Touring - Actually Ride the Rails?
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Several months ago I saw a travel show on some cable channel. In it, there was a spot about a company that had modified bicycles (they might have been recumbents) with a special outrigger to ride on abandoned train tracks. They then ran tours using the tracks that were available to them.
I have tried searching, but cannot find this again. Has anyone else heard of this?
04-11-05, 02:34 PM
I recall a National Geographic article about people doing this many years ago. I believe it was for crossing africa.
James H Haury
04-11-05, 02:50 PM
I read a blog about 3 years ago where a couple used the rails as a bike trail using out riggers on their bikes it was quite interesting.I think they were biking the canadian north or Alaska.
Well, with these replies I was able to refine my search a little more to come up with the transcript from an NPR spot about this. The transcript can be found at http://savvytraveler.publicradio.org/show/features/1999/19990904/bike.shtml. This is about someone in Oregon who is doing this. Their site is http://www.railbike.com/.
Just thought some people might be interested in this as a tour possibility. For more searching try "railbiking" or "bike rail outrigger".
Thanks for helping to jog my memory.
I was interested in the same thing a while back, I pictured rail biking hundred miles of abandoned lines through the countryside. So then I did a search for abandoned rail lines here in my home state of Kentucky. Sure enough they had a lot of them mapped out. Problem was that they were three miles here, seven miles there, none very long and the condition of the tracks is awful. All overgrown with fallen trees across the tracks everywhere. But...... if your area has a long unobstructed, unused line, I think it would be great.
04-11-05, 07:19 PM
Our neighbours had a reproduction of a turn of the centurary Sears Roebuck or Eatons catalogue. It had outriggers for bikes advertised. I've always remembered that and wondered if it would be possible to use today.
04-11-05, 08:24 PM
Here are a couple of fellows up my way that are into railbikes
04-12-05, 02:21 AM
Instead of adapting the bike to use the disused railway wouldn't it marvellous if the authorities converted them into cycleways just as the Spanish are doing throughout their country. Disused railway routes can get you straight out of the centre of big cities, avoiding heavy traffic and pollution. Their gradients are easy and they pass near centres of population ie villages and small towns. The largest concentration are in the north and south of Spain and by linking several together you can avoid some of the steeper terrain roads use. See what the Spanish are doing at with their 'Vias Verdes' (green ways):
Typical route between río Guadajoz and Las Navas del Sepillar (Córdoba).
Route map at
04-12-05, 03:34 AM
We call that rails to trails, but it only happens to railbeds outside the main cities, because around here they are actually expanding rail traffic to and in the port cities, a large amount. While the small lines that ran to outlying comunities, coal mining and timber areas have been abandoned for many years (they even removed the old rails and ties for reuse or sale).
I would think the problem with this is that all the abandoned rail lines around me either
1)Have their rails torn up and reused somewhere else
2)Eventually get so overgrown with weeds and trees that it would be impossible to bike on.
So, take a look at your application and usage first.
04-13-05, 12:16 PM
why not jsut ride on in-use rail lines? The lines would be in good shape, trains can be heard from long distances away, and are certainly more predictable than automobile traffic! Just don't get stuck out on a long bridge! ;)
why not jsut ride on in-use rail lines? The lines would be in good shape, trains can be heard from long distances away, and are certainly more predictable than automobile traffic! Just don't get stuck out on a long bridge! ;)About 700 trespassers get killed on the railroads every year in the US. Many of them never hear the train coming. Further, every year experienced railroad workers are struck by trains of which they had been unaware, and which they appear not to have heard coming. Don't bet your life on such a whim. Further, if the rails are still present, it is a good bet that what you are looking at is a lightly used line rather than an abandoned line, because railroads cycle their track from one line to another, finally selling the rails for scrap when they no longer can bear the weight of a train. They almost never abandon steel in place.
Always expect a train http://www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/338
04-15-05, 02:37 AM
Bla bla bla.
Chase the trains! That would be one heck of a draft and you know they won't brake check you.(freight trains that is) On the up hills its a mild grade so you can either try to keep up or lasso that mama and take the chairlift.
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