By Tommy Noyes
Kaua‘i is boldly investing time and money to improve on street bicycling facilities and build attractive multi-use path systems. Examples are the recently completed Hardy Street improvements in Lihu‘e and on Ke Ala Hele Makalae. Educating avid and novice bicyclists on how to ride their bicycles sensibly as they take to the streets makes sharing our roads easier and safer for all.
That is Kaua‘i Path’s motivation for coordinating a series of easy-paced, low-stress group bicycle rides with an emphasis on thoughtful road conduct and fun.
Light-hearted costuming is a good start, and the next scheduled Ugly Aloha Shirt Ride will roll out from Wailua Homesteads Park Sunday, Feb. 21 at 9 a.m. The riders will have up to three route options appropriate for all endurance levels. The ride meanders through the quiet country roads in Wailua and Kapa‘a Homesteads. These are leisurely rides so nobody gets left behind, and a potluck lunch at Wailua Homesteads Park tops off the morning’s activities.
Last month more than 20 riders (plus one dog riding in her own trailer) checked out the back roads from central Lihu‘e to Ninini Lighthouse. Elaine LaSota said, “Pleasant ride with some challenges, great payoff at Ninini Lighthouse with breaching whales and dramatic views. Great company!”
Benefits of cultivating participation in these recurring free, low-stress rides include showing novices how to safely navigate busy streets wearing everyday casual attire for practical transportation. Establishing participating cyclists’ courteous conduct when they are on the road in a large group is crucial to avoid annoying motorists and building acceptance of cycling as an integral transportation alternative within our community. Additionally, socializing while enjoying our local streets is an attraction.
A broad range of organizations and communities encourage similar themed fun rides.
Kaua‘i’s chapter of the Sierra Club promotes the Tour de Po‘ipu, held on Feb. 7. This ride features three options from easy to challenging, and enables participants guilt-free couch time for the Super Bowl later that afternoon.
Every day, the Cascade Bicycle Club, based in Washington State, offers Free Group Rides, more than 2,200 rides annually! Their Free Group Rides range from leisurely 10-mile jaunts to longer endurance rides. Some rides are urban and some are in the greater Puget Sound region. Like Kaua‘i Path, the Cascade Bicycle Club is a nonprofit organization working to improve lives through bicycling. They offer daily rides, exceptional events, advocacy and lobbying, and education for all riders of all ages and abilities.
Bicycling is a promising way to establish new friendships. The Meet Up website has a global network promoting more than 2,000 bicycling groups with more than a million members.
Feel free to reach out to Kaua‘i Path at 808 639-1018 or news@Kaua‘iPath.org if you think that an Ugly Aloha Shirt or similar free group bicycle ride to explore your neighborhood might be fun.
- Tommy Noyes is Kaua‘i Path’s executive director, a League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor and active with the Kaua‘i Medical Reserve Corps.