October 6, 2015
Stepping off the plane in Kona is a massage to the senses. Planning to get yourself and your gear to Hawaii requires some gyrations, but close your eyes for a moment, breathe, listen, feel the breeze. Your shoulders just dropped out of your ears. Your mind-chatter just melted into the background. The mainland just became another world. It’s your time. You’ve just combined your love of biking with one of the most beautiful and diverse places on earth.
There is some serious biking to be had on this island of over 4,000 square miles. Contrary to the popular idea that the Big Island is all about the high speed Ironman Triathlon, or Hawaii time means rolling around on a beater bike with a straw hat, I found touring the island, with its incredible diversity of climates, terrain, food, and lovely folk, matches the bike-travel lifestyle really well. I could see staying two weeks the next time I go, easily.
No research came close to capturing the constant, spectacular, changing scenery, the mostly gentle weather with its different microclimates, the challenge of both undulating and long pull climbs, and the best coffee I’ve ever had. After about a day, I began to pick up the language and had fun with the flow of pronouncing words like Laupahoehoe (La-oo-pa-ho-ay-ho-ay). And I began to expect something might pop into view and feed my fun soul with each pedal stroke.
There are lots of online ways to find out what to do in Hawaii, but here’s my personal take away:
Take the island in. Ride it all. Relax. Get into the local rhythm. You’re on aloha time.
Have you had your own experience riding the Big Island? Please share in the comments section!
Adventure Cycling offers a guided, self-contained Hawaii Big Island tour in 2016. Join us!
Photos by Linda Baldwin