The Week of November 30 - December 7, 1999 (Visit our Archives)

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Photo by Scott Longfield

Ice Cream Bike Is A Blast From The Past

RUMSON - Last summer, Charles Measley, 19, was working a minimum wage job and looking for a way to make extra money to pay for school. This summer, Measley is the owner/operator of Charlie's Ice Cream, an ice cream and Italian ice company that travels the streets and parks of Rumson on a bicycle.

"I wanted to do something different," Measley said. "I started thinking about the 1950s and '60s and remembered they all had ice cream bicycles driving down the streets and no one else did that anymore. I thought it would be a pretty neat idea to bring it back."

According to Measley it took him two months to locate a business that manufactured the bicycles that have a freezer compartment in the front and when fully stocked weigh between 300 and 400 pounds.

Measley eventually found a company located on Long Island that operates out of Ozone Park and has been manufacturing the bicycles since the 1800s.

Last summer, Measley purchased an ice cream bicycle and began making the rounds throughout Rumson. One year later, Measley purchased his second bicycle in order to expand to sell Italian ice as well as ice cream.

Although the business has grown in a short time Measley said that the beginning of this season "has been horrible" because of all the wet weather.

"I got caught in the rain two or three times," said Measley. "But now that it's stopped raining it's been a lot better."

"My original plan (last summer) was to go along the boardwalk in Long Branch but the city council doesn't want anyone down there," Measley said. "I didn't know what I was going to do because that was my whole plan. I had no idea a year later I'd be buying another cart."

After being denied a route in Long Branch, Measley obtained a vendor's permit for his ice cream bike from the Borough of Rumson. Since then he has purchased the Italian ice cart as well as two freezers for storage.

Measley has even had to create business cards for his growing operation.

"When I first started kids didn't know what it was so they would just sort of stare," said Measley. "When they figured out what it is then they all came running."

To accompany the nostalgic style of the ice cream bicycle with its front-end freezer and attached umbrella, Measley goes a step further and dresses in the accustomed attire of the day.

Measley wears a white cap with a white polo shirt and khaki shorts and even sports a change dispenser to add to the old time feel.

"Everyone loves it because it's sort of a show as well," Measley said. "There's the ice cream but then you have me with the change dispenser, the hat, the shirt and I'm on a bicycle. It's sort of a blast from the past." According to Measley he hadn't originally planned to do birthday parties and special events but decided to pursue it when he began receiving requests from people along his route.

"I wasn't planning on it but by going around, people started asking me if I did birthday parties or barbecues, so I've started to do parties and special events," Measley said. "After people started asking I started making business cards."

Measley usually begins his day around 1 p.m. by riding down to Victory Park in Rumson where he'll stay until approximately 2:30 p.m.

"Then I'll go around the local streets and around 3:30 I'll go to City Hall where all the workers are getting off down there," Measley said. "I'll go around the streets again, take a break, and then go down toward the Saint George area at night."

Measley said that he also makes stops at the local athletic fields when sporting events are taking place.

Measley also has plans for the upcoming July 4th weekend.

Measley will have one of his bicycles stationed at Victory Park while the other will be traveling around town looking for parties and barbecues, and possibly make a stop at the boat launch.

Measley is currently working toward receiving his Associate's Degree in Business from Brookdale Community College and plans to attend Rider University in the future.

Measley also hopes that his ice cream business continues to do well and has plans to expand even further if it does.

"I'll probably expand along the shore towns if everything works out," Measley said. "And next summer hopefully be down along the boardwalk in Long Branch."

Measley can be reached at (908) 675-2615 by anyone interested in having Charlie's Ice Cream at an upcoming event or party.