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Bicycle Bill

That's an interesting idea, but there are a couple of caveats. One is that unless you are riding on what you know to be a defunct rail line, you are always in danger of meeting an oncoming (or an overtaking) train. I don't know how long it takes to remove a rail bike from the rails, but I guarantee you the engineer isn't going to come to a complete stop and wait for you.

Secondly, riding on railroad property is definitely considered trespassing and you could end up being apprehended and cited, or even arrested and jailed.

Lastly, Panasonics were a beautiful example of the mid to late 1970s Japanese bikes that were responsible for a lot of people taking to the road during the "bike boom". It's a crying shame to see one come to such a tragic end.


I have so been doing this in my head for years. Amazing to see it out in the world.

Next step: A side-by-side no-weld tandem!

Scott Dedenbachh

It's no more of a crying shame to see this Panasonic come to a tragic end than if it had been crashed any other way.
This is a great idea and a fun project. Rail bikes have been around for a long time and people have been having fun on them for a long time. Keep up the project and ride on. I find it amazing the Bicycle Bill gives a lesson on the challenges of rail bikes as if he is seeing them for the first time but then feels qualified to give us all a lesson on Panasonic frames as if we had never heard of them.


Would love to see video of the bike in action (obviously before the crash).

would roller wheels have helped as inside rail guides vise the metal blade design?

Would a mountain bike be a better adept bike (shocks/wider tires etc...)?

I'm envisioning a lovely ride through the country side to ghost towns on now defunct rails to be a wonderful view.

Bicycle Bill

Actually, this is not the first time I had seen a rail-bike. The first one I saw, twenty or more years ago, was also home-built but used flanged wheels as the guides; since the wheels rode the top of the rails there was nothing underneath to snag a high tie or spikehead (the rubber bike tires still rode the top of the rails for traction and propulsion).

As for the Japanese bikes, not everyone *has* seen a good-quality Japanese bike like the Panasonic. Ever since the yen started fluctuating so wildly against the dollar in the late 1980s, most bikes coming into this country — even the quintessential Japanese bicycle brand, Fuji — originate in Taiwan or mainland China.


Wasn't there a Bicycling article about these hacks about 30 years ago? Maybe it was some other magazine? I share the sentiments about the Panasonic frame. Those were nice bikes, the shop I worked at in the 80s soled them.

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I tell myself I must have faith. Rushangshenglongba


Rail bike idea was stolen from an old movie. It's not cool to claim ideas that you didn't invent. The design was much better in the movie anyway.


This is not an idea from any movie. The rail bike was a normal work tool used by rail maintenance service worldwide in the old days. You can see such bikes in many rail museums. This is a cool adaptation of the old concept of such technical vehicle made from a regular bike.


Being a railbiker I found lots of info at: Google "Bentley rail tours"


Chill...he never claimed to have invented it.

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