South Fork Teeth | Adventure rolls on the rails in South Fork
SOUTH FORK – In recent years, the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad from South Fork has been shut down since owner Don Shank put the line up for sale. Over the years, there have been a lot of efforts to buy the line or bring it back to its natural state with none coming to fruition. Now, through combined efforts with a new business, Shank has announced and launched an adventure bike opportunity.
When he put the range on sale, Shank made it clear that he wanted the tourism opportunity it presents to continue. Over the years, Shank has looked for every opportunity to see the line be used for just about anything other than railcar storage and has found a chance to do so. Shank found a company in New York that created special bikes that can be used on the rail for touring and the results are all anyone can ask for.
âWe always came to South Fork to take the train up to Creede and when the line stopped we were really sad. But this year when we arrived and heard there was another way to enjoy the cityscape by walking up the canyon, we were over the moon, âsaid Molly Schafer, part-time South Fork resident.
It was the sentiment throughout the weekend in South Fork as hundreds of guests gathered each day at Denver and Rio Grande Rail Station just north of the city to experience Revolution Rail. Founders Rob Hart and Mike Dupee came up with the idea of ââusing abandoned railroads to promote tourism and provide customers with a unique opportunity to experience the rails by their own power. The company has four locations in the east and now their most recent addition in South Fork.
Currently, the trip takes about two hours and takes cyclists to the Collier River access area about five kilometers outside of town. Guests gather at the drop-off station and cycle the trails on easy-to-ride rail bikes that can be adjusted and used by just about anyone, of any age and skill level.
Director of Operations and Partner, Ed LaScala spoke about the history of the company and how it started: âOur head office is in North Creek, New York and that’s where we started in 2017 and now we have around 100 bicycles distributed among the five pitches. In North Creek last year alone, we made over 30,000 trips. It really took off and now we’ve partnered with Don Shank to grow here in South Fork. People really like the rail bike. It’s easy, fun and easy. It also gives people a chance to see the rails like never before.
âIt’s a multigenerational recreational activity. What I mean by that is we can have a grandpa that’s here with his kids and grandkids, and they can all go out and enjoy each other. They can do it together. It is a memory they will keep forever. They may not be able to ski with Grandpa or raft with him, but they can and that is what matters. This is what we are.
LaScala said that during the trips they have a historian on board who talks about the history of the rails and the area and that they allow a decent amount of time for each ride so that customers can truly enjoy the experience.
âCustomers can stop and take photos, see the geological landscape and hear about the history and as we go along we will start to add to the experience,â LaScala said.
Revolution Rails changed South Fork this weekend. For more information or to book a trip, visit www.revrail.com.