Pedal Power: Downhill Bicycling in Maui


It’s a downhill cruise from the summit of Haleakala to the sea on a Maui bicycle tour

It was downhill bicycling—on the 38-mile descent from Haleakala’s 10,023-foot summit to the beach-lined coast—that really brought cycling to Maui in a big way. Hundreds of visitors still make the trip each day, making this one of Maui’s most popular active vacation options.

MAUI MOUNTAIN CRUISERS specifically cater to the downhill jaunt. There’s plenty of aloha spirit, with people who like what they’re doing and are enthusiastic with agents and their clients.

The sunrise excursion, which starts with a hotel/condo pickup between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., means a return to the clients’ hotel between noon and 1 p.m. “If they’re still on mainland time, getting up so early probably won’t be a problem,” explains Cheryl Fernandez-Thuro, owner of MAUI MOUNTAIN CRUISERS. “And you get one of the most majestic and awesome experiences you’ll have anywhere.”

There are plenty of stops on the way down, including flower gardens and scenic vistas. Heading to a 10,000-foot elevation before sunrise means that temperatures are frequently in the 30s, so warm clothing is a must; clients should layer to accommodate the transition to the tropic coast at midday.

MAUI MOUNTAIN CRUISERS offers both a sunrise and a midday departure. The sunrise departure is definitely recommended, if a 2 a.m. pickup isn’t a problem for your clients. The program includes muffins, coffee and beverages at the “base camp” and a “no host” stop for breakfast or lunch at one of three upcountry restaurants. Single-speed cruisers equipped with heavy-duty drum brakes, a windbreaker, helmet and gloves are provided. Two guides accompany each group, with around 12 passengers to a van. The cost is $185 the sunrise departure and $150 for midday, which departs two to three hours after the sunrise run. Rates are per person.

The House of the Sun

Maui is dominated by the towering Haleakala, which is known as the House of the Sun. Those clients who choose to take the exhilarating 38-mile bicycle ride down the 10,023-foot peak will be privileged to see a spectacular sunrise atop the mountain at the start of their journey and, as they wind their way to the sea, they’ll view lush green valleys. In addition to the bicycle tours, San Jose, Calif.-based Classic Hawaii also offers a variety of accommodation choices, as well as an assortment of tours and activities on Maui

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