Ride the Rails with Rail Explorers of Rhode Island

Pedal to the metal for a six-mile seascape adventure.

Down through the East Bay my mom and I go, over the Mount Hope Bridge to the Newport and Narragansett Bay railroad tracks. We arrive at the Rail Explorers Rhode Island division in Portsmouth for a morning adventure along the tracks.

The Portsmouth Grove Station is home to the pedal powered Rail Explorers, a new way to explore the coast of Aquidneck Island with beautiful views of Narragansett Bay. We are welcomed by friendly staff and a cute little navy-blue shack which looks like a miniature information center; the sliding red barn door, red Adirondack chairs and seashell drive scream nautical vibes. A fire pit, game of corn hole and a small booklet with the history of the local area that the tracks run through keeps waiting guests busy. As the team members get the rail bikes ready to go, I plop myself down on an Adirondack chair and flip through the guide.

I learn that Rail Explorers first opened in the summer of 2015 in New York’s Catskill Mountains, the Las Vegas division operates November through April (bundle up!) and the Rhode Island division began offering tours just over a year ago in April 2017. In the Rhody division, riders can choose between the Southern Circuit loop – three miles out towards Newport and three miles back, with a lunch break in between – or the Northern Ramble route towards Tiverton. Today we are riding six miles out on the Northern Ramble tracks, past the Green Animals Topiary Garden, the Carnegie Abbey Club, the Newport Beach Club and under the Mount Hope Bridge. Rather than riding back, an (air conditioned) coach bus gives riders a lift back to the main station.

Our guide gives us a few safety pointers, we look for our names on the bikes, buckle up and pedal on our way. The tandem rail bikes for two people cost $75 to rent and the quad rail bikes cost $125 for four riders. Each bike is equipped with brakes, though throughout the ride we are enough distance away from the people in the front and back of us to not need to use them. We pedal, pedal, glide along the tracks, a swift summer breeze jostles our hair, the sun shines down and the view of sailboats passing by are the perfect elixir for a Rhode Island summer morning. Hint: take to the tracks at night and ride among the lightning bugs that dot the night sky.

The views are worth the ride alone, but I can’t forget to mention how great of a physical activity this is, too. Pedaling along the tracks felt like a workout without the working out. It was not strenuous, but I could feel the effects of pedaling for six miles in my quad muscles after. Rail Explorers is the perfect way to not only spend quality time with the whole fam, but it is a great way to get in your daily dose of exercise at the same time too!

For more information or to book your own adventure, visit rail explorers.net.

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