Old Saddle Road, Big Island

Big Island Cycling

Nothing compares to the Big Island’s unmistakable natural beauty. Big Island cycling features mesmerizing landscapes and diverse climates with seemingly endless opportunities to discover new places.

Getting on my bike to experience these elements firsthand is a big part of my life, and what I love most about living here. And, even with well over 100,000 bike miles logged on the Big Island, I feel there is still so much more to explore - giving credence to its vastness.

You will find the local Big Island cycling community to be very welcoming, so feel free to reach out for advice or any questions you may have about cycling on the Big Island.

- Penn
Big Island Cycling - Penn Henderson

Mana Road, Waimea

Resource for Bike Routes

Big Island Cycling - Bike Routes

PATH is a community-based, grassroots organization serving Hawaii County aimed to safely connect people and places on Hawaii Island with pathways and bikeways. Founded in 1986 in response to a growing need for places to walk, bike, and hike safely and legally in Hawaii County.

Kona - Big island Cycling Clubs

Hawaii Cycling Club

Big Island Cycling - Hawaii Cycling Club

Based on the Kona side of the Big Island, the Hawaii Cycling Club is one of the premier road, mountain, and multi-sport cycling organizations in Hawaii. Catering to both recreational and competitive cyclists, HCC is a community-focused group dedicated to helping Big Island residents have a safe and rewarding experience, offering opportunities for all levels of riders to experience the Big Island by bike.

 

The vast majority of local bicycle races are organized by HCC, including a wide variety of time trials and hill-climbing events. HCC hosts an organized group ride held each Saturday at 7:00 AM, departing from the Kona Pool parking lot, and is welcome for anyone to join. For more info, visit the HCC Website.

Coffee Talk Riders

Big Island Cycling - Social Group Ride

“It’s all about the talk…” This West Hawaii-based Big Island cycling group is a low-key, easy-going social group that loves to have fun. Each Saturday the group hosts a mellow ride (departing from the Kona pool at 7:00 AM). Open to anyone, the ride is a great opportunity to meet new people in the area, plan an event, find a workout partner, or just catch-up on the latest news around town.

 

The group is well-known for organizing elaborate, well-planned social events throughout the year (camping, beach barbecues, boat rides, etc.) – in addition to a once-a-month birthday ride celebrating birthdays during the month. Coffee Talk Riders are truly a welcoming group of cyclists who enjoy living an Active Hawaii lifestyle. For more info, visit the CTR Website.

Bike Island Bike Tours

Big Island Bike Tours

Big Island Cycling - Guided Bike Tours

Big Island Bike Tours is a great company owned by former professional cyclist, Alex Candelario offering a wide range of island-wide bike tours and bike rentals suitable for all ability levels. If you are new to the Big Island, or just visiting, this is an ideal way to get out and explore the island by bike.

Penn's Top-3 Favorite Big Island Cycling Routes

* DISCLAIMER *

PLEASE NOTE: This information is published as an aid to cyclists and other users. Penn Henderson in no way warrants the safety or suitability of the routes indicated on this site. Users assume the risk for their own safety at all times when traveling on the indicated routes and trails.

 

Although reasonable effort to ensure that the information contained in this site is correct as of the date of publication, the actual conditions riders encounter may vary, and Penn Henderson in no way warrants its accuracy.

 

Penn Henderson assumes no liability for personal injuries or property damage suffered by users.

#1 The Kohalas

121 Miles | 6,910'

An epic full-day ride starting from the Kailua-Kona pool proceeding north and covering the first half of the IRONMAN™ Bike course to Hawi. From there, you will climb for a solid one-hour+ to the summit of Kohala Mountain before descending into Waimea and then heading back towards Kona through Waikoloa Village. Once back onto the Queen K heading south, it will be hot and windy for the last 40-km. This is a really hard ride, so be sure to stop at every town along the way and refuel to avoid bonking. For a shorter version, start and finish at Waikoloa Beach Resort or Mauna Lani Resort to cut the distance almost in half.

#2 South Kona Loop

41 Miles | 3,446'

A classic Kona ride into the hills of “Old Hawaii” starting in town from the pool. The initial 5-miles along Alii Drive is flat which is a good chance to warm up before entering Keauhou and the ensuing hills leading you to Napoopoo Junction. From there, you will descend through the lush tropical scenery of Napoopoo and Honaunau as you make a big loop around the area that includes the historic Place of Refuge and Napoopoo Village at Kealakekua Bay. Take a break and enjoy the scenery before starting the 20-30 minute climb back up Napoopoo Road. After that, it is mostly downhill back the same way you came from Kailua-Kona.

#3 Queen K Scenic Point

Big Island Cycling - Group Rides in Kona

35.8 Miles | 988'

The most popular cycling route on the Big Island, Queen Kaahumanu Highway to Scenic Point is where you will find the bulk of riders to keep you company. It is part of the IRONMAN™ course with sweeping views of Kona and the Kohala Coast. This route is the meat & potatoes for local Saturday group rides, for both Coffee Talk Riders and the Hawaii Cycling Club – departing from the pool at 7:00 AM. It is also a favorite training route for triathletes because of the road’s wide shoulders, rolling terrain, and minimal stoplights. On paper, it may seem relatively flat – but you will find the undulating hills take some work,  especially when it is windy.

Penn's Favorite Big Island Cycling Hill Climbs

* DISCLAIMER *

PLEASE NOTE: This information is published as an aid to cyclists and other users. Penn Henderson in no way warrants the safety or suitability of the routes indicated on this site. Users assume the risk for their own safety at all times when traveling on the indicated routes and trails.

 

Although reasonable effort to ensure that the information contained in this site is correct as of the date of publication, the actual conditions riders encounter may vary, and Penn Henderson in no way warrants its accuracy.

 

Penn Henderson assumes no liability for personal injuries or property damage suffered by users.

#1 Kaloko Drive

6.3 Miles | 2,938' | 8.8%

In the backyard of Kalaoa, next to Holualoa and just above Kailua-Kona, Koloko Drive is an absolute beast of Hillclimb. Covering over six miles and comprised of six excruciatingly steep switchbacks, each with grades of 15% to 20%, Kaloko is Kona’s marquee climb for serious cyclists. Compact gearing and disc brakes are highly recommended. Cameron Piper, a US Domestic Pro Cyclist, holds the KOM with a 36:57.

#2 Mauna Loa

About Penn Henderson - Kona Realtor

17.25 Miles | 4,438' | 4.9%

Finishing at an elevation of over 11,000′, the climb up Mauna Loa will test your fitness in more ways than one. The road itself is absolutely gorgeous, probably the most beautiful climb on the Big Island. In addition to the altitude, the road poses some difficulty with its constantly fluctuating gradients, making it quite hard to find a rhythm. Former World Tour Professional turned Vlogger, Phil Gaimon has the KOM with a time of 1:11:53.

#3 Sea to Stars (Mauna Kea)

47.54 Miles | 8,996' | 3.6%

This segment actually consists of three big-time climbs; Waikoloa Drive (easy), Old Saddle Road (moderate), and Mauna Kea Road (hard) – finishing at the Visitor’s center (9,100′). Ideally, you will want SAG support, or at the very least ride with others. The last couple of miles to the visitor center can be agonizing if you are not on top of things. It is steep! Professional Kona Realtor®, Your’s Truly, currently holds the KOM in 3:28:13.

#4 Napoopoo Road

4.3 Miles | 1,264' | 5.5%

Napoopoo Road is a local favorite due to both its convenience and its moderate length & difficulty. It is hard, but not brutal. In fact, it is a perfect climb for 20-minute fitness tests and interval training. Current World Tour Professional, Larry Warbasse, often rides this area when in town and holds the STRAVA KOM with a blazing time of 17:35.

#5 Kohala Mtn. Road

Big Island Cycling Hill Climbs - Kohala Mountain Road

13.7 Miles | 2,889' | 3.9%

A few miles past Puakea, the Kohala Mountain Road heads up and over into Waimea. Wind often poses the most difficulty, usually a head-cross wind. It is a long, but relatively easy climb featuring great views and gradients under 5%. In fact, the only steep part is the initial 10-minutes. Professional Triathlete, Kevin Collington has the KOM with a 50:56.

#6 Hookena

Big Island Cycling Hill Climbs - Hookena

2.3 Miles | 806' | 6.7%

On the outskirts of South Kona, Hookena Beach Road sits just off the beaten path, and as such, receives little fanfare from cyclists. However, it is a great little hill climb that starts at the historic fishing village of Hookena with coastline views nearly the entire climb. This is a good addition to the South Kona Loop if you are feeling frisky.  KOM is 10:44.

Mauna Loa Road to 11,000'

Bikesharing

Big Island Cycling - Bikesharing in Kona

Bikesharing stations have recently been installed in Kailua-Kona and Hilo, and are available to rent for short durations (30-60 minutes) while making bike trips through town. They are intended to be used to get from one place to another, however, day passes are also available through the bike station kiosks. 

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