January 20, 2017 - Bicycle adventurer Willie Weir blogs for Adventure Cycling every other Friday.
When you’re on a bike trip, how often do you take a detour? Are you one to “stick with the plan,” or are you easily drawn to extra miles that aren’t on your “agenda?” I have a detour you should take, no matter which side you are on.
The Big Island of Hawaii lends itself to a grand loop tour. Most bike travelers do it in the counter-clockwise direction, keeping you on the view-friendly, surf side of the road. Those with limited time, or just unwilling to do extra miles, skip the detour to go out to South Point, the Big Island’s southernmost point, naturally. It IS an out-and-back, 22 miles, the wind can blow mightily, and it’s easy to look at the map and convince yourself you’ll see plenty of ocean — so you could skip it.
DO NOT SKIP SOUTH POINT.
The road down to South Point is not only a fabulous ride, it has some of the best views on the island. You’ll find locals fishing from the cliffs and crazy people willing to jump off into the water below. And you’ll find a perch to gaze at the vast blue ocean that will make you smile until your face cracks.
And since you’ve made the wise decision to mostly coast down to South Point, you might as well pedal the dirt tracks out to Green Sand Beach, where you can soak up some rays and rest up for the ride uphill back to the highway. If you are carrying a whole bunch of gear, you might want to ask a local if you can leave some of the gear with them, to lighten your load.
Or you can pedal right on past the turn off to South Point ... but I bet at some point, you’ll regret you did.
Photos by Willie Weir and Kat Marriner
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday.
Willie Weir is a contributor for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His books, Travels with Willie and Spokesongs, will inspire you to hit the road and might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can also find him at WillieWeir.com, Facebook, and Instagram.