Two-Wheel Adventures

Popularity of cycling on the Garden Isle prompts local officials to improve paths, tours

As more visitors discover the possibilities of bicycling on scenic Kauai, community groups and the county government are working on bike paths, and activity vendors are promoting guided tours on two wheels.

There already are lots of short pathways along the waterfront, said Laurie Ho, coordinator of the Garden Island Resource Conservation and Development Program.

Ho said it may take as long as 25 years to connect them all but, currently, the program is preparing to work on a 4.3-mile path from Kapaa to Kealia, on the east coast. The 12-foot-wide trail will include an asphalt path, which needs improvement, and a former sugar cane-haul road, which must be paved, Ho said.

Over the handlebars

Visitors who want to explore Kauai by bike already have several options. A South Shore firm, Outfitters Kauai, offers two commissionable guided tours each month.

Rick Haviland, who heads Outfitters Kauai, said visitors’ interest in biking has grown since his company opened in 1988. “We have expanded our biking operations every year,” he said. “People are discovering that year-round, Kauai is home to fantastic terrain for any type of biking, whether it’s off-road, downhill, cruising or touring.”

The Poipu Bike & Snorkel trip, $65 a person, bicycles from beach to beach, stopping for walks, snorkeling and a picnic.

The Bicycle Downhill Canyon to Coast is a 12-mile trip from the 3,500-foot-high rim of Waimea Canyon down to the beach. Clients can select sunrise or sunset trips, which take approximately five hours, including transfers to and from Poipu. Rates are $80 per adult and $60 for 10 to 14 year olds.

Call 888-742-9887.

Jack Alex of Aloha Kauai Tours said locals, as well as visitors, are doing more cycling to see some of the privately owned parts of the island.

“Since the demise of the sugar cane industry in 1997, many old cane roads, including a tunnel, are now accessible for bicycling, but it’s by permission only,” Alex said. So, the company arranged an exclusive deal with Grove Farm Plantation and launched Kauai Adventure Trek in 1999.

“Many Kauaians have never been to these areas of the island, so the word about our trips has gotten out, and locals have been signing up along with visitors from the mainland,” he said. The tour now draws 150 to 200 people a month.

The five-hour excursion departs from Kilohana Plantation, near Lihue, twice a day. Fees are $100 per adult and $75 for each 9 to 12 year old. Riders are given helmets, water and a picnic and are asked to wear closed-toed shoes.

Call 800-452-1113.

On the east side of the island, Kauai Cycle and Tour of Kapaa customizes mountain biking tours. Guided adventures start at $65 per day, including lunch. Bike rentals are $15 per day and include helmets, locks and water bottles.

Call 808-821-2115.