A Cyclist’s Guide to Honolulu

January 20, 2014

By John Hagihara


Mine was a tiny, red Huffy with training wheels.  It was a hand-me-down from my brothers, and my ticket to explore our neighborhood. I enjoy asking people that question, because almost immediately a smile comes to their face as they recall the joy and freedom that came with learning to ride.

Luckily, I still get to ride my bicycle every day.  I have graduated from that old Huffy, but I still thoroughly enjoy getting on my bike whether it is to go to work, the store, or for a weekend ride.  Through my work as a planner, I am consistently thinking about how people move around their communities, and I realize the importance of providing people with viable transportation options.  While getting back on your bike can be a bit of a daunting task, I would like to present this brief guide to cycling in Honolulu as a reference to the ever-growing resources that are available to cyclists in our community.

Get a bike


Bikes come in all shapes and sizes, here the author test rides an interesting model

Whether you need to tune up an old bike sitting in the garage, or you want to pick up a new one, there are several bike shops around town that can help you out.  McCully Bike Shop, The Bike Shop, and Eki Cyclery are just a few of the shops around town that would be more than willing to help you out.  If you have an old bike that you would like to donate, need to find bike parts, or want to learn some bike mechanic skills, Kalihi Valley Instructional Bike Exchange (KVIBE)  and Cycle Mānoa are two non-profit bike recycling programs that are always looking for volunteers and participants.

Stay safe

Wearing a helmet is a must, and lights and reflective materials will help you stay visible especially when riding at night. Still, there is a lot more you can do to make sure you stay safe on your bike. Just like driving a car, it is important to know both your rights and your responsibilities when you are out cycling.  The City and County of Honolulu has produced this website to help outline our bicycling laws. If you haven’t hopped on your bike in a while, it might be a good idea to practice some of those riding skills.  The Hawai‘i Bicycling League (HBL) offers a variety of hands on workshops to teach safe cycling to all skill levels.

Find a route

Choosing a route that suits your comfort level will help keep your ride stress-free. Here at HHF, we have had the opportunity to work on several alternative transportation projects including the O‘ahu Bike plan 

Oahu Bike Plan Map, Ewa

As part of this project we created a series of maps that show all of the existing and proposed bike routes for the island of O‘ahu.  These maps will help you delineate between bike routes, lanes, and paths, so you can find a ride that suits you best.

Find a crew

Friends and family are a great place to look for riding partners, but biking is also a great way to meet new people and get involved in your community.  HBL’s website is an amazing resource for finding group rides, cycling events, or even a commuting mentor.

Bike to Work Day

About the Author

John Hagihara is a Planner with experience in alternative transportation planning, environmental planning, geographic information systems, and disaster management.  As an avid cyclist and outdoor enthusiast, he is an active participant in bicycling advocacy and community based natural resource management programs on O‘ahu.






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