An interview with Bumbleride CEO Matt Reichardt: meet the Speed Jogging Stroller & more!
Since 2004, Bumbleride co-founders Matt and Emily Reichardt have been designing strollers “as gear, purpose-built to perform whether taking your little ones on a trail run or navigating the local farmers market.” This year’s new debuts are even more outdoorsy than ever: Bumbleride has just introduced their first designated running stroller, and some eco-friendly new fabrics, too. In this interview with Matt, we got the inside scoop on how they came up with these new advances, and how they’ll enhance your life as an active parent.
Want to see the Speed and the rest of the Bumbleride collection in person (and chat with the Bumbleride crew about why their strollers are so cool)? They’ll be at Drool Baby Expo tomorrow, April 7 – if you don’t have your tickets, get them now!
Q: So, the marquee event for Bumbleride this year appears to be the Speed Jogging Stroller! We’re so excited to add it to our selection. I know that the Indie wasn’t designed as a jogger but was often used as one – how does the Speed improve on Indie for running parents?
I think they definitely serve different needs, Indie has always been a great option for urban strolling, all-terrain, and light jogging. For running parents moving at a faster pace, Speed has larger 16” back wheels for better control, a longer wheel base for better stability, and the new Speed 3 steering system, which gives more options on different terrains.
Q: The central feature of the Speed is the 3-speed steering system – can you tell me a bit about how this idea was developed, how it works, and why it will be terrific for parents?
The idea was developed from observations of how parents jog with strollers and from feedback from our customers. Basically there are three scenarios runners find themselves in: 1. Running at a fast pace on open road, boardwalk or somewhere that you don’t really need to steer. 2. Jogging anywhere else whether it be a park, trail, urban community where turning is required. 3. Everyday use walking where 360 degree swiveling is preferred. The problem that we found for parents is that a fixed wheel option is very limiting and not always convenient, and the swiveling option is not safe for jogging.
In response to this issue, the Speed 3 steering has 3 positions: fully locked with tracking for open road running, a 30 degree swivel, and a 360 degree swivel. The 30 degree swivel addresses the problem for joggers, allowing sufficient turning radius to steer while jogging but prevents the wheel from rotating past 45 degrees where the stroller can become unstable. It’s much like the way the steering is restricted on toddler balance bikes!
Q: What kind of family do you picture using the Speed stroller, and in what environments?
I would say families where either one or both parents are joggers, or like to get out on walks for exercise. Speed is designed for all terrain, so everything from city urban living to rural terrain. Because of its versatility, it also can be the only stroller an active family needs.
Q: What kind of response have you gotten about the Speed stroller so far?
I think a lot of our customers see it as an obvious addition to Bumbleride’s line up, and a much needed category. We have also seen excitement around the Speed 3 steering and our fabric story.
Q: The other big news this year is your new, even more eco-friendly fabrics – so cool! We love how committed your company is to sustainable design. Tell me a bit about what they’re made of and why they’re an improvement on previous fabrics.
All are fabrics are a durable 100% polyester made with 100% rPET (PET which makes up polyester can be made from virgin material or can be reused from post consumer plastic bottles). We also have select colors that will be using an innovative dye process called Solution Dye. This process applies the dye as the polyester yarn is being created, rather than after the fact, which saves 89% of the water used to traditionally dye fabrics.
We started working with 50% rPET (recycled) with a few select models in 2011 to reduce our energy and emissions, and in 2013 we applied this to all of our models. Starting in 2016, we have committed to 100% rPET in an effort to reduce energy and emissions even further, using about 28 post-consumer bottles per stroller (52 for Indie Twin). As a company, we are seeking to more fully understand the manufacturing process and in which ways we can reduce our impact on the environment. As technologies develop, we look forward to exploring more sustainable options.
Q: One of my favorite things about Bumbleride has always been your colors – your strollers just stand out in a crowd because they’re so unique. How does the company choose which colors to develop and which ones to continue?
Thank you! We like working with color. We always try to stay current but not trendy with our colors. More than just deciding on a color, we spend time trying to get the right shade of a particular color, and if and how to combine it with accent colors to create the desired look.