Celebrating Cycling on Oahu
With the 40th anniversary of Hawaii’s largest cycling event, the Honolulu Century Ride, coming up next month, it’s the perfect time to spotlight this popular sport and provide tips on how to enjoy the island via two wheels.
On September 24, more than 1,000 athletes from the islands, U.S. mainland, Japan, and beyond will gather in Waikiki participating for a 100-mile ride which kicks off and ends at Kapiolani Park. Coconut Waikiki Hotel supports the event by partnering with Hawaii Bicycling League and offering special room rates for those attending. Learn more at hbl.org/hcr.
Now in its 40th year, the Honolulu Century Ride has taken many forms throughout its history, starting off as a parameter ride around the island, and one year, following along the Kaiwi Coast. Participants are driven by the challenge and accomplishment of riding 100 miles in a day as well as the beautiful scenery Oahu has to offer.
The event is organized by the Hawaii Bicycling League, a non-profit founded in 1975 which supports advocacy and education to get more people bicycling and make Hawaii’s roads safer for everyone, whether driving, riding, or walking.
For the inside scoop on this historic ride and cycling culture on Oahu in general, we connected with Hawaii Bicycling League’s Event Director, Chris Salas. An avid cyclist himself, he shared that his love for the sport grew with his arrival on the island.
“When I moved here 15 years ago, I came without a car, so I got a bike. Exploring Oahu slowly by bike sparked such a curiosity and sense of adventure that I kept biking further than I ever did before.”
Congrats on 40 years of the Honolulu Century Ride! How is the Hawaii Bicycling League honoring the occasion?
Chris: We’re celebrating by having a kickoff party, Hoomaka, the Friday before the event where we’ll have music, drinks, and pupu. We’re also turning up the ride finish area at Kapiolani Park with live music, food vendors, tables from our various non-profit partners, and activities for kids. We want the finish area to attract the general public as well as our riders.
Biking is great any time of year on Oahu. How can visitors make the most out of their ride?
Chris: Make sure your bike is in working order and that you have water and snacks. Take your time, ride at your own pace, and enjoy the scenery. Renting a bike from a Biki station can be a great way to explore at a slower pace.
The HBL provides a great Oahu Bike Map with suggested rides, bike shop locations, and safety tips. Can you share about your favorite routes?
Chris: I personally love riding up Tantalus. It’s located 2-3 miles from Waikiki and is a 5 mile uphill climb that takes you through what feels like a lush rainforest, and the views are amazing.
Best ride for families?
Chris: Riding around Kapiolani Park and up to Diamond Head lookout or around Ala Moana Beach Park.
The most challenging ride on the island?
Chris: There are some pretty steep climbs. Kamehame Drive out in Hawaii Kai is featured as the hill climb challenge during the Century Ride and is very steep.
There are some important reminders about Hawaii Bike Laws on the HBL website. How is bicycling on Oahu different from other places?
Chris: The laws are fairly similar to the laws seen in other states. If riding with friends or family, make sure to ride single-file, and it’s a lot hotter here, so make sure to hydrate and stop to refill water bottles frequently.
Our Coconut Waikiki ohana wishes all the athletes good luck in the Honolulu Century Ride and hopes our guests will enjoy cycling on the island during their visit. Happy biking!
Photo Credit: All photos provided by the Hawaii Bicycling League