Touring - Biking in Hawaii
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I really want to do something different over Christmas and so I am planning to use the time off to go to Hawaii (not sure what Island) for some biking. Normally I am more a road biker - however, with Hawaii I think my MTB would be the better choice.
Could you give me some insight in where to go, what to do - and not to do! I also would be interested in some contact addresses and tours which are being done between Dec. 25th and Jan.7th since I am planning to go there on my own.
11-29-04, 12:19 AM
Big island seems like the best bet - it has more land area than all the other islands combined.
If you don't mind rain you could ride most of the belt highway. There are also mountain bike
trips some companies run - you'd have to Google them to find out more.
11-29-04, 08:16 AM
The Big Island of Hawaii is an awesome place to bike. You can read about my solo tour there in May of 2003 at denise2003hawaii.crazyguyonabike.com (http://denise2003hawaii.crazyguyonabike.com). I've included information on the B&Bs and hotels that I stayed at in my journal. And if you have any questions, please sign my guestbook.
11-30-04, 12:05 PM
Big Island (Hawaii) has the most diverse climate. Dry as a bone, wet rainforest, mountains, etc. And, duh, can't forget the volcanos!
I think the most popular bike 'tours' are sunrise rides down Haleakala on Maui. It would be a blast (watching sunrise @ 10,000 ft then coasting to the beach), but not exactly extreme exercise.
I would not bike on Oahu, its the most densely populated, is fairly small & the road that circles the island is high-traffic with limited to non-existent shoulders. Add tourists on unfamiliar roads with blind corners & you've a recipe for disaster.
11-30-04, 12:31 PM
The book Mountain Biking the Hawaiian Islands (ISBN 0-9649843-1-8) provides lots of info for using MTB's there. You can order a copy from: http://www.bikehawaii.com/
11-30-04, 07:04 PM
I agree on the Big Island idea -- I did a tour round most of the island once (road biking, not mountain biking), and once you get inland there are some amazing places you would never have dreamed about, as well as some beautiful quiet roads. And you also escape an evil North American winter. Did you realise there are cattle ranches in the center of Big Island? Barren, moonscape-style lava fields where the black rock attracts the heat and radiates it back? You'd have to do some pretty good homework about where to stay though -- the hotels on the coast are pricey and I suspect a lot of places book up early. The Haleakea sunrise ride on Maui is something I didn't do, but someone who did described it as a waste of time (and money). You take a crowded minibus to the top of the mountain, and it's dark and cold, and then you spend 50 miles with your fingers jammed on the brakes trying to slow down. OK, it's probably not 50 miles, but it may feel like that when all you are doing is waiting for it to end.
11-30-04, 08:00 PM
Molokai could be another idea, if you want something less crowded.
Thanks you very much for the great info - I now have to do some more research for this trip. Big Island seams to be the best choice - however, how easy is it to get around the different Islands by air with a Bike in the luggage? May be you can provide me with some hints here too?
11-30-04, 11:13 PM
Flying to other islands will cost you $180 round trip on Aloha/Hawaiian or $70 one-way on the (slooooow) small fry. It's surprisingly non-"easy". The big airlines handle luggage just like the mainland airlines do. The little prop-plane guys may have some limitations.
I returned from Hawaii Sunday Jan. 9th - After recovering from the reentry shock into Michigan Winter I am even more amazed about Hawaii. Things are purely awesome there!!
I spent 10 days on Maui and 5 days on Big Island.
I think the most awesome trip I made was the ride around south Maui with the Hana highway, which is some 100 Miles starting from Pukalani. Not much worse is the ride up to Haleakala - the lenght and the area over the various elevation levels is spectacular and is being rewarded with the look into the crater - very pretty. Downride over the Skyline trail (pretty harsh up there) into Poli Poli is also something which should not be missed - I got soaking wet this day and so I skipped riding the single trails.
West Maui is gorgeous, however at Lahanai the road is a true highway with lots of traffic but still with a very pretty scenery. On Maui I also met some guys on roadbikes - which I joint for some miles which was very nice!! In general - besides the "downhill ride things" from Haleakala, I have not seen much bicycle traffic - I expected more.
Big Island has certainly also many opportunities to ride a bike, however I neglegted it somehow in favor of other things I undertook there. The Ironman tour is somewhat nasty - the road is actually not that flat (not what I thought) and has lots of traffic during normal times with strong winds. It is not necessarily the best ride.
Overall I think Hawaii has great bike riding opportunities (especially in winter times!!), even it is an island with limits in roads/space. I think taking the MTB with me was the right thing to do - I had truly a great time there, and miss these beautiful islands and the nice rides there!
The transfer from island to island isn't that easy with a bike though, but it does work - I flew with Pacific Wings with a one mot Cessna where the bike box was put into the pass compartment ($25) - they won't commit to actually take the bike box until it is clear that this space is available! In general I think prices are steep - flights at the different airlines vary between 70$ and $130 one way, depending on the availability of seats. The bike box means always some trouble and at least $25 with any airline.
I tried to get the book MTB on Hawaii, but the order slipped - I got actually a call on Big Island two days before departure on my cell phone whether I still wanted the book!
I am pretty sure I will see these islands again some time...
01-17-05, 01:45 PM
A slightly off-topic observation. We were in Denmark & Iceland over the holidays. My impression of Iceland (this having only been there 2 days) is that it is very much like the Big Island, with snow.
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