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While this no-weld rail bike conversion looks like it would be unsafe at any speed, it does look like a ton of fun (isn’t that always the case?). There are miles and miles of unused tracks that carve their way through America’s backcountry that have yet to be converted to bike trails. Something like this could make these hidden corridors and seldom used easements instantly accessible to folks crazy enough to attempt riding it. [via BikeHacks]

Adam Flaherty

I make cool stuff and write about other people making cool stuff on makezine.com. If you have something you think I should see, send me a tip.


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Comments

  1. Peter says:

    Yes and after peak oil, soon to be our only form of mass transit.

    1. AndyL says:

      When the oil runs out we’ll have more important things to do with our rails than put bicycles on them.
      Abandoned rails are a symptom of our truck-centric economy.

    2. Alan S. Blue says:

      Because after we run out of oil, biodiesel just won’t work!

  2. alex says:

    It looks like a fun ride as long as it stays on the tracks! I wonder if the stabilizer on the left track has a lip around the sides that keeps it from slipping off.

    I also wonder if some of practicality is lost in this photo with there being a bike trail nary 2′ away.

  3. Tommysno says:

    Until someone with another comes the other way…

    And yeah, peak oil… They say that’s coming in 1974… I mean 1984. Or 1988… Or was it 2000… 2010…? OH wait, now we have more oil HERE in the US than in Saudi Arabia… Let’s get it before we have to bike the rails…!

    1. Arthur says:

      Yes! what happened with Hubbert peak theory? oil seems to be endless…., and lots of hughe deposits remain to be explored as under Faulkland islands, in front of Argentina (get ready for another war…). Let´s hope our atmosphere withstands 100 years more !!

  4. nerdnights says:

    I was also wondering what kept this on the rails — but a quick shufti at their website shows another picture of a clever arrangement coming forward from the front wheel which isn’t very visible in this image.

  5. Hank says:

    Ha! Nothing new…Page 284 of the Sears, Roebuck & Co. 1902 reprint catalog (ISBN 0-517-00922-6) with a dual flanged outrider wheel…

  6. wadoman says:

    don’t know if i’m keen on the metal guides on the inside of the tracks. a lot of metal on metal scraping. Should have skate wheels there that can be adjusted in/out for tension.

  7. Somebody says:

    looks fun , i think you could use some wheels with berings from boths sides of the rail to get a nice grip to the rail

  8. Actually, the frame is currently a total loss. He was driving @ ~ 18mph, when there was a snag in the rail, which caused him to go head over rails… (see http://www.bikehacks.com/bikehacks/2012/04/rail-bike.html which has details on the crash).

  9. rocketguy1701 says:

    Not to be a safety dweeb, but when rail-biking (with perhaps a more robust design, but props for the hackery) make sure you’re only using abandoned track. Folks get killed every year by trains that they’re totally certain either won’t be there or they can jump off in time for. That said, I really want to try rail biking someday, or possibly rail carting…

  10. [...] I’ve never seen a railbike in action, the concept has always fascinated me, and here’s one that doesn’t seem to need any welding. No abandoned trackage convenient to me, but it’s around. My only reservation is that it must [...]

  11. craig says:

    I don’t understand how it can stay safely on the rails with a 1 point contact on the left. Wouldn’t the small side wheel bracket act as a pivot point to allow the bike wheels to go off the rail? Even with that front stabilizer it seems it would want to drift and/or bind. If it starterd to bind and then hit a slightly bad joint, that is likely how the crash happened. A 4-point contact (2 bike wheels, 2 sidecar wheel apperatusses far apart) seems like a better idea, like an actual train car. And you’d only need siderail rollers on both sides of the rail on the left apperatus, P.S. abandoned railways are obvious by the rust, even seldom used lines don’t rust up like that.

  12. Murray E. Moore says:

    Looks like a Segway-type stabilization system would work FAR better………..