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  1. #1
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    Road Cycling in Hawaii

    My husband and I want to road cycle in Hawaii this summer. We don't want to go with a tour group so we will have to figure out where to make our base and routes on our own. Can any of you help? We would probably stay in one place and ride from there for about 5 days. We will bring our own bikes. We are not familiar with Hawaii so if you make suggestions please don't assume I know anything. I have planned a few great cycling vacations with the help of people from this forum. Thanks everyone. p.s. Is it possible to avoid riding in the rain and see green?

  2. #2
    Junior Member FlanHi's Avatar
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    Perhaps the reason you haven't gotten any replies is that you aren't specific about which island you plan to visit. Each island is different. If you are planning a five-day trip, you'd better pick one island and focus on what you'd like to see and do.

    Hawaii Island is the largest and includes the active volcano at Kilauea, the lush Hamakua Coast, funky Hilo Town, the vast expanses of Parker Ranch and the beaches of leeward Kailua-Kona. If you're really ambitious, you can try climbing from sea level to the top of Mauna Kea, a 13,792 foot challenge -- the last 3,000 feet is gravel road.

    Oahu has much more populated, but offers history, amazing beaches, cosmopolitan Waikiki, restaurants, Pearl Harbor, culture, museums and some beautiful coastline rides.

    Molokai is rural, windswept, friendly and quiet.

    Maui has some of the most challenging bicycle rides: up to the summit of Haleakala, stopping at the Lavender Ranch on the way; east on the Hana Highway to remote Hana Town; west into the spectacular Iao Valley; and out to Paia, the windsurfing capital of the world.

    Lanai, the former Pineapple Islands, is now owned by Larry Ellison of Oracle and America's Cup fame. It's small, scenic, expensive and gorgeous.

    Kauai, the Garden Island, is more a mountain biker's Mecca. It includes the Waimea Canyon -- the Grand Canyon of the Pacific -- 14 miles long and 3,600 feet deep, from the summit of Mount Waieleele, which is the wettest spot on earth, to the ocean. It has spectacular resorts at Princeville and Poipu, funky plantation towns and an amazing 11-mile hike out the Napali Coast to secluded beaches.

    If you come in the summer, don't worry about the weather. There might be "windward and mauka showers" -- early morning or evening tradewind squalls that blow into the eastern coastlines and mountain areas -- but nothing to stop you from enjoying yourself on the road or at the beach.

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    Thank you so much for this detailed and very helpful response. We know nothing about the islands; that's why I posted the question.

    Perhaps the reason you haven't gotten any replies is that you aren't specific about which island you plan to visit. Each island is different. If you are planning a five-day trip, you'd better pick one island and focus on what you'd like to see and do.

    Hawaii Island is the largest and includes the active volcano at Kilauea, the lush Hamakua Coast, funky Hilo Town, the vast expanses of Parker Ranch and the beaches of leeward Kailua-Kona. If you're really ambitious, you can try climbing from sea level to the top of Mauna Kea, a 13,792 foot challenge -- the last 3,000 feet is gravel road.

    Oahu has much more populated, but offers history, amazing beaches, cosmopolitan Waikiki, restaurants, Pearl Harbor, culture, museums and some beautiful coastline rides.

    Molokai is rural, windswept, friendly and quiet.

    Maui has some of the most challenging bicycle rides: up to the summit of Haleakala, stopping at the Lavender Ranch on the way; east on the Hana Highway to remote Hana Town; west into the spectacular Iao Valley; and out to Paia, the windsurfing capital of the world.

    Lanai, the former Pineapple Islands, is now owned by Larry Ellison of Oracle and America's Cup fame. It's small, scenic, expensive and gorgeous.

    Kauai, the Garden Island, is more a mountain biker's Mecca. It includes the Waimea Canyon -- the Grand Canyon of the Pacific -- 14 miles long and 3,600 feet deep, from the summit of Mount Waieleele, which is the wettest spot on earth, to the ocean. It has spectacular resorts at Princeville and Poipu, funky plantation towns and an amazing 11-mile hike out the Napali Coast to secluded beaches.

    If you come in the summer, don't worry about the weather. There might be "windward and mauka showers" -- early morning or evening tradewind squalls that blow into the eastern coastlines and mountain areas -- but nothing to stop you from enjoying yourself on the road or at the beach.[/QUOTE]

  4. #4
    Junior Member FlanHi's Avatar
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    You are welcome. Think about how much and what kind of biking you want to do:

    Want to climb 10,023 feet from the ocean to the peak of Haleakala? Go to Maui.

    Want to tackle the Ironman Triathon route, visit a live volcano, go sports fishing or diving? Go to the Big Island.

    Want to do a DIY vacation on a funky garden island, visit gorgeous, deserted beaches, climb a 10-mile, 3,000-foot deep canyon, enjoy plush resorts or rustic camping? Go to Kauai.

    Want to visit Iolani Palace and the Bishop Museum, Banzai Pipeline and Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach, Punchbowl, the Battleship Missouri and the Arizona Memorial? Go to Oahu.

    Want to get away from it all? Visit Molokai or Lanai.

    You can't miss, but it's all different.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlanHi View Post
    You are welcome. Think about how much and what kind of biking you want to do:

    Want to climb 10,023 feet from the ocean to the peak of Haleakala? Go to Maui.

    Want to tackle the Ironman Triathon route, visit a live volcano, go sports fishing or diving? Go to the Big Island.

    Want to do a DIY vacation on a funky garden island, visit gorgeous, deserted beaches, climb a 10-mile, 3,000-foot deep canyon, enjoy plush resorts or rustic camping? Go to Kauai.

    Want to visit Iolani Palace and the Bishop Museum, Banzai Pipeline and Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach, Punchbowl, the Battleship Missouri and the Arizona Memorial? Go to Oahu.

    Want to get away from it all? Visit Molokai or Lanai.

    You can't miss, but it's all different.
    We're headed to the North Shore of Oahu in a few weeks - staying at the Turtle Bay Resort. My wife and I would like to get some miles on during the trip. We are open to road riding or some tame single-track mountain biking. My wife has a lot of miles and experience, but very little patience for stressful rides (i.e. busy, fast, narrow roads or hard-core DH MTB). So there's a couple questions:

    Rental recommendations - rental shops up near Haliewa? Or closer to Turtle Bay? We will not want high-end bikes, but also avoid the rusty death-trap. (really narrowed it down). My wife likes her flat-bar road bike, that would be the target for road riding or rigid frame MTB.

    Self-guided route recommendations for road riding or single-track MTB. I expect we will only do one, this isn't a bike vacation, just want get some miles and smiles from a bike while in Hawaii.

    As I write this, I expect I will want to stick with road riding. Logistics of picking up bikes and bringing them to a MTB location would likely be more than we can manage.

    It's going to be a serious shock to our systems, Minneapolis is already cold and snowy... it was 5F when I left on my morning ride to work.

    Thank you for your help and let me know if you want any additional info.
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I'm blaming you. There's a difference.

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    I cannot help you with Hawaii (I posted the original question) but I just had to say something about the fact that you ride your bike in 5F. You are my hero! I can't imagine that.

  7. #7
    meh Hypno Toad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shona View Post
    I cannot help you with Hawaii (I posted the original question) but I just had to say something about the fact that you ride your bike in 5F. You are my hero! I can't imagine that.
    LOL, thanks!
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I'm blaming you. There's a difference.

  8. #8
    Junior Member FlanHi's Avatar
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    Turtle Bay is up in the northwest corner of Oahu, out in the "country" and on the edge of the North Shore surfing community. I have no experience renting bikes here, since I have five of them in the garage. Yelp.com has recommendations, however, including North Shore Bike Rentals in Haleiwa, which is about 8 miles from the resort. According to the Yelp review, they'll deliver bikes to your hotel. The big wave surfing season is starting and the road will be choked with traffic on the weekends, so I'd recommend a mid-week bike outing, either westward through Haleiwa Town out to Dillingham air field and Kaena Point or east and south to Kahuku, Hauula and Punaluu.

  9. #9
    meh Hypno Toad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlanHi View Post
    Turtle Bay is up in the northwest corner of Oahu, out in the "country" and on the edge of the North Shore surfing community. I have no experience renting bikes here, since I have five of them in the garage. Yelp.com has recommendations, however, including North Shore Bike Rentals in Haleiwa, which is about 8 miles from the resort. According to the Yelp review, they'll deliver bikes to your hotel. The big wave surfing season is starting and the road will be choked with traffic on the weekends, so I'd recommend a mid-week bike outing, either westward through Haleiwa Town out to Dillingham air field and Kaena Point or east and south to Kahuku, Hauula and Punaluu.

    Thank you! We were thinking the area by the old airfield would be quiet. We drove down there the last time we stayed on Oahu (roughly 10 years ago). I will post updates on rental shops and routes on our return.

    Funny story about driving past the airfield... as we were driving a long there were plane parts everywhere, then a full section of fuselage with seat hanging upside down and engine just laying on the beach. We were so confused, how did we not hear about a plane crash?? Why are we allowed to drive right through the wreck?? On the return trip, we saw signs marking it a film set, but we didn't notice the signs early because the plane crash set took all of your attention. It was the set for "Lost".
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I'm blaming you. There's a difference.

  10. #10
    Junior Member FlanHi's Avatar
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    Yep, and Hawaii Five-0 films out at the airfield or various spots on the North Shore. So, you might find yourselves at another TV shoot on your next trip. Oh, and I mistakenly wrote Turtle Bay is in the northwest corner of the island when I meant to say northeast. Doh! And I should have mentioned that you should save energy for the ride back to Turtle Bay since you'll likely have the tradewinds on your nose all the way back from Dillingham Field.
    Last edited by FlanHi; 11-17-14 at 12:52 PM. Reason: Correct error. Add comment about the tradewind.

  11. #11
    meh Hypno Toad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlanHi View Post
    And I should have mentioned that you should save energy for the ride back to Turtle Bay since you'll likely have the tradewinds on your nose all the way back from Dillingham Field.
    That's good to know!
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I'm blaming you. There's a difference.

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    meh Hypno Toad's Avatar
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    We ended up renting bikes at the Turtle Bay resort, they have beach cruisers, Kona MTBs, and Origin8 Crawler fat bikes. We took a couple fat bikes around the resort trails for the morning. $20 per bike per hours or $50 per day. The resort has 14 miles of trails on-site. I believe this is open to anybody (not just resort customers). We had a ton of fun!
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I'm blaming you. There's a difference.

  13. #13
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    Outfitters Kauai - Directions to Poipu rented a longtail Kona bike here last week in Kauai @ $35/day. They run a bus up to the top of the big canyon and you can ride downhill -- that's a full day activity that I did not get to, but will if I go again! 3 days with the cargo bike to tool around and get to some off the beaten path beaches on the south shore was plenty of fun for me.
    The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley

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    I spent 5 days riding on the big island a year and a half ago. It was great. I rode on much of the route that the Ironman Triathlon rides on. Smooth roads, wide shoulders and fantastic ocean views, windy and hilly! I rode up the Kohala Mountain road from Hawi to Waimea. That was spectacular - 3500 feet climbing and then descending and ocean views riding through ranchland. There were lots of cows. I rented from Cycle Station Kona - they were great and very reasonable. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

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    It sounds as though the big island will have more road riding options for us. Is it big enough that we need recommendations for the area in which to stay or will any area be fine? Thanks again everyone.

  16. #16
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shona View Post
    It sounds as though the big island will have more road riding options for us. Is it big enough that we need recommendations for the area in which to stay or will any area be fine? Thanks again everyone.
    It isn't the size of Greenland, but it can take 2-3 hours to get from one place to another so you do want to make a good decision.

    If your primary interest is cycling you'll want to avoid areas with narrow roads, bottlenecks/dead ends, and unfavorable weather. The first obvious option is Volcano Village at the summit of Kilauea, which being on the windward/leeward divide gives you weather options, and is on the edge of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The other option is the (to me desolate) resort area from Kailua northward around the northern tip of Kohala to Kapa'au. If you're asking me Volcano Village is vastly nicer and a more authentic experience, but most people prefer the generic tourist resorts in the Kona-Kohala area because they come here to loll on beaches, drink fruity drinks and be entertained.

    I will also recommend trucking your bikes down to visit the upper cane haul road (not the highway) between Na'alehu and Pahala down in Ka'u. Refreshments are in Na'alehu. You could ride down there from Volcano, but the round trip would be quite a long day out.

    Most places here drivers aren't used to bikes on the road, and watch out for street racers, monster trucks, impaired drivers, etc.
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    Thank you bkrouwnd

  18. #18
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    The "entrance" to upper cane haul road in Na'alehu is the side street that the entrance to Punaluu Bakery is on. (the main intersection in town) On the Pahala side it's harder to find upper cane haul road, being hidden behind old plantation buildings. Pahala has the cute run-down atmosphere of a derelict sugar town, and Na'alehu is a nice place to get refreshments on a road trip.

    Get some Ka'u coffee in Na'alehu, if you like coffee.

    If you like art, there's Volcano Art Center near the visitor's center in the national park, and Volcano Garden Arts next door to Volcano Inn in Volcano.

    Ono Cafe (at Volcano Garden Arts) and Kilauea Lodge are nice places to eat in Volcano Village, and Hana Hou in Na'alehu is good small town food.
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    I'm off to Maui for 8 days tomorrow. I rented a bike for 4 of those days from West Maui Cycles ($80 for 4 days), but it's not a high performance bike - it's a Specialized Sirrus road hybrid. I debated renting a Roubaix for twice as much money, but I'm not looking to ride more than a couple of hours a day. I'll probably ride along west Maui, from a bit south of Lahaina up past Kapalua, but this isn't the right gear to try to climb Haleakala with, and frankly, I didn't feel like burning an entire day on it.

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