Abandoned train tracks are a common problem around the world. The use of other means of transport, or emigration in rural areas, has left thousands of kilometers of train tracks unused. The solution? Bicycles on rails.
It is not about traveling from Lugo to Cádiz by bicycle on rails. But on short journeys, it can become a recreational activity that attracts tourism and generates benefits. This is the case with the Gattan Go! project. in Japan.
In the Japanese city of Hida, there is a mine that for decades used a train track to transport the extracted minerals. But in 2004, the mining company changed railways for trucks, because it was cheaper. So the tracks were abandoned.
Gattan Go!, bikes on rails on abandoned train tracks
A leisure company reached an agreement with the mining company to commercially exploit these unused roads.
He built a mechanism to join two Mountain bikesso that they could circulate above the rails, like a kind of pedal train. This is how the attraction was born Gattan Go!, which attracts large audiences in spring and summer. In winter it is closed due to snowfall. You can see how it works in this video:
As we can see, the route runs through an idyllic landscape, where you leave old train stations behind, and you walk along beautiful bridges, and dark, beautifully illuminated tunnels.
Bicycles on rails circulate two by two, in parallel. There are different variants with bike and sidecar, or rear seats to carry children or the elderly. The cheapest price, for two people, is around 20 euros.
Actually There are two routes to choose from. The City Tour, designed for beginners and families with children, and the Canyon Tour, more demanding. Both are around 6 Kilometers.
They differ in that the Canyon Tour has more climbs and requires pedaling harder. In exchange, you drive over iron bridges over a river, and the landscape is wilder.
Converting unused train tracks into tourist routes with bicycles on rails seems like a great idea. We do not know if something similar exists in Spain, but it would not be bad to import this type of solutions to revitalize abandoned train tracks.