Colebrookdale Railroad in Boyertown offers a leisurely, pedal-powered adventure deep into the tall forests of the Secret Valley, crossing bridges, chasing creeks, and taking in all of the wonders such as deer, fox, heron and bald eagles.
Colebrookdale’s Secret Valley Rail Bike Explorers Program was funded in part by Carl and Sylvia Landis, the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation, and by a grant from the Community Conservation Partnerships Program, under the administration of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation in support of the Schuylkill Highlands Mini-Grant Program administered by Natural Lands Trust.
“The Foundation supports programs and organizations that enhance recreational opportunities for all Tri-County area residents," said Dave Kraybill, President, Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. "Our partnership with Colebrookdale Railroad and their Rail Bike Explorers Program will provide a unique chance for people of all ages and abilities to appreciate the natural beauty of our region in an active and engaging way.”
The hands-on experience of the program will complement and build upon the cornerstone of an already successful community wide effort to preserve and grow healthy and welcoming communities.
The first of its kind in Pennsylvania, the The Secret Valley Rail Bike Explorers Program is a new and unique way to experience Colebrookdale Railroad, using rail bikes as the vehicle to increase education, health, and quality of life, with a focus on inclusion for all members of the community.
“I am thrilled to see the rail bikes program taking off. This should be a great draw to the area and supports nature-based tourism which we promote," said Carol De Wolf, Director of Schuylkill Highlands at Natural Lands (PA DCNR’s Conservation Landscape). "I first rode rail bikes in Belgium and loved the experience. So happy to see Colebrookdale Railroad to bring this to the area through such a scenic Secret Valley. Can’t wait to take the ride!”
The Secret Valley Rail Bike Explorers Program offers a pioneering, empowerment-centered educational and recreational program that aims to provide all people of all abilities access to the nature and history of Pennsylvania’s Secret Valley.
Colebrookdale Railroad explained in a release that rail bikes are pedal-powered vehicles with four steel wheels, disc brakes, and pedals for each seat that rides on the railroad tracks. The rail bikes take advantage of the railroad line’s gentle grades providing a smooth and comfortable adventure. Although the rail bikes require pedaling, the magic of steel wheels on steel rails makes the experience very different from riding a regular bicycle.
There is no need to carefully watch the road ahead, there is no need to steer, and riding is hands free, making it easy for couples young and old, groups, and families of all ages and abilities to roll along the Colebrookdale rails.
“Riding a railbike is a unique experience and a great family activity,” said Sylvia Landis, rail bike sponsor and retired school teacher. "You don't have to travel to the next state to enjoy such fun recreation. When your inner child calls to you, head to the rails."
Pedal-powered rail vehicles date back to the 1850s, when maintenance workers used hand-cars and ‘rail bikes’ to travel along the tracks. They were used to transport crew and materials for track inspection and repairs.
Today, there are a variety of designs in use around the world. The custom-built bikes will include an educational app and Bluetooth speakers to provide the narrated educational content: “Rails of Revolution” in multiple languages.
For more information and book an excursion, visit https://www.colebrookdalerailroad.com/excursions-2/secret-valley-explorers-2/.