Newly invented ice bikes have glided onto an outdoor skating rink in Buffalo, New York to make their official debut.
The bicycles on ice skates had become an instant hit when they first made their way onto the ice at Canalside the day the new ice rink opened on the city’s waterfront during a cold, frigid winter.
On that December day, the bundled riders who have ignored the breath-taking cold to be one of the first to rent themselves an ice bike, invented by Lisa Florczak. Inquiries from quite a few other cold-climate cities in Michigan, Minnesota, Wyoming and even internationally in Canada have been rolling in since the Buffalo debut.
“I had no notion if this would perform or how people would respond,” Florczak said on a recent afternoon as Parkinson’s patients tested the bikes to see if this form of exercise was possible for them. “I believed I may possibly end up becoming the laughing stock of the city.”
Instead, she is relishing getting component of Buffalo’s efforts to revitalize its waterfront and draw tourists year-round, even when the Lake Erie breeze is the opposite of enjoyable. The ice bikes give even non-skaters the opportunity to step out onto the ice, and enjoy the hot cocoa, warm nuts and craft beer sold at kiosks nearby.
Florczak’s family business, Water Bikes of Buffalo, was renting pontoon bikes to allow riders to pedal the Buffalo River in warmer months when economic development officials put out a contract for concepts for the 33,000 square-foot ice rink that began construction nearby on a recreation of the Erie Canal.
“They said the ice is going to be pretty massive, and they thought they might want one thing a lot more than just skating,” Florczak said.
“I thought: ‘What a best opportunity to go from water biking to ice biking,’” Florczak added.