Imagine this: A warm summer day in the Quebec countryside, the breeze combing through your hair, the tightness in your legs as you pedal forwards. The planks of the railway extending before you into the horizon – wait, what?

While Quebec is home to hundreds of scenic cycling trails, the Eastern Townships takes things further with their famous summer activity: rail biking, or riding Les Vélorails.” Originally popularized in Europe, this unique pastime has riders mount two bicycles connected by a platform that traverses Quebec Central Railway. Not to worry, train service on this line has long since been discontinued!

These rail bike tours run for either ten or 20 kilometers, taking riders on a journey across the Chaudière-Appalaches region, featuring green fields, charming woodlands, and the stunning coast of Lac Aylmer. Children can enjoy the sight and speed from the comfort of the platform’s two seats, so long as their guardians can handle the additional weight!

For prospective rail bikers who aren’t sure their legs can handle the 10 kilometer ride – or if you just want to take in the serene country scenes and enjoy the breeze – automated, solar-powered platforms called les Baladorail” are also available.

For those who want to get a taste of Europe this summer, hop in the car and visit one of the most beautiful areas in Quebec and take part in a truly unique local custom.

Rail bikes Les Vélorails de Beaulac Garthby Quebec

Les Vélorails de Beaulac-Garthby | Official Website

The Best Rail Bike Tours in Quebec

Located northeast of Sherbrooke by Frontenac National Park, Les Vélorails de Beaulac-Garthby is widely considered to be one of the best rail biking locations in Quebec thanks its routes along Lac Aylmer. 

Since 2011, Les Vélorails de Beaulac-Garthby have delighted thousands of visitors to the area while also keeping alive the legacy of the Quebec Central Railway. Once one of the busiest rail lines in Quebec as it transported passengers and cargo across the Eastern Townships, traffic along the QCR dwindled over the second half of the 20th century until service on it was discontinued entirely in 1994

Because large portions of the rail tracks were unable to be removed, officials in the Thetford Region saw an opportunity to re-purpose them and give people the chance to experience the gorgeous vistas that run along the railway in a whole new way. 

Bike Les Vélorails de Beaulac Garthby Quebec

Les Vélorails de Beaulac-Garthby | Official Website

Experiencing Rail Biking in Quebec

Whether cycling on les vélorails or enjoying a scenic ride on les baladorail, visiting Les Vélorails des Beaulac-Garthby is a truly unique chance to experience the nature of Chaudière-Appalaches as well as the rural culture of Quebec’s Eastern Townships. What’s more, it’s outdoor fun for the whole family.

The rail biking season in Quebec runs from the end of May to October, and there’s no better way to spend a lazy summer day in the Eastern Townships than taking in the splendour of the countryside from the back of les vélorails.

Special thanks to the staff at the Quality Inn & Suites in Thetford Mines, QC for their suggestions.

Choice Hotels in Southern Quebec