It sounds odd, riding a bike on the railroad tracks. It’s something most of us were told never, ever, ever to do (it’s dangerous!). But up in Thorndike, Maine, not far from Unity, the railroad tracks are safe from oncoming locomotives. Trains no longer travel along the route where the bikes go. Although that won’t stop your heart from jumping just a bit every time you think you feel the tracks vibrate.
The Brooks Preservation Society maintains the tracks, and in an effort to keep people enjoying them, commissioned a few of these wonderfully odd two-person bicycles that fit perfectly on the tracks. Some even hold a few additional people on the back. The ride in either direction is fairly flat and easy for most folks to manage. Pack a lunch or grab some goods from Garden Variety, the local shop where you’ll pick up your tickets.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Children under 10 are not permitted to operate rail bikes but can be riders. Tickets are purchased at a funky shop called Garden Variety in Thorndike, just across the street from the old depot where the rail bikes are docked. The shop has some munchies, cold beverages and a host of neat antiques and strange odd-and-ends. Oh, and homemade ice cream sandwiches.
Railbike season runs from May through October. For more information about the rail bikes or to reserve: www.brookspreservation.org or 207-568-3523 (ask for Diana).