Frank Thompson’s second cycling story
You might have read Frank Thompson’s first cycling story, about how he was 50 pounds (and 20 years) younger after taking up cycling. If you haven’t read that then you can read Frank’s story here.
Here’s his second cycling story about cycling Maui. You might remember he’s lucky enough to own an S-Works, but this time it was on a Cannondale.
Here’s Frank’s Maui cycling story .
Having travel to Oahu, Hawaii, my family was excited to return to this piece of heaven and experience another gorgeous island. This spring we selected the island of Maui. I loved our previous visit and had been dreaming of somehow spending some “me time” on a road bike while my family slept in in the mornings. I am an early morning roadie and must have something routinely physical to do on a trip or I can go a bit crazy—restless crazy.
All I knew about Maui was that it was less densely populated so I was imaging rural roads maybe narrow and a bit undone and challenging – boy was I wrong! I started my cycling adventure in advance by locating our rental condo destination in Kihei and looking up bike local rental places and services. I found many sites that looked very tourist friendly with enticing pictures for dramatic tropical and exotic rides. I was hooked and determined to make it a reality.
Online I found Crater Cycling located near the Maui airport and reserved a bike. No down payment was asked for and I reserved an all carbon Cannondale. Anticipating the cycling journey was for me, the best part of planning our trip. I was very excited.
Soon after arriving on the island, we easily found the bike shop from the airport. I was kindly helped with a bike carrier (our rental vehicle was a bit quirky but they made the straps work), new bike (Sweet!), and helmet. Gearing up went flawlessly and seemed so easy. Of course I had packed my own white cycling kit – “hey it’s warm there!” shoes, sunglasses, and mitts.
On the way to the condo in Kihei, we noticed a bike trail right along the highway. Worries about where to go and orientation to the island soon melted away. I promptly transported my bike up the large outdoor elevator on to the 4th floor terrace. Perfect – out of the way and secure for the night.
The very next morning at day break, I took to the trail we had spotted before. The first thing I noticed was that the roads and bike road markings are incredibly well done. This was definitely a wonderful upgrade from my usual turf in Utah.
Everything seemed so perfect and well thought out. I kept thinking, “I need to contact the road department head on this island and give him a big complement – well done!” Second, the air in Hawaii is definitely more humid than Utah, which is understandable since it is right on the ocean instead of the top if the mountains. I didn’t need to drink as much water and my lungs definitely got a workout pushing this new fangled heavier air in and out—no problem.
I fell in love with the rural beauty of the agricultural part of my northbound land trail. Extremely tall sugar cane all around me; and in the distance, low blue purple hills with gorgeous turquoise, orange and yellow skies, enveloping me. The gentle winds (another difference from Utah) lightly caressed me and felt good on my arms and face making my ride feel exotic and special. “Wow, I’m getting a head start this year on my roadie tan!” I thought. I noticed formal turn offs from the highway that led into nothing but green sugarcane. No fighting turning auto – just reeelaxation and the trail.
Now, I wanted a variety of rides so I planned to vary my ride terrain selections. My next ride lead me through the picturesque beach town of Kihei – a laid back cultural feast for the eyes. I meandered along the shore and around the bay.
On the right, sugarcane and a sugarcane factory with a tall stack and white puffy smoke. One could take a trail or stay on the coastal road. I felt safe on both.
I met a few roadies enjoying the same experience so sometimes I drafted, and sometimes I lead out. As I moved closer to the ocean and up a volcanic incline on the west side of the island, I could hear the ocean waves crashing against rock. Ah – this was Hawaii for sure! The sound would drift in and out as the road wound up the inclines. Rivers do the same in Utah. Occasionally, I would meet up with a bespeckled mother chicken and her tiny multi-colored chicks right in the bike path, which isn’t unusual on these islands and a pleasant surprise.
What I love about Hawaii is the lack of unpleasant ocean smells. The trees and vegetation are plentiful and lush. On the side opposite the ocean were verdant green rolling mountain – a visual feast.
The Hawaiians love their island as is evident with the avid beach camping I observed. One of my favorite stretches of this west coast ride was a series for majestic thick old trees that line the road on both sides. This was a great place to stop and take a break, drink some water or as in my case fix a flat when I failed to avoid a stick fallen from these shadow monsters. After about two hours heading north, I turned around when civilization appeared from the next touristy town, Lahaina, and I headed back satisfied and grinning.
Finally, I took the initiative to head south to see what adventure was ahead of me there. This trip led to a wealthy destination area that President Obama often visits. Emerald golf courses and neon eye-catching flower beds, while huge royal palm trees line the charming winding roads of Wailea.
Eventually I found myself entering a state park with interesting black volcanic landscape and lava roads. At the end of this interesting journey, I passed local Hawaiian cabins and mango fruit vendors. It got a bit bumpy for a narrow wheeled roadie, so back home for me. I was fortunate enough to go cycling for four hours each day on one of my custom excursions. Too soon, we dropped off the rental bike on our way back to the airport– and I vowed as we departed, “Kauai, You will be my next cycling love!”