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UP CLOSE: I scream, you scream, we all scream for the bicycle
August 10, 2018

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LAKE PLACID - Emily Brown and Sarah Poirier recently bought a new bike. It looks like a regular bike aside from the massive cooler that can carry a surprising amount of ice cream.

This summer, Brown and Poirier started their new business Icy Conditions, a mobile ice cream concession bike. The idea was mainly just for fun, but it also doubles as a way to fund ice skating lessons for Poirier's daughter Brynn.

The bike doesn't ride as easily as a Schwinn or a Kona. It's a two-person operation, but far from a tandem. Poirier steers the bike while Brown pushes. The pushing helps when going up hills, Brown said. It keeps the bike straight so it doesn't crash into anything.

"The trunk in the back is super heavy," Brown said, "so there's not much riding. It happens sometimes, but you'd be lucky to see it."

There are even some minor health hazards in pushing the bike around all the time.

"I got shin splints after a rough day," Brown said. "Sometimes people stop and ask if we need help, but it's all good."

Inside the cooler are all the classics - Chipwiches, Choco Tacos and Fire Cracker popsicles. Brown and Poirier wear red, white and blue shirts to match the Fire Crackers. The two said they want to add more ice creams such as the Spongebob, Spider-Man and Mickey Mouse bars.

"It fits a lot more than we thought," Brown said. "Honestly, the trunk is super big. We usually have eight different varieties of ice cream with a pretty decent amount."

"We don't run out," Poirier said.

Keeping everything cold also takes plenty of work, especially when Lake Placid has been experiencing temperatures consistently reaching more than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is where dry ice comes into play. However, solid carbon dioxide is hard to come by in the North Country.

"If we want to sell ice cream on the weekend, we need dry ice." Poirier said, "That normally requires a two-hour trip to Whitehall on Thursdays. If we're going out for, like, two hours sometime during the week, we'll just pick up a normal bag of ice."

The bike is also decked out with photos of Icy Conditions customers.

"We try to document all of our customers," Poirier said. "We take Polaroids and then put them on the bike."

"It's kind of like a hall of fame," Brown added.

When they're not slinging ice cream, Brown is the general manager at the Base Camp Cafe on Main Street, works in social media marketing and is a dance instructor while Poirier owns and operates the Beauty Loj and Norm's Plus barber shop. An ice cream bike may sound like a simple and fun operation, but Brown and Poirier said a lot of preparation and permits went into starting the business.

"It's easier to open a beauty salon," Poirier said. "There was just so many permits and health code regulations that you need to follow when you start something like this."

Where they can serve ice cream is also part of the equation. A handful of local businesses allow the two to set up shop on or adjacent to their properties.

"Right now, we're stopping at places like Adirondack Steak and Seafood, the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery and sometimes just right outside the salon," Poirier said.

Brown added, "We can't set up on the beach because it's a public park, so we try to get by it or next to it."

The two think the ice cream bike has been a success so far.

"We always have people telling us that they love it and wish they thought of the idea," Brown said, "and I think people are excited to see some kind of ice cream truck in town."

"And us riding it; they think it's hilarious," Poirier added.

The day before Lake Placid held the annual Ironman triathlon, there was the Ironkids race - the perfect event for Brown and Poirier to debut their new business. As kids ran through the blue archway and grabbed their gold medals, they also received a frozen treat.

"I think we handed out anywhere from 500 to 700 freeze pops," Poirier said.

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