Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bikes in Paradise



In February a vacation trip took me to Maui, Hawaii. While there I, of course, checked out what the bicycle scene looked like.

Anytime we traveled form one town to another I noticed a good number of cyclists working hard along the rather hilly shore roads on road bikes. (I’m thinking most bikes here have triple chain rings.) FYI, for the most part there seemed to be plenty of room to ride along the shoulders, although there were a few exceptions along the south shore. Roads like the one to Hana and others like it, not so much. Very windy twisting coastal roads with little or no shoulders, hair pin turns. All this plus constant trade winds to deal with would make for a pretty “exciting” ride.

What is referred to “Up country” on the slopes of Haleakala are small communities like Haiku, Kula, Keokea, Makawao, Pukalani, Paia, Kuau Bay, Kanaio and Ulupalakua, all a world away from the bustling beach resorts. Here I saw mostly mountain bikes. With the hills so steep and/or long the low gearing and aggressive braking is an absolute necessity. Incredible views, cooler weather (a constant 60ish degrees) and wonderful people, many living their dream at every turn.

This is also near the area of the Haleakala Volcano ride companies. They offer van rides to near the top of the Volcano with 10 -20 of your new best friends. Then a guided downhill ride for up to 20+ miles of switch back mountain roads with great vistas. If you would like a zip line ride then you would probable like this sort of cycle ride. There are off road trails from the summit that with two cars, one for drop off and one for pick up, would seem to be a really cool if and challenging ride, remembering this summit has an elevation of over 10,000 feet. It is a oxygen deprived, dry and cold. Because this is a place that can seriously hurt you (being just at 2 miles high) good planning is required for that type of ride.

In the towns that dot the coast cruiser bikes were most prevalent, as the terrain around most is relatively flat. Here is where I did find some vintage hardware with a mix of personal stylings. It is in places like these the real spirit of bicycles is found. You know, function solving a necessity of life that makes a real difference to the individual.

Finally, Bicycle Rentals in Maui seem to be a fairly large tourist business, albeit somewhat focused on the Haleakala Volcano rides, most do offer several style bicycles including higher end roads for up to about $200 per week.

So if you ever do say Bike Me, head to “Paradise” and decide to rent a bicycle it is about the same per week cost as a cheap car rental. And defiantly worth the ride!

Stay Current, Ride Vintage!

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