Saturday, July 25, 2009
Easy Riding...Aloha Style
As noted in my previous post, I was asked to come out to Honolulu for business reasons. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to travel to some nice places and meet some very nice people in the course of my business. Hawaii is a beautiful place - the natural beauty of the Islands and the friendliness and hospitality of the people of this state is simply amazing.
After completing my business responsibilities, I decided to do something I had been thinking about doing for some time, ever since I got involved in motorcycling, which was to ride in Hawaii. There are many places to rent scooters and motorcycles in Honolulu, and a few rent Harley Davidsons. I chose Cruzin Hawaii (http://www.cruzinhawaii.com/) as they had an excellent selection of Harleys, plus some Triumphs to choose from. If you are ever in Honolulu and want to rent a bike, I recommend Cruzin Hawaii - the motorcycles are in excellent condition, and the staff there will give you some great suggestions for riding on the Island.
I ended up renting a 2007 Sportster 1200. After we went over the bike, I was ready to ride. The first thing I noticed was that this was a HUGE step up in power from my 250cc bike! The Sportster is like a wild horse - she wants to run! I ended up staying in first gear most of the time as I was driving along busy Waikiki, as I could get up to 30 mph in that gear alone. I was surprised at how easy it was to handle this bike - I think the Sportster is nearly 200lbs heavier than my GV250, yet it didn't feel that much heavier. The pegs are more centered on the bike, unlike mine, which are more forward, and I actually felt more comfortable on the Sportster. One weird feature of the bike (apparently this applies only to the 2007 and beyond Sportsters, and does not apply to the other models in the HD lineup) is that you must actually be in neutral to start the bike. You can't just pull in the clutch to start it. I don't really like this feature, as one time I stalled the bike and had to walk it to the side of the road, find neutral and then restart it.
Once I got out of town, the road opened up more, and the views of the ocean were fantastic.
The picture below is taken from the famous Halona Blowhole - the blowhole is a natural occurrence formed by molten lava tubes from volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago. The lava tubes run to the ocean and, when the surf is right, the blowhole shoots water up to 30 feet in the air. It was hard to time my pictures with the water shooting out of the blowhole, but it was an amazing site.
Further north and inland there are some beautiful scenic lookouts showing the island valley floor - I took this picture of the Sportster from one of those stops.
Probably the most popular lookout is called the Nuuanu Pali lookout. To get here, you travel about a mile of two off of the Pali Highway, and you are rewarded with fantastic views:
I ended up riding about 4 hours. I'm really glad I did this - I got to test drive a bike I had been considering for my next bike, I got to actually ride a motorcycle in paradise, and got some amazing views of the Island.