West Maui Loop - is it a safe ride?


#1

I’m heading to Maui and considering renting a bike. Wondering if anyone has done the West Maui Loop and if it is safe? The ride looks beautiful, but it seems like there isn’t much of a shoulder.


#2

@KennyC I have done a lot of riding on Maui - east and west side. Yes, the West Maui loop is safe. I have not done the full loop because the highway section of the ride down the center of the island doesn’t look very interesting, but I have done everything else on the loop several times. It is a very popular loop (my son did it on one of our trips). The north coast is spectacular - the views and especially a stop at Lorraine’s Banana Bread!

Of course, the most popular epic ride is the climb up Mt. Haleakala. If you haven’t done it and can climb, that isn’t to be missed (36mi; 10kft). I’ve done it about 5 times. You just have to check the weather to make sure it will be OK on top.

Another truly epic and spectacular ride, but not well known by tourists, is the East Maui Loop. It’s 100mi w/11k ft of climbing. If you have the legs and the time, it’s well worth it. btw: There are some that go even more epic (e.g. a figure 8 around the island).

I know several other rides of shorter duration if you are interested. Also, I can provide a couple of great bike shops to rent if you let me know where you will be staying.

It’s a great island. Have fun!!!


#3

I did the North side and Haleakala this year and can’t recommend enough. Very light traffic once past kapalua and lots of rollers with good elevation. Plenty of banana bread stops also. Haleakala was spectacular. There is some tourist traffic, but nothing crazy. Bring your lights. West Maui Bike Shop did a great rental.


#4

@KennyC I can’t speak to the West Maui Loop but just got back from a week in Paia on the north shore. I agree with @bobmac, it is spectacular! Did the ride to Lorraine’s for banana bread, a bit of Hana Highway to see the painted trees, a ride up to Haiku Town and of course Haleakala. There was a shoulder on most busier roads but no shoulder and narrow roads once on some of the “back” roads. It never felt unsafe. You just need to pay attention to the road (sometimes hard to do with all the beautiful scenery).



#5

Bob, We are heading out to Maui with the whole family, so I won’t be able to take the time to do Haleakala.
I am interested in any shorter routes that you’re familiar with that would leave from Kaanapali.
Thanks in advance! .


#6

West Maui loop is an incredible ride! I went out fairly early (sunrise-ish) and had no issues with traffic. I rented a Tarmac from West Maui Cycles, and it worked out great (you just need to bring your own pedals). I would highly recommend doing this one!


#7

@KennyC Hi Kenny, Sorry for the slow response. I’ll send a few separate notes. This first one includes links of my son and my Strava rides from Kaanapali to Lorraines. I included both because he has a few pictures, one of which will give you a sense of just how awesome the views on the north coast, and I can assure you that no picture will represent the real thing:

Kaanapali to Lorraines Banana bread
https://www.strava.com/activities/449188380

Michael’s ride: great pictures
https://www.strava.com/activities/449169179

ps. Similar to Doug’s ride above, this is the link of the ride from Hana to Lorraine’s. It connects into the ride above meaning that if you want to go further than we did, after Lorraines (a must stop!) go as far as you want before heading back (or go all the way around the West Maui Loop)
https://www.strava.com/activities/229146905


#8

@KennyC This doesn’t qualify as a real ride, but if you are going before the xmas week, the golf course in Kaanapali is fantastic to toodle around late in the afternoon when most golfers are gone (the few that were there didn’t seem to mind). There were some nice views and it allowed me to stretch my legs without going out on the main road.

Toodling around Golf course
https://www.strava.com/activities/449877607


#9

It’s the best! You can check my strava for the course I did. Northwest has no shoulder but you are going faster than the cars. It’s totally safe and beautiful, it’s my favorite place to ride.

Stop at Lorene’s banana bread, just google it. She’s super cyclists friendly and that’s where everyone stops. She even has a bike pump and sells tubes.

Have fun!! I’ll see if I can get a local to comment in here.


#10

@KennyC I “second” @pnstover suggestion regarding where to rent bikes from:
In addition to my son and I renting from them, a friend recently did so. They are great! and can provide all sorts of advice, suggestions. What I would do, however, is to call them up to reserve your bike (rather than online). They will make sure they have reserved the exact bike for you.


#11

@KennyC Another great ride is out of Rice Park in Kula. You bike South on Rte 37 which turns into Rte 31 (goes from highwayish to beautiful) and then you get some great views of the ocean from above as you descend to the coast. Of course the reverse requires climbing, but it is well worth it if you have the time. I can map it out for you if you want, but here is where you park/start.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Harold+W.+Rice+Memorial+Park/@20.7369111,-156.3354239,12z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x7954cf32b1839b1f:0xc691c642f6707896!8m2!3d20.741662!4d-156.332334


#12

@KennyC A final suggested route for now is taking Hana Highway to Ke’anae. Spectacular ocean views off Ke’anae Road. Best is if you park at the Haiku Center and bike from there. In addition to the great views, there’s Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread there for a delicious treat (I think you can gather the theme in my rides :).
BTW: One of the things you could do with your family is have them drop you off at the start and then have them drive to Ke’nae and meet you there. You could even start further up the road so they don’t have to wait too long. From there, you and your family could drive to Hana (or you could bike there and meet them there).
If any of the above is of interest, I could do a Strava route for you if that would be helpful.

. . . and not exactly a vacation bike ride idea, but Ka’anapali Parkway likely near/where you are staying is great for Threshold/V02Max sprints from the Sheraton to the Nohea Kai Drive :slight_smile:

Enjoy!!!


#13

You could pre-ride it on FulGaz (https://fulgaz.com/fulgaz-rides/?fg_ride=5c10a345f10ecda2578f5835), so you get familiar with the conditions/route.


#14

Thanks Nate. Heading out there this Sunday. Looking forward to some warm weather riding.


#15

Bob, thanks for all this! I’m heading there later this weekend. I really appreciate all this info!


#16

Had to chime in. I’ve ridden West Maui Loop probably a dozen times or so. It’s an absolutely stunning ride and one of my absolute favorites. The hilly part is such a blast with views that are out of this world beautiful.

I definitely recommended riding clockwise. The keeps you aways from the edge of the road should a car get too close. It also gets you very favorable winds behind you as you cut across the island, which is the least interesting part of the ride.

The portion up the coast can get narrow. The main thing is watching for cars coming at you where the road narrows. It can be windy with blind corners, so stay to the right side of the road.

There are a couple of steep climbs including one nicknamed “Mr. Steepy”. It’s not super long but usually is a pretty tough out of the saddle VO2 max effort for me. I’ve got my bike set up with fairly low gearing and this works great.

I always recommend a flashing rear light to draw attention. A Garmin Varia is even better.

I can do the loop with 3 bottles, but there are spots to get more water if needed.

There can be debris and rocks on the shoulders, so watch for this. I’ve never gotten a flat but I believe Nate got one on his ride.

Final tip - check the weather reports. If there is chance of rain, you might want to pack a light rain jacket. The weather can change quickly. If it does rain, be a little more careful. The red clay on the road becomes very slick.