The inspiration to start Rail Explorers originally came from a scene in a Korean soap opera. Back in September of 2012, Mary Joy Lu (who started Rail Explorers with her husband Alex Catchpoole) was watching one of her favourite K-Dramas and became intrigued when she saw a strange contraption being pedalled along the railroad tracks.
Travel to South Korea:
Mary Joy was so excited by this extraordinary looking rail bike that within 10 days she was on a plane to South Korea to meet with the designer and manufacturer of the vehicles. Mary Joy, Alex and other Rail Explorers employees (including Robert Harte, who has since left the company to run a competing rail bike tour) travelled back to Korea in 2015 to learn more about the unique business. Rail Explorers was then able to bring a fleet of explorers to the USA. This was the first time these rail bikes had been seen anywhere in the world outside of South Korea.
Rail Explorers operations began on July 3, 2015 in New York’s Adirondacks and the response was extraordinary.
‘It was a shock,’ remembers Alex, ‘we really had no idea that it would take off the way it did. It was really exciting to say - wow, maybe we are on to something!’
‘After 3 years of dreaming and planning, of hard work and putting in every dollar we had, to finally get to opening day and see the joy Rail Explorers brought to our riders was incredibly rewarding.’
Since that day more than 55,000 people have enjoyed Rail Explores tours in the Adirondacks, Delaware, and Rhode Island. In 2018 Rail Explorers will open a new division in The Catskills, New York.
Stay tuned for more news as the team searches for more exciting rail locations around the USA!
Rail Bike History:
Pedal powered rail vehicles date back to at least the 1850’s, 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 ‘Draisine’ and 'Velorail' of Europe; ‘rail bikes’ with aluminum frames and rubber wheels; and modified road bikes with an outrigger wheel.
Our custom built explorers are the latest development of this technology, and are the global leader in safety, design and ease of operation.
Please contact us if you have questions.