ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Issaquah’s Ben Armlin said he was feeling nostalgic when he first started riding his tricycle back in 2015.
Armlin has several trikes now and said he’s learned to perfect the design through years of field tests. Armlin and his trike are very popular this week as a heat wave has the Seattle area scrambling for relief.
Issaquah Ice Cream Trike is Armlin’s nostalgic twist on the modern ice cream truck - minus the truck.
“I like pedaling around instead of being in a vehicle because it’s friendlier and I get to meet everybody face to face,” said Armlin.
Issaquah Ice Cream Trike is a fusion of ingenuity and Armlin’s desire to be like the old-fashioned ice cream vendors he remembers as a kid.
“I wanted my whole look to be friendly and approachable,” Armlin said.
He wears the vintage looking paper cap, only his is made from cloth and custom sewn by his mother. A bowtie and colorful sweatband accent a crisp white shirt with a name tag. It's a self-imposed and self-created throwback uniform to make people smile.
“I’ve had a lot of jobs, but it’s different when I return home happy because people were happy to see me all day long.” said Armlin.
The trike was mostly designed by a company out of Portland Oregon. For several years Ben made it work as is.
“A company called Electric & Folding Bikes Northwest helped me make the leap to adding some power to the trike and that changed everything,” Armlin said.
The power assist allows him to be more ambitious with his haul.
“I can bike around about 600 items and today I’ll put in more than 20 miles.” Armlin said.
The tech twist comes through a simple use of GPS. Armlin said that everyday on social media he shares his schedule of where he will be and a link to his live GPS.
“Kids and adults like the tracker. I’ve even had people following me in cars, waiting to see where I’ll stop,” he said.
On Wednesday, the trike started at Swedish Hospital, offering treats to the staff before Armlin peddled his way to spend the afternoon in downtown issaquah.
“This heatwave is OK by me. Last summer, we hit 116 on the highlands ... so temps in the 90’s won’t keep me from pedaling my popsicles around to the people," Armlin said.