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Cruising Haleakala

Several companies offer the opportunity to coast down Haleakala, from near the summit to the shore, on basic cruiser bikes. It can be quite a thrilling experience—but one that should be approached with caution. Despite what various companies claim about their safety record, people have been injured and killed participating in this activity. If you do choose to go, pay close attention to the safety briefing. Bike tours aren’t allowed in Haleakala National Park, so your van will take you to the summit first, and then drop you off just outside of the park. You’ll descend through multiple climates and ecosystems, past eucalyptus groves and flower-filled gulches. But bear in mind: The roads are steep and curvy without designated bike lanes and little to no shoulder. During winter and the rainy season, conditions can be particularly harsh; you’ll be saran-wrapped in rain gear. Temperatures at the summit can drop below freezing and 40-mph winds howl, so wear warm layers whatever the season. 

Maui’s oldest downhill company is Maui Downhill (www.mauidownhill.com; 808/871-2155), which offers sunrise bike tours, including breakfast and lunch stops (not hosted), starting at $189 (substantial discounts online). Be prepared for a 3am departure! Mountain Riders Bike Tours (www.mountainriders.com; 800/706-7700) offers sunrise rides for $180 and midday trips for $160 (discounted if booked online). If you want to avoid the crowds and go down the mountain at your own pace (rather than in a choo-choo train of other bikers), call Haleakala Bike Company (www.bikemaui.com; 808/575-9575). After assessing your skill, they’ll outfit you with the latest gear and shuttle you up Haleakala. They also offer Haleakala sunrise tours sans bike—a decent option for folks who might feel too sleepy to pedal or drive.

Rentals

Maui offers dynamic terrain for serious and amateur cyclists. If you’ve got the chops to pedal up Haleakala, the pros at Maui Cyclery ★★★ (99 Hana Hwy., Paia; www.gocyclingmaui.com; 808/579-9009) can outfit you and provide a support vehicle. Tour de France athletes launch their Maui training sessions from this full-service Paia bike shop, which rents top-of-the-line equipment and offers a range of guided tours. Shop owner Donny Arnoult hosts 6-day cycling camps and sponsors the annual Cycle to the Sun contest; riders travel from around the globe to tackle the 10,023-foot volcano on two wheels.

If mountain biking is more your style, hit up Moose at Krank Cycles ★★★ (1120 Makawao Ave., Makawao; www.krankmaui.com; 808/572-2299) for a tricked-out bike and directions to the Makawao Forest trails.

Maui County has produced a full-color map of the island with various cycling routes, information on road suitability, climate, mileage, elevation changes, bike shops, and safety tips. It’s available at most bike shops. You can also download it at www.southmauibicycles.com.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.