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Maui and Kuaai riding recommendations

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Maui and Kuaai riding recommendations

Old 11-13-10, 07:38 AM
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Maui and Kuaai riding recommendations

My wife and I are going to Hawaii in February, staying for a week with friends in Kihei, Maui and a week at Popui Beach in Kauai. Does anyone know whether it would be worthwhile to rent bikes in either place? We would be looking for short to moderate rides (~30 miles) that are fun and interesting. We won't bother if all that is available is a riding fix on tight, crowded roads.

Also, we have never done the Haleakala downhill. I understand that rides now start outside the National Park at the 6500' level. Is this constricted ride still worthwhile? Anything similar on Kauai?
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Old 11-13-10, 07:43 AM
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I can't wait to hear about your trip. I've been to both Islands but that was before I started riding so I cannot help with the riding. I wonder how the road to Hana would be if there were favorable winds??? My wife and I did the downhill on Haleakala but we started at the summit. That's a bummer if they don't start it up above 6500'. I do recall our bikes having disc brakes and straight bars....and we pedaled very little. I was the fattest guy in the crowd so they made me start in the very back and told me to not get within 20 yards of the person in front of me. They also showed us where some cyclists had gone off the mountain. My wife about opted out of the ride at that point. Have a great trip!
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Old 11-13-10, 08:37 AM
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About every three months someone in the Roadies forum posts about their Maui experience, particularly climbing Haleakala. I'd enter either Maui or Haleakala in the search function and see if it helps. Almost everyone rents there, and they mention a couple of places you can rent good road bikes from. Of course, take your saddle and pedals if you are going to get serious about it.

If I were going I'd try to climb Haleakala, even though I'd know I didn't stand a chance of making it. They say when you start at sea level, by the time you hit say 7000 feet, between the hypoxia, fatigue, dehydration and hypoglycemia, you can experience some right interesting hallucinations.
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Old 11-13-10, 08:41 AM
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Since this ride is on my bucket list, I pulled up one of the better threads: https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ight=haleakala
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Old 11-13-10, 09:02 AM
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Once you get to Maui and find the bike shops, there will be bike route brochures for you free. There is more than Haleakala and the roads are wide enough. You go thru some plantations, small towns, and some climbing. You may experience trade winds like you never experienced before.

If you are an experienced road rider who likes to climb, then Haleakala is ok for a challenge just to say you rode 40 miles uphill. But if both of you are riding, then maybe wifey won't like that kind of ride. Stick with the rest of Maui and you will be fine.

I recall those tour rides downhill Haleakala had bikes equipped with moped brakes. The one's that end up in fatalities are mostly because riders aren't experienced in descents.

For Kauai, I liked the snorkeling, kayaking, and the hikes. The mosquito bites were awful.

If I went again, I would go to the Big Island where the Iron Man is held every year in October. There you will find real nice bikes for rent and you can take that 100 + mile ride on the Iron Man course. Imagine, being on a Cervelo P2 just like Crissie Wellington, all tucked in and riding with those ZIPP wheels. You can even wear sleeveless jerseys and nobody will laugh at you.

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Old 11-13-10, 09:33 AM
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I stayed in the Hanalie, Kauai, area and rode out with my snorkel pack to the the north end of the island. It was one of the most scenic areas I've ever been. Caves, botanical gardens, great coral enclosed bays. Really nice trail at the end of the road for hiking up over to the Napali coast.

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Old 11-13-10, 11:07 AM
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I rode on Maui last time I was there. After being up the volcanoe in a car I have no desire to bike up it, or coast down it. The road was narrow and twisty with lots of fairly high speed traffic.

On the other hand I rented a road bike in Lahaina and rode around the top of the island. Speed of vehicles is about 15mph and the scenery was very good. I was just another vehicle in the chain so the narrow, curvy road was no big deal. That day was fun.

I responded to an ad for a completely supported tour from a town just south of the airport to Hanalea. I called to see how fast they would be because I am not very fast. I was told they had all kinds of people and I'd fit right in. Nonsense. From your posts I think several of you would match up and have a good time. But, on that day I was the only person who wasn't a racer. Needless to say they left me in the dust. They did send a guy back to ride with me but it was obvious I wasn't the kind of "everybody" they really catered to. When I asked where on the island I could find people in my age bracket who rode road bikes they told me they didn't know as I was the only one they knew.

If you are comfortable riding crowded roads and either are pretty fast, by my standards at least, or comfortable going off on your own riding a road bike on Maui can be fun once you get out of town. In town, well it is like riding on a downtown city street anywhere....
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Old 11-13-10, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Latitude65
I rode on Maui last time I was there. After being up the volcanoe in a car I have no desire to bike up it, or coast down it. The road was narrow and twisty with lots of fairly high speed traffic.

On the other hand I rented a road bike in Lahaina and rode around the top of the island. Speed of vehicles is about 15mph and the scenery was very good. I was just another vehicle in the chain so the narrow, curvy road was no big deal. That day was fun.

I responded to an ad for a completely supported tour from a town just south of the airport to Hanalea. I called to see how fast they would be because I am not very fast. I was told they had all kinds of people and I'd fit right in. Nonsense. From your posts I think several of you would match up and have a good time. But, on that day I was the only person who wasn't a racer. Needless to say they left me in the dust. They did send a guy back to ride with me but it was obvious I wasn't the kind of "everybody" they really catered to. When I asked where on the island I could find people in my age bracket who rode road bikes they told me they didn't know as I was the only one they knew.

If you are comfortable riding crowded roads and either are pretty fast, by my standards at least, or comfortable going off on your own riding a road bike on Maui can be fun once you get out of town. In town, well it is like riding on a downtown city street anywhere....
I had not thought about Lahaina.....played golf up there and the views were spectacular. I have to arrange another trip to the Islands. Something to train for!!
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Old 11-14-10, 02:36 AM
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For OP: Well, if you are looking for doing a ride of around 30 miles on Maui I would recommend the back road to Kahalui to Kapalua. This is around 30 miles one-way so it is within your range although the round trip isn't. Maybe you could rent two cars and leave one at the end of the ride so you can do it one way. I recommend doing it from Kahalui to Kapalua so you are riding on the ocean side of the road. The road is very narrow with lots of one-lane stretches. This is no big deal since the cars cannot go very fast on this road anyway and have to stop and wait for the one lane stretches anyway. In any event there is very little traffic. There are some challenging grades so if you rent get some wide gearing. This is one of the most beautiful stretches of road on the face of the earth and is largely overlooked by the tourists. Used to be some unpaved sections but it is all paved last time I went. IMHO this is as scenic as the road to Hana with less rain and a lot less traffic. There are also some nice loops you can do in upcountry Maui that are quite nice and can would come out to 30 miles.

For others. Few realize it but there are two roads up to Haleakala. The main paved road and the back fire road from Polipoli State Park. The fire road is unpaved but doable with a cyclecross bike (I've done it on my Surly Cross Check). My recommendation: Get someone else to carry your gear. First day ride from the airport to Polipoli state park. Paved road except for the last three miles or so. Whoever is carrying your gear should rent a fwd vehicle though. Camp overnight at Polipoli. This is at the 6,500 foot level and will give you a chance get accustomed to the elevation. Next day ride up the fire trail to the summit and then down to Hosmer Grove and camp overnight again (this is at the 7,000 foot level). Next day cycle down the paved road and then back to the airport. Real nice loop and it is broken up enough that you can do it without wiping yourself out. The back road up Haleakala has striking scenery and odds are you won't see a single other person, unlike on the paved road. I recommend the cross bike since they really do climb better than mountain bikes and there is nothing technical about the fire trail to require a mountain bike. This way is a lot more fun and a lot more scenic than just riding up the paved road and back. Finally, Viagra really does help overcome altitude sickness and this is true for both men and women, so you might want to consider that for the ride up to the summit from Polipoli.
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Old 11-14-10, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by akohekohe
Finally, Viagra really does help overcome altitude sickness and this is true for both men and women, so you might want to consider that for the ride up to the summit from Polipoli.
Might improve the campsite experience as well
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Old 11-14-10, 08:11 PM
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Caution about rental vehicles and unpaved roads.

The rental agecies I've used all forbid taking their vehicles off paved roads. So, if you are going to take the back road up Haleakala be sure your contract allows that or you could be in for some unexpected expense.
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Old 11-15-10, 01:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Latitude65
Caution about rental vehicles and unpaved roads.

The rental agecies I've used all forbid taking their vehicles off paved roads. So, if you are going to take the back road up Haleakala be sure your contract allows that or you could be in for some unexpected expense.
If you are going to Polipoli state park you need to rent a 4wd vehicle. There are a few places on Maui that specialize in 4wd rentals and they will of course let you use the road to Polipoli. The road is paved until the park boundary and it is about 3 miles from there to the campground. I've actually done this in a standard rental car but don't recommend it. BTW, it is a wonderful park even if you are not biking. My wife really likes it and she doesn't bike at all. Nice hiking trails.
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Old 11-15-10, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by akohekohe
If you are going to Polipoli state park you need to rent a 4wd vehicle. There are a few places on Maui that specialize in 4wd rentals and they will of course let you use the road to Polipoli. The road is paved until the park boundary and it is about 3 miles from there to the campground. I've actually done this in a standard rental car but don't recommend it. BTW, it is a wonderful park even if you are not biking. My wife really likes it and she doesn't bike at all. Nice hiking trails.
It is good to see there are some rental places that will allow off-pavement use. From my experience they probably aren't part of the national chains so how about posting who some of them are?
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