The Big Island's biking trails and road routes range from easy to moderate coastal rides to rugged backcountry wilderness treks that challenge the most serious cyclists. You can soak up the island's storied scenic vistas and varied geography—from tropical rain forest to rolling ranch country, from high-country mountain meadows to dry lava deserts. It's dry, windy, and hot on Kona's and Kohala's coastal trails, mountainous through South Kona, and cool, wet, and muddy in the upcountry Waimea and Volcano areas, as well as in lower Puna. There are long distances between towns, few bike lanes, narrow single-lane highways, and scanty services in the Kau, Puna, South Kona, and Kohala Coast areas, so plan accordingly for your weather, water, food, and lodging needs before setting out. Your best bet is to book with an outfitter who has all the details covered.
Hawaii Cycling Club. This nonprofit club has tons of information on biking the Big Island, along with scheduled rides and events such as picnics. www.hawaiicyclingclub.com.
Equipment and Tours
There are rental shops in Kailua-Kona and a couple in Waimea and Hilo. Many resorts rent bicycles that can be used around the properties. Most outfitters can provide a bicycle rack for your car, and all offer reduced rates for rentals longer than one day. All retailers offer excellent advice about where to go; they know the areas well.
BikeVolcano.com. This outfitter leads three- or five-hour bike rides through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, mostly downhill, that take in fantastic sights, from rain forests to craters. Equipment, support van, and food are included; pickup locations in Hilo and Volcano (and Kona by request). The company also coordinates and leads rides to the active lava flows. Hilo, Hawaii, 96720. 808/934–9199; 888/934–9199; www.bikevolcano.com. From $115.
Bike Works. This company caters to cyclists of all skill levels with race services, suggested rides for moderate to advanced riders, and rentals of deluxe road bikes, full-suspension mountain bikes, and high-end triathlon bikes. Their retail space, located in Kona's "Old" Industrial Area, is huge and impressive. Hale Hana Center, 74-5583 Luhia St., Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, 96740. 808/326–2453; www.bikeworkskona.com. From $55.
Kona Beach & Sports. For those who prefer comfort over speed, Kona Beach & Sports rents seven-speed city cruisers and "Specialized" brand 24-speed hybrids perfect for cruising the waterfront. Kona Inn Shopping Village, 75-5744 Alii Dr., Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, 96740. 808/329–2294; www.konabeachandsports.com.
Mid Pacific Wheels. The oldest bike shop on the Big Island, this community-oriented shop near the university carries a full line of bikes and accessories and rents mountain bikes for exploring the Hilo area. The friendly staff provides expert advice on where to go and what to see and do on a self-guided tour. They also carry a large selection of cycling accesssories, bikes, and repair parts. 1133C Manono St., Hilo, Hawaii, 96720. 808/935–6211; www.midpacificwheelsllc.com. From $35.
Hilo Bike Hub. An enthusiast shop specializing in servicing bikes to fit the ruggedness of Hawaii's East side terrain, they are a good resource for those wishing to mountain bike in these off-the-beaten-path areas. Sponsors of rides and local events, they were instrumental in helping to establish Kulani Trails, part of the Waiakea Forest reserve, as an official mountain biking area. They also carry gear and accessories. 318 East Kawili St., Hilo, Hawaii, 96720. 808/961–4452; www.hilobikehub.com.