Our European Adventure with The Giant Pod Duo Bike Trailer

Oct 25, 2014 | 0 comments

My daughter decided to buy a bike trailer last spring for 2 reasons, to go jogging and for our upcoming family European vacation.  The bike trailer with a stroller conversion kit is ideal for jogging and the compact size when folded makes it ideal for travel. At least that was the plan.

She researched brands including Burly, Thule Chariot, Instep, Schwinn, and Giant.  She wanted a trailer large enough to fit 2 children, her 6 month old son, and  6 year old nephew.  She needed to have a stroller conversion kit and storage space.  It also needed to fit her budget of $500 or less.

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In the end she settled for  the Giant Pod Duo which was in the intermediate price range.  The Giant Pod duo sits 2 children weighing up to a total of 100 lbs.  It has a five point shoulder harness to keep kids secure, extra support under the seat so kids don’t sink in or sag, and a jogger converter.  Most importantly considering our upcoming vacation it folds easily and has a large storage space.  
She took it out for a run and her baby loved it!  He sat safely secured in his harness, the ride was very smooth even over uneven pavement, no shaking or jostling.  The baby enjoyed the ride so much he promptly fell asleep, a sure sign that it was a comfy ride.  
She thought her Giant Pod Duo would  come in handy when we strolled down the cobblestone streets in Italy.  It would comfortably sit my 2 grandsons with room to spare.  The large storage will fit all the baby gear and even have enough room of our shopping.!  Again that was the plan.
We met at New York’s Newark airport last June for the flight into Rome.  The Pod Duo had been checked it at the airport when she departed from Phoenix, we would find it at the Rome baggage claim.  My daughter told me that the stroller was so wide even while folded that the wheels had to be removed and the agents put it in a huge plastic bag when she checked it in.  She was still optimistic that the original plan would work.
When we claimed our luggage in Rome the Pod Duo was no where in sight.  It wasn’t with all the other strollers that had been checked in.  We finally found it sitting in the over sized bags claim on the other side of baggage claim.  It was still in its plastic bag, no one really knew what to make of this huge bulky item.
 My daughter set it up – it was much more involved than an ordinary stroller.  The wheels had to be secured back on after it was unfolded.  In the end we garnered some amused stares as we wheeled this ungainly stroller thru the baggage claim.  It did however carry all our hand luggage to the awaiting van, no small task as there were 7 of us traveling together.
When we reached our hotel the stroller would not fit in the tiny Roman elevators, my son-in-law had to carry it up the stairs to their room where it stayed until we departed for the train station a couple of days later.  The morning we made our way to the train station for the ride to Venice we loaded the Pod Duo with as much luggage it could hold.  It worked fine on Rome’s cobbled streets on the short walk to Roma Termini.  Again we got a lot of stares as we made our way to the station.

It took up a large section of the train’s luggage compartment, even folded up.  At the Mestre Station it had to be carried up and down the stairs to the exit and necessitated its own taxi to the hotel. Determined to use this stroller my daughter set it up yet again and we walked to the bus stop around the corner from the Novotel Mestre Hotel where we were staying.  On the bus it took up the entire space reserved for handicap and strollers, but we made it to Venice.  We used the Pod Duo as we walked around Venice, it did come in handy when the boys got tired.  It commanded a large space around our table when we sat down for drinks at Quadri’s in Piazza San Marco and lunch at a small trattoria in one of Venice’s tiny streets.  It had to be carried up and down the stairs that led to each of Venice’s many bridges, just imagine lumbering up the Rialto bridge one of the tallest bridges along the Grand Canal!  One thing good tho, we managed to clear a path between the hoards of tourists that were in Venice that day.  My son-in-law and husband definitely got a good workout carrying that stroller throughout Venice.  My husband vowed to buy a smaller stroller the first chance he got.

Pod Duo “parked” by our table at Quadri Cafe
Pod Duo with the boys inside at Piazza San Marco
We boarded a cruise ship in Venice for a 2 week Med cruise, rest assured the Pod Duo stayed folded up and stored away by their cabin attendant.  He did offer to set it up and bring it to us whenever we needed it, but there was no way any of us wanted to deal with it.  We ended up buying an inexpensive stroller in the market in Istanbul, the baby used that for the entire trip.
When she got home my daughter used the Pod Duo both as a stroller and a bike trailer.  It worked out ok but it had a couple of issues.  One it was too big, she no longer needed to sit 2 children in it.  And two the seat doesn’t recline, when the now 1 year old baby fell asleep in it he was uncomfortable.  The top was also too low making it difficult to get him in and out of the seat with a helmet on his head.
Recently she sold the Pod Duo to a mother who could really use it and purchased the bike trailer she really wanted, the Chariot Cougar 1.
So is the Giant Pod Duo really worth it?  Yes if you have 2 kids.  No if you think you’re going to be able to easily travel with it and navigate it thru Europe’s tiny alleys.
For more information on the Giant Pod Duo click here!  

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