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  1. #1
    I am the Eggman Mooo's Avatar
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    riding the ghost railroads.

    Not far from our house is an old railroad bridge abutment. It's back in the woods a little ways, and you can still see a couple of ties on the roadbed. Downtown, you can see a couple of vacant lots that used to be rights of way. Most of this was pulled up in the late '70's. A little research, a little imagination, and you can still see signs here and there where the right of way was: a little raised, straight line in the middle of a corn field, a strange little cut on the side of a hill, a peculiar bend in a road. Google earth helps, because you can see some straight lines where there shouldn't be any.

    So my winter project, IF I get ambitious enough, is to take the old bike out and try to trace some of the railroad tracks within 10 miles from home, and take a couple of pics. I get bored with pointless riding in circles; having some thing to go see, or some reason to ride really helps with motivation. Also, winter is better than summer for this since the undergrowth is less, and you can actually see some things much better.

    I'd save the in-town stuff for those days when I can just grab a half hour or the temperature is well below freezing.

    Ideally, the bike would pre-date the year the track was pulled up. That won't always be possible, as there is some around here that was pulled in eighteen fiftyfive.

  2. #2
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    Gonna make a rail-bike?\
    EDIT: pulled up, nevermind, but rail-bikes are still cool.

  3. #3
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Here in the NH mountains, the old railroad beds are fairly well maintained, without the tracks, by the snow mobile clubs. I hope to ride them as soon as they are snow packed on my Snow Cycle. Good luck on your expedition. Here's a picture of what I'm riding.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Bob
    Dreaming of Summertime in NH!

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    FreeWheelSpa.com orpastorbobnlnh.com

  4. #4
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    That sounds like a fun idea. Mr. East Hill and I were told by one of the old-timers who lives outside the town of Rainier (on Johnson Creek Road), here in Washington, that there used to be old logging railroads where we've gone mountain biking. There is so little trace of them that we can barely see the traces, and in some cases, the tracks were overlaid by roads. But you can still trace them on Google Earth. It's like doing your own archaeology.

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  5. #5
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    The old rail beds in my area have been a used as recreational trails for over twenty years. They are great for casual riders and a historical perspective, but they get boring pretty quick, as any grades are very shallow and the curves very gradual.

  6. #6
    Traffic Frightener. Rusty Valiant's Avatar
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    Great Idea!
    One of my big rides I've planned for when the snow melts is along the trans Canada trail to my Grandparents' cottage. The section between there and Ottawa is a part of the old CP rail line that was torn up. There's some great old finds along there too, given that the rail access ceased years ago and buildings were abandoned. There's a really neat one room schoolhouse just sitting in the woods beside it.
    Looking forward to pictures.
    Unsafe at Any Speed.

  7. #7
    Novist senior member tolfan's Avatar
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    cool idea. here in lancaster there is the cow highway you've given me the idea to ride it.

  8. #8
    I am the Eggman Mooo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Mar
    The old rail beds in my area have been a used as recreational trails for over twenty years. They are great for casual riders and a historical perspective, but they get boring pretty quick, as any grades are very shallow and the curves very gradual.
    Ah, but those are easy to find. We're talking about hidden stuff. Like geocaching.
    Part of the fun is in finding some sign that the track was there. An 8' paved or gravel path is fairly easy to find.
    The other part is getting there on a bike that was built before the track was pulled up.

  9. #9
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    That sounds like a lot of fun! We used to have a house in the DEEP south portion of IL, and there were miles and miles of 19th and early 20th century railbeds, many still had bridges and a gravel topcoat. In fact, our lot had one of the original 20th century gravel roads running through it you could still faintly see. I always wanted to explore those railbeds. Unforunately, the only ones around here are so torn up they are impassable or they have been developed into a doublewide-stroller/rollerblader path. Enjoy it and know I'm envious!
    commuter turned bike mechanic turned commuter (also a Velocity USA employee, but this is my personal account)

  10. #10
    Senior Member intron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seely
    Bikeforums misses you, sydney.
    Jack of all trades, master of none.

  11. #11
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Oh, the Jack of all trades is a reference to me... I'm the do-all guy at the bike shop, but I'm not particularly great at anything. But yeah, I do miss Sydney's harsh wit.
    commuter turned bike mechanic turned commuter (also a Velocity USA employee, but this is my personal account)

  12. #12
    I am the Eggman Mooo's Avatar
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    Here goes...
    #1: the former PRR bridge over the Flat Rock River. Before it was the Pennsylvania it was the Madison & Indianapolis, the first railroad in the state. In the background, not really visible, are the foundation bits for the former interurban railroad that ran to Indianapolis.


    #2:
    The interurban bridge abutment from within what is now a well groomed neighborhood. The track used to run through this yard.

  13. #13
    Senior Member rmikkelsen's Avatar
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    http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive...elocipede.html

    "The wheels have rubber bands 3 ins. wide and 3-16 in. thick on the tread, which make the machine run easily without jar, and also without noise, so that the rider can catch the sound of approaching trains."

    At least approaching trains won't be a hazard for you!

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