No Go Volcano

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No Go Volcano

I recently went to Hawaii on a long overdue vacation.  I thought I would be able to get in some time for myself and get some trail time on the Big Island. I tried to do a thorough online search for mountain biking activities before I left but wasn't able to find much on the Big Island. Surprisingly, even MTBR didn't prove to be all that useful. I found a place or two that rented mountain bikes but the clear emphasis was on road bikes.

It was looking promising as we left the airport and I saw lots of riders on the the highway (Highway 19 on the IronMan course). But looks can be deceiving. As we drove along the highway, it was obvious we were in the middle of a huge lava flow.  Mounds of crusty, broken rock stretched from high on the mountain down to the ocean. Walking very far looked to be extremely difficult, so riding was clearly out of the question in this area.

It seemed like this was the case for most of the Kona side of the island. There were a few patches of sand and trees near the water, but most of the was rocky, covered in thickets of scrubby trees, or both.

We didn't spend much time on the Hilo side of the island. This side looked like it had a lot more mountain bike trail potential. It also had a lot more rain. The Kona side was dry and rocky and the Hilo side was a lush jungle due to torrents of rain.  Based on the lack of internet references, I am guessing there wasn't the mountain biking that seemed possible on this side.

I did find a hint of mountain biking. I got to chatting about biking with a shop keeper at the Ali'i Garden Marketplace who had the Tour de France playing on his computer and several bikes in his shop. He is an former triathelete and is still involved in Team Mango, a local triathlon club. He indicated there were some trails up the mountain, but some of the best trails were of questionable access and perhaps best ridden at night. This may be something to consider in the future!

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