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Riding on O'ahu-- It's current situation

Old 12-21-17, 02:43 AM
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Riding on O'ahu-- It's current situation

I am a recent transplant from San Diego. I rode 200+ miles a week there, including a number of 100+ one sitting rides.


I moved to O'ahu back in July.


The most I've ridden since then is 180miles. That was one of the first weeks there, before I realized how bad of a biking infrastructure they have here.
Shortly after getting here, I visited the HBL (Hawai'i Bicycle League). They're hard to find. But after circling around on Wai'alae and 9th, I found them in a second floor loft, carrying my bike up a flight of stairs.. (It's worth the effort!) I talked to a number of their staff. I got some info on the some of the ways to get around, including getting a map of the island. I talked to their action guy, gave him my information, told him that I was interested in being involved for a better biking experience, but to this day, I have never heard from him. I think that typifies most advocacy groups running on a shoestring....

The best way to figure things out is to map out your own rides, talk to some local riders (at an LBS) look at google maps, and then choose roads, you hope are safe enough to get around on without getting run over, and join a few group rides

So, from my perspective, riding in Honolulu is a challenge. The street structure reminds me of LA conditions (the main boulevards), meaning, no space for anything other than a car. So, I go for secondary streets. I mentioned I live in on the west end of Waikiki. In order to get anywhere, I have to navigate busy streets to get out of there.. So, I start early (between 5 and 6am), either shooting down Kalakaua, if I want to do the Diamond Head Loop, on the way to coffee in Manoa, or doing the loop out to the Makapu'u Lighthouse, either going by way of Lunalillo Home rd, or taking a risk (again, I travel these roads before sunup), Kalaniana'ole Hwy, by Hanauma Bay. That section of road is narrow, along the ocean front. I'm lit up, and take the lane whenever possible there. No incidents so far. If I go up Lunalillo Home to Hawai'i Kai, I can turn left into a neighborhood, a left, right, and am on a road on the way to a private development that has an open gate. You can't drive through, but peds and bikes can. Otherwise, you don't go as far on Lunalillo Home rd, and make a left on Wailua., which will bring you to a left on Hawai'i Kai. Continue on that, with a right, going around a hump, then another right following the "bus only" route on Kawaihae St, which will bring you back to Kalaniana'ole Hwy, which will scoot you back to where H1 starts.

closer in town:
There are bike lanes on Beretania, but it ends abruptly at Punchbowl
S. King is an adventure. It's a one way street for most of it's stretch, but has a two way bike lane for most of it. So, motorists making left turns onto other streets, have to look for bikes & Peds going both directions. Sometimes, they don't. I've had more close calls on this street than any other, which means I spend some time on Young st, which is the next street up. If you value your life, think twice before using King at all.

* Some fun ridges, to do on the way back on Kalaniana'ole Ewa direction

* Then about ridges and diversions along Wai'alae rd, on my way to coffee in Manoa.

* Tantalus, and some fun climbing loops, nearby. Booth Rd & Pacific Heights.

* A safe route to get to Chinatown (I avoid S. King when possible)

* Pali Loop

* Aiea Heights & Alewa drive (You make a right off of Mahalo rd, off of Judd)
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Old 03-28-18, 10:55 PM
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Honolulu is actually much better than the outer islands, with the exception of Big Island. In general Hawaii as a state is probably among the worst in the nation for cycling, if not the worst.
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Old 04-01-18, 01:15 PM
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Found out I'm moving out that way this summer. Looking for the ability to commute to Hickam AFB each day. We're thinking about living near Ala Moana. Checking out strava heat maps and google street view it looks like there is a bike path along Ala Moana and then along/under Nimitz Hwy/H1.

Is this a safe commute in the morning and afternoon?

Figure we'll find the weekend rides once we get there but the ability to commute to work by bike is important to us.

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Old 04-07-18, 08:53 PM
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act0fgod: It's a little sketchy getting to the Nimitz Bike Path from Ala Moana. I wouldn't ride on Ala Moana. There are some side streets to get around some of the mess, and it has a bike lane for parts of the trip. I would go up McCully to Young (or King, though, a two way bike lane on a one way street... hmmm head scratcher), through the City Hall, to S. Hotel st, where there are only buses and bikes allowed. Then after you get through Chinatown, there is a little sketchiness.
I have a route map on strava getting to Hickam, via some safer routes, though, ,there's a part where you're on Kamehameha for a short spell, have to take a lane to get to the start of the bike path. It's quite rough until you get to under the bridge. The sooner you can get off (I assume you have a military ID?? -- make a left on Elliott, right off the hwy), the better.
Most of my workout/rec rides take me east/towards Diamond Head, not (west/Ewa)
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Old 08-24-18, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Cykilist2 View Post
The best way to figure things out is to map out your own rides, talk to some local riders (at an LBS) look at google maps, and then choose roads, you hope are safe enough to get around on without getting run over, and join a few group rides
I really like the HBL map for choosing routes where possible, augmenting with google maps.
Originally Posted by Cykilist2 View Post
S. King is an adventure. It's a one way street for most of it's stretch, but has a two way bike lane for most of it. So, motorists making left turns onto other streets, have to look for bikes & Peds going both directions. Sometimes, they don't. I've had more close calls on this street than any other, which means I spend some time on Young st, which is the next street up. If you value your life, think twice before using King at all.
I agree, King is not a fun place to ride, I take Coyne to avoid it a lot
Originally Posted by Cykilist2 View Post
* A safe route to get to Chinatown (I avoid S. King when possible)
If you're coming from the west end of Waikiki check this out: bikemap.net/en/r/4610282/
It's through the park, so it's not high speed riding, but it's safe and low stress for the most part

Originally Posted by act0fgod View Post
Found out I'm moving out that way this summer. Looking for the ability to commute to Hickam AFB each day. We're thinking about living near Ala Moana. Checking out strava heat maps and google street view it looks like there is a bike path along Ala Moana and then along/under Nimitz Hwy/H1.
Is this a safe commute in the morning and afternoon?
Figure we'll find the weekend rides once we get there but the ability to commute to work by bike is important to us.
I lived in Ala Moana while commuting to PH.
It's definitely a do-able ride, but combined with having to be at work early already means you'll be riding a lot in the dark.

The bike path to on Ala Moana Blvd/Nimitz Hwy drops in and out at points, but there's a pretty safe way to get there. No matter which way you slice it though, despite being a bike path, the traffic is moving quickly on Ala Moana/Nimitz Hwy and can be intimidating if you're not used to it.

here's the way to ride low-stress, be on the nimitz for when it has a bike lane, where to go when it doesn't, and how to transfer to the pearl harbor bike path without being on the h1 on-ramp
bikemap.net/en/r/4610306/

you might want to deviate from the path earlier if you're closer to a different gate, but that will get you in makalapa gate, and you can ride wherever in base pretty easily
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Old 12-10-18, 05:43 PM
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Just a follow-up. I rode around most of O'ahu in early June. I, again, got up at 3am for the start. I went counter-clockwise, and didn't see daylight until I was getting out of Waimanalo. By hearing from others 1) go with a group... <I didn't, I coudn't talk anyone into riding with me... This was typical> 2) "I got 6 flats along that route" (I got one at mile 105, with the road conditions, I'm surprised I didn't get the "suggested" 6 flat day). I rode with 3 spares.Waikiki is a different world outside of what you normally see on post cards, and what the visitors bureau wants you to see....
I was in total darkness for about 2 hours, light started coming in around Waimanalo. Dealt with 2 close passes, and a near left hook. The two close passes, both revved their engines (big trucks, small....ahem)( (all on video) Will be reporting, per coaching by HBL. Roads get more sketchy once you leave Kaneohe Bay Area. You get some "bike space" along with rumble strips, especially in the really wet areas Windward side. Then the roads become smooth, and you have space, Repeat a couple of times. Turtle Bay Resort... roads are nice. Some parts of the North Shore around Waimea Falls, and the golf course, nice. The rest isn't great, and neither are the "bike lanes", with copious amounts of crap in them... It's a wonder I didn't get 4 flats (I only got one). Pineapple Hill: LOL. I did the charge and push, since I didn't know how long it was, or what to expect, so after about the 4th charge/push, I about wanted to die, but I pushed anyway.
The roads "inland" aren't the best, esp when you get into Waipahu, and parts of Mililani. That dive down into the bridge (right before Mink Park), I got an earful from a motorist, who didn't like being held up by a bike. I only heard an f-bomb and a few other things, the wind knocked most of it out. It was another bullying tactic,

I already knew that the bike infrastructure wasn't great here, but I wanted to do this at least once to experience it. Certainly, motorists are different when there isn't any sort of infrastructure, meaning I'm taking the lane at points that might piss off a few people. Having the mirror helped today... :-)
Got a flat on Ala Moana, riding stupidly, in the bike lane, where I picked up a nice sized screw.. stuck right in the tire. There is so much crap in the bike lanes, where there is a structure.. I don't think the City EVER cleans them. After that little episode, I rode in the right lane of the street.. Don't need another flat... I only had one tube. Both my phone and garmin died when I had to spend time changing the tubes out. They were low anyway. Note to self: If you're going to do a Century, take TWO battery packs, or one stronger one..... Lesson learned. I rode 5 miles longer than the stats here.... I did make it a "true loop"Took: 3 sets of fig bars from costco, corn chips, banana. Ate those at stops along the way. Got an iced coffee in Wahiawa.
1 Flat
1 bathroom break... It's a different experience, when you're sweating it all out... must of gone through 6 bottles of water.
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Old 12-15-18, 08:54 PM
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So we're now in Honolulu. Ended up across from the Blaisdell instead of Ala Moana. In the morning we ride through Hotel St. Left on Iwilei then Nimitz highway even when there is no bike path cause it's early enough we take one of the three lanes. Once under H1 we get on the path. Afternoon kind of sucks. We ridge the path to Dillingham and don't enjoy a good amount of the path near the dump. Once on Dillingham we've had some close calls with road rage drivers even though it's a really short distance. We take the first right on Puuhale then left on Coborn to a right on Waiakamilo on to Nimitz (tons of crap in the bike lane but no flats yet and a bit sketchy at times with tour buses) until we take South St. Not great riding.

My wife and I are going to do the loop of Oahu during the week of Christmas. Hopefully traffic won't be that bad. We are likely going to camp half way though for a night or two at Hau'ula or Kaiaka. We're going to go tour Korea and want to get our camp gear sorted out on the tandem.

A bit disappointed with the actual riding.
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Old 12-16-18, 07:47 PM
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Sorry, you are disappointed with the riding.. I feel your pain. I know in my year on the islands (I'm back on the mainland now), I had two options, since I didn't take my car... well 3, if you count bumming rides off of others, or just walking, and forgetting the cycling. Taking TheBus, or just learning the alternative options, since Honolulu is slow to incorporate bikes into everyday travel. There's limited space, and you know how much of a parking lot the surface streets, and H-1 are, almost any time of the day.

4. https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29052190 If you haveta travel makai.. some side streets off Ala Moana to the Nimitz,and the crap filled bike lanes, with large screws in them. I prefer to take this route going towards Diamond Head, because it's almost all right turns. Otherwise, towards Ewa, it's lefts across A.Moana.
3. https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29052183 This is the tour of the ped bridges... 2 of them, and going mauka, avoiding Ala Moana/ Kahmehameha (96) until you are just about at the so called bike path. The ped bridges cross H-1 and Pali. I'm not sure if bikes are allowed, but I didn't care. It beat the alternative of getting run over.
2. https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29052176 Making a right off of Alakea., which turns into Queen Emma (crosses H-1 without off, or on, ramp.. Follows a lot of #3 after that, including the one ped bridge. over Pali
1: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29052169 Going Hotel St all the way to River. I took this route to go to Chinatown frequently, but it's better going towards Diamond Head. No need to get on any of the main streets. Here, you have to spend a short distance on Beretania, going across one of the canals.


if you wanted some hill fun, you could always go up Makiki Heights, to the stop sign, scream down Tantalus,stay on Puoawaina, meander to the second ped bridge that goes across Pali (Kuakini) (Concordia, Kuakini).

In any case, make the best of what you got. If you have any other questions, just let me know.

However you slice it, going around the island is not a fun task. I chose to do the Pali Loop at least 10 times (only from Honolulu, not inbound). I have some side streets there, as well, so you spend as little time on Pali as possible.
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Old 10-26-19, 10:05 AM
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Bringing this thread back from the dead. Have you guys settled into the riding here yet? There are plenty of us that ride a lot. Look ub Team BME or Outta Bounds and go on a ride with them. No one in a car here is really THAT worried about cyclists being in their way. Not going to say it isn't a dangerous place to cycle but I think the motorists know that too. I have personally been in one incident on Oahu my whole life that was a cars fault while averaging 8-10000 miles a year.
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Old 10-28-19, 03:03 PM
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Cosmic Hawk: I was on the islands for about a year, and had no incidents. I've ridden the "Pau Hana" Wednesday evening ride (Outta Bounds/ITB (Island Tri-Bike on Kapahulu) , but a word of warning: They treat it like a race. It's a great way to get a workout, and to challenge yourself to ride with those whose abilities are far superior to ones abilities (points at self). There are group up points, at the Aloha, right where Kalaniana'ole Hwy is and then near Haunama Bay, before they hit Portlock.
I know a few people who ride with Team BME. All are pretty fast, so you'll probably have the same type of rides. There are also other groups through The Bike Shop

I still like to go towards Hawaii Kai from Waikiki, over to Waimanalo, and back. Most of the ridges over there are fine, along the way (Mariners, Halekoa, Wilhelmina, parts of St. Louis Heights, as long as the roadwork holds up--)it was in process when I left), Tantalus, Pacific Heights, Kamahame... most of these ridges display unique views of Diamond Head. Don't like the Pearl City bike path, or getting there, or some of the roads up to Mililani, etc, or the North Shore. Bad roads, and no infrastructure.
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Old 12-12-19, 07:48 AM
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My wife accepted a job at Queens medical center, and we will be relocating to Oahu in March 2020. We currently live in Barbados. The roads like in most Caribbean countries, except the highway are narrow, but the drivers for the most part are courteous. They will wait for me to get around a corner before passing, or wait until oncoming traffic is not so heavy. I too am courteous by getting up off the road for large trucks or buses. Its a very good symbiotic relationship. Drivers also are very good at getting around bicycles and the only horn that you will hear is if someone knows you. There is no 3ft law, but the roads are not big enough for it. I don't have a car by choice, so cycling is my only option for getting around. I do the grocery shopping, and I have a trailer for the case of wine and hardware. Of course I also like to ride for recreation. I have read the older posts, and some sound interesting, while others are concerning. So what can one expect while in riding on Oahu?
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Old 10-10-20, 03:16 AM
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Hawaii Biking

I am sorrry to hear about you riding problems on Oahu and Maui but I can believe it. I have spent some time on both islands and don't even like driving a car around Oahu. I live on the Big Island and when you consider how much larger it is than your islands there have to be better rides. This is actually one of the reasons that I moved here 4 years ago. The hills can be kind of tough but that is part of the challange. The riding here is good; many of the roads have very good shoulders for some very nice long rides. There are definitely some roads that are a no-go, but many that have beautiful long rides. I live in Waikoloa and can ride to Kona, Waimea, or Hawi on some very nice roads and have had very few problems other than thorns that give me more flats than anywhere else that I have riden. Although I have kind of given up on it there are many nice trail and mountain bike rides here as well. I just built a nice touring bike and am planning on getting some nice rides in on it. The bike shops here are a little bit limited on inventory but, pretty good as well.
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Old 08-03-21, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by vjbknife View Post
I am sorrry to hear about you riding problems on Oahu and Maui but I can believe it. I have spent some time on both islands and don't even like driving a car around Oahu. I live on the Big Island and when you consider how much larger it is than your islands there have to be better rides. This is actually one of the reasons that I moved here 4 years ago. The hills can be kind of tough but that is part of the challange. The riding here is good; many of the roads have very good shoulders for some very nice long rides. There are definitely some roads that are a no-go, but many that have beautiful long rides. I live in Waikoloa and can ride to Kona, Waimea, or Hawi on some very nice roads and have had very few problems other than thorns that give me more flats than anywhere else that I have riden. Although I have kind of given up on it there are many nice trail and mountain bike rides here as well. I just built a nice touring bike and am planning on getting some nice rides in on it. The bike shops here are a little bit limited on inventory but, pretty good as well.

I live in Keaau, which is about 12 miles south of Hilo. From my house, it's about 85-90 miles from Kona. Seems like almost every time I drive over the new Saddle Road, I see some bicycles riding over. Now those people are iron men and women! I old with my share of health problems, but still try to ride some every day for fun and exercise and hoping to build up some strength and stamina. Cancer, the treatments for that, and a blown right knee are the obstacles. Those Saddle Road bikers seem to mostly be on drop bar road bikes. I have a cheapo flat bar single speed road bike, so hills are extra tough for me. Guess we all do what we can. Used to ride this bike to Pahoa and back, and to Hilo and back. Since I recently started riding again, maybe I'll eventually be able to do those runs again.
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Old 08-04-21, 01:29 AM
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My commute coming home from work used to go via South King (going to I used S Beretania St of course). This was back in the late 70s lol - and I remember when they changed S King and Beritania to one way. I must have been used to the drivers - but they do accelerate and pass you and then brake and make their right turn right in front of you so you have to brake (all the time) - but that's universal from my experience and you need to anticipate. I may have detoured through Young street just to mix things up. Every now and then I'd take Kapiolani Blvd. It is busier - and the buses hug the curb so you have to pass them now and then.


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