Zachary Manago was a young man killed in a hit and run accident in 2010 while riding his bike. I didn't know him but I've been told he was a passionate rider. The Honolulu Bicycle League runs this friendly ride in cooperation with Zachary's parents every year in support of his passion and to promote safe cycling.
I attempted this ride several years ago but when I got the start had forgotten my helmet... This time around I didn't make that mistake.
I haven't been riding much and thought this would be a good chance to get myself into shape. I decided that I would ride to the event start instead of drive. That added on an extra 27 miles to the 47 mile ride for a total of 74 miles of beautiful Hawaii coastline. The event started at 8am so I had to leave my house around 5:30am.
The great thing about riding to the event are the additional miles you get to ride along the North Shore of Oahu which includes famous places like Sunset Beach, Pipline and Haleiwa Town. It's a pretty scenic ride.
In the above picture you can see the start of Zach's Ride. It's at the pointy end of that mountain off in the distance. Not quite halfway to the start yet!
Once I actually arrived at the start I didn't know anybody. There was plenty of lycra and road bikes to go around and I felt like a bit of a rebel in my shorts with my mountain bike :) I'm a lot of things, but one of those is not a road biker. On a more serious note, it's a totally mellow, friendly atmosphere. The ride starts at Camp Erdman on Mokuleia Point.
After the rider meeting and some words from Zach's parents we got started at about 8:30am. A bit late but whatever, this is a ride, not a race.
The first 7 miles of the ride is around Ka'ena Point. Ka'ena Point is actually pretty rough and rocky. On a mountain bike it's considered a beginner trail but on a road bike... yuck. Taking my time to stop for some photos and enjoy myself, me and another dude on a mountain bike still managed to get to the first aid station at Keawaula Beach in 30 minutes.
I felt bad for the folks on road bikes but I knew that once they hit the road and caught up it would be me they were feeling bad for :)
On the way to the second aid station two folks passed me. One was the dude who rode Ka'ena Point with me on a mountain bike. He switched over to a road bike at Yokohama, the second was another mountain biker. I thought that was pretty awesome.
The mountains on the Leeward side are absolutely beautiful and this time of year incredibly green.
Folks were just starting to setup the second aid station at Pokai Bay when I got there. I helped hang some banners and feasted on all the tasty snacks that were provided.
In this event there are 3 starts. The first is Camp Erdman where I started. A 47 mile ride. Pokai Bay which makes it a 32 mile ride. And Neal Blaisdell Park for an 8 mile ride. Everybody in the event starts together. Even though I arrived at Pokai Bay an hour and thirty minutes before the next start I had to wait.
It actually makes sense. This isn't a race, it's a community ride. This way it forces everyone to chat and talk and ride together. It also encourages you to ride slow so you don't have to wait around forever at each stop.
From Pokai Bay we set off into the wind. And the winds were strong! With all the well organized aid stations, full of food and drink it wasn't to challenging. It was hot though, I'm still rockin a sunburn.
The ride takes you through Kaimuki and eventually onto the Pearl City Bike Path and Neal Blaisdell Park. This it the last stop and final start of the 8 mile ride. I had about an hour or so to wait so actually laid down on the grass and took a nap.
All we had left was an 8 mile stroll through the city to Ala Puumalu Park where a meal was awaiting us. I had heard there was a big climb at the end but it wasn't bad at all. It was fun riding through the city with such a big group of riders. I'm sure the drivers weren't so happy but it's not my fault they are so impatient.
Once I arrived at the park my wife was waiting for me and it looked like it was going to be awhile before the meal got started. We packed up and headed out. It's a long ways back to the North Shore!
It was a great day over all. I finally got to put some miles on the bike, had a chance to meat some new folks, ride some new streets and enjoy a day in the sun. If you are looking for a fun event where you can just relax and not worry about racing or being in a hurry. I would recommend you ride next year's Zachary Manago's Ride in Paradise. It's good fun.