Michigan’s first rail-bike adventures will roll this summer near Traverse City

TRAVERSE City, MI – A new form of low-crucial outside experience is staying prepared for Northern Michigan this summer months. It’s intended to bring together folks who like to pedal, and people who just enjoy the scenic railroad corridors that crisscross this vacation hotspot.

Wheels on Rails, the to start with rail-biking company in the point out, will open together an unused railroad line south of Traverse City in late May perhaps. It is the aspiration job of Macie Hefron, a Grand Ledge indigenous who spent some of her faculty many years performing for the Michigan Office of Transportation and receiving a crash study course in railroads. She’s been doing work on her business enterprise strategy for a couple a long time. Hefron said she’s ultimately observed the best stretch of tracks to introduce travellers and locals alike to the entertaining of rail-biking.

These very low-developed platforms have many seats. They are intended to roll on existing railroad tracks with a very little pedal power. Assume of it like riding a stationary bike, but you are a lot more comfy, you’re outside and you have invited your friends to be a part of you.

The three miles of tracks Wheels on Rails will use is found near U.S. 31 in Grawn, which is south of Traverse City. The company is leasing the tracks from Good Lakes Central Railroad and the point out, Hefron stated. That spur of keep track of is listed as “out of assistance,” will be physically disconnected from other close by railroad strains and there won’t be any lively trains employing that aspect of the monitor, she reported.

She thinks men and women will love this new variety of journey that is component cool surroundings and component exercise session – at minimum for those people who want to pedal. Every tour has guides, and not everyone on the rail bicycle has to pedal.

“I have been finding so quite a few bookings,” Hefron mentioned, referring to the on line reservations becoming taken for this summer months. About half the planned tours presently are booked. She’s also fielding inquiries about more substantial group trips and tumble shade excursions.

Wheels on Rails, a new rail-biking knowledge, will open up this summer season around Traverse City. Photo furnished by Adam Forshee.

Hefron started wondering if a rail-biking company could function in Michigan soon after seeing an ad for a single in an East Coastline condition. When there are a handful of states with this variety of recreation organization, Hefron suggests they are however pretty rare and call for a whole lot of cooperation among railroad track house owners and the business.

The Grand Ledge Substantial College graduate was attending Spring Arbor University when she hatched her plan. She was prompted by her three several years of working at MDOT as an asset administration analyst, cataloging the state’s assets. This bundled a great deal of railroad fieldtrips.

“I was equipped to see so a lot of things that no one particular will get to expertise on a working day-to-day basis. It manufactured me have a massive enthusiasm for the railroad,” she reported.

She took the rail bike strategy to her boss, who advised her it wouldn’t be simple, but if she was committed to the approach, then it could be finished.

Hefron mentioned her first intent was to open alongside tracks in the Tecumseh location, but when that did not perform out, she was elated to zero in on the stretch in Northern Michigan.

“That’s when Grawn arrived up,” she said. “It was tremendous ideal. Of program, it’s in the Traverse Town region, which is even a lot more fantastic.”

How the excursions do the job:

  • Each individual excursion is guided, with a crew member at the entrance and back again of the rail bike
  • The crews navigate the road crossings
  • There are two styles of rail bikes offered: Two-seaters and 4-seaters
  • There will be excursions supplied 4 periods a working day
  • Excursions will be offered 5 times a 7 days
  • All excursions have to have a reservation
  • The vacation is three miles down, then back again, with a relaxation end in the middle
  • Just about every trip will take about an hour
  • The rail bikes have seat belts for passengers
  • Infants are required to be in a upper body harness

The tours will start May possibly 25 and run through Labor Working day.

“It will just be a enjoyable time,” Hefron stated of the trips, including guides will give travellers a little bit of railroad record together the way. “I’m just spreading my appreciate for the railroads.”

For far more information and facts and pricing, see the Wheels on Rails web page in this article.