Railbikes & Railbiking
|The Amazing Bentley RAILBIKE
Contact DICK BENTLEY the author of this page by calling ( 518-359-9300 )
OR e-mail: email@example.com
|You will find answers to, "How much does it COST to BUILD?" and other commonly asked questions on my LATEST Railbike Construction NOTES page!
The latest design from a railrider with over 50 years of railbiking experience.
CONSTRUCTION PLANS include 6 pages of text with detailed construction sequence and parts list keyed to the drawings, plus 10 sheets of drawings with most parts rendered full scale.
+ Easy construction - no welding or complex machining.
This is a proprietary design, and a patent shall be applied for in the near future.
A LICENSE (plans included) to construct a railbike in accordance with these plans may be purchased for $25 (US DOLLARS).
- - [ PLUS $2 more ($27) IF: ] - -
you write it on any bank physically located outside the US even if the account is in US dollars and even if the bank headquarters is in the US.
ALL orders must include your full NAME and ADDRESS (and EMAIL address if you have one) plus the words 'Railbike Plans'.
In the USA I can 'snail mail' the plans (SLOW), or I can send them via email as PDFs which print out exactly like the paper copy (actually better because the few pictures are in color). Just make sure your printer 'PRINT' window doesn't try to 'resize', 'Expand', or 'Shrink' them.
Outside the USA I send the plans via email as PDFs, but I still need your full name and address when you order. If you are outside the USA and must have a paper copy sent by mail, BEFORE you send any money tell me that you need a paper copy and I will let you know by return EMAIL if I require additional money for postage.
In the USA I accept personal checks and money orders made payable to Richard Bentley. I will even accept cash, but NO CREDIT CARDS.
Outside the USA I accept money orders made payable to Richard Bentley (in US dollars) or cash. If you send foreign currency make sure that it is sufficient to cover exchange rate PLUS a reasonable fee that my bank will charge me for the transaction. Cash is usually safe in the USA but I am not responsible if it gets 'lost'.
I can also accept PAYPAL, BUT SEE BELOW FOR DETAILS.
I accept PAYPAL payments but ONLY AFTER YOU HAVE DEPOSITED sufficient FUNDS in your PAYPAL ACCOUNT to cover the purchase OR your PayPal account is linked to your bank account. And your PAYPAL account MUST be in US DOLLARS.
If you insist on making a PAYPAL payment charged to a CREDIT or DEBIT card you must send $27 because PAYPAL charges $2 more for processing such payments.
You are NOT making a PURCHASE of GOODS or SERVICES, you are paying for INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. SO, when you click on 'Send Money' in PayPal and after entering my Email address and the amount of the payment, please check the button labeled "I'm sending money to family or friends".
IF you would rather check the button labeled "I'm paying for goods or services" then I request that you add an extra $2 for the fee PayPal shall charge me.
and do NOT forget to include
50 Mount Arab Road
PO Box 786
Tupper Lake, NY 12986
(And, I am counting on that not being any time soon!!)
IF YOU HAVE PREVIOUSLY PURCHASED PLANS, OR THINK YOU MIGHT,
FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO FIND A LIST OF MATERIALS, REVISIONS,
AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON BUILDING YOUR BENTLEY RAILBIKE.
LATEST Railbike Construction NOTES
A railbike, sometimes called a 'rail bike', is a standard bicycle with attachments that allow the bike to be ridden easily along on a railroad track. Most abandoned railroads are in pretty poor shape. Any good railbike design must be able to cope with broad flattened rails, narrow worn rails, and weeds so thick you can't see the rails.
ALWAYS KEEP IN MIND, you should use railbikes ONLY on ABANDONED lines!!
The attachments to the bicycle consist of a FRONT WHEEL GUIDE, and an OUTRIGGER to the opposite rail.
The FRONT WHEEL GUIDE attaches to the front wheel axle, and steers the bike to keep it on the rail. The GUIDE may be raised off the rail with a small lever mounted on the handlebar. This makes it possible to ride (SLOWLY!) past road crossings and other minor obstructions without getting off the bike.
The OUTRIGGER attaches to the LEFT side of the bicycle frame at 3 points, and holds a wheel that rides along the opposite rail. This keeps the railbike from tipping over, so long as YOU keep your center-of-gravity slightly inboard, on the OUTRIGGER side of your bike. I mount the OUTRIGGER on the left so there is no interference with the chain drive.
If you have any choice in the matter, I recommend you choose a lady's bike. When you are riding your bike along a rail, you are 7 inches higher off the ground than normal. Most people do not have an inseam measurement 7 inches greater than normal. Figure it out!
I also recommend the old style 3-speed bike rather than those with 5 or 10 speed derailleurs. Grass and weeds tend to get caught more easily in the latter. I carry along a short piece of coat hanger wire, and stop at necessary intervals to clean the vegetation out of the derailleur and rear sprocket. The old 3-speed shifter does not collect crud as quickly. A chain guard is also recommended.
These plans represent an evolutionary design. This means the design was improved over time as new problems came to light. The design presented here represents the final version in a succession of better and better designs. I built my first railbike back in the late 50's. I am not saying this design cannot be improved. But I will guarantee, you can make many changes that will cause problems that will not be apparent until afterwards.
If you are one of those people, like myself, who must "improve" everything he touches, follow my plans EXACTLY the first time around. This way you will be able to tell whether any later "improvements" really make things better.
It would seem so. I have been building and riding railbikes here in the Adirondack mountains of northern NY since the late 50's. There is something about railbiking that is worlds beyond merely riding a bicycle, and I love it. My wife loves it. My father loves it. All my friends love it. What makes RAILBIKING so much fun?
Perhaps the fun comes from doing something wild, not done by many others. I am sure there is more to it than just that.
Railbikes are self-steering. You are free to look around and enjoy. Those iron rails winding off into the distant unknown can provide hours of delightful excursion. They often lead through wilderness unexplored by most. You set the pace, so have plenty of time to soak up the scenery.
My favorite abandoned railroad goes right past my home. In spring everything is coming alive. Summer brings the wild growth here in the east that can almost bury an abandoned track. Curious wildlife appear everywhere. In fall, the colors, and their reflection in the many lakes and beaver ponds, is almost overpowering.
This is not to say railbiking is without mishap. Railbikes are mechanical contraptions. Parts loosen, fall off, or break, as is their nature. Even more exciting, if I dare use that word, railbikes occasionally 'de-rail'. This is railbike talk for "the blankity-blank bike came off the track."
My wife's sister got so carried away looking at autumn leaves she leaned away from the outrigger. In slow motion, she fell into the bushes and scratched herself on a spruce stubble. She got back up with a very foolish smile on her face. Be careful.
Small trees and bushes growing close to the rail can snag your foot, jerking the bike off the track. Sometimes a sudden stop will make the rear wheel skid right off the rail. You bounce along on the ties, and come to an ungraceful stop.
A good railbike design will greatly increase your enjoyment. The quickest way to a happy experience is to pick a design with a history of success, and go with it.
The Bentley RAILBIKE is a very good design. No welding is necessary. My front wheel guide makes use of side rollers. This gives you precision steering, minimal friction, and almost no noise. I use a simple handlebar lever to raise the guide slightly for crossings, or full up for normal bicycle riding. My adjustable height outrigger is an extremely rigid geometric structure that is simple and lightweight. The outrigger has excellent ground clearance to avoid brush. Pull 3 pins, and the outrigger comes completely off and folds.
Whether or not you choose the Bentley RAILBIKE design, welcome to the unique sport of RAILBIKING.
RAILBIKERS HAVE ONE TRACK MINDS!
Do RAILBIKERS HAVE ONE TRACK MINDS?
PAPERS BY RICHARD BENTLEY
Consumption Driven Population Dynamics (CDPD) - Ecology
Published in 'Ecological Modelling' 192 (2006) 1-24.
Consumption Driven Population Dynamics (CDPD): Further Explorations - Ecology
Published in 'Ecological Modelling' 246 (2012) 131 146.
Choosing Among Alternatives (PR) - Cost/Benefit Analysis
Published in the PROCEEDINGS
15th World Energy Engineering and 1992 Environmental Engineering Congress.
And here is my Google Scholar page.
If you are thinking of building a house you REALLY want to view
this page about building a low cost, wood frame, superinsulated home.
Take a stand for the CLIMATE - the GREEN way to build
Thermal Efficiency Construction (TEC)
And, if you are thinking of setting up SOLAR PANELS,
and you live in an area that receives persistent
winter snow, read this before you start.
Solar Panel WINTER Angle - It is NOT what you may think.
(20 DEC 2007)
Bill Brown's version of a Bentley Railbike:
(24 SEP 2011)
This from CORKY MORK, Bentley RAILBIKE builder/rider:
Looking for abandoned railroads? See ABANDONED RAILS.com.
'Biking on Rusty Ribbons of Steel' by Richard Smart
|This large format (over 8.5 x 11 inch) hard cover book of 234 pages containing more than 250 photos, over half in full color, is an absolute delight. I know from the fact that you are looking at this website, whether you are an armchair or a dedicated railbiker, that you will completely fall in love with this marvelous book about Railbiking and Railbikers.
Check the internet for used copies. Good luck.
Travel Plans? Travel by Train.
Here is something you will enjoy. Take a look at Parallel Cases!
RAILBIKE TOURS, INC.
RAILBIKING SITES IN EUROPE
Railbiking in Belgium
If you ever plan to be in Sweden, check out: Railbiking in Sweden
Forbes (5-31-99) Outdoors Railway to Heaven
Amerityre FlatFree Tires
Upper Hudson River Railroad
San Diego Railroad Museum - railbiked this line years ago
Steve Crise - a fellow railbiker
AMAZON - Railbike: 'Cycling on Abandoned Railroads'
Mount Arab Lodge & Cottages
And if you find yourself in the Adirondack Mountains of
upstate NY, be sure you get off the rails long enough to
climb Mount Arab.
It is a relatively short hike to the summit with spectacular views
of the surrounding Adirondack Park.
From the trailhead
off the Mount Arab road you will find it to be an easy
climb on a well maintained trail, even for young kids.
Enjoy the views from the summit, and even better views
from the renovated fire tower. The volunteer organization,
Friends of Mount Arab (FOMA) maintains the trail and facilities
at the summit. FOMA employs a summit steward who is available
during the summer months to answer questions and offer free
entry to the renovated observer's cabin outfitted as a small
It makes a great destination for a family picnic.
You will even find a 5-star outhouse, but be sure to bring
your own water, and carry down everything you carry up.
You will even score one for the
'Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge'.
the FOMA facebook page.
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Information on Bentley RAILBIKE PLANS
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since 10 MARCH 2000.
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