Tag Archives: Danger

Biking from Waikiki Beach to Hanauma Bay: A Real Hawaiian Adventure

By: Siddhi 

Irrationality is a lovely little devil that never seems to leave my blood.  The first time I climbed on a tandem bike, I rode over 40 miles on a rackety cycle whose tires kept squeaking signs of impending death.  Somehow, my sister and I covered over 40 miles of rather hilly terraine across all of the island of Manhattan with no directions, water, or food in our stomachs. Even after being chased by a shady figure for miles of abandoned side streets somewhere in Harlem, all we could do was grin that we had pulled off another “typical” adventure, at least the way we saw it in our family dictionary. Fast-forward about ten months and my sister and I found ourselves on a tandem bike yet again. But instead of the Hudson and New York City skyline for scenery, we had the highways of Honolulu. Our ride was only about half the distance as our Great Apple journey. So the adventure? We were riding up a gear-crippling mountain on a bus-only lane.

This was take two of our bike ride from Waikiki Beach in Honolulu to Hanauma Bay, a significant natural park and preserve that devotes itself relentlessly to the protection of one of the most precious coral reefs and underwater wildlife hubs on the island of Oahu. On our first attempt earlier in the week, I was riding solo. After an incredibly scenic ascent, I realized that Hanauma Bay was closed on Tuesdays, and so I met my family ten miles down at the base of the highway and we rode back to Waikiki, promising that we’d do the ride again. On our second try, my sister and I decided to relive our city tandem experience and power up to Hanauma together. And just like our ride in New York, the decision proved to be an indelible bonding experience.

After a trail of breathtaking, close up views of the Diamondhead Lighthouse which we could only see in a silhouetted form when we actually climbed the crater to layers of cozy mountain houses that more than tickled our temptations to burn those return tickets and permanently call this paradise home, the backdrop of our ride changed rather abruptly when we hit H1-72. Cars, mopeds, motorcycles, and monster 18 wheel pineapple trucks sped so close to the designated “bike route” that every moment on the highway was a hairline encounter with serious danger.   Then, somehow, the bike route signs vanished (and I know I didn’t miss anything because I did the ride twice) and the markings outlining the cycle lane had merged into a “BUS ONLY” lane. It was exhilarating beyond belief, and we had some very close incidents with trucks. The risks aside, I don’t think there was any way for us to get a better gauge of the street of Oahu. Every mile of progress became an increasing admiration for the Hawaiian willingness to embrace and live life instead of waiting to live it, something so characteristic of where I’m from in the east coast.

Our thighs and calves were pumping with lactic acid buildup as we finally unmounted the bike and wheeled it over to a marked “Scenic Point” overlook, which gave us a stunning view of not the typical Honolulu shoreline postcard, but a snapshot consisting of many stratas of hilly urban life. A sign ahead signaled that Hanauma Bay was just a couple minutes away. The closeness of our destination was enough to make our final few pedals some of our most enthusiastic.

Cycling from Waikiki Beach to Hanauma Bay seems easy if you look at it from a purely distance based scale. The round trip ride is about 23 miles. But couple that distance with an almost entirely uphill endeavor one way and cycles that most definitely aren’t designed for mountain biking (which is what you’ll get at most local rental shops unless you’re going to a specialist), and the adventure is one heck of a workout. By the end, we wanted nothing more than to run into the cool waters of Hanauma and laze, and that’s exactly what we did.

If you find yourself in Honolulu and want to explore Oahu while getting a good workout, consider the pedals and ride from Waikiki to Haunauma. In all my years of adventuring it’s one of the most serious travel highlights.

Dare Devil Drive – The Day Maui Tried to Kill Us

Road to Hana, Maui

By: Rohan 

“It’s time!” The jeep driver said, smiling cheekily in the rear-view mirror. In front of us stood a little bridge, way too small to support our white Ford Escape that had already been through quite a beating. Regardless of whether or not we wanted to proceed, he slammed on the accelerator, and the car bounced along the stone-paved roads and took a hairpin turn to the right. This was the point of no return, we had crossed the line that divided civilization from the untamed forces of Mother Nature. It was here where anything could happen, where triumph could turn to tragedy in an instant.

I look out my window and marvel at the reassuring sight of driving adjacent to a solid hundred foot drop with nothing to protect you other than the lush canopy of trees swaying gently in the Hawaiian wind. We were passengers aboard the luxurious Pride of America about to spend the next two hours battling wilderness. The truck continued, ascending like a roller coaster without a peak. The road looked as if it went on forever until it eventually met with the sky. Everyone was pin-drop silent as the vehicle careened around closer corners and scaled steep heights.

Our journey to the top reminded me of the duality of nature. On one hand, here we are, a suburban family of four cruising along on one of the most dangerous drives on the planet. This is nothing like Jersey, this is nothing like anything we’ve ever seen before. This was miles and miles of pure adrenaline, with surprises at every turn. While some of these unplanned events seemed threatening, most were calming, like unnamed waterfalls cascading down shimmering rocks and falling into beautiful canyons. The lush rain forest, with its exotic smells and sounds, brought us one step closer to a simpler life , and yet, one where every day is a battle against the unknown.

The apex revealed a picturesque sight of the Pacific open, looking out towards Tahiti and Australia. The crystal-clear blue waters provided a fresh contrast from the grey rocks that separated us from the waves below. We got back in the Escape and the driver pulled a sharp right turn, almost sending half of us to the roaring waters below. We cruised down the mountain, winding back in and out of the rainforest like a serpent hunting its prey.

The drive in Maui, more commonly known as the Road to Hana is only crossed by a handful of people every day, due to its unpaved roads and uncharted hidden passageways. This excursion is meant for the truly adventurous, those who embrace nature and are not afraid to see danger at every turn.

Some insight from Siddhi: 

I also did the Road to Hana when my family and I were in Hawaii. We decided to pump the thrill factor to yet another level by going solo. Meaning, still in a jeep, but without a professional driver. We drove on our own. Everything Rohan described nails it when it comes to encapsulating the experience. If you’re truly an adventure-seeker ,then consider renting your own vehicle- preferably a convertible- and taking on Hana on your own. It’s really an unforgettable experience.