Frequently Asked Questions
What does the Volcano bike tour include?
Beside the equipment all of our bike tours include an informative narrated van tour from sea level to Haleakala, where we familiarize you with the route back to the shop. Our tour guide will explain the history of upcountry Maui, points of interest, Hawaiian culture, geological features along with the options for breakfast or lunch at the many restaurant and cafes that you will find on the way down.
How long is the bike ride?
The bike ride is approximately 27 miles, starting from the drop off point near the top of Haleakala and ending at our shop in Paia. The average grade is of a 5% incline with many switch backs on the first portion of the ride eliminating excessive steepness. Without stopping it will take about 1 ½ hour to return to sea level, although you can take your time and stop and go as you please, eat at restaurants or check out the little town on the way down with its many shops and galleries. You have until 4:30pm to make your way back down to our shop which is the end of the ride. Please note that our liability insurance requires that you only ride on the official downhill route, which ends at our shop. Biking around Paia after returning to our shop is not permitted. Paia and it's beaches are better experienced on foot. Sunrise Tour average return time with breakfast stop is around 10:00 ~11:00am. Summit Tour average return time with lunch and town stop- 2:00~3:00pm. Express Tour with lunch and town stop return time 1:00~2:00pm.
Is there a chance of getting lost?
Not if you listen to the directions given by your tour guides in addition to the detailed map provided with the equipment. The route we use is the official Haleakala downhill that takes the guess work out finding your way back. You will be biking on country roads with a maximum speed limit of 15-30 mph and be required to remember only 3 turns two right and one left all in ½ mile range. For the rest all you have to do is to follow the downhill back to the beach town of Paia. Let’s put it this way. You would have to try hard to get lost.
Are there any restrictions?
Not if you are confident riding a bike with hand brakes, you are not over 300 pounds and are not pregnant. All of our rides are self-paced cycling giving you the option of staying in your own comfort zone, without the pressure of trying to keep up with a group like with many of the guided tours.
Minimum age .We would like the child to be at least nine or ten years old to ride alone, for this we trust the judgment of the parent or guardian in determining the skill level. Younger kids of at least six can ride on a trailer bike where they pedal behind an adult without be in charge of steering or breaking.
Maximum age: No restrictions. We had the pleasure to have a ninety year young guest, and that was an inspiration to all.
For Maynard, an ex-biplane open cockpit acrobat was the fourth time down Haleakala Volcano.
What should we wear?
For those on the Sunrise Tour our recommendation is to wear the warmest clothes you have. Temperatures at 10,000 ft. elevation could be extreme, especially during the winter months. We suggest that you wear clothing in layers that can be peeled off as you descend to warmer temperature. We provide back-packs for that purpose; we also provide gloves and wind/ rain gear for additional warmth.
For the 9:00 a.m. Summit Tour we suggest that you bring a sweat shirt for the time you spend at the 10,000 ft. summit.
For both Summit and Express Tours normally shorts are ok, since most of the Haleakala bike ride is going to be in warmer temperature during day hours. In addition long pants are provided with the rain/wind gear included in the equipment. Closed toe shoes are recommended.
*For those of you without the necessary clothing we advise that for Sunrise you bring a blanket from the hotel to keep warm at the summit. You can leave the blanket in the van when you start the bike ride. You will find it at the bottom at our shop upon return.
Do we need to pack breakfast or lunch?
Only if you prefer to have a picnic. However on the Haleakala downhill bike ride you will have many opportunities to stop for breakfast or lunch. Our tour guides will point out all the available options; we do not endorse anyone in particular, so you can choose according to your preference.
Bike locks are provided so you can lock your bike and helmet and be free to go to a restaurant or simply to check out the little towns along the route.
Do you provide road side assistance?
Yes of course. Riding at your own pace allows you to experience the ride at the speed that feels comfortable to you and stop and go as you please without getting stuck in a group or to having to keep up with someone else’s pace. However you do not have to sacrifice your peace of mind, knowing that if you need assistance with anything we will always be available. Just remember to bring a cell phone with you.
Could the ride be dangerous?
No more than any other bike ride. Of course you have to be comfortable riding a bike, be able to use hand brakes, and focus. Like any other activity there are risks involved.
We are committed on keeping you safe and helping you with safety awareness, guidelines and briefing. However ultimately you are in control of the bike. Remember this is a tour and not a race, and if you decide to ride down at 50 miles per hour then you can make the ride very dangerous. And of course this is not the place to learn how to ride a bike!
Should we tip the driver?
Tipping is voluntary, however, as in any other service industry tipping is subjected to the level and quality of service. Our tour guides do their best to ensure that that your experience is both informative and memorable. If you think that their performance exceeded your expectation, then yes they gladly accept gratuity.
What do I see at the summit?
The highest point on Maui is 10,023 feet, the summit of Haleakala volcano. Higher than Mt. Everest if measured from the ocean floor. Haleakala is a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1790. The visitor count at the summit exceeds one million in annual visitors with peak years of over two million, making it one of Maui’s most popular destinations.
On our Sunrise Tour you will spend approximately one hour at the summit watching what Mark Twain described as “One of the most sublime spectacles that I ever witnessed “. From there you can also see the crater referred to by the National Park as the “Wilderness Area” It is a 7 mile across by 2 mile wide eroded volcanic depression, 2,600 ft. deep with many volcanic cones from past eruptions. Most of the time you will also be able to see the island of Hawaii often looming above the clouds with its 14,000 ft. peaks, along with views of Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe. On the Summit Tour you will spend time walking around the summit witnessing the same spectacular views along with the unique landscape and flora only present in Haleakala National Park . The only difference from the Sunrise Tour is that you get to sleep in and you will not see the sun come up. After the National Park experience of Sunrise, or Summit Tour you will start the exhilarating bike ride down the volcano all the way to the beach.
What is the difference between the Summit and Express Tour?
Same Haleakala bike ride, same equipment, same route, same freedom. They both check-in at 9:00 a.m . The only difference is that the Express does not include the land tour of the National Park. The van takes you directly to the staging area with a narrated tour filled with a lot of great information regarding the area that you will be using to bike back down to sea level.
This tour is a favorite of those that have seen the summit already or prefer a less expensive tour.
What about the weather? Will I be able to see the sunrise?
Eighty percent of the time the summit is above the clouds allowing you to watch a spectacular sunrise.
The weather on the island varies according to the area. Maui has some of the wettest places on Earth (West Maui Mountains) therefore the weather forecast will always predict some rain somewhere. However the route where you’ll be biking is usually in a less affected part of the island.
Our equipment includes a rain/wind suit, in case you will encounter an isolated shower. “Liquid sunshine” as we call it on Maui. We receive daily notifications from Civil Defense and The National Weather Service and in case of confirmed severe weather conditions we will cancel the tour the evening before your scheduled activity. Please make sure that when you make a reservation you enter a mobile number where you can be reached here on Maui. Always check your voice mail before you leave the hotel.
One thing we have learned over the years is to be our own weather man since it is very difficult to predict what the day will be like regardless the forecast. The bike ride goes through six different micro climates, but for the most part it’s an endless summer….
What about the rental option?
When it comes to biking down Haleakala Volcano the possibilities are endless. Some companies offer road base tours with the choice of guided or self-paced options. With some you can ride down or with others climb up. Some other companies can assist you with off road options.
In addition to our tours we offer a ”take out” rental option, where you come to the shop and rent the equipment that we usually use in the tours, ( bike, helmet, rain/wind gear, backpack, map, lock, tool kit, a spare tube and bike rack for your vehicle) and you do the driving. This means that you have to include in your plan an extra person that can be the designated driver to drop you off at the summit and to drive the car back down while the rest of you bike to sea level. THIS OPTION WILL NOT WORK FOR THOSE FOLKS WITHOUT AN EXTRA PERSON THAT DOES THE DRIVING. We know that the price is appealing , and we receive many inquiries about this option, and after we explain how the rental works we get the usual question….:
” How do I get my car back from the summit? “Is there a bus that goes up the mountain? Should I rent two cars and leave one at the bottom? How about a taxi? Hitchhiking?
No folks none of these options will work; either they are too expensive (taxi, two cars) or non- existent (bus) or highly unpractical (hitchhiking).
So if you have a driver and decide that the rental is your choice this how it works.
We do rentals based on availability, we are primarily a tour company so we give priority to the tours, for this reason we do not take reservations on rentals.
Usually the best way is to call the evening before since at that point we know how our next day schedule looks and we will be able to tell you if we have bikes available, or we can always direct you to another company if not.
Our rentals are 24 hours so if you decide that you want the bike for the next day sunrise you can rent in the morning of the day before and keep it overnight. We don’t do rentals at 3:00 am.
If you want the bike for the same day, we do rentals at 9:00 am which gives you more time to complete the ride and a chance at better weather, along with the opportunity to listen to the safety briefing given to other tour guests. Return the bike by 4:30 pm the same day. The rack fit 3 bikes. Sorry, we do not offer any off road options. No road side assistance is provided with the rental.
Guided Tour or Self-paced?
Bob’s Haleakala bike tour became an instant success story, growing rapidly, with thousands of visitors a year riding down the volcano. Due to his success shortly thereafter many other companies were formed using as a model Bob’s tours. Many of them are still here, while Bob moved on to other bike adventures.
Some claim to be the “original “one but it is not true since the fame as “original” belongs only to Cruiser Bob.
On a typical guided tour you ride in a group of 13 at the pace of the person in the front of the group, you do not choose your stops or are able to stop and visit the towns along the way. Some companies take you to the end of the downhill route at sea level; others end their ride at 2,000 feet elevation. This type of tour is ideal for those folks that prefer a more structured experience, or for those without a rental car in need of transportation from and to the hotel. The portion of the tour that is spent inside the National Park is the same regardless you chose guided or self-paced.
We at Maui Sunriders and another company before us recognized the need to give visitors an alternative to the old style Haleakala bike tours, something less expensive that resembled a more familiar type of cycling done at home with family and friends.
In 2001 we started a self-paced tour where people could ride down Haleakala without the cumbersome style of riding in a group and with the freedom to stop and go at a more relaxed pace. It’s nice to have breakfast or lunch in one of the many restaurants along the route or simply stop to visit some of the many shops and galleries in the little towns along the way, avoiding the unpopular hindrance to the local traffic that the big groups were creating.
We eliminated hotel pickup and the drop off where you spend more time driving around in a van than on the actual bike ride. With us at the end of the tour instead of being transported back to the hotel you‘ll be able to explore the north shore of the island, concluding your day in getting to know a little more about Maui...
Both driving from the South side of the island or the West, directions are as simple as three right turns, and you’ll be in front of our door.
We provide road side assistance in all of our tours; just remember to bring your cell phone.
How Do I Find You?
We are located at: 71 Baldwin Ave, Paia Hawaii, 96779.
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To Find us, drive toward Kahului (Hwy. 30 from West , Hwy 311 from South) as if you were on the way to the airport. Turn right on Hwy 380. At the intersection in front of Big Kmart, turn right on Hwy 36 ( Hana Hwy), follow the sign to Paia, which is about 7 (seven) miles down the road. Once in Paia town, at the only traffic light turn right onto Baldwin Ave. Approximately 150 yards on your left is the Paia Plaza Building, at 71 Baldwin Ave. where our office is located on the back right hand side (C-1 ~ C-2), behind the Moana Café.
Driving time at sunrise: (min.) Kapalua 50 ~ Kaanapali 40 ~ Lahaina 35 ~ Maalaea 20 ~ Wailea 35 ~ Kihei 30 ~ Wailuku 25 ~ Kahului Harbor 15 ~ Hana 1 hour 30 minutes. For 9:00 am check-in add 10 minutes.
Maui Sunriders Bike Co. Reservation and Cancellation Policy
PHONE AND ONLINE RESERVATION ARE OUR PRINCIPAL BOOKING SYSTEM. WHEN UPON A RESERVATIONS A CUSTOMER SUBMITS A CREDIT CARD ACCOUNT NUMBER IT IS MUTUALLY UNDERSTOOD AND AGREED THAT HIS/HER RESERVATION IS CONFIRMED, AND AT CHECK-IN TIME HIS/HER SPACE WILL BE GUARANTEED.
CANCELLATION POLICY: 48 HOUR.
WITHIN 48 HOURS FROM THE CHECK-IN TIME OF THE ACTIVITY A RESERVATION CANNOT BE CANCELLED, AND THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE COST OF THE TOUR WILL BE CHARGED
FOR ALL RESERVATIONS A 10% ADMINISTRATIVE RECOVERY FEE WILL BE CHARGED FOR ANY CANCELLATIONS MADE OUTSIDE OF THE 48 HOURS FROM THE START OF THE ACTIVITY.
RESERVATIONS MADE INSIDE THE 48 HOURS PRIOR TO THE START OF THE ACTIVITY CANNOT BE CANCELLED, AND THE FULL AMOUNT WILL BE CHARGED TO THE CREDIT CARD ACCOUNT ON FILE, REGARDLESS OF THE CLIENT PARTICIPATION IN THE ACTIVITY, OR NOT.
FOR PARTIES OF EIGHT (8) OR MORE THE CANCELLATION POLICY TIME IS 72 HOURS.
NO SHOWS WILL BE CHARGED THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE COST OF THE TOUR. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Maui Sunriders Bike Co. reserves the right to cancel a tour without notice, due to weather conditions, lack of participation or mechanical failure at no charge to the client and with an option to reschedule at a later date.
After having participated in the tour of the National Park either for Sunrise or Summit Tour if upon exiting the park the biking portion of the tour is cancelled by the Co. (due to weather for ex.) the client will be charged the Van Rider option price and be reimbursed the balance on the cost of the original scheduled tour.
Due to the limited amount of space on any of our tours, Maui Sunriders Bike Co. does not assume the financial responsibility for any scheduled activity cancelled by the client inside the cancellation policy time, nor for NO SHOWS. However, the client will be given an opportunity to reschedule, by calling the evening before they would like to go (no earlier than 8:00 pm) for the next day based on availability.
Temperature in Beautiful Maui