On the Sunday I arrived in Honolulu I had organised something for today. I had this (apparently crazy judging by all I mentioned it too?) idea to cycle a lap of Oahu and sorted out a bike for it.
Most of the rental places had 'sit-up' bikes suitable for a gentle amble around the local roads but I needed something a bit more serious. A cycle store, Bikeadelic, offered real bike rentals and I was able to get a Trek Crossrip 3 gravel bike which, apart from the alloy frame (instead of carbon), was the same spec as my Avanti at home.
The distance, approx. 170km without diversions, meant I'd need to stop half way. The bike shop guy reckoned I'd find accommodation hard to find on that coast, odd I thought, but rented the bike for two days and would sort that out later.
Turns out he was right as struggled to find anything other than expensive resort style hotels (us$400-500/night!) or full houses. Even AirBNB had little to offer, minimum stays of several days or booked already, but I eventually found a place in Laie. This was the first, only so far even as I write this in 2021!, time I had used AirBNB. It wasn't cheap, nz$320 by the time it hit my card, especially considering I was also paying for the unoccupied room back in Waikiki too!
On my bike
I packed a small pack with enough for overnight, borrowed a hotel towel for the beach, picked up the bike and had them fit my clip MTB pedals. I learnt several years ago not to travel without my bike shoes, a day riding without the clips in San Francisco left me nearly crippled the next! Terrible selfie as I set out from Waikiki.
The Trek bike was brilliant, my bike fitting turned out to be not so good. It was supplied with a tube, basic tools for adjustments, and small handlebar bag with a lock.
It was a stunning day, fine and calm, too calm for the surfers off Diamond Head.
The riding was a mix of highway and quiet suburban streets. Had no problem remembering to stay on the wrong side of the road (in-spite of this photo being wrong!)
I wanted to go up Diamond Head, found some bike stands by the carpark and locked up the bike hoping it would still be there when I got back. Felt a bit weird hiking in bike gear but my touring style shoes are fine for walking. It is quite a hike, and was hot as there was no cooling wind.
Love the colours in the water.
A view towards where I would be riding after this walk.
Had to take the cliché Honolulu vista, I mean look at that view, such a stunning day.
Also had to take this, the tourist reality of that vista!
Best part about the tunnels was the coolth!
Not visiting Hanauma Bay!
The bike was still there, this photo on the climb near Hanauma Bay. I was going to visit there, thought about a swim, but it was Tuesday, and closed. The helicopter pilot the other day wasn't joking about the fish getting a day off!
Loved cycling this part of the coast near the Lanai lookout.
View of the area from Saturday's helicopter flight. It is a great, if pricy, way to reconnaissance a bike ride!
Another terrible selfie. Had adjusted my rear view mirror to work better with riding on the wrong side of the road. Although made in the US they are hand crafted to suit your local road rules.
These wide verges were pretty common and great for cycling.
I found the vast majority of motorists really considerate, but rarely saw another cyclist. Even the more urban parts of the ride still had great views. I stopped in Kaneohe for lunch, ended up at a McDonalds (not my usual thing) as it was the only place I could find which had somewhere reasonably secure to leave the bike. The centre had a bike stand but it was one of those useless 'front wheel only' sort so could not lock to it.
The McDs didn't have one either but had a reasonably substantial tree I chained the bike to. As was doing it a guy joked, going to get my saw... but I got a table with a view of the bike and there was no problem. I got a 'Mcafe 'crafted' grill chicken burger' which was ok apart from the weird 'glazed' almost sweet bun. What is it with US 'bread'?
I took the Kamehameha Hwy out of Kaneohe which is quieter and stays close to the coast. Stunning views!
This is more typical of the coastal properties, reminded me of more traditional NZ beach communities, no 'McMansions' or footpaths.
I stopped in this glade for a drink as it was lovely and cool (in comparison) and had a great chat with a local walking to catch the bus at a nearby stop. She thought I was mad, and warned me to be careful in the 'crazy traffic'. I had no problems with traffic at all, if anything had to wave too considerate people past in places!
The further North you get the more 'Kiwi' the roads became. Still had a good surface but only narrow broken verges.
I stopped at the lovely Kualoa Regional Park. Regret not going for a swim here but was a bit concerned about time as wasn't sure how long it would take to get to Laie and had to collect the AirBNB key before 4pm
Bikes and beaches
The iconic Kualoa Hills:
If the views look familiar, it’s because Kualoa has been the site of over 70 Hollywood movies since the 1950’s. Blockbuster films such as Jumanji, Kong Skull Island, Jurassic World, Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom, Jurassic Park, Windtalkers, Pearl Harbor, Godzilla, Tears of the Sun, and 50 First Dates have all been filmed at Kualoa. TV shows like Hawaii Five-O, Magnum P.I. and LOST have also used the amazing backdrops of . Kualoa is known as Hollywood’s “Hawaii’s Backlot,” and has been seen by more than a billion people in all the movies filmed at the ranch over the past 60 years!
The views across Kahana Bay reminded me of NZ scenery around Coromandel Peninsular.
Although we didn't go over it I had taken a photo looking towards Laie from the helicopter, not knowing I would be staying there!
The coast on the way to Laie.
This seemed rather out of place, a lost Frenchman?
Home for the night
Laie is a small town dominated by the Mormon Brigham Young University.
I was a bit concerned as turned into the street to my AirBNB, there was a burnt out car (Chrysler 300) at the start of the road and some scruffy houses around it. I had to collect the key from the neighbour, who was not the owner, but got there in good time for that. They were polite but didn't engage in much conversation, perhaps unnerved by the red-faced pale sweaty cyclist standing before them!
The AirBNB itself was ok, not flash but clean and tidy and plainly Mormon owned, from the reading material. When outside there was nice muted ambient music from the adjacent Polynesian tourist cultural centre!
A panorama of the living area, had my bike inside as the back garden was shared with the adjacent property
View from the living room, the cultural centre was behind the trees across the road.
By the time I showered and had a bit of a rest it was time to find some dinner. There was a small shopping centre about 1km away with a supermarket and a few food places (according to Google). I took my backpack and got some breakfast supplies and drink for the morning ride.
There was a Subway, Taco Bell etc but I ended up at a burger place called "Seven Brothers". It was similar to Burger Fuel, more hand crafted than the McD's 'crafted' offer earlier in the day. The "Deep Bleu' burger (melted bleu cheese on beef topped with ranch, BBQ sauce & melted Swiss cheese) and shake were really good but they had odd 'flat', almost potato crisp like, fries.
Staggered home after eating too much and crashed, it had been a great day and this was only halfway!