Cycling in Kauai – Christmas 2006

While we were in Kauai, we rented hybrid bicycles to tour around the island in wheeled style. I was astonished to see that no-one on this island, with the possible exception of one or two others who have no other means of transportation, cycles. This is possibly because many of the roads lack paved shoulders, but more likely because of the American obsession with the car, or in this case, the truck – the bigger, the better.

Waimea canyon

One couple said to us that we were the first cyclists they’d seen in a week. Our first sojourn was up the road to the Waimea canyon – Wendy dropped us off halfway up so that we could come screaming down on our bicycles.

Waimea canyon

The road was smooth and paved and, likely because it was the alternative route up, not heavily traffic’d. The lack of cars was a good thing – we could zoom down unimpeded.

Kekaha

Once at the bottom of the canyon, we cycled to the beach at Kekaha and did a little boogie-boarding in the high surf.

Boogie Boarding

The following day saw us travelling up to the North Shore of the island, past Princeville to Hanalei. Here Ty and Wendy cycled, while I skated, through the relatively quiet streets of the town. People seemed surprised to see us, especially me – seems like no one here uses inline skates.

Hanalei

After a tasty lunch at the Old Schoolhouse, we lounged and swam for a while on the beach where Bali Hai was filmed.

Hanalei beach

The day concluded with a trip to the furthest accessible beach on the north coast of the island – Hanakapi’ai.

Hanakapi'ai beach

Next day, we were dropped off at Tunnel of Trees on the road between Kalaheo and Koloa Town.

Tunnel of Trees

Here we enjoyed a relatively stress-free trip down the road, with a stop at the Koloa cemetery

Ty emerging from Tunnel of Trees

Koloa cemetery

and the Koloa grocery store, to the beach at Poipu.

Poipu

Our next excursion began at the highway leading from Kalaheo to Hanapepe, winding its way along the Kauai Coffee Company’s plantation.

Wendy and Ty

Ty managed to strap the snorkeling gear to his bike. After a re-fueling stop at the coffee cafe,

Kauai Coffee plantation

and a tour through Hanapepe,

Hanapepe

we headed towards Salt Pond Beach and spend a few blissful hours beachcombing and snorkeling.

Salt Pond

The vegetation on Kauai is fascinating and very lush. Amongst the varieties of palm trees are also Norfolk pines, planted here by sailors centuries ago so that they’d have wood for their ships’ masts, should they break.

Kekaha

The smooth, flat road between Waimea and Kekaha called to us – with Ty on the bike, boogie boards strapped to the cross bar, and me on skates, we navigated the way to Kekaha beach and the big waves.

Kekaha

Our final day with the bikes was spent on the road between Kalaheo and Poipu – this trip was slightly more stressful, since the road was busy with an almost incessant stream of speeding traffic.

Ty

Once there, though, lying on the beach worked its magic.

Ty and Wendy

For all its beauty and beaches, Kauai is not particularly bike or skate friendly. Not many of its roads have shoulders and drivers are not inclined to make way for smaller wheeled travellers. As a cyclist, you have to be gutsy here. Perhaps the future will see more bike lanes and sea walls like the one currently being built near Kapa’a – let’s hope so.