GUEST ARTICLE: We have been to Honolulu quite a number of times over the years and always have a great time. It makes for a convenient stopover, breaking up our usual flight between North America and Australia. Usually when we’re there we like to go on long walks and sometimes hire a car to circle Oahu. We had never thought to hire a bike probably because of the heat (in summer, most days quickly get to 30 degrees centigrade) or the Waikiki crowds that made us think riding a bike wasn’t such a good idea. How wrong we were! Riding a bike in Waikiki was one of the best bike riding experiences we’ve ever had.
There are plenty of places to hire a bike in Waikiki. Luckily for us just outside of our hotel (Hotel Renew) was a little rental place called Hawaiian Style Rentals. We had rented bikes when we were in North America but they weren’t nearly as cheap as it was there – for just $15 each we got 4 hours of riding on their “comfort bikes,” you can’t get any better than that!
The first thing we noticed was that as soon as we rode just outside the main tourist area of Waikiki Beach the crowds thinned out considerably. Most tourists are tightly packed into the small beachfront area and as soon as you leave that area there is lots of open space and some really nice deserted streets to cruise on.
The second thing we noticed was that when you’re on a bike the heat isn’t so intense and it makes sightseeing actually a heck of a lot more comfortable. Sure, when you are sitting on the beach in the direct sunlight the last thing you would want to do is ride a bike, but once you’re out of the beach zone there is usually a cool breeze and the paths are for the most part shaded by the huge beautiful banyan trees.
Waikiki is blessed with so many wonderful bike paths. When the paths ran along the roadside, cars were usually very slow and courteous (that’s your typical Hawaiian style!). When the paths were shared with pedestrians, everyone seemed “bike aware” and we all got along no worries.
The first thing we wanted to see on our ride was the Diamond Head Crater. It is quite a walk to Diamond Head from Waikiki but by bike it was easy! Our ride took us along Diamond Head Road, one of the most scenic roads in Oahu. From our bikes we looked down at surfers and windsurfers in the sparkling turquoise blue waters.
Within about 15 minutes we were in the centre of the crater. It cost just $1 park fee per person. We locked our bikes and headed for the top. It was a hard 40 minute round trip to the lookout and by the time we got back to the bikes we were feeling like triathletes!
After the crater walk we jumped back on our bikes and headed off for lunch. One of the cool things was that now we had our own bikes we could eat somewhere off the main tourist strip. And there are quite a few delectable spots to choose from.
The next leg of our ride was to Ala Moana Beach Park. The ride took us along the famous Ala Wai Canal. The ride along the Canal is a very scenic 3km journey. As we rode along the canal with its dark still waters we saw rowing crews practicing, fish jumping and locals walking their dogs. On the other side of the canal is the Ala Wai Golf Course.
The Canal opens at the Ala Wai Marina which is adjacent to the Ala Moana Park. The ride around the coast of the Ala Moana Beach Park was incredible. The sun was shining and the colour of the water a melody of vibrant blues. We love Hawaii’s waters the colours are incredible! This spot is also a favourite for wedding photos we saw two couples striking a pose when we were there.
Because we chose a weekday to ride in the park, it was almost empty. We had most of the park to ourselves along with a few locals. The public coastline in this area winds much further than we had previously thought.
As tourists we didn’t know all these parks existed probably because they’re off the beaten track, we actually ended up at another nice little park in Honolulu called Kaka’ako Waterfront Park. We were so glad we ended up renting bikes to explore more of the area, that coastline is probably one of the best in the world. We cruised by white sandy beaches, fields of green, palm trees, rocky coves and some pretty magnificent boats bobbing in marinas.
It is easy to burn 3-4 hours riding a bike around Waikiki. The only regret we have is that we didn’t do it sooner. It is a great idea and we have the photos to prove it!
This travel diary has been written by Machalle Gower, a friend who enjoys taking roads less traveled!