With the popularity of cycling in Hawaii, bike routes are as common as scenic roads on the Big Island. Many avid cyclists take to the smooth roads and attractive national park routes. However, for the more rugged there is a range of dirt and gravel options. Regardless of your preference, the options are expansive and cater to all tastes.
Popular Biking Locations on the Big Island
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is an ideal destination for almost all outdoor activities on the Big Island and biking is no exception. You will want to ensure your trip is planned since there are varying difficulties, elevations, and surfaces. The available trails range from flat and straight to narrow, winding, and even off-road trails. It is best to head to Volcanoes National Park’s website where they list all trails, conditions, and closures.
A second and notoriously popular part of the island for outdoor enthusiasts is the Hamakua Coast on the Northeast of the Big Island. While it is popular for hiking, camping, and biking, you won’t find it highly trafficked. Instead, you will find the routes long, scenic, and expansive.
Honokaa Town is a great place to start, enjoy a quaint breakfast to fuel up, and begin your ride. From Honokaa, you can take Highway 240 westward to the picturesque Waipio Valley Lookout Point. Every pedal along the route offers vistas of lush tropical jungle and expansive Hawaiian countryside.
Of course, the more experienced and avid cyclists enjoy tracing part of the Ironman course along the black lava rock of the Queen Kamehameha Highway. This wide-shouldered route is 112 miles in all with an elevation gain of 5,678 feet. Certainly don’t take it lightly, even if just tracing a part of the route.
Popular Big Tours
If you would prefer some guidance and a local’s experience, the Big Island has numerous tours and touring companies to assist you on your trek. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park has numerous tours available. The most comprehensive touring company for the park is Volcano Bike Tours. They offer a very extensive tour menu including a trip to the summit of Pele. Half and full-day trips are available for all skill levels.
A second and more expert-level touring option is former U.S. pro cyclist Alex Candelario’s Big Island Bike Tours. Alex and his team of expert guides offer top-quality equipment and both road and mountain biking tours. Electronically assisted bikes are even available to make the trip a little less intensive. The tour menu includes an incredible mountain biking route to Anna Falls and a road tour to the Waipio Valley Overlook.
The most obvious cycling event on the Big Island is the middle portion of the Ironman course. Held annually in May in Kailua-Kona since 1978, the event draws thousands to the Queen Kamehameha highway to witness the athletic feat.
Hawai’i Cycling Club is the second source for events, weekly group rides, or communal events. They offer numerous group rides and even time trials to test your skill. Check the event calendar on the site for more information.