Last year we committed to exploring more of our own backyard. We live in beautiful Vermont and there are so many outdoor activities in and around our state, many of which we’ve never explored – and we’re both born and raised Vermonters. This past weekend we went railbiking in the Adirondacks with Revolution Rail Company.
Admittedly we did no research prior to booking and going on the excursion. Todd found the site, saw the cool railbikes, and booked a tour for Mason’s birthday weekend. We didn’t really prep or read up on what to expect and we didn’t bring anything with us. I’m going to give you a little information on railbiking in the Adirondacks so that you can be more prepared than us, and also so that you go in with clear expectations!
I don’t know why, but I had assumed that when railbiking you go out alone with the people you attended with. I envisioned it sort of like a water slide where they sent you out, waited for a fair distance, and then sent out the next bike. That is not the case.
I also expected it to be more exciting and faster-paced. It is much more a leisurely stroll.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s start at the beginning.
Revolution Rail Company Excursion
You arrive at North Creek Railroad Station in North Creek, New York, a lazy little town in the middle of the forest and winding roads with the Hudson River running through it. Our tour was booked at 2, and right around 2:00, we were gathered outside the train station and a safety briefing began – a quick do’s and don’t’s presentation. At around 2:10 we were ushered onto two school buses for the 5-mile trip to the launching point.
At the launching point we were again gathered into a group, this time in front of the bikes on the track, and the conductors (tour guides) gave us a quick demonstration for using the railbikes, how to get on and off safely, work the brake and where people should seat themselves. After that, they started taking people to their railbikes.
There were four of us, so we had a quad bike. The two kids sat in the front, with Todd and me in the back. Once the whole group was strapped in and ready to roll, we set off. There was also a little basket on the back of the bike for backpacks, tote bags, and coolers – perfect for drinks and snacks.
The first bike was the tour guides and they set the overall pace of the group. Unfortunately, we were behind a two-person bike with two women that were much more about eating their snacks and listening to their music on a Bluetooth speaker than enjoying nature and peddling with any amount of speed. We swallowed our frustration and enjoyed the leisurely bike through the woods. The kids were enjoying themselves and we chatted as we rode.
The most spectacular part of the trail is the trestle bridge that takes you over the Hudson River. It has beautiful views and I loved the sound of going over the bridge and the rushing water.
Just past the bridge is the mid-way point where you stop and head down to the riverbank while the staff turns the bikes around. There’s a small wooded seating area and some spots where you can sit along the river bank. There is also an outhouse.
Mason enjoyed getting his feet wet in the river while we waited for about a half-hour. This would have been a great time for a little picnic, as there really wasn’t much else to do.
Once the bikes were turned around, the conductors called us back up and we got back onto our bikes, this time the people behind us were in front. The way there was slightly uphill, which meant the way back was slightly downhill. This time we had two parents and two toddlers in front of us, and we were pleasantly surprised with their pace. It still wasn’t the speed demon pace we would have preferred, but we were able to stop, let the people behind us catch up, and then pedal like crazy, whizzing through the forest, catch up to the bike in front and then stop and repeat. The little guy in front of us got a kick out of this and when he heard us approaching he would pedal like crazy and encourage his family to do the same, all while looking back to see how fast we were gaining!
The conductors also took photos of us as we set up and also on the trestle bridge, which they posted to Flickr the next day and you are allowed to download. They’re not professional-quality photos, but it was nice to have a photo of the 4 of us that wasn’t just our heads in a selfie!
Once back to the starting point we disembarked from the bikes and then had to wait about 15 minutes for the buses. It was 80 degrees and we were hot and a little grouchy by the time the buses arrived. I definitely would have preferred they had their timing down a little bit better.
Overall the 6-mile tour was fun, but we wouldn’t do it again. Railbiking the Adirondacks was a one time go for us.
The crew were all friendly and helpful and the equipment was well taken care of. There is no age limit for the bikes, even infants are welcome in a carrier. There is a 300-pound weight limit per seat on the bike. The bike does have seatbelts and you are expected to wear them. I would also recommend bug spray for the halfway mark intermission. Also, the tour is rain or shine. When getting our photos from Flickr I noticed the groups that were the day before us were drenched! Many had brought ponchos, so keep that in mind the day of your tour!
I think I would prefer that they had “adventure levels” to choose from for this railbiking trip. Those looking for a leisurely ride, those that are a bit more athletic, and those that are plain speed demons that way everyone can enjoy they’re own activity level.
If you’re ever in the Adirondacks in New York, check out this unique railbiking adventure. There were also several white water rapids companies that looked fun, so keep that in mind if you plan a day trip.