On a warm summer day as you make the windy drive from Portland to the coast, you may see something peculiar as you pass through Tillamook. Are those people pedaling some sort of bicycle-like contraption down railroad tracks? They sure are.
These are the Oregon Coast Railriders, and they’re on a 12-mile roundtrip adventure along the now unused Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad.
Originally known as the Pacific Railway and Navigation, the Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad was finished in 1911 and served as a means to transport lumber and agricultural products over the Northern Oregon Coast Range between the Oregon coast and the Portland area for nearly a century.
In 2007, the railroad was heavily damaged by a devastating storm, rendering it non-operational. Kim and Anita Metlin jumped on the opportunity to bring life back to the historic tracks and founded the OC Railriders in 2016, dedicating seven miles of its Tillamook route to their venture.
So what exactly is a railrider? According to the website, the “custom designed four-wheeled railriders have four recumbent adjustable seats, and pedals that propel the unit at your speed. Young children in car seats are welcome.”
The aluminum frame is also lightweight, making it easy to maneuver so riders can use their energy to gawk at tidal flora and fauna, and seek out native birds like gulls, egrets, and herons, as well as farm animals, as they pedal over estuaries, meadows, and streams, and score some breathtaking coastal views.
The Metlins’ first railriders project was in Eastern Oregon’s beautiful Wallowa Valley. The idea dawned on them as they were admiring the scenery of the historic Joseph Branch Rail Road, now known as Wallowa Union Railroad.
In 2014, they established the Joseph Branch Railriders, giving riders an opportunity to explore Joseph’s forgotten tracks while soaking in views of the Wallowa Mountains and the green pastures of Eastern Oregon farmland.
Now, the Railriders boast two unique views of Oregon every season, from mid-May through to the beginning of October. Learn more about both programs here.