By Tommy Noyes
Here is an opportunity for you to meet up with some friendly bicycle riders for a free and informal group road ride planned to suit most cyclists’ abilities. Be ready to roll at the Waimea Sports Park at 9 a.m. on Dec. 28 for a ride to Kekaha, or further, and back.
If that seems too easy, the full ride starts from the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center at 8 a.m., with an optional pick up of cyclists at the Hanapepe Armory at 8:30 a.m. as the ride progresses towards Waimea.
Call 639-1018 for details on this or other group rides, or look for the West Side Ride in the calendar listings posted at www.KauaiPath.org.
Kaua‘i Path facilitates and publicizes a variety of group rides and bicycle skills training classes year round. This article on group rides offers guidance on what to consider when deciding if a group ride would be fun for you.
How physically challenging a ride should you attempt? For beginning riders or those who want to have a low-stress adventure, start with a friend or two on Ke Ala Hele Makalae.
Lydgate Park’s multi-use path system features uncrowded level pathways, or follow the four miles of stunningly scenic path along the coast from Kapa‘a to Kealia to test your bicycling abilities.
Artist Carol Yotsuda, in her account of riding Ke Ala Hele Makalae with a group of her friends — the Grandriders of Kaua‘i — enthused, “Just picture the red, red cliffs rising above beach-front stretches of native Hawaiian plants and gnarly trees bent over from the winds, and white surf surging out of the blue Pacific and crashing onto rock formations of indescribable colors, stretches of blond, blond, blond white sand beaches with hardly anyone basking in the sun.”
To physically challenge yourself, ride past Kealia towards the North end of the path. Put your bike in its easiest gear and try pedaling up the connection from the coastal path to the Kealia Kai comfort station repeatedly. If your legs are strong enough to climb that slope two or three times, you should be physically ready to take on the open road.
It’s a good idea to learn how and be prepared to fix a flat tire before going on an unsupported group ride.
Rides listed on Kaua‘i Path’s online calendar range from easy for the whole family — like the free 7th Annual Mayor-A-Thon (June 20, 2015) — to world-class challenges such as the Pedal to the Meadow (May 24, 2015) and the Paradise Ride (Aug. 1-2, 2015).
Basic benefits of group rides are companionship and shared knowledge. Bicyclists are more visible when riding on trafficked roads as a group. Riders unfamiliar with an area can rely on the leader to select an appropriate and enjoyable route. A group ride through unfamiliar countryside can be a unique, inexpensive, and rewarding adventure when you are traveling. Just search the web for bicycling clubs at your destination to learn about free hosted rides.
- Tommy Noyes works for the Hawai‘i State Department of Health’s Public Health Preparedness branch, serves on Kaua‘i Path’s board of directors, and is a League of American Bicyclists certified instructor.