Well, hmm. Our summer calendar had three consecutive days with nothing significant to do. Can’t have that, now, can we? After considering my mental list (ok, fine. It’s an actual list on my phone. I may also have a Word Doc on my Google drive. Don’t judge.) of things I hoped we would get to do this summer, we settled on Oregon Coast Railriders. The weather looked like it was going to be about perfect, we were all itching for some time outside, and it just sounded fun. And as we are at the point in the summer when all the togetherness can be a bit much, we invited some friends and were thrilled when they said yes.
The idea behind Oregon Coast Railriders is very cool. They use tracks that aren’t in service anymore and pedal these fun wheeled contraptions through beautiful scenery. I will refer to them as carts. I can’t describe them so here is a picture.
They have a departure from Bay City and departure from Wheeler. Honestly the description of the Wheeler terrain sounded slightly more interesting, but Bay City’s proximity to Tillamook and the love of cheese and ice cream that Chicken and I share lead us to choose the Bay City departure. There are three departures per day from mid May through early October, and we chose the mid-day option as it seemed the most doable as a day trip from Portland.
When we arrived we were provided with basic safety rules as well as helpful tips like not letting your toddlers lick the wheels. As the carts seat four and we were a group of six, we were asked to separate into groups of three- one adult and two children in each. Other groups had two to four adults. Seats were adjusted for each individual. Nugget is on the small side for a 6-year-old, but he was able to successfully pedal if he scrunched down in his seat a bit. Or a lot. And then we were off!
The ride lasted just over 2 hours, travelling through forested areas, over bridges and trestles, and crossing over roads. Our two guides used hand held stop signs to get us across roads. One crossing even required them to lower the train crossing gates- complete with lights and sounds. That was a huge hit with the kids. While you do get to see rivers and creeks, do not expect ocean views along the ride. You will get to see cow pastures and dairy farms, which the kids also enjoyed.
The ride itself was not overly strenuous. Nugget has some serious leg muscles built up from soccer, and he was able to pedal the car all by himself, although probably not for very long. I was with the older girls, and they did a great job. They were all about speed at the beginning and had us on quite the regimine, counting to synchronize our pedals to make us go as fast as possible. As a result, they were a bit tuckered out on the return trip and I needed to provide more support. As you can see, Chicken decided to kick back and relax part way through.
You depart and return on the same track. At the halfway mark, the guides use an ingeniously simple method of turning the carts around. There are two port-a-potties should you need to do so. Otherwise, there are not other stops. The carts do have cupholders and I was glad that I brought a water bottle along.
Our cart with one adult and two kids was at a disadvantage in terms of speed when compared to the groups of four adults, but we held our own just fine. I wouldn’t have turned down another set of adult legs, though.
Overall, the kids and the adults had a great time and it was a fun and unique activity. I would estimate kids need to be at least 6 to have any hope of reaching the pedals, and probably closer to 8 to do any meaningful pedaling. Younger kids could still enjoy the ride.
What it’s not: a ride with a beach view, a motorized ride
What it is: a fun outdoor activity through a beautiful natural setting, a mild workout, about 5 minutes from the Tillamook cheese factory, reasonably priced for a novel activity
Do we recommend it? Yes! It was a lot of fun and we are glad we went. Try to pick a day with nice weather (yes, I know it’s Oregon. Just do your best) and try to finagle at least two sets of teen or adult legs.
You can check out the ride options and reserve a trip here: https://ocrailriders.com/