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The bikes of Lahania, Maui

Posted by on May 14th, 2010 at 8:00 am

Bikes of Lahaina, Maui-3

Rollin’ on Front Street.
-Slideshow below-
(Photos © J. Maus)

Just got back from a week in Maui. While there — besides swimming with dolphins and turtles and hanging with family and friends — I spent some time in the island’s most famous town, Lahaina.

As per usual when I explore a new town (see my reports from Guadalajara and Los Angeles), I kept a special eye out for bikes and the people who ride them.

On Lahaina’s main drag, Front Street, bikes are everywhere; and for both tourists and locals, the archetypal beach cruiser reigns supreme.

Besides one gear, big tires, and a laid back position (and attitude), most bikes in Lahaina have a patina of reddish colored dirt (it’s common in the area) and huge handlebars tilted nearly straight up. The riders themselves are much more varied — from “haoles” on rental bikes to local fisherman carrying spears and buckets. Even the urban fixie trend has taken hold.

Bikes of Lahaina, Maui-30Bikes of Lahaina, Maui-32 Bikes of Lahaina, Maui-28

Since Front Street has very calm traffic, people just take the lane and there are no bike-specific facilities. To Lahaina’s credit they have ample parking right in front of the shops. One hotel owner just off Front Street has even built a freestanding bike parking structure dubbed the “Bike Hut.” True to island style, the hut has a thatched roof and the racks are made from bamboo.

Bikes of Lahaina, Maui-6

Bikes of Lahaina, Maui-36

I was impressed with the quantity of bikes not only in Lahaina but throughout the island. On the highways you see much more carbon than cruisers and more spandex than swimsuits, but the appeal is just the same — there’s no better way to soak up Maui’s legendary island vibes and views than on two wheels.

See more of my Bikes of Lahaina photos in the gallery or watch the slideshow below:

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  • JohnB May 14, 2010 at 9:20 am

    And nary a helmet…. Laid-back for sure. Sounds like you’re enjoying the visit.

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  • Joe May 14, 2010 at 9:27 am

    thanks for sharing the photos. wow riding with his bird out. hehe.

    enjoy the warm day peeps!
    be safe

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  • Big Kahuna May 14, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Don’t forget the most epic ride on Maui: the 10,000 ft journey from ocean to the house of the sun, Haleakala.

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  • Velophile in Exile May 14, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Jonathan, we were on Maui at the same time! I was there on business so I did not get to Lahina. But I did rent a road bike and ride up Haleakela, but of course it was the ride down that was the best part. Have you done that? One of the most epic rides ever.

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  • K'Tesh May 14, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Glad you’re back! Hope you didn’t spend too much time laying on the sand getting baked 😉

    I liked the pics… Here’s mine:



    My Waikiki ones…


    and my mtb pics (in the Kaaawa Valley[yes that’s three “a”‘s])


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  • Cemetery Rider May 14, 2010 at 11:02 am

    We were in Maui last year, hoping to be able to ride between Kaanapali and Lahina, only to find that biking on the highway would have been a death wish. Once you’re in Lahina, it’s definitely a place you can cruise around.

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  • bikesalot May 14, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    @#6, not sure what you mean about a death wish. I was riding there a couple of years ago and had no problems on the highway. About the only issues were the afternoon wind if you happened to end up in the wrong place relative to your destination.

    The very best banana bread on the planet was at a small roadside stand on the very primitive road up near Kahakuloa Bay. I bought a whole loaf to fuel the rest of my metric century ride back to Kihei that day.

    As for the volcano, I rode 2/3 of the way up but went back down by car. The bike rental agreement specifically forbade riding down due to inadequate brakes. I suspect they were correct about that.

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  • Jackattak May 17, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I sent this article to my friend, an ex-Portlander now living in Maui, and this was his reply (he cycles).

    I wish it were as Utopian as he makes it sound. Maui is not a place where even 10% of the population can realistically ride all the time. Lahaina is small enough that you can walk from end to end in 30 minutes, and has both jobs and residences, but outside of Lahaina is a very different story. Where I live, the roads are narrow, with no shoulder at all, and people drive very fast around the many blind corners. The rest of the island is just as bad or worse, though there are also some riders in Kihei. While there may be a few carbon-free idealists here, the great majority either can’t afford a car, or they are homeless.

    Maui could have been the wonderful bike utopia that this author writes about, it’s not, but mostly because of how it was built. Sadly, the state/county/city refuses to help pay for sidewalks, shoulders, pothole repairs, or even new stoplights (one was taken out by a drunk driver last year), so it seems unlikely that we will ever get a bike lane that would connect the villages to the cities.

    Maui is not a progressive place; we finally got a public bus system 4 years ago! Though I hear Oahu is getting the country’s first hydrogen fueling network.

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  • Sheralyn May 29, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Lahaina would be a fun place to ride a bike, that’s for sure!

    The previous poster made some good points though… while there are many places in Maui that would be fantastic for a bike ride, there are others that are quite the opposite due to narrow roads, high speed drivers etc.

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