels, at least you have 'em, right?

White noise machines in public bathrooms I can live without. What I need is white noise machines in friends' houses so I can use the bathroom during a dinner party.

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