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Biking on the Big Island of Hawaii

Biking is big on the Big Island, as there are plenty of sights to see and the roads are pretty good.

Bicycling is an ideal way to have an up close and personal experience with the island's raw beauty and challenging terrain. Bikers need to be aware of the traffic, particularly tour buses. Bike helmets are not required, but are highly recommended (tour operators require them). If you plan an extended trip, you should be in pretty good shape, as there are definitely big ups and downs on this mountainous isle.

You can cycle the island on your own itinerary (with your own bike or a rental), or you can join a bike tour offered by several tour operators and bike shops. Bike and tour shops also offer expert instruction if you need to brush up on your biking skills.

There are a variety of tours, including easy half-day downhill jaunts. Scenic day-long tours cruise through rain forests, along beaches, and through rolling ranch country. Five-day biking and camping adventures get you way off the beaten path. You can even circle the island in an eight-day, 320-mile trip with accommodations in hotels along the way. These trips generally have accompanying support vans to carry gear and give you a ride when you're pooped.

If you decide to take off on your own, remember to estimate time and distance of your trip and bring enough food and water. Some of those roads can get long and lonely. Luckily, there are often friendly pick-up truck drivers who may take pity on a tired biker. Happy trails.

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