Island Ride: Kauai, Hawaii

Island Ride: Kauai, Hawaii

Posted by Team Motorcycle on Oct 28th 2016

Anyone familiar with my work knows that I’m all about the ride, regardless of distance; the further the better. What better way to soak up the beauty and mystique of America’s landscapes than from atop a motorcycle? While nine times out of 10, my journey starts in the garage with my own bike, the 10th would require an airplane and a rental.

Though my bride does not share my passion for motorcycles – the lack of suspension and seat padding on mine are to blame - we do share a mutual love for the beach. With a summer vacation planned on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, it seemed like a great opportunity to get her on a modern, cushy bike, and cruise the coastal perimeter of one of the world’s most beautiful islands; and that we did.

A few conversations with Laree at Kauai Harley-Davidson, and we had a brand new Electra Glide Ultra Classic Touring model waiting for us when the doors opened. Now mind you, the only Harley I had ridden up to this point is my 1964 Panhead chopper which I acquired during my senior year in high school, some 22 years ago. Rumor has it, there have been some significant technical advancements in the 54 years since my bike first rolled off the assembly line!

After a brief run-through of the ins-and-outs of the machine, it was time to indulge in an island style breakfast. From the dealership, we headed straight towards the coast to the Kalapaki Beach Hut for Loco Mocos. The Loco Moco is a traditional Hawaiian favorite consisting of a bed of white rice and a hamburger patty smothered in brown gravy, then finished off with a couple of over-easy eggs. Let me tell ya, the Beach Hut has it down!

From there we were northbound on Route 56, aka: the Kuhio Highway. The island can be seen in one day; however, it can’t be circled as the road ends on each side. There’s a section of the North Shore that defines the wondrous Napali Coast and cannot be accessed by land vehicle.

With the ocean on our right, salt in the air and palm trees aplenty, we hit Kapa’a Beach next. Kapa’a is a quiet white sand beach with fairly calm waters. We parked the bike in the sand under a tree, peeled off our clothes to our swimsuits and went body surfing.

The laid-back vibe of Kauai makes for a true easy ride. My bike has a 4-speed transmission and here we are on a brand new bike equipped with a 6-speed and we never made it to 4th gear! It’s a nice cruise at 30-35 mph but being this close to the ocean, you have to be cautious of sand in the street, especially on such a heavy bike. Additionally, make sure to yield to the chickens. Chickens? Yep. The island of Kauai suffered a devastating hurricane in 1992 which destroyed chicken coops everywhere. Now, the tropical paradise is inhabited by the protected wild birds far and wide. Did you ever imagine you’d be approached by chickens while lying on a beach? Me either.

Continuing north would take us to Princeville. The route to Princeville from Kapa’a is full of scenic overlooks creating some pretty spectacular photo opps. The majority of the road is one lane each direction and you’ll come across the occasional single-car bridge. Princeville is an upscale area of the North Shore, only a short distance from the road’s end. Pressing on through Princeville, we stopped in Hanalei Bay and enjoyed a cool Hawaiian treat from Wishing Well Shave Ice before taking a dip up the road at Ha’ena Beach. Ha’ena Beach is as far as you can go before the road ends making way for the Napali Coast.

Heading back the way we came, we stopped at Po’ipu Beach, just southwest of where we started in Lihue. The most popular beach on the South Shore, Po’ipu Beach was named America’s Best Beach by The Travel Channel, and it’s evident why. We spent the majority of our time here as the surf was fantastic, and the atmosphere was second to none.

Our day would come to an end at Shipwreck’s Beach at the eastern end of Po’ipu, located right in front of the Grand Hyatt; our digs for the week. Shipwreck’s is adorned by picturesque cliffs and breathtaking scenery. It’s also in the sand here which my lovely bride and I were married four years ago, making it an appropriate place to conclude our 110 mile island ride.

Although you can’t ride on your own bike from your own driveway all the way to the beaches of Kauai, you can rent one and enjoy the Aloha spirit, views and beaches that these people are fortunate enough to call home.