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Maui - Bike Down a Volcano


 

Maui offers the longest downhill bike tour experience anywhere in the world! Participants are taken to the 10,000 foot evelvation summit of Haleakala National Park for views into the crater, and then the ride down the mountain starts just outside the park boundary at an elevation of 6700 feet. While other companies have shortened their tour by several miles at the end of the ride, the tours featured on this page coast the entire 26 miles all the way to the ocean in Paia. Two options are available ... a sunrise tour with middle of the night pickup, and a day tour which starts around 7am.

Minimum biking age is 12 ...due to high elevation no pregnant women are allowed on this tour, either as a biker or a van rider. Maximum weight approx. 280lbs. Minimum height 4' 10")


 

Sunrise Bike Tour

List price: $144 per biker or non-biking van rider

Our Price: $120 per biker or non-biking van rider

The sunrise journey is our most popular tour and seating is extremely limited. Your tour begins with hotel or cruise ship pickup and a van tour to the summit of Haleakala. Your certified tour guides provide you with a history of the mountain, its geology, and an explanation of rare plants and animals only found on Maui. Upon arrival at the summit you'll be escorted to the crater rim to view the often-spectacular sunrise.You'll receive a comprehensive safety briefing and an informative tour of the park. Your tour proceeds to the 6700 foot level just outside the park boundary where you will be expertly fitted to your bicycle and begin your 28 mile ride down the slopes of Haleakala, including the famous series of switchbacks and upcountry Kula. You will ride through Makawao town and through the sugar cane and pineapple fields on the lower slopes of Haleakala ... continuing on to the Pacific Ocean and ending at Paia beach park. A breakfast stop is typically made either part way through the tour or following the end of the ride where food is available for purchase. Return to your resort or cruise ship will be about noon.  

Special Note: Due to national park restrictions which recently went into effect, capacity for this tour has been severely limited. We recommend reservations be made at least a month in advance of your date, especially during holiday periods and summer months. Due to limited availability, non-biking van riders are the same price as bikers for the sunrise tour.

MR / V


Day Bike Tour

List price: $124.80

Our price: $104 per biker, $84 per non-biking van rider

Is 2:30am a little too early for you? Well, check out the day tour option. All the same feature of the sunrise tour only without the middle of the night pickup. While you don't get to see a sunrise, you do get to see inside Haleakala Crater a little later in the morning when the sun has filled the crater and the amazing natural colors of the many red cinder cones can be seen more clearly. 

The day tours also have extremely limited seating so book early! Your tour begins with hotel or cruise ship pickup and a van tour to the summit of Haleakala. Certified tour guides provide you with a history of Haleakala, its geology, and an explanation of rare plants and animals only found on Maui. Upon arrival at the summit you'll be escorted to the crater rim for spectacular views of the most colorful dormant volcano in the world. Your tour proceeds to the 6700 foot level just outside the park boundary where you will be expertly fitted to your bicycle and begin your 28 mile ride down the slopes of Haleakala, including the famous series of switchbacks and upcountry Kula. You will ride through Makawao town and through the sugar cane and pineapple fields on the lower slopes of Haleakala... continuing on to the Pacific Ocean and ending at Paia beach park. A lunch stop is typically made either part way through the tour or following the end of the ride where food is available for purchase. Return to your resort or cruise ship will be between 2pm and 3pm.

 

MR / V


Cruise Ship Clients

NCL cruise ship passengers are able do either the sunrise bike tour or the day bike tour on their second day in port in Kahului. The bike tour company will pick you up at the dock. This tour can also work for other cruise ship passengers who have a two-day stay in Lahaina on the morning of their second day.

ACTIVITY TIPS

Kevin at Falls

The most helpful piece of advice for doing the sunrise bicycle tour is to make your reservation in advance for the first full day that you are in Hawaii when the time change is working in your favor. The logic is simple. Due to the time change, you will find yourself waking up at 4am on the first day that you are here anyway. Since you are already going to wake up early that day, you might as well get up a little bit earlier and start our your vacation by doing something fun and exciting!

Remember, it gets cold at 10,000 feet, especially in the winter months. Yes, the bike companies provide a wind breaker, wind pants, and gloves, but you will still want some layers underneath, especially for the sunrise tour. As your group heads down the mountain, it gets warmer. You will pause along the way for photos and "strip stops." Everything you don't need anymore goes in the van.

One other advantage of Mountain Riders; their breakfast stop during the sunrise ride is right along the bike tour route in the middle of the ride. Some companies wait until the very end of the ride (which is pretty late for breakfast) and one company loads you into the van part way through the ride and drives you several miles out of the way to their breakfast spot.

A word about the unguided option ... personally I much prefer the guided tour because of the extra measure of safety it provides. The guide sets a safe, comfortable pace for the group (about 12-15 miles per hour on average) and the van follows your group back down the mountain. This "chase vehicle" prevents cars from passing you at times when it is not safe. You don't have to worry about looking over your shoulder to see what's coming from behind you. If there are cars backed up behind the chase vehicle, the driver talks to the guide on his walkie-talkie and they arrange for a place to pull over to the side and let the traffic pass. Three of our staff live near the bike tour route and we can tell you that the unguided people make us cringe ... we have decided the risk of injury is too great to offer this option to our clients.

While 28 miles sounds like a long ride, it really isn't when you are coasting downhill almost the entire way. There is literally only 400 yards of peddling spread out throughout the entire ride! I am often asked if you can get off the bike if you get tired. It rarely becomes an issue, but if at any time you don't feel like riding anymore you can pull over and get in the van (on the guided tour of course). You can ride in the van for a while, and even get back out on the bike at a future stopping point if you like.

Many people ask about the brakes. They are hand-operated brakes but they aren't the kind of brakes you see on typical mountain bikes or road bikes. They are heavy duty drum brakes built into the hub of the front and back wheel, not a pad that grabs the side of the wheel frame. It's the same kind of brake as the foot pedal brakes on the old style bikes. In this case they are operated by hand controls so you can brake the front and back brakes evenly. This style brake STAYS DRY and isn't compromised by wet roads like the pad brakes found on the kind of bikes that most people have in their garage. The seats are well padded, and you ride in an upright position, not hunched over like a 21 speed racing bike.

The road that you bike is completely paved, and while there are lots of 180 degree turns and it is 5-6% downhill grade, it is not inherently dangerous AS LONG AS YOU KNOW HOW TO RIDE A BIKE!!! I can't emphasize this enough ... while there are occasionally accidents on this ride (and on rare occasions those accidents have been fatal), they are almost always the result of someone who lacked confidence (and/or ability) at riding a bicycle. If you are riding a bike and you fall, or you run into a guardrail, you ARE going to get hurt ... whether you are doing it on a mountain on Maui or on flat ground in Kansas! My best advice is this ... IF YOU HAVE NOT RIDDEN A BICYCLE IN 40 YEARS, THE TOP OF A VOLCANO IS NOT THE BEST PLACE TO TRY TO REMEMBER HOW TO RIDE A BIKE!!! Borrow a bicycle from someone and ride around your neighborhood before you come to Hawaii. A few hours of peddling will refresh your mind about steering and braking and give you the confidence you need to do just fine on this ride. If you are uncomfortable riding a bike in your neighborhood, then you should sit out this activity or just go along in the van for the ride.

All-in-all, this is one of Maui's must-do activities ... don't miss it! With Mountain Riders, this is THE LONGEST downhill bike tour available anywhere in the world.

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