Editor’s note: This originally ran in 2021, and has been updated with information for the 2022 season.
By Jamie Organski
As Adirondack Scenic Rail Bike Adventures comes off the heels of a sold-out summer season, Division Manager Erin Crowe said she and fellow staff are eager to welcome guests to enjoy fall colors out of the rail station in Thendara.
Crowe said the rail bike tours are family-friendly and promote screen-free connection between family and friends while also immersing themselves in the beauty of the rejuvenating Adirondack landscape.
“We’ve received wonderful feedback from riders,” Crowe said. “The rail bike journey offers them time to connect one-on-one and enjoy the beauty of the natural environment around them. The trip also takes teamwork to get the job done. Some see it as a competition…to see how fast they can make it to the turnaround point, but the majority of people take a more relaxed approach and [travel] at a moderate pace.”
Made locally through Ficchi-Lozo Rail Bikes based out of Utica, the rail bikes are equipped with pedals that work independently to ensure that if any rider gets tired during the trip they are able to take a break without burdening fellow riders, a feature that Old Forge’s Senior Health Activity Recreation Program (SHARP) Coordinator Linda Grace said she found appealing.
“We had a lot of fun and it was a very pretty ride,” Grace said. “The pedaling was very easy and since there were four people to each bike, people could take a break without making others work that hard. Just for the fun of it, I asked everyone on my bike to stop pedaling for a few minutes and I pedaled alone…It wasn’t too hard even going it alone for a short time.”
The rail bike tours begin at the Adirondack Scenic Railroad Thendara Station and run to North Street in Old Forge and back, a journey that takes just under 2 hours time, according to Crowe. The bikes operate at an average speed of about 8 to 9 miles per hour, with a top speed of 15 miles per hour.
New for 2022 is a second scenic 1.5 hour “river run” route, as well as a new route from the railline’s northern terminus in Tupper Lake.
If you go:
The rail bikes run from Thursday through Sunday, four times a day, through Oct. 16. The attraction is open rain or shine and rides are cancelled in the event of thunderstorms/threat of storm.
Those who wish to participate in a rail bike tour may reserve a 4-person rail bike for $147, or a 2-person bike for $85. (The reservation fee remains the same no matter the number of riders.) Reservations can be made online at https://adirondackscenicrailbikes.com/ or by calling 1-800-819-2291.