As part of living my Maui life, my buddy, Dave, and I have been riding road bicycles every Sunday for the past 15 years—dodging tourist cars, impatient locals, and just generally having a great time on the Hana Highway.
Our objective is to stay in shape (or not get any worse), tell lies, and to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery from my home in Haiku to Kaumahina State Park, which overlooks Honomanu Bay. We start at first light, rain or shine, and ride 15 miles each way from my house near 5 corners in Haiku.
Honomanu Bay is a favorite amongst a many of different paths—Sixth generational local fisherman, up-and-coming ripper surfer grommets, and tourists from all over the world—Beauty is the attraction, respect for the land and culture is of the utmost importance.
I may ride Lance’s overpriced carbon fiber bike, but as you can see, I’m no Lance. I am fat and I certainly have a lot of gray hair, but old fat Maui men on bicycles can still have fun too.
The best part of the ride is the fact that this part of Maui never changes. We ride past houses on Kaupakalua Road that I have sold many times over the years that have remained pretty much the same throughout the years.
The old Peahi School is now a quaint rental. The house-of-many-surfboards, featured in all the tourist guides, just grows more boards and just got a Maui Surf Rider Foundation” sign. The same ducks and chickens are still on the road next door, so if we are on the downhill run to the Hana Highway, we dodge the clucks and quacks.
The first few miles on the Hana Highway are not that exciting. This section is high-speed highway, but it has a great shoulder. You just have to make sure the shoulder was not too well paved the night before by locals driving home to Hana with Heineken bottles. Dodge the green glass and try to stay on the shoulder, past Honopou, Ulalena, Hoolawa, and then you hit the real Hana Highway. The road narrows, and the shoulder disappears suddenly at the mile marker zero.
In the fall, when the guavas are really falling, we have competition to see who can run over the most. Sometimes, this can make braking more than a little precarious. The area around Waipio is loaded. One time, I got 10 points in 10 feet, but almost wrecked doing it. We have both fallen going for the little buggahs.
The highlight of the trip is always at Kaumahina Park. The view is always spectacular—cloudless skies, rainbows, rainstorms, whales jumping, and the Keanae Peninsula in the distance.
The Keanae Peninsula is definitive of Old Hawaii Nei—several different taro lo’i, small plantation-style shacks, and vibrant natural surroundings all around
The best part of our weekly ride that we most enjoy is “tourist watching.” Dave and I are at the table stretching or sitting, eating bananas and telling lies, and always on the lookout for some hot wahine (woman) to oogle at (subtly, of course).
It is great being old, gray, and fat. When you own that label, you are also invisible to just about all women. We don’t even have to be discreet because they don’t see us. The funny thing is that 97% of the tourists look like us, old, gray, and fat. This is where we start to get excited about the upcoming entertainment.
They waddle off the 20 person Valley Isle Excursions buses (tourmaui.com) wander over to take some pictures, and ask us the same questions time after time. “Did you guys ride out here?” ”Aren’t you afraid to ride on this road?”” Do you ride in this rain?”
Sometimes, you feel like you are on stage. We always remember that we are ambassadors from Maui, but occasionally we test the limits. We tell them we put the bikes in my truck and parked it, took the bikes out, and sat at the table to look macho and impress the ladies.
As of late, Dave and I have really just given up. We now tell them that we are training for the geriatric Olympics in the “fat, old guy” division. We make a pretty believable case. Nothing like being invisible.
For all things that are:
- East Maui: Haiku, Huelo, Wailua, Keanae, Nahiku, Hana
- North Shore: Kuau, Paia, Sprecklesville
- Upcountry: Olinda, Makawao, Pukalani, Haliimaile, Kula, Ulupalukua
Please feel free to reach out to me. I have lived and breathed this part of the island for the last 35 years—I know a thing or two about these areas and the people who inhabit it. I am happy to share my love, passion, and knowledge with you.