A Brief History of Railbiking
Research shows that railbiking has been around nearly as long as
railroads and bicycles. A railbike patent in the U.S. Patent Office database is dated
1869. Scores of patents for railbike systems were filed between 1880 and 1920 around the
Railbikes were once used by railroad companies for track checking, moving
workers at work sites as well as going for assistance when the locomotives broke down.
Telegraph companies also used railbikes to maintain telegraph lines that often followed
railways. In the Midwest and other regions with sufficient winds, workers using
railbikes sometimes put up sails to power them along the tracks.
Like its contemporary, the bicycle, railbike design went into decline with the
advent of the internal combustion engine and the automobile. A few independently minded
designers and tinkerers kept the concept alive for the last 90 years and today there is a
resurgence of interest in railbiking.
Using modern materials and fabrication processes, Railbike Tours,
Inc. builds safe and efficient railbikes for use on authorized railroad lines for the
enjoyment of the general public.
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