View Full Version : touring in hawaii- anyone done it?

Gregg Woodlawn
11-24-2009, 11:54 AM
Tix are really cheap right now to hawaii.

Has anyone toured in hawaii? I'm thinking of heading out to the big island with my bike, some snorkeling gear, and a sleeping bag. (Anyone have 2 sets of snorkeling gear to loan?)

I figured that if I can get me and my bike to the big island (with panniers/ sleeping bag/ etc) I could spend a week and a half riding the 300 miles around the big island. Anyone have advice?

I've done some research and it looks like the big island has the least traffic and the most open road. Has anyone ridden around the big island or toured on any of the other islands? I am the most intrigued by Kaua'i, but it looks like road riding isn't such a good idea there, and the other islands look expensive, densely populated, and only have online advertisements that sound like "30 mile downhill with a guide that sets the speed for 100 bucks." yuck.




11-24-2009, 05:18 PM
Greg, your question piqued my curiousity. I tried to dig up some info from the H-DOT website on bicycling, but it's got to be the most disfunctional government website i've ever seen - just a mass of dead links, at least in the cycling arena. I couldn't even find an email address to complain about it... They suck beyond belief, just wish i could tell 'em that.

I've been to the Big Island, driven pretty much around it, but haven't biked at all on it. Not sure what to make of the cycling conditions; wish i remembered more about whether or not there's shoulders (when i drive i habitually watch to see if there's a decent shoulder) but really can't recall.

There's some pretty remote areas on the north and south sides where it *seemed like* the traffic was fairly low. There may be some opportunities to get off the main island ring road on to some tertiary paved back roads, which could be really cool. the landscape on the north side - on the way from Hilo over to the dry side - is really beautiful, seems like it would be fantastic for cycling.

If you go, report back!

11-25-2009, 03:02 PM
We went on a week-long vacation at the end of March.

Here's what I remember: traffic was fairly heavy around Kona and Hilo. Heading south out of Kona on hwy 11, the road is twisty and hilly, traffic thins out, and I think there were okay shoulders. Heading north out of Kona on hwy 19, the road is fairly straight, with a great shoulder (because they do the Ironman out of Kona), but the headwinds are going to kill you. As I recall, the great shoulder went all the way up 19 to 270, then it got kind of skinny going up 270.

You can ride 270 all the way north until it dead-ends at Pololu valley, then hike down the steep and often-muddy trail to the beach where a lot of people camp out. We saw two families setting up camp (tents and all) when we did the hike.

Heading south around the island, the weather will get more Oregon-like; Hilo was rainy and grayish, the volcano was 60s and showers (the visitor center is at 4000 feet, it's a bit of elevation), and the whole east-side of the island was steep and cooler than the west-side.

For snorkeling, you want to be on the west-side of the island. That's where all the warm weather is, and all the great snorkeling beaches.

You'll be doing your fair share of climbing and descending, that's for sure! But it would be a lot of fun.

11-27-2009, 10:55 PM
Haven't done any touring on the Big Island, but have ridden quite a bit around Captain Cook and Kealakekua Bay. Not much shoulder on the highway from N of Captain Cook to about 15 miles S of there. After that good shoulder pretty much all the way to Hilo. Traffic isn't too heavy, but over 50% tourists who are generally looking at other things besides the road. Lots of up and down all the way around. Lots of humidity which will sap you, so don't plan long days for the first couple. You mentioned a sleeping bag; I have never done it but I understand camping is pretty problematic; not many official spots and those are expensive. Don't know about stealth camping options.

Here is the only real Hawaii bike resource I have found online: http://www.pathhawaii.org/links.htm

11-27-2009, 11:32 PM
I've been on tours though,... I was in the business of Hawaii tours up until late August.

The only (guided) bike tour I'd do on Oahu again, would be the 100% Mountain bike tour (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ufobike/sets/72157618851066608/) (link goes to my photos) put on by Bike Hawaii, and possibly their hike/bike/snorkel tour.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2458/3569646025_39d2858546.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ufobike/sets/72157618851066608/)
Been There... Done That...

If you click here, you can see the Slide show (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ufobike/sets/72157618851066608/show/)

I've done other tours put on by other companies on Oahu, and I can't say I was very happy with the product.

On Maui, I've done the Haleakala Downhill tours twice (got to see the sunrise both times), but that was "back in the day" (before I had a digital camera). Now the ride portion begins outside of the Park, and I've yet to do the tour with the wine (not whine) stop. Given half a chance, I'd try to ride from Paia to the top (and back) which comes out to be ~76 miles, with a summit at 10023' (at the halfway mark ;) )

Never got a chance to try the Waimea Canyon tour in Kauai.

Nor any kind of bike tour on the Big Island.

Still, I want to go back, and circle each of the inhabited islands. There is a book of self guided tours (Hawaii by Bike). However, it was written before 9/11, and I'm a little concerned about how dated it was.

Anyway, Have a great time! (bring me back a tee shirt ;) )

Gregg Woodlawn
02-11-2010, 10:13 PM
So we are leaving for Maui in a few days. We are not bike touring around the island as I don't think that this is the best place to tour. We are however planning a backpacking trip. I know that that is not exclusively biking- but hey- I've gotten great advice from folks on this site and I trust people here.

Has anyone backpacked on Maui? or has anyone backpacked from the peak to the east coast on Maui?