Biking down Haleakala - Maui

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#1
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
67 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Hi,

Has anyone done this? If so, please let me know what you think for an inexperienced biker that is willing to try it.

Thanks
Barb
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#2
416 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
We have never done it but several of our friends and cruise ship acquaintences and all loved it. Word of warning though....on our last trip a rowdy teenager lost control of hius bike and crashed into Steve, the 70 year old granddad biking ahead of him (our friend). Steve ended up being rushed to the hospital with a broken collarbone and cracked ribs. Really hurting, but good old Steve didn't let it ruin his cruise, thank goodness. (He said the teen ended up very sorry indeed!) Just take care and be sure to complain about bad behavior before it gets out of control.
#3
Ewa Beach, Hawaii
3,462 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
Many people have done it and enjoyed it greatly. Some have even said that it was the best experience that they had in Hawaii. Having said that, having worked on Maui before and having seen some of the aftermath, I can tell you that accidents do happen with these bike rides and may be dangerous for inexperienced bikers or people that are not comfortable with their sense of balance. Only you can decide as to whether this is a good tour for you or not.

Spleen
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#4
Cali
188 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
We did it last week and really enjoyed it, but safety is a concern. I'm pretty comfortable on a bike and thought it was very easy...even too slow at times, but this is such the thing to do when in Maui that a lot of people use it as a chance to re-learn how to ride a bike. Not a good idea. We saw a woman who was doing the ride on her own (without a tour company) who took a turn too fast and slammed into a guard rail. Our guides stopped to help and guessed she had two broken arms, a broken nose, a concussion. It was ugly. Further up the hill, someone else who was using our tour company crashed bad enough to warrant an ambulance. This is not uncommon...our guides said it's a good day when no one goes to the hospital.

I'm not trying to scare you off. It's a lot of fun and I highly recommend it. Just know that it's not a good place to hop on a bike for the first time in 20 years.
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Your Friendly Bartender
#5
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
67 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Follow up question - how many are biking at the same time?

I think I can handle it but now I am wondering about others doing it with us.

THANKS AGAIN you reply is most appreciated.
Barb :-) wer3angels@aol.com
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#6
The Big Valley, California
2,372 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
I used to do quite a bit of cycling. The more you cycle the better you get. If you haven't done it in a long time, you can be quite unstable (wobbly) compared to a frequent rider. I'd try to spend some time in the saddle before your trip, if you tush hasn't been there in a long time.
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#7
Ewa Beach, Hawaii
3,462 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
Depends on the company. Can be up to 20-30 riders going down at the same time.

Spleen
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#8
Michigan, USA
1,793 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
We didn't do the biking, but we drove past a number of riders on the tours. My husband, who is an avid cyclist, decided he wouldn't like the trip for two reasons. One is that you must descend very slowly. You are absolutely not allowed to go faster than the ride leader, who is going to be moving at a rate that is safe for those who haven't been in a saddle for years. We understand it is geared for those who haven't really been on a bike in a long time, but it seems foolhardy to attempt this if you don't reacquaint yourself with a bike ahead of time.

The other thing to know is that they outfit riders with a BMX type helmet-the ones that cover your chin and entire head. Heavy, hot and would restrict your field of vision more than a road helmet. I'm sure it is for the extra protection that the helmet affords your face, but my DH lost all interest at that point.
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Nancy D.
5 Star at last on HAL, RCI newbie!
#9
The Big Valley, California
2,372 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
I just went on the excursion Saturday, I'm also an avivd cyclist, and don't agree. This was a great excursion. I used Maui Downhill. They grouped the riders slowest first. That's the right thing to do. Don't need speed to make this fun. The scenary and the whole surrounding environment is the fun. And, doing it while not cooped up in a car is the best way. I did not find the BMX helmet a problem at all. The folks at Maui Downhill are very serious about safety. They'll slow down, or stop prior to problem areas (surprisingly, the most dangerous part is very close to the beach, where a 90 degree turn takes you suddenly into a VERY strong wind), and they are very hardnosed about problem riders.

NOW FOR A WORD OF CAUTION!... I saw other operators that were racing down the mountain, encouraging speed and stringing riders out as a result. I can vouch for Maui Downhill, and I'm sure there are other good companies operating there. Ask lots of questions before you buy.

Again, this is an awesome excursion, but if you don't bike, DO see sunrise on Haleakala!
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#10
Livingston, NJ
31 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
WeR3Angels-
There is one company at www.bikemaui.com that runs a tour but you can bike down at your own pace - not with a pack. You have all day, they give you maps and make suggestions where to stop like Tedeschi Winery, etc. I haven't done it yet so I can't speak from personal experience but I did book it for 3 weeks from now. I don't know when you are going but if I'm back before you, I'll let you know how it was.
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#11
The Big Valley, California
2,372 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
I saw folks up there biking independently. Sounds like a good option. I assume they give some safety instruction. You may consider doing a little studying on the web if you don't ride regularly.

An advantage of riding in a group is that their van/trailer follows the last person blocking traffic, so you can use the whole lane. If they van has cars behind it, they radio the lead rider, and he pulls over at the next turnout. By the way, crossed the center line once gets you a warning, and the second time, you ride in the van....good hardnosed.

Have fun. Be ready to take lots of photos of the sunrise!
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#12
Sunny San Diego, CA
3,336 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
My husband and I have taken this tour. We loved it and I must mention that I dont consider myself to be a cyclist. (anymore) - my parents had a recent trip (June) to Maui for a slack key and guitar workshop and I got the trip for my dad for fathers day - he is an avid hiker, fisherman, etc and loves the outdoors and is in his early sixties and had no problem and loved it too - I would recommend Cruiser Phils Bike Downhill on Maui and you can locate them on the web at - http://www.cruiserphil.com/ I took the tour with my husband, they take you to the top of Haleakala (dormant volcano at slightly higher than 10K foot level).

You get to their headquarters near Kahului (by the airport) and then everyone rides in a van up the hill. They let you out - you take a brief look around (take a few pics, and be sure to see the Silversword, found only in this spot on the planet) and they unload all the loot. You get on a bike with some protective pants and top and a helmet and do a few laps to prove that you can (in fact) ride a bike, then begin the ride down. Women first, based on weight and size ...yeah, ok, I was last, but if I had been first we'd woulda gone down a lot faster - I tell you!). The men follow and the pace is set by the first (wimpy) woman. Dont get me wrong, safety first and all that, and I am sure that there are some lethal accidents, but I did want to go faster than we did - at times. I must also admit - having just said I wanted to speed things up - that at first I was scared to death. I dont do well at elevation and its difficult to breathe up there, once you get going its great. I highly recommend it! Worth every penny and no better way to see, smell and get close to the island. Easily - one of the best tours on the island!
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Mahalo, Jackie

Past Adventures:


Tahitian Princess, 10 days, Tahiti/Cook Islands 9/10/03
Carnival Spirit, Mexico 4/15/04 - review
Carnival Spirit, 10 days, Halloween Exotic Mexican Riviera 10/24/2004
MS Ryndam/HAL, 8 days, Thanksgiving Sea of Cortez/Mexican Riviera 11/20/04
Island Princess, 15 days, Christmas/New Years Hawaii 12/20/2004
Sea Princess, 14 days, Christmas in the Caribbean, 12/17/2005
HAL Oosterdam, 8 days, Thanksgiving Mexican Riviera 11/18/2006
Coral Princess, 16 days Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles via the Panama Canal 4/28/2007
#13
The Big Valley, California
2,372 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Jackie,

I'm concerned you're cruising entirely too much. That'll be a great end of year! Have fun.
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Star Princess 7/17/2014 - Avalon Felicity 7/8/2012 - New England 10/15/2011 (photos)- Baltic 7/7/2011 (photos) - Mexico 3/27/2010 (photos) - Alaska 6/11/2009 (photos) - Southern Caribbean 2/15/2009 (photos) - Tahiti, etc. 7/2007 (photos) - Greek Islands 7/2006 (photos) - Western Caribbean 3/2005 - Hawaii 7/2004 - Maasdam 6/1960 (about) - Email
#14
Sunny San Diego, CA
3,336 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
It wasnt on purpose or because of any great rates - it just sort of worked out that way - postpone for this and that and the next thing you know, one for Oct/Nov/Dec...we head to the islands for 2 weeks at the end of August for a land trip - I think the cats will have the place to themselves.....till we return after New Years!
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Mahalo, Jackie

Past Adventures:


Tahitian Princess, 10 days, Tahiti/Cook Islands 9/10/03
Carnival Spirit, Mexico 4/15/04 - review
Carnival Spirit, 10 days, Halloween Exotic Mexican Riviera 10/24/2004
MS Ryndam/HAL, 8 days, Thanksgiving Sea of Cortez/Mexican Riviera 11/20/04
Island Princess, 15 days, Christmas/New Years Hawaii 12/20/2004
Sea Princess, 14 days, Christmas in the Caribbean, 12/17/2005
HAL Oosterdam, 8 days, Thanksgiving Mexican Riviera 11/18/2006
Coral Princess, 16 days Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles via the Panama Canal 4/28/2007
#15
Livingston, NJ
31 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Mountainhouse & Aloha Jackie-

I am doing the sunrise bike tour in a few weeks. Some questions-
How cold is it on the summit? Did you need to bring a fleece or something? The bike company says they give you wind jacket and pants - how much more do you need? How far down the mountain are you before it warms up?
Thanks-
Barb
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Queen Elizabeth 2 - 1988
Star Princess - December 1996
Sea Princess - December 1998
Renaissance R8 - August 2001
RCI Monarch of the Seas - Feb. 2003
Pride of Aloha - August 2004
Explorer of the Seas - June 2012
Caribbean Princess - October 2012
Wind Surf - March 2013
Windsurf - February 2014
Azamara Journey - September 2014
#16
Sunny San Diego, CA
3,336 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Aloha Barb - I am always referring to myself as a "hot tamale", built in insulation keeps me from ever getting cold. I didnt wear the pants they gave and wasnt cold wearing shorts and open toed teva type shoes. I would however, recommend wearing the stuff they provide and I would tell you to bring a jacket if you are doing the sunrise. People often bring blankets from their hotel and stand up there to see the sun rise. You wont be at the top very long, and as you go down the hill - you stop for pictures and for strip breaks (where you'll peel off the layers). Dress in layers - they have a chase van and you can toss all your clothes in as you go down. I cant remember exactly, but IO think it took about 3 hours? Something like 30-40 miles, check their webpages for FAQs and dont worry - even if you're freezing your tail off, you're going to have a blast! It's exhilarating! I can smell the Eucalytus trees now.....
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Mahalo, Jackie

Past Adventures:


Tahitian Princess, 10 days, Tahiti/Cook Islands 9/10/03
Carnival Spirit, Mexico 4/15/04 - review
Carnival Spirit, 10 days, Halloween Exotic Mexican Riviera 10/24/2004
MS Ryndam/HAL, 8 days, Thanksgiving Sea of Cortez/Mexican Riviera 11/20/04
Island Princess, 15 days, Christmas/New Years Hawaii 12/20/2004
Sea Princess, 14 days, Christmas in the Caribbean, 12/17/2005
HAL Oosterdam, 8 days, Thanksgiving Mexican Riviera 11/18/2006
Coral Princess, 16 days Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles via the Panama Canal 4/28/2007
#17
The Big Valley, California
2,372 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Hi, Barb. With Maui Downhill - MD, we got to the summit about an hour before sunrise. Interesting stuff started happening about 40 minutes before, so it was nice to see all the subtle changes. Also, if you get there too late, you won't have a spot up front. Once the tour buses come in it's pretty crowded.

I was pretty cold up there. MD gave us ski gloves, good rain jacket/pants. They suggest you wear it all....I didn't wear the pants while standing around (mistake). I did bring a fleece jacket with me which was perfect.

For photo buffs, if I'd known the van was going to be right behind us all along I would have brought more photo gear. I wish I'd had a tripod for the sunrise. Hopefully these 2 attachment will give you some idea of attire and the sunrise.


By the way, it's hard to see, but the ocean is visible between the clouds and the ridge. You'll love it!



Have fun!
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Star Princess 7/17/2014 - Avalon Felicity 7/8/2012 - New England 10/15/2011 (photos)- Baltic 7/7/2011 (photos) - Mexico 3/27/2010 (photos) - Alaska 6/11/2009 (photos) - Southern Caribbean 2/15/2009 (photos) - Tahiti, etc. 7/2007 (photos) - Greek Islands 7/2006 (photos) - Western Caribbean 3/2005 - Hawaii 7/2004 - Maasdam 6/1960 (about) - Email
#18
Sunny San Diego, CA
3,336 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Since you are probably following someone, unless you are small, you will have your hands on the brakes the entire time. It can get a bit sweaty palm-ish as you go down, the cool air is nice to dry your palms, but maybe gloves would be good, perhaps you could use the bike gloves with fingers removed - a la Michael Jackson???
#19
Livingston, NJ
31 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Aloha_Jackie and mountainhouse-
Thanks so much for the great info. I was thinking that I didn't want to get up so early to see the sunrise - we have to be at the bike co. at 3am - but after seeing your pictures, mountainhouse, I can't wait!! Thanks for sharing.
Barb
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Queen Elizabeth 2 - 1988
Star Princess - December 1996
Sea Princess - December 1998
Renaissance R8 - August 2001
RCI Monarch of the Seas - Feb. 2003
Pride of Aloha - August 2004
Explorer of the Seas - June 2012
Caribbean Princess - October 2012
Wind Surf - March 2013
Windsurf - February 2014
Azamara Journey - September 2014