The Best Rail Bike Tours and Where to Find Them

“Do you even rail bike, bro?”

You’ll probably be asked this question hundreds of times this summer by anyone from your most extreme friend to your grandmother’s knitting buddies. That’s because the newest outdoor activity on Earth is beloved by adventure seekers of all ages.

Put simply, rail biking is riding pedal-powered machines along railroads that have no train traffic. Rail bike tours are new and expanding all over the world, making use of defunct rail lines that traverse scenic natural areas. Here’s a closer look at the best rail bike tour operators.

Rail Explorers USA

This company provides rail bike tours in the Catskill Mountains and Rhode Island (a Las Vegas operation is slated to open soon). With scenic views throughout the relaxed excursion, these trips are perfect for those looking to get off the beaten path and check out the region in a very new and exciting way.

Rail Explorers USA offer two types of “Explorer” vehicles: a tandem for two people or quads for up to four people. They are safe, well-designed and easy to use.

The Catskills tour brings people alongthe historic Ulster and Delaware Railroad, where they travel alongside Esopus Creek through the woods. Bring a snack and a drink for lunch at the creekside turnaround. The trip is eight miles roundtrip and takes about 2.5 hours.

The Rhode Island trip offers two tours: “The Northern Ramble” and “The Southern Circuit.” The Ramble takes guests on a six-mile jaunt from Portsmouth to the Sakonnet River. It’s a one-way trip with a return via shuttle bus. The Circuit trip is six miles roundtrip and allows guests to eat lunch at a private waterfront picnic area.

Flekkefjordbanen

Who says southern Norway doesn’t have some of the best rail biking on Earth? Well … no one. But if you’re in the Flekkefjord area and looking for stunning nature scenes, architectural wonders and some leg-pumping, self-propelled action, the rail-biking tour at Flekkefjordbanen is not to be missed.

This railway line operated for nearly all of the 20th century, connecting Flekkefjord to Sørlandsbanen. Though the last journey made by the Flekkefjordbanen train was in 1990, visitors and locals alike can once again tour this magical area by rail — by bike.

Norwegians in this area are intent on preserving the railroad and turning it into a living museum. Example A: The slogan, which goes “cultural salvation through active use.” Rail biking is the perfect way to put that slogan into action. An activity suitable for old and young alike, the track takes you through a beautiful natural landscape and no less than 17 tunnels. There are tours every day in the summer.

Revolution Rail Co.

The Adirondacks-based Revolution Rail Co. leads riders on a six-mile adventure through the forest along the Hudson River in New York. One of the highlights of this fairly flat-terrain ride is crossing a trestle bridge over the Hudson (think Stand By Me sans train). At the turnaround point, riders can refuel with a snack and a drink while the bikes are readied for the return trip.

This trip will truly be an exploration for most, considering this section of the Adirondacks has never seen passenger traffic before. Tours run throughout each day and there is no minimum age requirement, meaning baby Timmy can be a part of the fun.

Outdoor and Fitness

The Return of Dave Mackey: From Ultrarunner to Leg Amputee and Back

In 2016, ultrarunner Dave Mackey made the decision to amputate is left leg below the knee — but that hasn't stopped him.
Travel

21 Best Travel Books to Inspire Your Next Adventure

Get out of town ... or just go to the library. Travel books simulate the sensations of sailing, sightseeing, and setting out to explore.
Fashion & Style

Wolverine Boots Collabs with 2 Other Michigan Brands for Limited-Edition 1000 Mile Boots

We caught up with Wolverine designer Rea Verburg to get the details on how these three legendary Michigan apparel makers came together.
Travel

Travel Switzerland Like a Gentleman Aboard the Luxury Glacier Express

You can sip cognac like a sophisticate aboard Europe's most iconic and breathtaking rail journey.
Outdoors

How to Survive a Bear Attack: Brown Bears, Black Bears, Polar Bears, Oh My

The chances of encountering a bear in the wild are slim, but you should always be prepared for the worst.
Outdoors

Tips for Camping in the Rain You Should Read Before You Get Soaked

There are several pieces of gear, a few techniques, and some clever hacks that will make your sodden outdoor experience a pleasure despite the drizzle or downpour.
Outdoors

Outdoor Retailer Snow Show 2019: First Look at the Coolest Upcoming Gear

Here are the coolest gear pieces and insane technologies that we saw at Outdoor Retailer. These products are a sneak peek at what will be available to the public in the next few years.
Travel

The Best Travel and Adventure Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

If you're reading this, you're staring at a screen. Wouldn't you rather be exploring a different part of the world than the Internet?
Outdoors

4 of the Most Dangerous Hikes in the World

You'll need a healthy dose of fear and a desire to push your self to the edge — just not over it.
Outdoors

6 Most Scenic Day Hikes in U.S. National Parks

It’s no wonder that some of the best views in the country are located within national parks.
Outdoors

4 of the Most Challenging Day Hikes in the U.S.

These trails are not for the faint of heart, but if you possess the necessary skills and are in above-average shape, they can be knocked out in one day.
Outdoors

Camp, Eat, and Have a Beer Underwater with the Ocean Space Habitat ‘Tent’

Imagine playing poker and sharing a bottle of bourbon with your buddies underwater.
Outdoors

The Essential List of Best Gear for the Climbing Gym

Even when it’s 0 degrees outside or raining sideways, you can still climb inside in a climbing gym. Here's the gear you need to start.
Outdoors

If Iron Man Designed a Ski Boot, It Would Be the Dahu Écorce

A hinge system and inner boot allow the wearer to step out of the plastic shell and walk around.