Fulfilling a lifetime dream
BRECKENRIDGE – Ever since Russ Paul Rahn was a little boy, he wanted to sell ice cream from a bicycle.
But stints as a commercial diver on an oil rig, a location manager in Hollywood, an electrician at a petrochemical plant, a bartender, a cashier at City Market – even a job sitting next to an old man to ensure he was still breathing – all got in the way.
Now, at 55, Rahn is living his dream.
“Call me crazy, but I just love riding bikes,” he said. “I’m kind of doing this for fun. I always wanted to drive one of these things.”
Rahn, whose new business venture is called the Ice Cream Pedaller, hopes to start cruising up and down the bike path in Breckenridge this weekend selling ice cream sandwiches, pushups, Eskimo Pies and energy drinks.
Rahn said he won’t be quitting his day job at City Market anytime soon.
“It’s kind of like that “Leave it to Beaver’ show, when Wally Cleaver gets an ice cream job, and all his friends laughed at him, say they’ll pay him tomorrow and they didn’t and Ward had to bail Wally out of it,” Rahn said. “I don’t have a Ward to bail me out of this.”
Depending on the occasion, Rahn plans to wear baggy beach shorts and a Hawaiian shirt or a white chef’s outfit with a black bowtie. He’s also thinking about wearing a T-shirt with a tuxedo printed on it when he peddles his wares during Backstage Theatre events on Ridge Street.
During the Fourth of July’s Firecracker 50 bike race, Rahn will be at the head of the pack – for the first lap, anyway.
He’s not sure how easy it will be to pedal a 250-pound bike at 9,600 feet elevation, but Rahn is hardly unprepared. The Breckenridge man puts about 100 miles a week on his bike, and has riden from Los Angeles to La Paz, Mexico, and from Death Valley, Calif. to Green River, Utah.
The Breckenridge Town Council gave Rahn approval to pedal his bike along the bike path in town – but only if he keeps customers out of the way of other traffic on the path.
“I’m going to stay off Main Street – first, so I’m not competing with anybody,” Rahn said. “And two, for my own safety. The sidewalks are too narrow, and the streets are too nuts. I’d hate to be hit by one of those Escalades.”
The town planning commission approved a similar operation last year for Nick Farkouh, a Breckenridge man who endeavored to put pedicabs – a sort of rickshaw on wheels – on Main Street to transport people to and fro.
Farkouh hoped to have 10 to 15 pedicabs on the streets within a year, but the business never took off like it has in other towns, and town records indicate the business, Ice-Cycles, is no longer active.
To eliminate complaints from merchants who say Rahn might have an unfair advantage because he doesn’t have to pay the upkeep they do – rent, common area fees and the like – Rahn has obtained a business occupation license. He also plans to operate mostly on summer weekends.
Although this summer will be a test, Rahn already is talking with a bicycle distributor about becoming the rep for Colorado.
“My main concern is, I want to pay for the cart,” he said. “I’m not looking to make a killing. I’ve just always been trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, and here I am: an ice cream vendor.”
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or email@example.com.
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