By Tommy Noyes
The Paradise Ride Kaua‘i, our island’s premier bicycle tour, will be held Aug. 2 and 3. The annual event increases the awareness of HIV/AIDS, infectious hepatitis and sexually transmitted diseases on our island while raising funds vital to the prevention and early diagnosis of disease and support for those affected.
Participation in the ride helps Malama Pono Health Services — Kaua‘i’s only HIV/AIDS service organization — to continue important community outreach education in the overall effort to stop the spread of STDs.
The Paradise Ride’s fundraising goal is $95,000. If you are a cyclist or a volunteer considering participating in the event, this is a fully supported ride, not a race, highlighted by fun rest stops and generous meals so riders really enjoy themselves.
The two-day ride this year is planned as two metric centuries (a little over 60 miles per day), and riders have an option to ride just one day. The Paradise Ride usually draws around eighty riders. You may join as an individual or with a team, so usually riders gather friends, co-workers, or sign up with one of the participating cycling clubs. To sign up as a rider or a support volunteer, visit www.paradiseridekauai.com.
“Volunteers mapped and did test-rides on two exciting routes showcasing the Garden Isle’s natural splendor,” said ride coordinator Mary Williamson. “Cyclists Padraic Gallagher, Tommy Noyes, and Paul Perry deserve a shout out for their contributions developing this year’s courses.”
Riders start and finish at Island School in Puhi. From there, the Aug. 2 route will take you to the North Shore via Ke Ala Hele Makalae — Kaua‘i’s coastal path — and back through the East Side’s rolling hills, with a lunch turnaround at the beautiful Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Garden in Kilauea.
The route on Aug. 3 leads through the iconic Tree Tunnel, down to the South Shore’s Spouting Horn, features a cruise along Hanapepe’s historic main street, and is punctuated by the lunch at the lively Kaua‘i Coffee Company visitor center.
The Paradise Ride’s success relies on volunteers’ kokua.
“Many types of volunteer help — route angels, massage therapists, food handlers, set up and break down crew, SAG vehicle drivers, rest stop attendants, bicycle mechanics — make this fund raiser possible,” Malama Pono Executive Director Mistee Bailey-Myrick said. “Also, we welcome all types and levels of in-kind donations to use as incentive prizes and awards. If you’d like to kokua, please call 246-9577.”
Sponsors include Kukui‘ula, Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i, Merriman’s, the Law Office of Dawn Murata, Duke’s Restaurant, and Kaua‘i Coffee Co.
Malama Pono, meaning “to righteously care for,” is a 501(c)3 nonprofit with a mission “to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) on Kaua‘i and to serve those infected with or affected by these diseases.”
The nonprofit is governed by a volunteer board of directors, has a culturally competent staff and enjoys the assistance of almost 200 volunteers.
- 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.