Cycling is a big part of my life and a great way to keep fit. Here on the Big Island of Hawaii there are plenty of places to cycle. One of my favorite routes is from Kona, north to Waikaloa. It’s approximately 50 miles and it takes me about 3 hours to complete the ride.
8 P.M. (previous day)
Preparation is key, so the night before a ride I get everything ready for the next day. One of the most important factors is staying hydrated and having quality nutrition post-ride.
Two bottle of ice-cold water with electrolytes? Check.
Protein shake with banana? Check.
Tuna sandwich? Check.
Homemade museli bar? Check.*
Assorted gels, Cliff bars and salt pills? Double check.
Alarm set for 4 A.M. and early to bed!
(*Look for the recipe in an upcoming blog!)
After rising early I drive into Kona to park the car and get the bicycle ready. It gets warm first thing in Kona so I find it’s important to get out as early as I can after sunrise.
Wide shoulders and long stretches of highway make the route from Kona to Waikaloa (and behind to Kawaihae – if you’re feeling adventurous!) perfect for road cycling. It’s a popular route with local cyclists and is used as part of the Iron Man each year.
A quick stop at the Scenic Lookout on the way back from Waikaloa. Time to refuel with a snack and make sure I’m hydrated. Great views are guaranteed for the ride, and on a clear day you can even see all the way to Maui.
Finish line! I arrive back at the car and refuel with a post-ride milkshake and sandwich. The ride is over and I now need a shower (at the local gym) and then a coffee at my favorite local cafe Kona Coffee & Tea.
We all need a little treat and post-ride mine is a mocha! It’s getting hot in Kona and getting out and riding in the early part of the day has been worth it – time to head back home to Horizon Guest House.
Big Island Cycling
Regardless of your level of cycling, Hawaii is ideal. Riding is possible 365 days a year. Most of the time the weather remains within a very narrow temperature range. Here on the Big Island, we have some of the best cycling conditions to match anywhere else in the world.
The annual Sea to Stars race is from sea level to the 9,000 ft. level of Mauna Kea. Or, staying along the coast, you can enjoy relatively flat riding (the Kona to Waikaloa route, and also the Ironman route). The scenery goes from lush, dense tropical forest to wide open vistas – my favorite cycling conditions.
Bicycles can be rented on a daily or weekly basis from Bike Works: http://www.bikeworkskona.com
Or why not have a catered, concierge type experience with Lifecycle Adventures https://www.lifecycleadventures.com As a bonus, if you’re booking with LifeCycle, you can choose to stay at Horizon Guest House as one of your destination points.
Looking for an e-bike? My partner and I tried these out in New Zealand and they were a lot of fun. In Kona these can be rented from a number of outlets including Kona Sports Center.
It’s Ironman Triathlon race week here in Kona. The 3-part race on October 12th, is a 2.4 mile ocean swim, followed by a 112 mile bicycle run, and then a full marathon of 26 miles… all done in the same race day! It’s an incredible feat. When people hear that I ride 50 miles in a typical cycling day, they’re amazed – but that is not even half of the bicycle portion of the Ironman!
Cycling on Maui and Kauai
A cycling trip around Haleakala on Maui is memorable. It should definitely include Hana. There’s something about cycling the Road to Hana that’s even better than doing it by car – it brings you that much closer to the natural environment.
Kauai also has some great cycling. Until recently, I participated regularly in the Paradise Ride, an annual charity cycling event to benefit Malama Pono Health Services and their work providing essential support and education services for those living with HIV/AIDS.
Since the highways on Kauai are generally coastal, there isn’t much climbing. Also, the county has recently completed a wonderful coastal, paved cycle path of about 8 miles, starting in Lihue and heading toward Princeville.
Cycling in NZ
In the past few years I’ve been traveling to New Zealand, where I meet my partner, Angus. Luckily, Angus has a passion for fitness, so introducing him to cycling was easy.
Also, easy, is the cycling in Auckland. The city has spent hugely on cycle paths to encourage commuting and cycling enjoyment in general.
And lastly, what would a cycling blog be without a short video of me and my shadow – shot in Kona.
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