Volcanic Velocity, Maui Style


Some people feel the need for speed. Me? Not so much. Having spent the last couple of years attempting to blend in while learning to snowboard, often as tiny children zoom past me with a humiliating and infuriating level of ease, I can safely say any brief brushes I’ve had with both speed and athleticism have occurred purely by chance.

Enter Bike Maui, who kindly offered to host me on one of their recent Express Bike + Zip Tours, which combines a downhill volcanic bike ride with a 7-line zipline experience. Deep breaths, *everyone (*see: self).

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Volcanic Velocity on Haleakala


Tour Check-In

Currently the most budget-friendly bike-and-zip combo tour on Maui – book at least 3 days in advance to take advantage of their $150 per person rate – the tour begins at 9am at their check-in point in the cozy north shore town of Haiku, Maui.

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Guided Van Ride up Haleakala

Following a brief orientation, our tour group piled into an ultra-comfy van with a tour guide for a scenic ride up the slopes of Haleakala to our downhill bike ride starting point at 6,500 feet of elevation, located just outside the official entrance of Haleakala National Park. If you have yet to admire the views from this particular spot, you’re in for a tropical treat.

The best part? The bike ride is done all at your own pace, meaning if you’re anything like me, you don’t have the added pressure of rushing your way down the 23-mile path while stressing that everyone else in your group is already sipping their third cup of electrolytes by the time you make it to mile #12.


The Downhill Bike Ride

Designed specifically for downhill biking, Bike Maui’s fleet of KONA mountain bikes come equipped with hydraulic disc brakes that make the switchbacks at the beginning of the route a total breeze. While the ride is continually downhill, the average grade of the route is only about 5%, so there’s no need to worry about the road being extremely steep.

All tour guests are also equipped with Bell helmets, Helly Hansen rain gear (in the case of inclement weather), DAKINE backpacks for storing all your mid-tour goodies, and a map and directions to easily follow the route down, should you get separated from the rest of your tour group.

The views on the way down are incredible, and I definitely recommend stopping along the way to get some photos of the scenery and document your trip. How often do you get to go biking down the world’s largest dormant volcano, right?

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The 7-Line Zipline

Nearer to the end of your route, you’ll make a pitstop in Haiku to zip your way through the eucalyptus forests of Maui’s lush north shore on a 7-line zipline course, which includes lines that take you up to 70 feet in the air, as well as up to 40mph – if I can do it, you can too – and sits on more than 17 acres of land where former U.S. Marines trained during WWII.

With plenty of helpful tips and assistance from the guides at the zipline facility, I successfully flew my way through the treetops without once feeling like the slowest human on earth, a memory I will cling to the next time I hit a flat patch of snow on a ski run and slow to a predictable stop.

Keep an eye out for tree varieties like the red eucalyptus, blue gum, formosa koa, java plum, guava and all-spice, and take in the views of one of Maui’s rugged, lesser seen areas.


Return to Base

Lastly, my legs and I gracefully made it to the last stop on the tour, our Haiku home base, for a recap with the guides and a final farewell to a day well spent on the slopes of Haleakala. As opposed to fully guided tours, I really appreciated the fact that we could bike at our own pace and stop to enjoy the views at our leisure. The equipment was flawless, and the ride up was comfortable and overall, a really lovely way to start the tour experience.

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What to Wear & Bring

For all combo bike & zipline tours, they recommend you bring and wear the following items:

  • Sunscreen
  • Knit Cap or Hat
  • Sweatpants or Jeans
  • Sweatshirt or Jacket
  • Layers
  • Close-toed Shoes
  • Sunglasses (or Prescription Glasses)
  • Day Pack
  • Small Snack Items
  • Water Bottle

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Bike Maui also offers pick-up and drop-off service from Maui’s cruise ship port and most popular resort areas, if necessary. Contact them directly at 808.575.9575 for more information, and don’t forget to book your tour more than 72 hours in advance to get the special early rate.

Mahalo to all the guides at Bike Maui, and Haleakala for providing a downhill landscape that requires built-in speed, no skills required.

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