As part of a wonderful and unique press trip that I took to Mendocino County this summer, I was invited to ride the railbikes at the Skunk Train. As soon as I heard about these really interesting bikes, I knew that this would be the perfect activity for me to try in Fort Bragg. It was right up my ally.
What is the Skunk Train?
The Skunk Train offers rides on a historical railroad in Mendocino County. It takes you up through the redwoods to a nice spot to picnic and then back into town. It was nicknamed the “Skunk” train because in 1925, when motorcars were introduced in the railway scene, they had a very strong odor due to the gasoline being used for the engines mixing with the stoves burning crude oil to keep the passengers warm. Today, you can step on the skunk train and feel like you’re being taken back in time… minus the smell.
What are Railbikes?
The Skunk Train now offers rides on railbikes! Railbikes are electrically-powered, custom-built, two-person bikes that you can petal down the tracks of the railway and through the redwoods. They offer a fun and adventurous way to experience the old railway tracks and the beauty of Northern California from a new perspective.
The Railbike Experience
We got on our railbikes after being given a quick briefing on how to drive them. Yes, you drive them! As the driver, I was informed about the different gears, the throttle, and the brake. It was pretty exciting because we could get a workout in by pedaling the bike OR we could really help ourselves out by using the motor to drive the railbikes. Less power was used on the way in, but seeing as how the way back was slightly up hill, we were allowed to bring the bike into second gear and go just a tiny bit faster. But the nice, leisurely pedaling experience was more than enough for me. We rode the bikes down the railway and past the town, into the forest, over a few lakes, and through the redwood trees. It was absolutely incredible. We took a break at the halfway point and got the opportunity to hike, which was also a lot of fun.
All in all, if you’re looking for something unique and really fun to do in Fort Bragg, look no further than the railbikes at the Skunk Train!