Honolulu is a far cry from those bicycle friendly cities like Copenhagen or Amsterdam. I’m not even asking for a “Cycle Super Highway” a lá the Danes. Maybe just a dedicated cycling lane that allows for pedestrians and cycling commuters to mingle in environmentally-friendly harmony.
Well, instead, what you’ll find in Honolulu are wild drivers who only slow down when they see a glimpse of a shaka, horror stories of college students getting hit by cars every time they try to commute to school and tourists falling off Biki bikes* in random areas under fragrant Plumeria trees.
But, before I scare you serious cyclists off, are you looking to leisurely cruise around in Oahu like Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love, going from one gelato place to the next? Because, then that’s exactly what you’re going to get. Forget about your long distance cycling. Grab your Schwinn bikes and let’s acai bowl hop. Whimsical straw hats are optional. Friends willing to take your photos are mandatory.
A Bike Itinerary: Cycling to get your Acai Bowl fix
1. Start in Waikiki Beach
Let’s start at Duke Kahanamoku Statue. Can you see it on the map? It’s a beautiful place of Aloha and I’m just going to guess most tourists stay around here.
Watch out though, it’s super crowded all the time and pedestrians are unpredictable. I’m actually too terrified to cycle here because there aren’t any cycling lanes and if you ride on the sidewalk, you might die or hit someone. So, let’s get out of here quickly.
Follow the map and go up to Ala Wai Boulevard with haste. Maybe even consider walking your bike.
2. Follow Ala Wai until you’re in Kapahulu
Welcome to Kapahulu! From Ala Wai Boulevard, go up Kapahulu Avenue. It’s a nice, eclectic mixture of Hawaiian food (the famous Rainbow Drive), Chinese restaurants, a golf course and high-end gyms. Then, I want you to cycle down Campbell avenue.
This is where I live and I love that I can see Diamond Head on my daily commute. It’s beautiful. And it’s never as crowded as Waikiki.
See photo below for an Everyday in Paradise shot:
3. I love bananas therefore I am Banán
Now, I firmly believe icy things are everything. Acai bowls are supreme. And, Banán sits under the umbrella of Acai Bowls. To get to this icy heaven, just cycle down to the end of Campbell Ave where you’ll find Banán on Monsarrat Ave.
I just love, love, love doing a swirl with their ‘banana’ flavour and ‘acai’ flavour. I also add coconut shreds, local honey, strawberries, blueberries and of course mochi. The Japanese influence is strong in Hawaii and I cannot be more thankful. Mochi is my life.
Sit here and relax. This is more refreshing than a typical Acai Bowl and it tastes really natural. I also just feel like I’m being incredibly healthy whenever I come here because it’s made out of bananas.
I don’t know how truly ‘healthy’ my habits are and I don’t care to find out.
4. Monsarrat Avenue aka café heaven
Now that you’re on Monsarrat, this Avenue has everything you’d ever want. Cycle down and explore all the options.
Bogart’s Café does THE breakfast food of the comfort variety. Think bagels, mama’s fried rice and mimosas.
Sunny Days does huge Instagram worthy food. Think waffles with all the berries of the world and assembled like origami.
Da Cove Health Bar and Café serves one of the best Acai Bowls in Honolulu. Soak it in. Eat all the food. Your Instagram deserves it.
5. Beach Time
When you’re done with Kapahulu, you’re going to make your way over to Waikiki through Kapi’olani Regional Park. This is a really nice park where there are outdoor concerts (Waikiki Shell), there’s an Aquarium (Wakiki Aqaurium), cute fountains and you will always find some people doing yoga at all hours.
It’s a gorgeous and safe place to cycle around and see Waikiki – and when you’re near Kaimana Beach and not Kuhio Beach, you will actually feel a little more local and less tourist. There’s also a cute café here called Barefoot Beach Café where you can buy yet another Acai Bowl and enjoy the sound of the waves. What bliss.
6. Somehow it’s sunset and you’ve reached peak Instagram
So, you’re at Kaimana Beach. It’s beautiful. Somehow it’s sunset and you know you have to grab this peak photo opportunity by posing in front of War Memorial Natatorium.
What a day. Now all you have to do is walk lazily over to your hotel in Waikiki and sleep off the acai bowls.
So, you’ve now explored Waikiki – Kapahulu – Diamond Head area. You’ve also now ingested 100000 grams of sugar. I’m proud of you. It’s all called the balance of life: one minute on the bike equals one acai bowl.
Also, if you got confused by my directions, I won’t hold it against you. Feel free to tag me in memes about how useless I am in giving directions. You could also click this link here and a google map will appear showing you how to get to these key locations:
- Duke Kahanamoku Statue, Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
- Banán, 3212 Monsarrat Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
- da Cove Health Bar and Cafe, 3045 Monsarrat Ave #5, Honolulu, HI 96815
- Barefoot Beach Cafe @ Queen’s Surf Beach, 2699 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
My Schwinn bike featured in this article is the Schwinn Perla in Yellow. I also ride the Schwinn GTX 3 Women’s Hybrid Bike in Purple:
The yellow bike has the perfect island vibe yet the purple rides all surfaces smoothly and quickly. If you’re trying to decide between what kind of bike you’d like, it’s an aesthetic mathematics you must do in your head and decide what feels right in your heart and within your camera lens.
Also, one time I was cycling to Safeway in my yellow Schwinn bike and then this big bikie man on a huge black Harley pulled up next to me at a red light and laughed at me probably because of the stark contrast between us. So, there’s that.
Stay tuned for the next Honolulu Cycle Itinerary.
*Biki Bikes are Honolulu’s bikeshare program.