By Tommy Noyes

Graphic artist Seth Womble created this illustration capturing the whimsical and easy spirit of the Ugly Aloha Shirt Rides. The next free group bicycle ride starts at the Wailua Homesteads Park Feb. 21 at 9 a.m, potluck lunch to follow.

Graphic artist Seth Womble created this illustration capturing the whimsical and easy spirit of the Ugly Aloha Shirt Rides. The next free group bicycle ride starts at the Wailua Homesteads Park Feb. 21 at 9 a.m, potluck lunch to follow.

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.