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The Bike Ride in Hawaii That Went Right and Wrong

Hanauma Bay

By Lakshmi:

Yesterday, Siddhi posted her exhilarating experience riding from Waikiki to Hanauma Bay on a tandem bike with her sister.  My husband and I happened to be part of this family voyage separated by a couple of bikes, several miles and a few adventures along the way.

Our ride like our daughters’ started off along bustling Waikiki.  We rented our solo bikes from the same place that we had rented a few days before.  As we huffed and pedaled up the road leading to Diamond Head, we day dreamt about which of the lovely homes dotting the way would be the perfect place to live.     Moving on we were greeted by Diamond Head Lighthouse, a beautiful red capped building, adding the perfect touch to the picturesque landscape ahead.  A few sips of Gatorade and we were incredibly joyous taking in the seascape vistas.  A few miles of biking and my husband stopped at a gas station reporting his gears were not functioning.

We knew that our rental bikes were not conducive to steep journeys, but we certainly did not anticipate our gears failing.  So, there we sat in the corner of a gas station, bike upside down, trying to fix the chains.  Some time later, we emerged victorious, our victory sign being black grease that now coated both our hands and a bit of our faces.  Thankfully, we were at a gas station, so after cleaning up and texting our kids, we went on.

The ride was smooth sailing, with the defective bike riding decently.  That was till we got to the steep uphill climb to Hanauma.  We lumbered our way to the top and were ecstatic to speed downhill towards the bay.  Except my husband did not stop and kept going.  When we finally stopped, he said the brakes were no longer working.  Two gifts in a single day!

So, we texted our kids again, telling them we would be delayed as we tried to fix the bike.  Our first call to the rental place met with a cold response.  We can’t come after you.  Try walking gently downhill with your bike and make it back to Waikiki.  Knowing the downhill descent, that was not going to be a solution.

I left my husband to fix the bike and was checking in to see the safety video at Hanauma, when I mentioned our predicament to the person at the register.  What transpired next was Hawaiian hospitality at its best.  The woman asked a colleague who asked yet another person and before I knew it, they had paged a life guard who regularly rode our path and knew about bikes.

A few minutes later, there appeared our savior and after examining the brakes declared that both the front and back had stopped functioning.  He disappeared only to reappear with a toolkit and within 20 minutes, we had a bike that could be navigated safely back to Waikiki.

Need I say that we thanked the park professionals profusely for their help and could not have been more ecstatic to finally return to the beauty of Hanauma Bay.  The rest of the afternoon was indeed idyllic, filled with snorkeling and lazing.

We biked back after sunset and enjoyed our ride all the way through, stopping at one of the most amazing Whole Foods to refuel our starving bodies.  The food and service at Whole Foods was exactly what we needed at the end of a challenging day and as we dropped our bikes back swore that we would probably rent from a different place and carry a tool kit the next time.

Just a couple of thoughts for those intending to do a similar ride.  Make sure you carry adequate water/Gatorade.  The weather gets hot and you get thirsty very quickly.  A towel to wipe your sweat would be great and if you can stop for some fresh fruit and veggies at Whole Foods along the way, your ride can be so much more gratifying.

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