Maui Cycling Info and Tips

PLAN THE RIDE, RIDE THE VACATION!

It's easy to put together your own Maui cycling vacation with our assistance. We offer you advice on where to stay and make reservations for you at one of our preferred properties on the island (see "Accommodations" link). We can also arrange car rental for you waiting at the airport upon your arrival. We also offer you ride route recommendations based on your
experience and desires. We are here on-island to offer assistance for any other information you may need as well. The unique feature to our "tours" is that it's up to you to design your own "Tour de Maui", self-guided or guided, you control where and when you ride and how often and hard you wish to go as well. Ride solo or ride with a group, even your own group, it's up to you. It's All About the Ride!

Ride Plans:

1)  BYOB – Bring Your Own Bike. It's easy to check your bike on any airline in a bike box or ship it out ahead of your arrival and have it built, tuned up, and ready to ride upon your arrival.

2)  Rent a bike here, preferably with an advance reservation. Choose from a wide variety of bike options and pricing @ IslandBikerMaui.com, Maui Cyclery, South Maui Bicycles, WestMauiCycles.com, Boss Frog's Bike Rentals, or Krank Cycles.

3)  Get on board the Tour Du Jour w/ GoCyclingMaui.com – Check out this unique full-service "menu" of guided tours offered most days every week to all parts of the island, on their bikes or yours, up to you.

Not sure which plan to go with? You can "have your cake and eat it too" simply by either bringing or renting a bike, then do some short rides on your own, but save the "big rides" to do with GoCyclingMaui, since those are often longer rides and it's nice to have both a local guide and a small group "mini-peloton" for company as well, not to mention "sag wag" support, too.

Ride Areas: - See Map link

Three main riding areas or "arenas":
Upcountry – Haleakala Crater Road is the main "drawing card" to Maui for those looking to conquer one of the best climbs in the country. This includes the areas from Makawao to Kula and also through the "backside" of Haleakala. This area offers the least chance of wind and rain on the island most days of the year. Also, it's worth checking out Bike Park Maui with family members while Upcountry, located just below Makawao town. It's especially fun for kids and families but definitely very fun for everyone and all skill levels.

West Maui Mountains
– This includes the hilly and bumpy road area out to Kahakuloa and the repaved road beyond it to the Westside. One of the most interesting and challenging ride routes on the island is a "West Maui Circumnavigation", 60 miles/100 kilometers, and most prefer to do it clockwise, doing most of the flat roads of the Westside thru Kaanapali first before the steep climbs of the remote hills at the north end of the West Maui Mountains.

Northshore
– This includes the rural area of Haiku and the Hana Highway, which allows you to ride from Haiku to Kaenae, Hana, or beyond to Kipahulu, allowing you to tailor the ride from 40 to 100 miles roundtrip, out and back.

There are endless ride routes that each area offers and some can even be put together in combos across each area for longer rides. (Pros who’ve trained here during the winter even do 100 – 150 mile rides!) If you’re looking for a "climber’s paradise", then Maui certainly fits the bill. If the main roads don’t offer enough of a challenge, there are a large number of climbs with inclines from 10-20%, primarily in Haiku and Kula, though “The Wall” is in the West Maui Mountains area.

Main Rides:


Haleakala Crater - The ascent of Haleakala Crater is the most obvious "drawing card" here: 10,000 in 36 miles with gradients from 3% to 12% with an average of 8% from sea-level in Paia town to the summit, with plenty of shoulder on the busier part of the route after the first 12 miles. There’s no doubt that this is the "Crown Jewel" climb in all of the Hawaiian Islands, and though there are certainly steeper climbs elsewhere in the US, none is longer and steeper in combination. The only question is how much you choose to "bite off" on any given day. Of course, you can choose to just do some of the climb or even add on parts in succession over several days, or you can even make it a race (more like an uphill time-trial) if you want to at CycleToTheSun.net. This mountain requires special considerations depending on your own level of fitness and the weather you may encounter. Basically, if in doubt, use the lowest gearing you’re willing to consider and take ALL the protective clothing you’re willing to take to protect against getting chilled on the descent, at least a jacket and polypro warmers, even including full-finger gloves and wind pants. If you can get someone to "sag wag" or pick you up at the top or somewhere during the descent, that might be a good call!

West Maui Loop - One of the most interesting and challenging ride routes on the island is a "West Maui Circumnavigation", 60 miles/100 kilometers, and most prefer to do it clockwise, doing most of the flat roads of the Westside thru Kaanapali first before the steep climbs of the remote hills at the north end of the West Maui Mountains through Kahakuloa.

Hana Highway - Haiku to Kipahulu – Simply the Ultimate Century Ride, a unique and special ride, packed with rolling valleys and vistas of both panoramic oceanviews and stunning views up Haleakala Crater (or the "mountain" as we say here).

Of course, each "ride" can be broken down into shorter rides with a wide variety of other routes off these routes.

NOTE: The best ride areas are also the ones that have the least traffic and also narrow or no shoulders so it’s very important to "play it safe" by staying as far to the right side of the road as possible, of course, preferably in single-file, but it also makes sense to “keep the peace” by waiving cars by as soon as you safely can. Upon first glance, it looks "crazy" to ride the Hana Highway, for example, but it’s actually far safer to ride "out there" where the drivers are usually going under 30mph, often 10-15 mph, about the same speed as a bike given how windy the road is vs. the real "highways" in the middle of the island which offer wide shoulders, but have traffic flying by over 50mph.


Maui Weather Conditions:


The most important factor to consider when it comes to deciding where and when to ride is the common occurrence of the tradewinds, but they can be avoided simply by riding in the early morning hours. The "trades" keep the island cool during the warmest months of summer, but they are far stronger than most cyclists are used to, with afternoon windspeeds running 15-25 most days from March thru October. Ironically, rain is more likely in early morning hours in the "rain forest" area of the Hana Highway, so it’s often advisable to “hold off” riding out there until the mid to late morning hours, just to let the morning showers "burn off", and preferably get the road drier as well. Riding in all other locations on the island is usually preferable the earlier the better. Doing some short rides in the late afternoon until sunset also has its’ own attractions and the wind usually gets lighter as well.

You can get by on Maui with your favorite pair of shorts or bibs and bike shirt du jour, but also bring a vest and/or light jacket (and more cold gear only if you’re planning on descending Haleakala without "sag wag" assistance).


Maui Time for Everyone:


Known internationally as a tropical paradise, vacationers typically come here to enjoy plenty of beach time in the sun and sand. If you’re coming with a non-riding partner or family, you can also manage your "Maui Time" here to allow you to experience all that Maui has to offer: snorkeling, boat trips, helicopter flights, whale-watching (Dec. – April), hiking, even other easier family-friendly bike tours down Haleakala Crater, guided tours like www.mauidownhill.com, self-guided tours, www.bikemaui.com, or our favorite, the Winery Bike Tour, www.mauibike.com. There are plenty of other sites to see as well: Hana/Kipahulu, Iao Valley, Maui Aquarium, Maui Tropical Plantation, various flower farms, the resorts of Wailea and Kaanapali, or Lahaina and Paia towns for shopping and restaurants, though these are quite the opposite of each other in every way.

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