On A Roll (Tillamook Headlight Herald article by Brad Mosher)

Rail riders start rolling on local rail line

Bay City kicked off its new business Friday when the Oregon Coast Railriders started making runs from Bay City into Tillamook using the railroad and pedal-powered rail cars.

According to owner Kim Metlen, the business has gotten off to a big start. “When we had the free ride last Saturday, we had more than 70 people,” he said.

That was even more than he was expecting.

The former bike shop owner in La Grande started the business several years ago, offering tourists and residents a chance to bike on the abandoned rail line connecting the towns of Enterprise and Joseph. The Joseph Branch Railriders expanded the service, offering a day trip to Minam.

After that proved successful, Metlen and his wife began looking at trying to do something similar along the Oregon coastline.

Approximately eight months ago, the family gave some of the local public officials a taste of the business, having them ride north from Bay City to Miami Cove and back.

The route is different this summer, going south and extending partially into Tillamook. “It takes about two hours,” Metlen said.

But he has also added some new pedal carts for the new route, he added.

The starting point for each trip is along the railroad next to the Fish Peddler business in Bay City on the west side of Highway 101.

By the second day, he was filling up almost each of his three runs. “We had 28 the first run. We were fully booked for this run (the noon departure) and the next one (3 p.m.). So yeah, life is good,” he said with a smile.

He is already looking to add to his workforce, Metlen said. “Over on the other side (in Joseph), all I ever heard was this was the best job they ever had.

“It is a neat job. The people, they are all happy to be here,” he added.

After a successful start on the Memorial Day weekend, Metlen said he plans to be here for a while. But he is cautious in his optimism. “Baby steps. There are other things. I’d like to go in the other direction,” he said, waving to the north. ‘There are some things we have got to do to accommodate more people, but we got to get this going right first.”

He could also add a later run that could catch the sunset. “If we get things going well, we feel the next thing to add would be an evening run.”

He already says he sees an impact from his business in Bay City. “I went into one restaurant and I saw about 10 or 15 people who had just finished riding with us sitting down and having lunch,” Metlen said.

There are a lot of ways to stretch his resources, Metlen explained. “But first, we have to get this down right. Right now, I am just trying to cope with what is coming. It’s a good problem.”

Even the weather should work in his favor. “When you look at the climatological data, June through the end of September should be beautiful on the Oregon Coast,” he explained.

He may even have to get back to work building more cars to handle the growth at Bay City, Metlen said. “I’m the one who builds those things.”

The newest businessman in Bay City also said he wanted to thank County Commissioner Mark Labhart. “He really pushed for us to come here.” Metlen also wanted to thank the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad and others for helping to get his business located in Bay City.

He also has a website up promoting the new business (www.ocrailriders.com). People can find additional information at info@ocrailriders.com or by calling 541-910-0089 or 541-910-0981.


GETAWAYS | New ways to ride old rails (Kitsap Sun article by Tristan Baurick)

Tristan Baurick shares about his adventures with the Oregon Coast Railriders.

Follow this link for the full text article:


Here’s what it looks like to Railbike the Oregon Coast (Portland Monthly article & slideshow by Marisa Russell)

Here’s What It Looks Like to Railbike the Oregon Coast

This summer, you can ride abandoned rail tracks past estuaries and cheese factories, over bridges and under blue skies—all on a custom foot-powered, four-seater contraption.

If you’re like me, you never quite got over a childhood fascination with all things rail-related. Maybe you even wanted, at one point, to be a conductor. (Sorry, mom: I know you expected more of me.) That train may have passed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still ride the abandoned rails—on bike.

That’s the premise of the Oregon Coast Railroaders—the new seaside branch of a railriding outfit first launched last summer in Joseph, Oregon, by husband-and-wife team Kim and Anita Mettlen. The couple, who formerly ran a bike shop in La Grande, expanded their DIY business to a stretch of unused track near Tillamook this past May, with a “grand opening” scheduled for July 2.  (2016)

Needless to say, this rail buff couldn’t wait for the official start date. (And you don’t have to, either—the operation is already up and running.) We hopped right on this 11-mile, two-hour, pedal-powered trek from Bay City to Tillamook and back—and recorded the whole thing in photos. We show you how it’s done in our slideshow, here: http://www.pdxmonthly.com/slideshows/2016/6/14/here-s-what-it-looks-like-to-railbike-the-oregon-coast

Pedal-Powered Rail Riding Comes To Oregon Coast (OPB article by Tom Banse)

You may have heard about “rails-to-trails” conversions. Thanks to some entrepreneurial bicycle enthusiasts, you don’t need to wait for the rails to come out in two Oregon counties. Friday, a company begins offering scenic tours along Tillamook Bay using pedal-powered contraptions that ride on the rails.

In 2014, a northeast Oregon couple, Kim and Anita Metlen, started offering railbike tours in Wallowa County on an inactive rail line. Anita said they were perfectly satisfied cultivating that business.

“Certainly, people would talk to us and say, ‘Oh man, we have this rail line in our area. Boy this would be perfect!’ she said. “So you have a lot of that conversation going on.”

Then Tillamook County officials called. They were able to convince the Metlens to expand to an unused stretch of rail between Bay City and Tillamook on the Oregon Coast. The entrepreneurs doubled their fleet of what they call “rail riders.” These resemble a four person recumbent bicycle crossed with a rail car frame.

The rail rides are only available with a guide. The sister companies the Metlens operate have exclusive use of the rails they use for their tours.

“People really enjoy doing this because it is very novel. You’re sitting on a unique four-wheeled, pedal-powered vehicle,” Metlen explained. “It’s very peaceful. You see a lot of wildlife and you see the birds. You see the natural habitat that you’re going through.”

“You’re travelling where a car generally does not travel,” Metlen added during an interview from Joseph.

“You see things in a whole different perspective,” Port of Tillamook Bay Director Michele Bradley said. The port owns the rail line, which connected the coast to the Willamette Valley until a bad storm in 2007 severed the link.

The brand new Tillamook Bay tour operation offers a two hour, 11-mile roundtrip starting in Bay City up to three times per day. The original Wallowa County tour operation began its third season earlier this spring. Starting from Joseph, railriders there can make a two hour, 12-mile roundtrip to Enterprise. There is also a longer, six hour option that starts in Minam and travels roundtrip to Wallowa, Oregon.

On both sides of the state, the tours operate on a Thursday to Monday schedule until early October.

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