Hawaii: What’s It Like Biking in a Tropical Urban or Oceanside Environment?

Sharon Boyd: Co-Editor

Here are some of the routes that can be taken from the Waikiki area:

This involved riding through neighborhoods up to the falls from the beachfront.  While not steep by any means, it was somewhat taxing in the heat.  Once we got to the falls area and into the rainforest at the base of the mountains, it was quite pleasant.  By the way, Manoa Falls is where scenes from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
was filmed.

We rode portions of this route, taking one opportunity to stop by Sam’s Club near the Ala Moana Center to get some fresh tuna Poke’ that was for lunch once we got to Ala Moana Beach Park.

Lunch near Magic Island (Tuna Poke)

Sharon on picnic at the Ala Moana Beach Park

With this ride, you could take a side detour on the east end to take you to Leonard’s Malasadas at 933 Kapahulu Ave.  If you have not yet had a warm Malasada, put that on your list to do when you get to Hawaii.  YUM!!!  Fresh hot, just cooked, with your choice of filling.  Better than any hot donuts you’ve ever had!

We enjoyed this ride, as it brought us around Diamond Head (optionally you could ride up into the crater), through neighborhoods east of Waikiki and eventually brought us to the beach at Kahala.

While this was a longer ride that we didn’t do, it might be nice to ride in a bit cooler weather.

Another ride that was quite pleasant, due to the Buffered Bike Lane (see articles in this newsletter on this subject) was the ride to the Historic District along King Street.  The bikeway is designated for two way traffic with bike specific traffic lights at each of the intersections.

Sharon biking on the Honolulu Bike Way

To get an idea of what to see in the Historic District, download this Historical Honolulu Map
map and a poster: http://historichawaii.org/2013/12/27/historic-downtown-honolulu-map-available-for-self-guided-tours/


Next Stop: Kauai for 10 days!  When we arrived in Kauai, Dale rented a Jeep Patriot, a smaller SUV which could transport a variety of things – such as bicycles.  After the expense of daily bike rentals in Waikiki, we were looking for alternatives (considering that we’re retired and on a fixed income). We soon checked into our resort and drove to Wal-Mart and purchased mountain bikes with front shocks for $100 each.

Dale also purchased a set of Allen Wrenches and a Crescent Wrench, as well as a foot pump spare tube and tire tools, just to be able to do some basic maintenance.  At the end of the trip, these support tools fit into a USPS Flat Rate box that Dale shipped back to Colorado for $18.00.
The Wal-Mart bikes had Shimano grip shifters and derailleur, and worked well for the time we rode the bikes.  Having the bikes enabled us to ride anytime we wanted and anywhere we wanted.  After 10 days of bike riding and before we flew back home, we cleaned up the bicycles, attached the warranty and donated our mountain bicycles to the Salvation Army. 
BTW, Kauai bike rental shops had cruisers without gears. And, had we rented hybrids for 10 days at the local bike shop, we would have spent $25 plus insurance per day per person for limited hours each day. Since our condo was right on the bike path and ocean, we had room to store the bicycles in our condo.  It was great to ride anytime we wanted.
A picture of the mountain bike and a few statistics:

 WalMart - 26” Roadmaster Granite Peak bicycles, black with dayglow green trim. Popular for trails and casual riding; suspension improves handling for off-road.
Steel mountain style frame
26” wheels
18-speed twist shifters
Front and rear linear pull brakes
Alloy wheels and 3-piece crank
We've had a blast riding our bicycles any time, any place in Kauai, Hawaii. They have good bike trails and many roads have good shoulders. Here are some of the areas where we rode.
Bicycle the Royal Coconut Coast of Kauai (East)

The Ke Ala Hele Makalae Kapaa bike path starts at Lydgate Beach Park in Kapaa and follows the coast north, ending at Ahihi Point, just past Donkey Beach.  This incredible path is multi-use. The bike path meanders along the ocean for 8 miles. Cruise along with great views of the Pacific, see whales breaching and spouting late fall and during winter, stop for a bite to eat or take a dip in the ocean. Rent your own bike or enjoy a guided trip.

Sharon & Dale biking the 8-mile bike path at Kapaa with our new Wal-Mart mountain bikes.

Kealia Beach Breakfast Ride

Kealia Beach

Dale Mountain Biking at Paliku Point, just at the end of the Ke Ala Hele Makalae Kapaa bike path
Other times we biked up the road parallel to the Wailua River, on our way to Opaekaa Falls.  Along the way, we discovered a number of Mango trees that had dropped some of their fresh fruit.  Needless to say, we gathered the ripe ones and had fresh mango at breakfast and sometime fresh mango and pineapple smoothies after a warm afternoon ride.

Wailua River, Opaekaa Falls, Historic Parks and Mango “hunting” Bike Ride.

For the more adventurous bikers, there are a number of trails on Kauai that are open to mountain biking. Check with Kauai Cycle for local mountain biking information, and you can enjoy the ocean views and the rush of winding down a jungle mountain.
Parks and interests along the 8-mile Coconut Coast:

  • Lydgate State Park – great snorkeling and free parking
  • Wailua River – Route 580 travels past the Opaeka’a Waterfall to the Wailua Reservoir.
  • You can ride up Route 580 from the Kuhio Highway, turn right on Route 581 and loop back to the Kuhio Highway.  The route goes around the Sleeping Giant. There are two trailheads to this scenic climb.
  • Kapaa Beach Park
  • Kealia Beach
  • Kuna Bay
  • Anahola Beach Park – you can ride on the highway to this lovely beach. Enjoy a “shave ice” or smoothie along the way.
Kauai Cycle - rents a nice selection of bicycles
http://www.kauaicycle.com/ 808-821-2115
4-934 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, HI 96746
 (808) 821-2115
Koloa and Poipu (South)
This was a fun area to explore on the bikes.  As noted below, there are a number of points of interest to investigate along the way.
Koloa Heritage Bicycle Trail http://www.poipubeach.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/KoloaHeritageTrailGuide.pdf   For additional information for each cultural, historical and geological site. The town of Koloa has shops, restaurants, snack stands, restrooms and parking.
  • You can start the bicycle ride at any point on the map.
  • The National Tropical Botanical Gardens is east of the Spouting Horn.
  • There is a Starbucks at Poipu Shopping Village, 2360 Kiahuna Plantation Drive.
  • Brennecke’s Beach is next to Poipu (good snorkeling beaches and watching Hawaiian Monk Seals)
  • You can continue riding east on Poipu Road to Shipwreck Rock. 
  • The Old Sugar Mill of Kōloa, a National Historic Landmark, is located on the island of Kauai in Kōloa, HI at the junction of Maluhia Rd. (Highway 520) and K'loa Rd. (Highway 530) in the old town of Kōloa.
  • Abandoned Old Sugar Mill is down a dirt road at Mahaulepu Road and Kaluahnu Road Intersection.


Points of Interest:
  • Spouting Horn Park: 
  • Prince Jonah Kuhio Birthplace Monument and Park.
  • Koloa Landing at Hanakaape Bay.
  • Moir Gardens at Kiahuna Plantation.
  • Former walled temple of Kihahouna Heiau.
  • Poipu Beach Park.
  • Keoneloa Bay.
  • Makawehi and Paa sand dunes at Keoneloa Bay.
  • Ha`upu Ridge and the Puuwanawana Volcanic Cone.
  • Hapa Road.
  • Jodo Mission Buddhist temple in Koloa.
  • Sugar Monument.
  • The Yamamoto Store and the Koloa Hotel.
  • Koloa Missionary Church sanctuary.

There’s so much more we did and saw during the trip, most of while we were cycling.  Without a doubt, we had a great time during our stay in Hawaii.  And the biking just added more depth to the experiences, especially being able to ride along the Pacific coast in Kauai.  We’re definitely going back, and you can be sure that we’ll be on bikes during the trip!


Bent Fork 2016-5 - October/November 2016

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