The Big Island's biking trails and road routes range from easy to moderate coastal rides to rugged backcountry wilderness treks that will challenge the most serious bikers. En route, bikers 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 and cool, wet, and muddy in the upcountry Waimea and Volcano areas, as well as in lower Puna. There are long distances between towns and few services available in the Kau, Puna, South Kona, and Kohala Coast areas, so bikers need to plan accordingly for weather, water, food, and lodging before setting out.
Hawaii Cycling Club. The nonprofit Hawaii Cycling Club has tons of information on biking the Big Island. 74-5583 Luhia St., Kailua-Kona, HI, 96740. www.hawaiicyclingclub.com.
Kulani Trails. This has been called the best ride in the state—if you really want to get gnarly. This technically demanding ride, which passes majestic eucalyptus trees, is for advanced cyclists. To reach the trailhead from the intersection of Highway 11 and Highway 19, take Highway 19 south about 4 miles, then turn right onto Stainback Highway and continue on 2½ miles, then turn right at the Waiakea Arboretum. Park near the gate. Stainback Hwy., Hilo, HI, 96720.
Old Puna Trail. A 10½-mile ride through the subtropical jungle in Puna, this trail leads cyclists into one of the island's most isolated areas. You'll start out on a cinder road, which becomes a four-wheel-drive trail. If it's rained recently, you'll have to deal with some puddles—the first few of which you'll gingerly avoid until you give in and go barreling through the rest of them for the sheer fun of it. This is a great ride for all abilities and takes about 90 minutes. To get to the traihead from Highway 130, take Kaloli Road to Beach Road. Kaloli Rd. at Hwy 130, Puna, HI, 96778.
If you want to strike out on your own, there are several 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 listed can provide a bicycle rack for your car. All offer reduced rates for rentals longer than one day.
Bike Works. This outfitter caters to cyclists of all skill levels with its rentals of deluxe road bikes, full-suspension mountain bikes, and high-end triathlete bikes. Rentals start at $40 a day. Hale Hana Centre, 74-5583 Luhia St., Kailua-Kona, HI, 96740. PHONE: 808/326-2453. www.bikeworkskona.com.
Cycle Station. This shop has a variety of bikes for rent, from hybrids to racing models. Rentals run from $20 to $75 per day, and can be delivered to your hotel. 73-4976 Kamanu St., Kailua-Kona, HI, 96740. PHONE: 808/327-0087. www.cyclestationhawaii.com.
Hawaiian Pedals. For those who prefer comfort over speed, Hawaiian Pedals rents three-speed cruisers and 21-speed hybrids starting at $25 per day. Kona Inn Shopping Village, 75-5744 Alii Dr., Kailua-Kona, HI, 96740. PHONE: 808/329-2294. www.hawaiianpedals.com.
Mid Pacific Wheels. This downtown shop carries a full line of bikes and related accessories. It also rents mountain bikes for exploring the Hilo area. Rentals start at $30 per day. The staff can provide information on the best places to go and what to see, do, and experience on a self-guided tour. 1133C Manono St., Hilo, HI, 96720. PHONE: 808/935-6211. www.midpacificwheelsllc.com.
Going with a Guide
Orchid Isle Bicycling. Geared to cyclists of varying abilities, options range from challenging 3,500-foot climbs up Kohala Mountain to downhill-only rides. Tours, which last from two to five hours, start at $125 per person. 73-5619 Kauhola St., Kailua-Kona, HI, 96740. PHONE: 808/327-0087 or 800/219-2324. www.cyclekona.com.
BikeVolcano.com. This outfitter leads three- or five-hour bike rides through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. During a mostly downhill ride through the park, you'll see some fantastic sights, from rain forests to craters. The three-hour tour costs $105, while the five-hour tour costs $129. There's also a spectacular seven-hour sunset tour that takes you to the active lava flows (volcano depending). Equipment, support van, and food are included. Kilauea General Store, 19-3972 Old Volcano Rd., Volcano, HI, 96785. PHONE: 808/934-9199 or 888/934-9199. www.bikevolcano.com.