Part train, part bike: See Rhode Island’s coast in a new way with Rail Explorers

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PORTSMOUTH, RI - Part train, part bike. Pedal - that's right, pedal - down the tracks along Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay on an excursion like no other, courtesy of Rail Explorers.

"This is the only place right now that you can ride rail bikes in the United States," said General Manager Rick Best.

Built in South Korea, these 500 pound vehicles came to Aquidneck Island in early spring, giving tourists a new way to explore the coast during a six mile tour.  Some explorers sport 2 seats, others feature four.  Vehicles can even be linked-up for large groups.  "The first time I rode one, I had the sensation of floating down the tracks, like I was in a dream," said Best.  "It was just very, very magical."  It's a modern use for tracks which were built in the mid-1800s and largely unused in recent years.

There's no steering and it doesn't take a ton of effort to move the explorer.  "That’s the magic of steel on steel," said Best.  "There’s literally no friction on this."  In fact, one person can pedal while others are simply passengers - making this a do-able group activity for all ages and abilities.  And coasting?  There's plenty of that!

The trip is beautiful and educational. Participants pedal over Founders' Brook where Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams came ashore in 1638. They also pass through a nature preserve - home to osprey and egrets - as well as a public golf course.  Other views include the scenic Mount Hope Bridge.

Traverse this landscape in a completely unique fashion.  Be the engineer of your own adventure! "You haven’t experienced it before and you can’t experience it anywhere else," said Best. "It's really a thrill.  You see people get off and they have huge smiles on their faces."

Now, Rail Explorers offers four rides a day, four times a week. Options will increase in July and August. A one-hour tour costs $75 for a 2-person Tandem Explorer and $125 for a Quad Explorer that fits up to four riders. Click here for more information.