Share the Road with Us!

Big shoulders on the Big Island made doing the Ironman 70.3 a relaxing ride. Headed north to Hawi from the Mauna Lani turnaround, 50 miles to go.

Big shoulders on the Big Island made doing the Ironman 70.3 a relaxing ride. Wish we had bigger shoulders on Oahu’s roads! 

Yesterday during our Boca Hawaii Summer Triathlon Training workout three of my teammates were in accidents with motor vehicles while we were riding our bicycles. No one was fatally injured, all are on the mend, and to the best of my knowledge, each was a victim of hit-and-run rudeness. It is illegal and morally wrong to leave the scene of an accident or to not assist people who are hurt.

In 2012 Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the Vulnerable Users Law, designed to protect bicyclists, pedestrians and people who work on crews such as those who groom road landscaping, etc. It isn’t a snare net to capture and punish drivers. It’s to make drivers aware that they have to look out for everyone who isn’t in a steel capsule hurtling down the highway.

I live in East Oahu, and that’s where these accidents involving my teammates occurred yesterday. This part of the Island is chock full of Type-A captains of industry and their high-maintenance Rogue- or Cayenne- or Lexus SUV-driving wives in their yoga pants, phones illegally at their ears, kids set to ignore in the backseat. One woman in her Mercedes coupe got very close and then told me to get out of the way because she was in a hurry to get to her tennis match at Koko Head District Park. I was completely unaware of her importance.

The point is, people out here need a refresher course on sharing the road with bicyclists. We get the lane. We get the whole ENTIRE lane. Do we take the entire lane? Not unless the shoulder is junk. Most of us ride on the shoulder and we’re OK with that. Sometimes I see riders doubled up to shoot the breeze while we are out there on Kalanianaole Highway and I am not OK with that. I have a little mirror clipped to my sunglasses so I can see what’s coming up from behind me, so I can see that a city bus is about to pull up to the bus stop, or a car or delivery truck wants to turn right. The mirror is very helpful to me, but not everyone uses them or needs to.

East Oahu gets its share of tourist drivers, and I suspect it was a tourist who caused my two women teammates to crash by Hanauma Bay yesterday. I do not know how this person is enjoying their Hawaii vacation. One woman has a dislocated shoulder and the other one has a broken collar bone. Needless to say their bicycles are totalled.

Those of us who ride road bikes and triathlon bicycles have a healthy respect for the road and for the vehicles with which we share it. Most of us obey the laws to the letter. Some of us will roll through a red light if there is nothing going on. Most of us will help each other out if we’re on the side of the road changing out a punctured tube.

I make a point of making eye contact with drivers while riding. I always say thank you with a big smile and an Island-style shakka wave to convey my gratitude to those of you who are getting a chance to pass me because finally I have a shoulder to ride on. Believe me, if it were up to me all of our roads would have broad, clean shoulders for those of us who ride bike or who like to run along the highways.

I have a theory: Bicyclists make excellent drivers because we have the perspective of being both the vulnerable and the infallible user. We ride in the heat, the rain and the wind. These elements add to the challenge of navigating along the shoulder and sometimes in the path of traffic. We know we’re not as fast as you in your big truck or little sports car or your tourist bus or your delivery truck or mom mobile. But do you know that as a driver on Oahu’s roads, you must protect the rest of us who are considered by law vulnerable users? Awareness. We just ask that you have AWARENESS.


The Perfect Ride

Today’s ride, stats, route:

I have always wanted to do this ride. But the roads in Waimanalo weren’t ever up to standard. Plus, I always worried about wild dogs and lawless humans who would attempt to take down a hot chick on a bike (me). When we did the Honolulu Century Ride last month, we discovered freshly paved roads in Waimanalo — the ones we always train on. Mahalo Mayor Caldwell. Can I suggest another little street?

As my husband and I were riding in the Century, I thought how training in this direction instead of toward Diamond Head just might work. Today I decided to give it a try. My first climb was up Hanauma Bay. The timing of the traffic for me going through the swirly curves around the Ka Iwi Coast was perfect. The last truck behind me turned into the Koko Head District Park shooting range and the road was all mine until I passed Sandy Beach.

I headed toward Makapuu, took a little break, a lousy picture, sucked on a PowerGel and decided to throw caution to the barely there Kona winds and head toward Waimanalo. I spotted the Hokulea resting offshore at Waimanalo Beach Park. So that was cool.

The Hokulea at rest off Waimanalo Beach Park. Kid2 and her class will visit it at Koko Marina this Friday.

The Hokulea at rest off Waimanalo Beach Park. Kid2 and her class will visit it at Koko Marina this Friday.

No dogs, plenty of free-range chickens. An old Hawaiian dude waved to me from his garage. Other cyclists had the same idea as I was never 100 percent alone. The skies were gray, the air was still and the birds deep in the valley cathedral sang quite heavenly. A very nice contemplative ride. The Perfect Ride.

Whole Hearted, Half Assed.


I wish I had a tech T-shirt that said “I’d Rather be Riding my Road Bike,” that I could wear while running. That way everyone who saw me running wouldn’t think I was putting in a half-assed effort but that … Continue reading

Hill Slayer: Solo Ride in the Wild

@postaday 65; #postaday2011

Check my stats!

Sat, Mar 5, 2011 8:15 AM Hawaii Time

Weathery at Makapu'u Lookout

The weather outside was frightful, but the ride it was delightful, and since I had an idea to go, I gave it a roll, gave it a roll, gave it a roll.

I wasn’t the only bicyclist braving the iffy weather conditions today. Surprisingly, I found the roads weren’t that bad, given how much rain we’ve had for the past few days. Bicyclists know to expect the worst conditions after the rain has a chance to dig up sharp objects amid road debris. Changing a tube out is often done in a downpour, so the conditions can be quite miserable. I’ve only had to change out a tube once. I’ve been so lucky I can’t believe it. Surely my number will come up.

I headed out on my own this morning at 8:14 a.m. and made it to the hill at Kamilioiki at about 8:24. When I get to that hill, I like to ride out of the saddle for as long as I can, almost to the light. Today the light changed against me while a soccer mom walked her kid across the street. I turned in and turned out so I wouldn’t lose much momentum. There’s another street encountered as the climb continues. I smelled cigarette smoke as I was trying to stay focused on going over what many professional riders would consider a bump. All I could think was that I had for breakfast a lovely apple banana, a whole wheat English muffin toasted with butter, and French-pressed coffee fortified with chocolate and organic low-fat milk. I was thinking how I had the right amount of sugars, caffeine and carbohydrates to get me up the hill. As I neared the crest, I came upon the source of the cigarette smoke and realized a construction crew that was working on a house paused to watch me go by. So of course I couldn’t just die there at the corner. I pushed on up and my heart rate reached 175 bpm. I geared down for more power and got back on the big ring to sail down the hill and get my lungs back. I proceeded toward the Ka Iwi Coast to my next nemesis, the hill to Makapu’u Lookout. For some reason, I get a bit of a schooling on Kamiloiki that keeps me riding up Makapu’u more conservatively. I got up to the lookout where only two cyclists were and I said hello, took my picture and after I sent it, I sailed back down to head to Diamond Head. Traffic was busy, and again, I was glad the roads weren’t so full of junk.

I passed a couple of guys on Kalanianaole Highway as I approached Niu Valley. I turned in and they didn’t. One was on a bike with aero bars and fat nubby tires. The other one was on a bicycle with fenders. He was wearing a T-shirt and board shorts and his butt crack was there for all to see. I thought I might blog about that.

I made my way through Niu and Aina Haina, then got off at the Kahala Mall exit and I saw the guys walking their bikes across the traffic island to ride along the road by Waialae Country Club. At this point, I’m waiting in the left-most lane with the cars to turn left and to take one of the side streets to the same road. Behind me was a blue BMW, with a driver who redeemed all BMW drivers in the world, because 99.9999 percent of them are jerkazoids. This person hung back and followed me until I got onto Kealaolu. The BMW driver also followed me until I got to Kahala Avenue. As they turned left toward the hotel, I turned right toward Diamond Head and gave them a shaka for their kindness. Maybe they ride?!

Clouds loom over the southern horizon as seen from Diamond Head Lookout.

So who do I see next? The butt-crack boys. This time I passed them just as we were approaching Triangle Park. I pushed myself up toward the lookout and got off there for a little break and a photo. They joined me. We talked for a few minutes. They had ridden from Haunama Bay. They were very polite and my plans to blog about a bicycling butt crack crumbled. How could I? So, yeah, sometimes I’m pretty sassy, but I can also be sweet and friendly. They had to work hard to do their ride. Some guys got so much attitude when they’re riding that it makes for unpleasant encounters on occasion. Today I have to say just about everyone I passed was friendly and most of them waved. I like that.

The weather held up. Got some sprinkles, the cloud cover thick, and it was quite cool. Perfect weather for a solo ride in the wild.

So much for Lanikai Beach

@postaday 59; #postaday2011

Yesterday after John was through running, I was through with my bicycle ride, and the girls were through with their piano lessons, we decided our Hawaii Kai family was due for a day at the beach. Having taken the girls to Sandy Beach the week before, which was too rough for me to relax about them being in the water, we Benderettes lobbied for a trip to Lanikai Beach. It was after 2 p.m. as we headed out, so I was hopeful parking would clear of early birds who had been there a few hours already.

Back when I was a student at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, I took a Geology 101 requirement. Aside from a memorable trip to visit the volcanic sites on the Big Island, I was also taught by a graduate assistant who was soon to become a force for all things good for the earth’s oceans: Chip Fletcher. Many people in Hawaii know Chip as the arch enemy of sea walls.

Pity the wealthy owners of beach-front property at Lanikai who didn’t listen to him years ago.

Loaded down with our big Costco bag full of towels, goggles, my beach chair and surf shirts, we exited the van while John circled around for a long time looking for parking. We hoofed it down several beach access paths between estates to get to the ocean. At one point we were following a woman about my age talking about having cybersex into her cellular phone. Great. My girls get to hear this?

Back to our search: Where once were beaches, the sea lapped at the path. Some people set up hibachis and chairs right there at the end of the access. People like us would get down there and turn around rather than walk through the water toward another fractional piece of sand to set up our own sand chair.

Party time at Lanikai Beach.

Finally I found a stretch of beach, as did probably a 1,000 other beach goers. It was as crowded as the Jersey Shore on Labor Day Weekend. And as stupid. There were lots of kids, lots of beer, lots of tattoos, lots of promiscuous behavior. I’m no prude, but, doll show some self respect! Fortunately, our girls got right into the water and were busy exploring the reef with their goggles. I took a quick dip, and revisited by my rotator-cuff injury, couldn’t really swim. But all I really wanted to do was get a salt-water treatment for my hair anyway. So when he finally got a parking space, John joined me and we sat on the beach while the wild youth around us smoked cigarettes (yeah, I told them to stop blowing at me and they DID!), and talk about how drunk they were last night. I must be so out of it. I don’t think this is great conversation for getting a guy to ask you out. Is the message I drink, I get drunk, so quite possibly, you could get laid? Well, maybe it is.

Lots of Corona beer.

As we were leaving, John had to direct the girls away from this rollicking party of guys with beers, girls in bikinis, lots of indiscriminate sand wrestling, and what looked like a fat chick in about a square foot of fabric about to squeal like a pig because of this guy who was all over her.

What does all this have to do with sea walls? Well if the rich and well to do hadn’t built them, the ocean wouldn’t be lapping under their bedroom windows but below the stretch of soft, glistening pristine sandy beach that extended from their homes. Obviously, they wouldn’t want this kind of party atmosphere there, either, but I would wager it would instead be small families like mine, visiting for the day, taking with us everything we brought in, without dogs leaving  poop in their sand. It used to be that way.

Few of Oahu’s beaches are family friendly for residents like us. I think we might just go close to home next time and take the family over the hill to Hanauma Bay for an afternoon instead. It’s in our own backyard, and probably isn’t a big draw for the party crowds.