FEEDBACK from Viewers, and from people who have purchased
Bentley RAILBIKE Plans.
From time to time I shall post on this page interesting excerpts from
letters and e-mails I receive, including selections from any pictures
you may send.
Send letters to
BOX 786, TUPPER LAKE, NY 12986
• 12 FEB 1996- letter from CANADA
I have recieved a letter from Richard Smart, a
good friend of mine and he send me a copy of your rail-bike.
When I read that you are on the rail for 35 years ago I said to
myself, here is an old timer, that I should contact.
I start rail-bike years ago. I build my first one in 1945.
In 1952 I have my second rail-bike on the rail. I used it a few years
but the traffic was going up and no closed railroad so I stop for a
while. In 1982 I built a third one and in 1986 a fourth one. The
last one has been build in 1994. As you will see on the photocopys
the model has change a lots since the first one. I presently using
the 1986 model. Very solid bike with enough room to carry gear
and grub for up to ten days in the bush. I like to make long
trip, and I am always inquiry about new railroad to ride on.
Can you suggest me some place in your area. From which place
to which place and how many miles. Short or long that does'nt matter.
PS. My rail-bike have retractable front guides (independant)
and retractable back guides (both at the same time)
I hope to read news from you.
• 1998 - Not a letter, but taken from a SWEDISH advertising flyer given me by Arne Nilsson
Welcome to the Torved railway - the track that have become a real adventure
HOW TO RIDE
As there can be up to 20 rail cycles on the track at the same time, traffic
regulations are necessary.
When two rail cycles meet, the rule is that the one coming from the south, that
is from Torved, has the right of way. The traveller from the north must lift the cycle off
the track and let the other one go by.
If a lot of rail cycles from the north meet fewer from the south courtesy demands
that the party with the least number of rail cycles lift them off the track.
Stopping is the obligatory at the road crossings. The rail cyclist must stop,
look and give way to road traffic. Crossings on larger roads have booms across the railway
for the rail cyclist to stop and open.
The rail cycle must be returned to the station where it was rented. Please lift
the trolley off the track when you have returned to Gullspång.
Rail cycles can go fast - too fast. It's a long way to fall and hard if you go
off the rails. Look out for stones or branches on the track. This can cause the rail cycle
to go to off the rails. Uneven joints between the rails can also cause the wheels to
You must take it easy at the points and at road crossings. When you come to
points get off and lead the rail cycle through the points. You may have to lift the rail
cycle wheels on to the right track. Never try to ride through the points. The rail cycle
can roll off the track.
Riding a rail cycle is more or less the same as going for a normal bicycle trip.
Clothes according to weather, picnic according to appetite. If you want to ride and camp
take normal camping equipment with you. There is room for a rucksack, tent and cases on the
rail cycles liggage carrier. Unless you perfer to take a passenger. In that case it is more
crowded on the rail cycle and not much room for luggage.
Remember that the journey is through varied country. It can be warm and
comfortable on the open fields, but much colder in the woods and out on the marsh. So don't
forget jumpers and jackets, even if the weather seems excellent.
547 30 GULLSPÅNG, SWEDEN
Tel. 0551-361 40
• 7 SEP 1999 - email
Subject: RR Bikes, Lake Lila
It was nice talking to you on Lake Lila this past weekend. You can not
imagine my surprise when at first I saw bicycle wheels and then I could
only imagine that the sloping rigging on the bikes was attached to them
(by the symmetry) and the only conclusion was that they must be RR bikes.
The first time I have ever seen one and here they were on the shore of a
Elliot D S Adams
[Elliot is the first and only person I've ever come across who could identify
the function of a RAILBIKE when it wasn't sitting on a RR track. And, he did
this from a canoe several hundred yards offshore!]
• 22 SEP 1999 - email
Subject: got'a tamper
I had to comment on this. I was looking over your design. While I am
fully cognizant of the value of experience specific to the job at hand in
designing anything, your final statement on the first page, when I reread
it, caught me off guard. Some of us do just have to look for better ways.
I realized that I was busy, in my mind, redesigning every piece of your
work. Several of my 'improvements' you later mentioned you had already
tried and rejected.
I can't tell you how many times I have designed something, run a few
experiments along the way and, come up with a prototype that worked
pretty well. Then made those few little changes that would make things
work really well, only to discover that those few little changes made it
not work at all. So I will try to save myself unnecessary work and leave
well enough alone till I get a bike working.
Elliott D S Adams
• 15 DEC 1999 - Christmas Card
I hope you all are fine, and that you
keep the track clear from weeds. I biked
with Dick Smart for three days last September.
My bike design has improved considerably:
Fixed handlebar, no leaning necessary now!
Enclosed, find an article about me in
Swedish. Send my best wishes to
[Arne also sent some GREAT photos, but I haven't had a chance to scan them yet!]
• 27 JAN 2000
I enjoyed the Railbike article in FORBES a few months back. ...
magazine did a short article on Railbiking in their
May 31, 1999 issue, pages 284-285.]
• 1 FEB 2000 - email
Just found this site on Internet about Michael Rohde.
Best regards, Arne [Arne Nilsson from Sweden]
• 13 AUG 2001 - letter from Walter Hooker, MA
Walter bought my plans and went to work. He sent me this great
photo of his newly minted rendition.
Note the free advertisement for 'Bentley RAILBIKE' mounted in the
frame ahead of the seat.
• 20 JAN 2002 - An email item sent by Bruce Merrill
The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet,
8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used?
Because that's the way they built them in England, and English
expatriates built the US Railroads. Why did the English build them like
Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the
pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used. Why did "they" use
that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same
jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel
Okay! Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if
they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some
of the old, long distance roads in England because that's the spacing of
the wheel ruts.
So who built those old rutted roads? Imperial Rome built the first long
distance roads in Europe (and England) for their legions. The roads have
been used ever since. And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed
the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying
their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they
were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.
The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is
derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war
chariot. And bureaucracies live forever. So the next time you are handed a
specification and wonder what horse's ass came up with it, you may be
exactly right, because the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide
enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses.
Now the twist to the story...
When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big
booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are
solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their
factory at Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred
to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from
the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens
to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that
tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the
railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses' behinds.
So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world's
most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years
ago by the width of a horse's ASS
... and you thought being a HORSE'S ASS wasn't important!
• 29 JUL 2002 - email from Edgar Lueken
An old french motor-powered Velosolex-bicycle, a strong camera tripod,
a bob-trailer and a few screws...
It took me six hours to bring my Velosolex on the track.
Look at the photo.
Edgar Lueken, Berlin, Germany
• 10 JUN 2006 - email from Jim Perdiew
Your plans are great. My railbike works like a charm, and needed
only a few seconds of adjustments when I first used it.
Jim Perdiew, Barrington, IL
RAILBIKERS HAVE ONE TRACK MINDS!