Ride on! Cruising Kauai's Waimea Canyon by bicycle tourby: Chris Bailey
posted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 at 11:32 AM
Kauai’s Waimea Canyon, the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” stretches 10 miles long, a mile across and 3,000 feet deep. Today, I will travel down it by bike.
Well, not actually down Waimea Canyon, but along it. I’m with Outfitters Kauai, a Hawaii tour company that offers a Waimea Canyon Bicycle Downhill tour. Today’s sunset journey goes down Kōke‘e Road, a sloping, 13-mile-long thoroughfare that runs parallel to the canyon.
My guides for today are Dakshina Marlier, an ebullient, young French woman, and Harold Naumu, a Kauai native. Marlier leads the tours on bike. Naumu drives the would-be cyclists from Outfitters Kauai’s Poipu Beach headquarters up to a gathering point some 3,800 feet above sea level.
Before arriving at our gathering place, we stop at one of the canyon’s lookouts—the perfect place for photos before the bike ride. For safety reasons, taking pictures is not allowed while on the bikes.
Loaded with knowledge of Kauai, Naumu regales the group with the history of the canyon—from the catastrophic volcanic collapse that formed it 4 million years ago to the rainfall and erosion that shape it to this day. Remarkable stuff, indeed, but I am more than ready to get on the road.
We move forward, finally arriving at our roadside stop. Geared up and ready to go, Marlier gives us a few words of advice.
“A few pedals with your feet is all it takes,” says Marlier. “Your bike will do the rest.”
She’s right. A few short pedals, and I instantly surge downhill. Marlier leads, and the group follows single-file. Naumu brings up the rear in the tour van—providing a barrier between bicyclists and traffic.
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Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
Hidden Hawaii: On the way to Waimea Canyon
Kauai in just one day: 5 things to do, part two
Top 5 favorite Hawaii parks: HAWAII Magazine Facebook poll results