Ever dreamed about riding the rails? You can do that this summer with Wheels on Rails in the Traverse City area.
Wheels on Rails will utilize three miles of unused railroad line south of Traverse City to offer a rail biking experience on tandem bikes for two or quads for four. Built on low platforms, they operate on existing railroad tracks and are powered by riders, though not everyone on each bike has to pedal.
“Our trip will be three miles down and three miles back, totaling a 6-mile round-trip tour,” says entrepreneur and founder Macie Hefron, who was doing her college classes remotely when the inspiration for the business came to her. It was a time when people were isolated from each other and taking to the outdoors, she says.
“I noticed this [idea] while scrolling through Facebook and thought it looked pretty cool,” she says. “I hadn’t seen it before and knew immediately that Michigan needed something like this. With my passion for the railroads and my passion for biking, I knew I had to be the one to try to get this going.”
She visited a couple who operate a rail biking company in Maryland. Not only did they give her information, but they’re helping her launch this new venture. It took more than a year to get approval to use the tracks, she says. Hefron is leasing the tracks, which aren’t connected to other active railroad lines.
Tours get underway May 25 and will be available Thursday through Monday, though Wheels on Rails will operate tours daily during the National Cherry Festival, July 1-8. Hefron says bookings are already brisk.
Visit wheelsonrailsmi.com to book a tour, which the website suggests makes for an ideal “team bonding” activity for groups. Up to 30 people can participate per tour, with 10 bikes total available. Rates are $89 for tandems and $159 for four.