Well, maybe not in the way you were thinking.
Yep, you can bicycle down Haleakala volcano on a bicycle…starting at 6,500 feet…and end in the town of Paia, near sea level. I signed up for this little bit of adventure with Maui Sunriders Bike Co. Why? Because they let you bike down the volcano at your own pace. Every other bike company has an escort who takes your group down the volcano, which means you’re at the mercy of grandma who doesn’t want to go too fast, or grandpa whose knees are aching so everyone has to wait while he gets into the ‘following’ van. (And the point of biking down a mountain is to go fast…REALLY, REALLY FAST!!!)
I booked the 9am Express tour for $60pp that didn’t go up to the top of Haleakala volcano. I didn’t need them to drive me to the summit so that I could get a look around for a few minutes before the van returned me to the 6,500 ft. start-off point for an additional $20pp. I could do that myself in my own vehicle and stay as long (or short) a time that I wanted. No need to pay more for something I could do on my own.
Our group of riders piled into the van at 9:40am for the informative and fun drive up the side of the volcano. I will forever remember, “Right. Right. Left”. These turns were drilled into us by our driver, Remmie, as the only turns we would need to make the entire way down.
We reached our start off point, were handed bikes (we were given our helmets and optional jackets and backpacks earlier in Paia) and the van took off. Mike and I lagged behind while I set up my GoPro to catch some video.
I loved coasting rapid-fire down switchback after switchback, sometimes cutting corners so tight I wanted to scream in delight. We took an opportunity a little way down to stop for lunch at Kula Lodge.
This restaurant has breathtaking views of the valley below and a garden I could spend some serious time in. The quality of the food and the ambiance of the establishment justified the price of our meal.
After lunch, we got back on the bikes, and off we went.
We made one more stop in the little town of Makawao. Komoda Bakery is located there, and their donuts are supposed to be amazing. They were out of most everything, but we did manage to snag two glazed donuts on sticks for snacks later on…and, yes, they lived up to the hype!
The last half of the ride was pure speed. We didn’t stop until we made it back to Paia. How fast were we going at times? Well, the speed trap electronic sign nabbed us going 27+ mph in a 20 mph zone. Oops!
We were back in town by 2pm, which was two hours earlier than the bikes required return time. Needless to say, I’d definitely do this again!