Armchair photo tours: Riding the rails on a quadricycle on the Oregon Coast

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Photos by Cheryl Landes

Ever thought about riding a bicycle on railroad tracks? It’s possible with a quadricycle!

Kim and Anita Metlen came up with this idea in the early 2010s. Kim designed a model for the quadricycle, and with the help of local manufacturing companies, tested the first quadricycles on an old unused line in Joseph, Oregon in 2013. A year later, Joseph Branch Railriders opened and now has three routes in the area.

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The rides caught the attention of movers and shakers on the northern Oregon Coast, who invited the Metlens to expand operations in Bay City, north of Tillamook. The Metlens accepted and opened Oregon Coast Railroaders there in 2016. Since then, they’ve added rides along the Nehalem River and Nehalem Bay that depart Wheeler, 17 miles north of Bay City.

The trip from Bay City is 12 miles round-trip and lasts two hours. The route follows an inactive portion of the historic Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad. The views are beautiful and include tidal estuaries, biomes, Tillamook Bay, dairy farms, fields, and forests.

After I took a ride in Joseph, I was invited to a test run of the Bay City trip a week before the grand opening. The photos from today’s tour are from this test run.

Before I started this trip, I stopped at The Fish Peddler, in Pacific Seafood next door to the departure point, for a lunch of clam chowder and fish and chips. The fish is the freshest you’ll find anywhere, because it’s unloaded from the boats and processed at the same location. You can also buy fresh seafood to take it home.

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Twelve miles in two hours might sound like a lot of effort, but the grade is flat and there are four people peddling each quadricycle. The workout is in the legs from the peddling. When we returned, I didn’t feel tired, and my muscles weren’t sore the next day. I expected to feel soreness, because I wasn’t in the best shape when I went on this ride.

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The entrance to Oregon Coast Railriders in Bay City

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The quadricycles. The big piles in the background are oyster shells from Pacific Seafood.

The ride from Bay City to Tillamook

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Turning around for the trip back to Bay City

The tour crew lifts each quadricycle, turns it around, and places it back on the railroad tracks for the trip back to Bay City.

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Views along the way

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