Saved: February 12th 2013May 19th 2009
Spectacular and Green
The terrain goes from moon like to lush rain forest.
How many times have you wanted to take the thrilling and scenic cruise from the top of Haleakala crater down to the beach in Maui? While the thought of a 3am wake up call is dreadful, once I was awake, and jumped on the shuttle van with the other crazies, I was hooked.
After a stop in Kahului to pick up the bikes, watch a short orientation/safety video, and meet our guides, we were ready. There were about ten of us, as we drove up to the top the crater in the spooky darkness. Once at the top, we had coffee and donuts while waiting for the spectacular sunrise over Haleakala. It was freezing, as we all wore our rainsuits issued by the cruiser company. It was a scene out of 2001: The Space Odyssey. But as the sun came up, and the view became breathtaking, it began to warm up, and sunrise was upon us. We could see the Big Island!
But we quickly got our bikes, jumped in line, and became the first of many groups to cruise down the crater.
Jake, our intrepit guide in front, our van driver in back, serving as a "blocker", we were a
Combat gear is not really needed.
sight. We were lined up, small to big. We had a little blond in front, and her husky, Chicago Bear sized husband bringing up the rear. Hint: the more you weigh, the faster you go!
Safety is the biggest concern, along with following the rules. Jake could ride side saddle or backwards, keeping an eye on us, and any traffic ahead or behind. We stopped midway to ditch our rain gear and take photos. From here, it was non stop down to Makawao for breakfast. Then another few miles, all downhill by the way, to the beach near Paia. The entire ride, except for maybe a quarter or half mile, was ALL downhill, very light pedaling, and exhilarating.
At first, the braking and coasting aspects seem a little foreign. But once mastered, we breezed down the crater with the thrill of a lifetime. I would equate it to the ziplines in Costa Rica, the jetboats in New Zealand, or the Harley across the Golden Gate Bridge.
*check with the local tour companies, as these rides are suspended from time to time, either due to accidents or politics. Our company was very safety conscious, and we never felt in any danger.
A stop at the half way point for photos, peeling off rain gear, and gaze at the ocean.
The same cannot be said about all the vendors.