What is a Handcar?
A handcar is a manually propelled track vehicle that travels along railroad tracks. Handcars have 4 wheels, seats, and are powered using both your arms and legs in a rowing motion. Each handcar seats 2-4 riders who all contribute to power the car along the track. Two people that are physically active can operate the car.
This is a very unique experience being that the track steers you along the route. All you have to do is provide the power!
What is a Rail Bike or Rail Bicycle?
A rail bicycle is similar to a handcar, except you use your feet to pedal the car along the tracks instead of using your arms. Our rail bicycles have a state-of-the-art electric assist propulsion system to help propel the car over the Monterey Rail Line, providing a less effort experience. Our electric assist bikes are not fully electric, they still require pedaling to propel the car. Our rail bicycles carry 2 people, but we can also link two cars together with a connection bar if you are a group of 3 or 4. Over 500 hours goes into the handcrafted fabrication of each of our rail bikes.
Can children ride?
For safety concerns children must be 10 years or older to ride our handcar and 5 years or older to ride our rail bicycle. For the handcars there are moving parts and the short stature of children present pinch point hazards. Our rail bicycle is better protected so we can accommodate children as young as five years old. Lap seating and baby carriers are NOT permitted. Our insurance carrier will not allow for infants carried in slings.
How hard is it?
Our rail bicycle is very easy to propel because the machine is aided by an electric assist propulsion system that gives you a helping hand to climb the hills found on the rail line.
The handcar does does not have an electric assist system and is designed for people that are looking for a physical challenge. Propelling a handcar requires teamwork. This is a physical endeavor that requires moderate effort to participate, as the first half of the trip is mostly uphill. Those that have inactive lifestyle (lot of sitting and lying down, with very little to no exercise) find the experience strenuous. If you cannot walk or ride a bicycle for six miles then this experience is not for you and you should choose our electric assist rail bicycle. If you cannot use your arms and legs to propel the handcar then for your safety you cannot participate. People with casts on feet, legs, and arms cannot ride the handcar. Our handcars require effort to climb the hills found on our track and are intended for those with high physical fitness levels.
How long is the trip?
The tour covers six miles and is approximately 1.5 hours. Tours can run shorter or longer depending upon the number and types of railcars out. We take a break at the halfway point where on most days, weather permitting there is a spectacular view south towards Monterey and Pacific Grove.
How does a tour operate?
You occupy your own private handcar or rail bicycle, but you travel with up to 12 other cars. Cars are spaced out along the track and you control its speed and control the brakes. There are staff handcars at the front and rear of the group to ensure safety and to be available in the instance participants need assistance. You need to be on-time as the tours are on tight schedules and cannot wait for late comers.
Can I bring my animal?
It is unsafe for animals to ride on the cars so we do not allow for them. There has been at least one incident that we know of where a dog’s tail got caught in a chain of a railbike at an east coast rail bike operation that led to injury of the animal.
What should I bring?
All riders MUST wear closed toe shoes!
You should bring water and wear sunscreen. Gloves are also recommended if you chose a handcar.
You can bring snacks and small carry-on bags that can ride with you in the storage boxes.
You can’t wear a backpack because the straps can be hooked around the moving handles.
Do not wear dresses or skirts. Athletic wear is suggested.
Weather is always cool in the mid-50s and rarely exceeds 70 degrees. Dress in layers.
Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
Animals are NOT permitted!
How much does it cost?
A trip on our electric assist rail bike, which seats 2 people costs $159 on Saturdays and $149 Sunday and other days. We offer occasional early-bird specials on select Saturday morning tours. We do not charge per person fees.
A trip on a handcar, which seats up to 4 people costs $298. You are reserving the ENTIRE handcar whether you have 2, 3, or 4 riders. We do not charge per person fees.
Is it worth the money?
Judging from our reviews our customers sure think so. Any pre-conceptions of what our tours will be like might as well be tossed out. The most common response from customers after our tours is “This was way better than I thought it would be.” Twenty percent of our business comes from word-of-mouth.
Railbike and handcar tours are extremely expensive to host with the costs involved with building a fleet of cars and expenses associated with operating and maintaining a railroad next to the ocean. Each of our carefully engineered and handcrafted handcars and railbikes are just shy of $30,000 to build.
Can I cancel or reschedule my tour?
You can reschedule your tour no later than 48 hours of your scheduled tour for any reason. If you wish to reschedule your tour contact us and we can make the change. There is a $20 charge for rescheduling. We do not offer refunds.
If you are planning a group outing with multiple cars keep in mind that you CANNOT cancel the day of or day before because someone got sick. If your group tour is dependent upon everyone attending then please do not book as most of the time someone, including the guest of honor cannot make it.
We also suggest leaving very early before your tour to account for traffic. We want you here at least a half hour before departure. If you are coming from further than an hour away come even earlier and eat in a local restaurant or do another activity, but don’t be late. We cannot rebook your reservation if you got a late start or are stuck in traffic. Each weekend there is at least one party that miss their tours because they could not arrive ontime.
We host company team building events. Visit our team building page for more information.