When you think of Bermuda, what colors come to mind? Perhaps pink for the fine pink sand beaches or white for the stepped roofs that you’ll see throughout the island. Or maybe orange for the refreshing Bermuda Rum Swizzle cocktail? Well, when I think about Bermuda, I see vibrant blue. Bermuda’s crystal clear, turquoise waters are perfect for snorkeling and bathing in the Atlantic. Yet it wasn’t until I biked the Bermuda Railway Trail did I get to fully appreciate the beauty of the rugged coastline.
The Bermuda Railway Trail is a historic Bermudian landmark that offers one of the most scenic biking routes in the country. Formerly a railway track, The Rail Trail is now a breathtaking 18-mile nature trail that spans the island. To cover more ground, I rented a bike but you can also explore the trail by foot or on horseback.
Historic Bermuda Railway Trail
The Bermuda Railway Trail dates back to 1926 when Bermuda’s government granted the Bermuda Railway Company a 40-year charter. Private cars were not allowed on the island at this time so the railway was the primary means of cross-island passenger and cargo transportation.
Completed in 1931, the “Old Rattle and Shake” got its name from the bumpiness of the ride. However, after the end of World War II, Bermuda saw a spike in automobile transportation. Unable to keep up with the expensive maintenance costs, the “Old Rattle and Shake” was decommissioned.
In 1964, the abandoned railway track transformed into a public 18-mile nature trail. Later it was recognized as a Bermuda national park. The trail begins east of the island at the St. George’s train station and ends west of the island at Somerset Village.
Biking With WeRide Bermuda
Update September 2018: Unfortunately, WeRide Bermuda is now closed but I still encourage you to visit the Bermuda Railway Trail.
Although there are several bike rental companies in Bermuda, I rented bikes (pedal bikes) with WeRide Bermuda. I loved that they deliver rentals right to your doorstep. You can also pick up bikes at the Visitor Information Centre in St. George’s. Since I was staying near Grotto Bay Beach Resort in Hamilton, this meant that I didn’t have to cross the busy causeway. I also didn’t have to worry about returning my rental – everything was taken care of.
Since tourists are not allowed to rent cars on the island, biking is a cost-effective way to get around. It’s also great exercise!
WeRide Bermuda offers summer bike rentals as well as guided group heritage tours. You can rent bikes by the hour for $20 USD per hour. Or you can rent a bike for the day for $40 USD. Day rentals are the more affordable option for exploring the trail. With a day rental, you can explore without time constraints. Nevertheless, if you want to extend your adventure, overnight bikes range from $55 USD to $150 USD.
Although I couldn’t join WeRide Bermuda’s signature heritage tours, I’ve heard great things. Tours last two hours and cover ten historical sites in St. George’s – the oldest continuously inhabited town in the New World. This includes stops at beaches, museums, ice cream parlors, and cemeteries. Tours also include water and snacks.
My Dutch-style cruiser was perfect for navigating Bermuda’s roads and the Bermuda Railway Trail. My rental came with a bright orange helmet, a padlock, and keys to adjust my seat. Some bikes come with a basket but mine did not. My bike was also sturdy and comfortable and I could easily adjust my ride with the handlebar gears.
Biking The Bermuda Railway Trail
Despite having a blast visiting lots of beaches in Bermuda, I decided to bike the Bermuda Railway Trail to experience a side of Bermuda that I hadn’t seen before. I recommend visiting the railway trail for sightseeing off the beaten path and discovering something new on the island.
The Bermuda Railway Trail is the perfect adventure for solo cyclists, families, and friends. It’s also a romantic date idea for couples. Here you can watch the sunset, spot a plane or savor a delicious picnic.
There are seven (some sources say nine) sections to the railway trail. Sections range from one mile to three miles. Each has its own distinct charm. The trail isn’t continuous so there are plenty of entry points scattered throughout the island. Periodically the trail intersects with busy roads.
The sandy dirt path terrain varied with rigorous uphill sections. But luckily spin class prepped me for the challenge! If you ever feel like it’s too difficult, just hop off the bike and walk.
On my two-hour bike ride, I covered seven miles. It’s actually pretty difficult to cover all 18-miles (one-way) in one day, but I dare you to try!
I started at Grotto Bay Beach Resort and biked to Shelly Bay. Grotto Bay Beach Resort is a fantastic starting point because you’ll get to cross the scenic bridge near Bailey’s Bay Dock. After I got to Shelly Bay, I decided to head back because I had trouble sharing the narrow roads with buses, vans, and motorcycles. Also, some of the trail’s signs were hard to find, so this was a good time to head back.
Railway Trail Highlights
On the trail, you’ll bike behind pastel-colored cottages. You’ll spot old castles, churches, caves, and lighthouses. Only accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, don’t worry about sharing the trail with automobiles and motorcycles, you’ll have it all to yourself. And don’t forget to bring your bathing suit so you can take a dip at any of the many hidden beaches on the route.
I actually spent a lot of time off the bike taking photos and marveling at the panoramic cliffside views! I can’t stress enough that the railway trail is a must when visiting Bermuda!
- Always stay on your left when biking in Bermuda
- Bring a water bottle and wear sunscreen
- If you ever feel uncomfortable, retrace your steps
- It’s hard to bike the entire trail in a day, so focus on a few sections
- Plan your route with a copy of the Bermuda Railway Trail Guide from the Visitor Information Centre
Thanks, WeRide Bermuda for the incredible day out exploring the Bermuda Railway Trail!