After braving the Vancouver winter and cycling each weekend in tons of layers, two pairs of gloves and still being freezing, I decided to take my road bike on my one month trip to Maui and get some nice scenic and warm riding in. I had been nursing a back injury and riding at 60% capacity for months and my goal was to slowly increase my distance and output.

Overcoming My Initial Fears

At first I was a little hesitant as I had never taken my bike apart, put it back together or used a bike box before. I was worried about the logistics of transporting it too and from the airport and how my back would go seeing I was still recovering from a back injury. After a chat with a girl from my triathlon club and her offering to lend me her hard case bike box and show me how to disassemble and assemble my bike, I decided to embrace the unknown and just go for it. Besides I needed to get more independent when it came to maintaining my bike and it would be good practice for my upcoming cycle trip in Italy.

Let the adventures begin

Fortunately everything went smooth with me getting a lift to and from the airport in Vancouver and Maui and putting the bike together myself. Instead of taking a pump I made friends with the local bike shop in Paia, Maui Cyclery, the guys there let me put air in my tyres a couple of times a week and I bought some C02 gas canisters there (no you can’t take them on the plane).

Week 1

My friend Johnny and the guys at Maui Cyclery advised me on good cycling routes to go on. I started off my first week doing a couple of 40km rides solo from Paia to twin falls. The ride was mostly uphill on the way out and nice and fast on the way back all along the Hana Hwy. I was told just past Twin Falls was where the beautiful scenery began however I would have to wait for a weekend for that.

West Maui Long Ride

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I did my first long ride in 6 months from Paia to Kahakuoa Bay with my friend Johnny, we rode 70km/43mi for 3.47hrs and climbed 944m!
It was one of the most pretty and magnificent rides I’ve ever done. We rode along the coastal roads of West Maui, climbing hills, descending into valleys, navigating hair pin turns and riding a road classed as too dangerous for rental cars to go on. At one point we were riding on a winding road on the edge of the cliff with no barriers, just a instant drop off. I had learned of a tourist dying there a few weeks before so exercised caution. I also went out of my comfort zone by riding over a gravel road for a few kms. I’m glad my skinny tyres held up. We stopped to take many amazing scenic photos and buy some banana bread.

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Week 2

Makawao & Haiku ride

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I decided I was ready to ride up country and enjoy the hills. I had been getting up at 5.30am to ride and run for over a week now. So was on my bike by 6am ready to ride up hill for an hour. As soon as I started up the hill I met another vacationer from Colorado going for a nice morning ride also. We spoke and rode together all the way up the hill then I went on to Haiku and flew down the hill all the way back of speeds around 45 – 60km per hour. It was such a beautiful ride, all the work I did going up hill was rewarded by the joy of going fast downhill on the way back. After this 30km ride I was back home in Paia and ready to start work on my computer by 8am.

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Paia towards Hana

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I finally rode the famous scenic road towards Hana. I took off early on Saturday morning to beat all the tourist traffic heading towards Hana. This ride was paradise on earth. I was navigating rolling hills, hairpin turns and one way roads as I took in views of the ocean and avatar like jungle. I was surrounded by flowers, vines and the most amazing green trees I’ve ever seen. This ride was a joy to all my senses. The freedom I felt on my bike, fresh air and amazing views was such an amazing moment I was savouring every minute of. I rode 72km for 3.15hours and climbed 1500m, very tough ride which was made easier by the beauty of my surroundings.

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Week 3

Down Haleakala Crater

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It was time for the ride I was looking forward to the most – riding down Haleakala volcano. I had heard of bike companies taking tourists down but I wanted to do it myself. I put my bike my friend Pre’s car and we set off at 4.30am to make it for the sunrise. I took all the warm clothes I had which was not much just a hoodie, tights and borrowed gloves and we watched the sun come up over East Maui with the view of Big Island in the background. Once the sun was up I put on all my cycling layers and started the 3000m descent myself. I was alone for a while then when I got to the entrance of the national park I started to see all the tourists in their motorcross helmets and standard bikes. Being a confident cyclist and on a road bike I wizzed past them all until I rode 50km all the way home to sea level. I barely pedalled and definately gave my brakes good usage.

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Later on that week I did another nice upcountry ride to Makawao and Haiku then a 55km ride towards Hana.

Week 4

It was my last week in Maui and time to go on a long ride with Johnny again. Initially we were going to attempt the 30 mile uphill ride to the crater but I knew my back would not be able to make it. So we decided to ride halfway and check out Oprah’s Maui house just past Kula.

Back breaking Upper Kula Ride

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I took the day off work and we started out early morning on a slow and beautiful ascent uphill. After 2 hours riding uphill we had finally made it to Oprah’s beautiful property. We took a few photos and then went to Grandma’s cafe for some well deserved chai tea. My back was done yet we still had to get back and there was a 2 mile hill to get through. Hesitantly I set off and struggled up the hill. I got a message from my head saying I was done with hills yet willed my body to go on. Then I was finally rewarded for my backbreaking work and got to fly down hills at 45 – 60km hour for around 30km, joy. Once we reached Paia I was sore, exhausted and very satisfied from our 72km ride that took 3.45 hours ascending 1600m.

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My last ride in Maui was on my last day there, I got up early and set off to ride from Twin Falls to a popular peninsula on the way to Hana called Keanae. I savoured every moment of the ride from the beauty of the jungle and flowers surrounding me, knowing that every uphill would become a downhill on the way back, the heat and overall freedom I had of being able to ride so far with pure pedal power.

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In conclusion

By the end of my trip I was so happy and grateful I took my bike with me. Even if it did cost me just under $200 to take on the plane and I lost all my tools and had to buy more. It was all worth it for the fitness, joy and scenery I got to see. Being in a car does not compare to the open view you see when on a bike. Cycling to me is pure freedom, a great time to meditate and a time when I am at my happiest. If you are thinking of going on a cycling trip whether you hire a bike there, go on a guided tour or take your own bike it will definitely be one of the most fulfilling activities you can do while travelling.

Love, light and Aloha

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