By Emily Harrington
I’m a peanut butter chocolate, and he’s a cookie dough. The little one is “nilla” with sprinkles. The littlest one—anything he can get his hands on.
This isn’t the most traditional ice cream place in town, but it’s worth a visit. You see, the independent Red Bicycle Ice Cream at The Pines in Urbana (2740 Philo Rd., Suite D) doesn’t have a wall of soft serve. It doesn’t have an endless toppings bar, and it doesn’t feature a freezing slab to mash ingredients. It does, however, have a commitment to farm fresh, local ingredients in its production of a quality product. The milk is delivered to the shop, and it is made on site. It takes more of an old school ice cream shop approach while using modern sensibilities.
I first noticed a bike sculpture in the window displaying the slogan, “Life is all about balance.” It’s a fitting phrase for an ice cream shop that incorporates fresh ingredients into their rich concoctions. This makes the sinful a little more palatable.
You are limited to three samples. There is a rotating stock of flavors. Some stick around for longer than others. The flavors ultimately depend upon what’s in season, and what’s running out of stock.
Relatively consistently, though, you will find the following on the menu board:
- “Agatha Christie a Mystery with Every Scoop”—the leftover scoops from waning batches
- “Windsor Rd a Rocky Road in Urbana”—traditional rocky road. My husband got this in a homemade waffle cone (.75 extra). Which he described as good and fresh—thinner than most waffle cones.
Because there were no sprinkles, my son went for the brightest colored ice cream in the case—blueberry/raspberry sorbet in a kiddie cup/cone ($1.85). (They have a few nondairy option sorbets. You can also fine options that are nut and gluten free.) There was nothing left, so I’m guessing he liked it! I had a scoop of strawberry with a scoop of cookies and cream in a cup ($4.75). Both very good. And very good together. I would describe the ice cream as icy over creamy. It tasted really fresh. You could taste the incorporated flavors. The ice cream didn’t have a super smooth consistency, for it had chunks of ingredients throughout.
They definitely appeal to the kiddies. Teddy Graham sundaes or “Dirt” (both $3.25) with ice cream, cracker dust and gummy worms are offered. They also serve baked goods, sundaes ($6), smoothies (small $3) and milkshakes ($5.25). Indecisive? Try the “Flavorfest.” You can select four different mini scoops ($7). There are specials, too. You can add a cookie to your ice cream ($1), and you can add seasonal fruit toppings or sauce (50 cents). There are booster seats, but there were no high chairs (when we visited). So, you’ll be balancing a sugared-up baby on your lap while they grab for your goodies. At least that’s my life.
They have a free, serve-yourself water station. Why does ice cream always make you thirsty? Also, Columbia Street Roastery Coffee is for sale. Settle in with their Wi-Fi and a coffee if you want to watch your waistline. Add a scoop of ice cream to a cold brew for a buck—if you don’t!
Our treat cost us $11 and change. This seemed comparable to other places around town, and we’ve visited them all! They sell large batches, too, if you find a favorite.
If you visit, keep in mind that it is closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays. Thursday/Fridays they are open 3:30-9 p.m. On the weekends, stop by from noon to 9 p.m.
The owner named the shop because of his fond memories of riding his bicycle as a kid. The hope is, his ice cream brings that same amount of joy to you and yours. When you visit the shop—take a look at the bike displayed proudly.
Emily Harrington is a Chambana townie. She left her 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job in communications so that she could be a 24/7 mom to two busy boys. Still interested in writing, Emily uses some of naptime to practice her passion and keep her mind right. Emily is a happy wife with a happy life because she fell for a fellow townie. Emily usually finds herself engulfed in balls, blue and belly laughs.