Plans change. I’d made plans and preparations for this to be a 5 day solo trip, but at the last minute I ran into Noah DeLea, whom conveyed that he had a couple days off and was down for a pedal. Scramble mode. We took another seat post bike rack that was sitting around ($20 if they aren’t), and zip tied a milk crate to the rack. Supplies inside a trash bag, cargo was set. Noah is a Maine to Maui transplant, and has a certain ability to suffer with a smile that is a great quality in a travel partner. Turns out Noah didn’t really want to ride in the boots he had so he made the decision to ride barefoot. Possibly not the best idea in the world, but that’s probably why it sounded like such a good one. A couple rounds of duct tape over the pedals to not meat cleave his feet, and we had a pedal solution at a weight much less than a carbon soled/clipless combo. Shorts circuit. And it was go time.
The pedal started in the town of Paia, which is about 7 miles from the airport. Paia is a once sugarcane town turned into one quirky small towns magnetized for eccentric energy, and a lot of good people. After a quick pit stop at Paia Bay, we started heading east on the Hana highway. Passing the famous Ho’okipa surf break and the open pastures in the area, the switch instantly flipped from the pre-trip plan scramble to simply riding a bike down the road on a beautiful day. The focus of the trip if you haven’t gathered is fun over miles, and we were treating it as such. Cruising down the road on a beautiful day, nice road, scenic sights, good bike. Lucky to be alive.
Heading east on the Hana highway, past the signs to Haiku and the hiking trails accessible as you pass Twin Falls, a couple things happen. The development starts to ebb, the road gets narrower, and it starts to get greener.
Due to a lot of factors such as location, trade winds, and topography, there is a lot of diversity in landscape on Maui. after pausing at some large Rainbow Eucalyptus trees (Noah works as an arborist and was a great source of tree info), we continued east, before pulling off the road to explore an area off the side of the road.
Starting off as a trail cut as a swath through the brush, it came to a series of ropes we came to a series of ropes to aid the decent to the rugged shoreline below. With the Azure waves acting as a powerful crashing contrast to the rocks and cliffs surrounding us, it was a view worth taking in, and was worth the effort it took to get to. Tourist shots were taken, then we started the climb back up to the road. Back on the Bikes and back on the road.
From here the road really started to choke out, and turn into an anything but a straight-line type chicaning route that seemed to have a surprise around every corner. It’s funny how much speed can affect an experience in the sense of being on a bike versus a car for a journey on this road forces you to slow down and probably see a lot more in the process. The tangled ribbon of pavement brought us through a bamboo forest, over single lane bridges, and by numerous waterfalls lining the road.
Flats happen, and Noah had his first taste, but the refreshing reward was a roadside jump into a thread the needle sweet spot of freshwater below. Refreshed and recharged, we rolled just outside of Hana to camp for the night. What a day.