If you’re looking for a unique and fun activity to do with a group of all skill and fitness levels then look no further than rail biking! Rail biking involves riding a specially designed bike on abandoned or unused railroad tracks, allowing you to experience the scenic beauty of the area in a whole new way. I recently got a chance to explore the Charlotte Valley Express in Cooperstown, one of four Rail Explores locations locations across the country (and 3 in driving distance of the Capital Region), and could not recommend it enough!
The Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley Railroad offers a 8-mile round trip rail biking experience through the beautiful countryside of upstate New York. You’ll start at Milford Depot, where you’ll be provided with a rail bike and tutorial on how to ride. From there, you’ll ride along the tracks at a leisurely pace, taking in the stunning views of rolling hills, farmland, and streams. “The Charlotte Valley Express,” meanders alongside the Susquehanna River, past fields and lakes and over the majestic 200 foot long Portlandville Trestle.
Those same tracks also offer the ‘The Milford Track’ – a spectacular 12 mile round trip (their longest ride yet!). “The Milford Track” journeys through the farm lands and forests alongside of the Susquehanna River. You’ll glide past working farms, magnificent woodlands and rumble across historic trestle bridges. If you opt for the evening ride this track even offers fireside S’mores at the half way point!
The rail bikes themselves are unique and easy to ride. They’re essentially four-wheeled carts that are fitted with bicycle pedals, so you can use your own power to move along the tracks. Each rail bike can accommodate two – four people, so you can bring a friend or family member along for the ride. And don’t worry about getting tired – the bikes are designed to be comfortable and easy to ride, even for beginners. The bike are equipped with pedal assist which really requires the most minimal effort to get you going so it’s prefect for everyone at any fitness or skill level! Their guides are super informative throughout you trip as well and give you as much or as little space as you need on your adventure.
With rides in Cooperstown, The Catskills, and Rohde Island you can certainly plan several rail bike adventures throughout the summer. I got a chance to catch up with Mary Joy Lu the owner and operator of Rail Explorers to find out a little bit more about how Rail Explorers got started and what you can expect from your adventure, listen to our conversation below and check out some pictures from my ride down the Milford Track!