Biking on Maui leads you through some of the most beautiful terrain this world offers. Tight, winding roads built into craggy sea cliffs overlook an angry ocean. Expansive fields spotted with livestock and palm trees sit beneath a brilliant sun. Coastlines blemished with parked cars and sun-bathers blur together as you pedal by. Your eyes are in for a real treat. Your body, however, is a different story. Tense and tired thighs will scream as you persuade them to continue climbing. Arms worn from guiding your body will start to sag. Your stomach will start to grumble, and your mind will wonder where you can pick up some grinds (food).
The island of Maui has three main rides for road bikers to explore: the West Maui loop, the Hana highway, and Haleakala Crater. The complete routes are extensive and challenging, but can be split up and shortened depending on your athletic abilities. The West Maui loop begins in Lahaina and follows the narrow roads of Maui's north side to Wailuku, then winds back to Lahaina. The complete route is sixty miles, with Julia's, a famous green tree house that sells banana bread and coconut candy, located halfway through. The Hana highway route, beginning in Haiku and running past Hana to Kipahulu, spans 100 miles of lava-ridden coastline and stunning green pastures. The last ride, the ride to Haleakala Crater, is what many consider to be the hardest climb in the country. Starting at sea level in Paia, this route ascends 10,000 feet (in only 36 miles) to the summit of Haleakala. An annual race following this grueling route, deemed the "Cycle to the Sun", is held in August.
Maui's central hills are inviting if you're a mountain biker, but private ownership keeps some of these trails off limits. You may want to head upcountry to Makawao to explore a popular network of trails. Mountain Biking the Hawaiian Islands: Mauka to Makai by John Alford, has a comprehensive list of Maui's mountain biking trails.
If you can't stand the thought of going it alone, then drop in on a group ride or guided tour. A few local shops host weekly group rides from their shops, and drop-ins are always welcome. For a more inclusive learning experience, go with a guided tour. Everyone, from beginner to advanced, is welcome. Choose a serious ride on Maui's country roads, or an adventure tour descending down Haleakala Crater.
Do you want to ride, but can't bear the price of flying your bike over from home? Maui has numerous bike shops located all over the island that can help you out. You can rent everything from a fancy road bike to a tough downhill bike. While you're at it, grab a beach cruiser for your in-between days.
While you're staying in town, a beach cruiser is perfect for commuting. Parking in the busier tourist areas is sparse and expensive, but there are plenty of bike racks all over Maui. Many locals use beach cruisers to commute around town for everyday errands and activities. Be sure to watch out for cars and pedestrians, as designated biking areas are rare.
- Routes and Maps:
- • Trails.com - A comprehensive list of Maui's trails: www.trails.com
- • Mapmyride.com - A site where users can upload past rides they've completed: www.mapmyride.com
- • Cycle to the Sun - Annual bike race ascending 10,000 feet up Haleakala: www.cycletothesun.net
- • Maui Century Ride – Annual 100-mile bike ride. Also features a 75, 50, and 25-mile routes: www.mauibicycleclub.org
- • Maui Bicycle Club – Bicycle club founded by the owner of South Maui Bicycles: www.mauibicycleclub.org
- • Maui Bicycle Alliance – A "grassroots" organization looking to better biking conditions on Maui: www.southmauisustainability.wordpress.com
- Bike Shops (Who offer bike rentals and group rides):
- • Island Biker Maui – Kahului bike shop featuring Specialized brand bikes: www.Islandbikermaui.com
- • West Maui Cycles – Full service bike shop in Lahaina: www.Westmauicycles.com
- • Crater Cycles Hawaii – Downhill bike rentals. Located in Kahului: www.cratercycleshawaii.com
- • South Maui Bicycles – Bike rentals, repair and gear. Located in Kihei: southmauibicycles.com
- • Go Cycling Maui – Full service bike shop located in Paia. Also run guided tours, and sponsors Cycle to the Sun: www.gocyclingmaui.com
- Guided Tours:
- • Haleakala Bike Company - Guided tour down Haleakala: www.bikemaui.com
- • Aloha Bike Tours – Champion-led bike tours. Different trips down Haleakala, or around Maui: www.mauibike.com
- • Maui Downhill—Different guided trips down Haleakala: www.mauidownhill.com