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Old 10-16-12, 11:47 AM   #1
Spoke
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Hawaii Bike Tour

Retiring soon and to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, we are thinking about spending a couple of weeks in Hawaii. In addition to the usual Hawaiian vacation activities, I am look for cycling opportunities. I am looking at the Bicycle Adventures Hawaii bike tour, see link below. Has anyone taken a bicycle tour in Hawaii? Any suggestions or recommendations would be appreciated. Aloha!

http://bicycleadventures.com/destina...ssic-Bike-Tour
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Old 10-16-12, 12:07 PM   #2
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'Have not ridden the tour in your link, but I've ridden enough in HNL to assure you that you can leave Oahu off your list of places to ride.

That said, I've lived on the Big Island and if you are at all intrigued by the tour options offered you should definitely go. The highway on the Kona side is one of those meh kind of things, but once you get away from the traffic and tourists the Big Island is a beautiful place and has an incredible range of microclimates so there is definitely something for everyone there, weather-wise. It's also the largest island with just enough people to keep it interesting and the pace of life (traffic) is more in line with how life really should be. If you go, you know you'll have to give us all a detailed report so we can vacation vicariously with you, right?
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Old 10-17-12, 08:12 AM   #3
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Yes, the Big Island is what we are thinking about. On any of the other islands you will end up riding in circles or in traffic. I’m just looking for input from anyone that has cycled in Hawaii. Thanks and Aloha!
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Old 10-17-12, 03:32 PM   #4
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I did a spur-of-the-moment trip to the Big Island in May of 2011 for just under a week. Landed at the airport near Kailua Kona. Note that there is no public transportation from the airport to Kona; you pretty well have to either rent a car or take a taxi, and you have to watch out for the taxi drivers; the one I got coming back to the airport was a real cheat (tried to take the long way, tried to charge extra for the bike, even though it fit the 62 linear inch restriction).

The first ride I did (the next morning) was the Ironman bike route between Kona and Hawi (Ha-vee) and return. You just take the main highway north, it's got a really wide shoulder and you roll past the lava fields. Take plenty of sunscreen, you'll need it, as this section of road gets so much sunny weather that all the major resorts are built along this coastal section. When the highway ends, make a left turn (direction opposite to Waimea) and go another couple of miles. Then look for a right turn onto a narrow road just past a Mexican restaurant - this is the road to Hawi. Lots of crosswinds here. Stop for lunch in Hawi, then head back. It's a nice all-day ride, you cover most of the 112-mile route. The part you don't cover is the loop thru Kona.

The ride south of Kona to the Captain Cook area is nice. There's a separate bike path/route that nobody knows about that runs parallel to the main highway as you climb the hill out of town to the south. Ask at any bike shop.

The most scenic ride on the Island is Old Mamalahoa Hwy from Waimea to the east coast of the island.

I rented a car one day (rode to the airport where the rental agencies are, packed the bike in the trunk), drove to Waimea, did the ride, then drove to Hilo. This is the wet part of the Island. You might want to do a short ride here if it's not raining. I then continued along the main road to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. There is a ring road that goes around the small craters, and if there's not too much smoke coming out of them, the road might even be open, so you can ride around them. When I was there, I could only go part way around.

The southwest of the Island is very solitary and devoid of much civilization. However, you can visit the southermost point in the US.

You can do this drive, along with all the riding, easily in one day. Have fun!

Luis
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Old 10-19-12, 11:51 AM   #5
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Luis, Thanks for all the info. Very interesting. I appreciate the additional information regarding things like sunshine between Kona and Hawi, the rain around Hilo, and the taxi drivers! Just the idea of a seven day bike tour of the big island seems like a great way to experience Hawaii for someone living in the heart of Texas. If we go, it won’t be until sometime next fall, but if we do I will post a trip report with photos! Thanks again!

Ride On!
-Spoke
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Old 10-19-12, 03:10 PM   #6
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Maui = Haleakala.
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Old 10-19-12, 03:15 PM   #7
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I signed up with Bicycle Adventures for a Hawaii trip-Big Island and received a call from them just 2 weeks before departure and was informed that they cancelled it. I was reimbursed for my payment to them but I had already booked airline tickets, hotels and vacation from work. I planned to spend some time alone with my wife so I bookend the trip with a day or so before and after the riding. I rode with Bicycle Adventure in the past and had pleasurable experiences. This trip was for our 25[SUP]th[/SUP] wedding anniversary and I was totally bummed out.

Fortunately for us, Backroads offered a tour at the same time. So I booked with them and had a fantastic ride and we were blessed with great weather. No rain whatsoever and this might be a bit unusual around Hilo. I understand that Backroads and BA routes are very similar, perhaps the same but go in opposite directions. I do not plan to trash anyone but I’ve been with Backroads ever since. In any case, they are competitive if you get to go.

Both offer support and this was important to me when we rode to the southern tip. After lunch, we stopped at the southern tip and we were to ride up to the Volcano house. But we fought a very strong headwind on the way to the southern tip and we ran out of gas. We didn’t know anything about drafting then but I still think we would have ended up just as tired. We hopped in van after lunch, stopped at places along the way and then headed up to the volcano house. I knew that I made the right decision about hopping in the van. I wanted to enjoy myself not kill myself. Our stops and late afternoon walk around the crater were fantastic.

I will only say again that it was fantastic and I’ll let your discoveries be your own. It was also great not to have to make any decisions. The guides were knowledgeable tour guides; they provided great support and it was easy to become good friends with them. The dining was also fantastic. The trip made our 25[SUP]th[/SUP] wedding anniversary very memorable. I hope your memories will be just as wonderful.
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Old 10-19-12, 03:28 PM   #8
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Biked the Big Island. Loved it. Rode around Oahu when I lived there, as well. But for vacation - the Big Island is the best bet. Keep in mind that Hawaiian roads seldom have adequate shoulders for riders. Not too much of a problem on the Big Island when you get out of the towns. But those cane trucks can make life interesting! A supported tour is a good idea - there are not a lot of services. I remember a long stretch of lonely road from Black Sands Beach up to Volcano house - in the rain. At least it's tropical rain - warm.
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Old 10-19-12, 06:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
Maui = Haleakala.
We did this one year. Interesting. Over 20 miles downhill with no pedaling. Very wet and misty. Wouldn't do it again, but no regrets about one time.
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Old 10-19-12, 06:16 PM   #10
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Biked the Big Island. Loved it. Rode around Oahu when I lived there, as well. But for vacation - the Big Island is the best bet. Keep in mind that Hawaiian roads seldom have adequate shoulders for riders. Not too much of a problem on the Big Island when you get out of the towns. But those cane trucks can make life interesting! A supported tour is a good idea - there are not a lot of services. I remember a long stretch of lonely road from Black Sands Beach up to Volcano house - in the rain. At least it's tropical rain - warm.
We go to Oahu every year to visit our daughter and grandkids. Not the best biking place in the world due to no shoulder and lots of traffic.
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Old 10-20-12, 11:42 AM   #11
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We did this one year. Interesting. Over 20 miles downhill with no pedaling. Very wet and misty. Wouldn't do it again, but no regrets about one time.
I meant going up, not down.
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Old 10-21-12, 05:27 PM   #12
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We moved to the Big Island in September of 2011. Our place has a Keaau address but really is about 6.5 miles from the actual town of Keaau. We are about 12.5 miles from Hilo. Yes, this is the rainy side. But Kona is sunnier and hotter and can have a "vog" problem. I'll take the Hilo side any day myself. I am 59 and retired and ride my mountain bike around the area. I'm building up my bike endurance and just recently started riding. We live in a huge "developement", Hawaiin Paradise Park. As an example, a ride from our house to my Daughter's (also in HPP) is about a 11.5-12.0 mile round trip. I ride to the town of Keaau (about 13.0 mile round trip), and to Pahoa (18.8 miles). I'm planning a ride to Hilo and back (25 miles + ) soon. The main highways I ride on have a generous shoulder (unlike within HPP much of which have zero shoulder), except from 6:00 to 8:00 AM, when the shoulder is used as a car lane (it's that wide mostly). Yes, Hilo and the east side does get a lot of rain, but also gets lots of sun, and warm cloudy weather. I'll take some clouds and even some light rain for riding. But then I'm an old motorcyclist that rode year round in the Seattle/Tacoma area, and rode rain or shine down to very low temps. Now if you get one of our Puna District cloud bursts, you won't be riding (or sometimes driving either), but they tend to blow over quickly.

It's about 125 miles from my house to Kona. I guess Kona is more touristy than the Hilo area, and north of Kona has some huge super deluxe hotels. Myself, I love Hilo. It reminds me in many ways of the town in Washington I recently lived in, Puyallup.

There are lots of gravel roads also. According to maps I've seen, it looks like I could get from my place to Kona on gravel roads, though there would be a huge elevation climb.

I've been to Maui many times and seen the bicyclists riding down. It's a huge elevation drop and bikers over the side are not uncommon. Many tight switchbacks and all down hill. They must toast a lot of brake pads on that ride. There can be lots of fog to deal with and it's cold up high. On the Big Island at times of the year you can actually snow ski and snow board.

You might consider arriving and leaving from Hilo Airport.

Last edited by birdmove; 10-22-12 at 12:33 AM.
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Old 10-21-12, 10:41 PM   #13
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You might want to look at my article "Riding High on Hawai'i." It is mostly about the Waimea district where my wife's family lives. I haven't quite finished the article yet, but there is plenty of info of interest to bike riders, self-support touring or not. If you have any questions just ask. I have been visiting there for over forty years. Hawai'i, the Big Island, is a wonderful place to ride. You'll need both heavy duty sun screen and heavy duty rain gear.

http://bicyclelife.topicwise.com/doc...c_id=9282&v=8L
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Old 10-23-12, 11:04 PM   #14
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I brought my bike to Maui last year and rode in West Maui every day for 10 days. We were staying approximately between Kaanapali and Napili, within a couple of miles where the West Maui hills begin. The daily riding - out and back stuff for an hour to 1 1/2 hours each day was very enjoyable. We did a couple of longer rides, highlighted by a circle ride around West Maui. My goal was just to do some winter riding, no big "goals", and it was truely a pleasure just to go out in the warm morning air for an hour or two, with great views and roads, and then have some fruit, toast and coffee on the lanai mid- morning.

The West Maui circle ride is, bar none, one of the finest, most fun, most spectacular 60 mile rides I've ever done. Spectacular scenery - way world class. There are sharp hills, steep, but not too long. The windy, hilly road is rough but very ridable as fast as you want to go downhill. I found it less stressful to ride a bike on that road than the car (we drove it a couple of days beforehand). There's enough "facilities" so you can get water or other stuff if the two bottles you normally carry aren't enough. I did it "clockwise" starting where were staying (Kaanapali / Napili area), and that's the way I'd do it again. My buddy started in Kehei and rode to meet me first thing in the morning, we finished the ride back to Maalea together, and I rode on to Kaanapali alone to finish.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Next time I go to Maui, that West Maui ride will be my first choice, and I'd do it every year. I might try the ride up the mountain, but if I'm going up to the crater, I'd rather drive and then hike across - which we also did and it was a spectacular, but very "doable" hike.
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