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I’m not a seasoned cyclist, but pedaling a Coconut Coasters rental felt, well, just like riding a bike.
The company’s bright-yellow shop, located in Kapaa on Kauai’s east side, offers rentals of a variety of easy-to-use two-wheelers for clients who want to explore the vast beauty and history of the region. My seven-speed Navigator with hand brakes, a bell and a broad seat provided me with the right amount of “oomph” and comfort for an activity at once inspiring and invigorating.Coconut Coasters sits just a few tire rotations away from Ke Ala Hele Makalae (which means “the path that goes by the coast”), which hugs the eastern shoreline. The 7.5-mile byway is designated for bikers, hikers, dog-walkers, joggers, skateboarders and other outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and abilities.From the shop, clients roll merrily along 5 miles of the shared-use path, removed from the many cars and buses that frequent the main road through Kapaa. Another 2.5-mile stretch borders the waterfront to the south in Wailua, including Lydgate Beach Park. Plans call for connecting the two sections by 2020; eventually, the bike path will span 17 miles from the northeast town of Anahola to the southern port of Nawiliwili.Since most of the path is flat, it’s a snap to navigate while enjoying spectacular ocean and island views. Interpretive signs along the way reveal several highlights of the destination, from legends and landmarks to information about the area’s wildlife, including monk seals and seabirds. The route is also dotted with restrooms, scenic lookouts and pavilions ideal for a picnic lunch.
Melissa Costales and Dale “Sparky” Costales opened Coconut Coasters nearly 11 years ago. Since then, they’ve done a steady business renting single-, three- and seven-speed bikes. “We hire great employees, and that has made a big difference in our success,” Sparky said. Coconut Coasters typically attracts clients ranging from 30 to 50 years old, although it’s common for visitors in their 60s to stop by. It also appeals to families with its selection of kid-size bikes and attachable trailers, which allow youngsters 6 months and older to go along for the ride. In addition, its tandem rentals lure couples and friends traveling together.“We have had plenty of honeymooners take out our tandems,” Melissa said. “One group of about 20 people recently rode for a wedding.”
Meanwhile, repeat clients get a 10 percent discount. Additionally, customers with a military ID receive a 15 percent discount for their entire party. “Our returning guests are very important to us,” Melissa said. “We run coupons in local and online media, but if guests forget them, they can simply ask for the coupon rate and we’ll be happy to honor it.” Ultimately, the owners want to connect clients not only with nature, but with the aloha that permeates Kauai’s eastern coastline. “We hope that with every pedal and step along Ke Ala Hele Makalae, our guests’ spirits are aroused,” Sparky said.Bike rentals rates, which are per person, start at $8.50 per hour, $18 for a half-day and $20 for a full day. Rates include locks and helmets.The DetailsCoconut Coasterswww.coconutcoasters.com