Alright guys, this is a long one (69 pictures! Yikes!) but hang in there with me.
You may need a little background on my history with bikes. I learned to ride at 6, promptly wrecked and never wanted to ride again. Learned again at 8 years old, fell off and landed on a prickly plant. Had to have my mom pick almost invisible stickers out of my butt. Never learned to ride properly after that. If I needed to turn I usually freaked out and bailed off the bike. Rode a bike once or twice in junior high but still couldn't really turn because I refuse to lean into it at all and my paranoia of falling.
So here we are in Maui, our last day on that island and we had a mild dilemma. Katie is a wimp. I get motion sick which takes out almost all water activities (boating, paddle boarding, surfing, etc) and many car activities, zip lines were stupid expensive, and we had gone to all of the insider beaches that Richard knew about, and I can't ride a bike. Not wanting to be the ruiner of things I said, maybe I could ride a bike if it was in an easier area (NOT down the mountain). Tyler grabbed this morsel and ran with it. Richard suggested we rent the electric bikes we had seen at the dive shop and Tyler said he had seen a tandem one we could ride together.
We headed down to the shop but we had to wait for the bike guy to show up. Apparently these bikes are new to the shop and no one else knew how to rent them or use them; they looked brand new. As we waited, Tyler looked at the tandem bike in disgust. "Ugh! I don't want to ride that. Let's just get separate bikes." Again, not wanting to be the stick and really hoping I was better at it than I remember, I agreed. The man came and I told him that it had been a long time since I had ridden a bike and I never was very good at it. I tried to make myself sound iffy but not too bad while Tyler took a probably more reasonable and realistic route and proceeded to try to scare the guy. "So....if she wrecks, do we have to pay for all the damages? Is there some sort of insurance we can buy?" etc. The guy still doesn't seem to fully grasp the situation and he seems completely sure of the bike's electric motor and it's ability to allow even the most deficient human beings to ride a bike. He asked if a little lesson in the parking lot would make me feel better and I agreed.
I wish we had video of this part, looking back it was totally hilarious. He explains using the throttle. I ask where the breaks are. "The breaks? They are on the handles." "Both of those are breaks? The only bikes I have ridden you pedal backwards to stop." "So I guess you don't know about gears then?" "Nope". He explains them in such detail I am completely lost. Tyler chimes in, "It is just like changing gears in a car. "You can drive a manual?" the dude asks incredulously. "Yes I can" I try to reply without too much snootiness especially since in my head I was thinking, "But I listen to the motor and that is how I know when to shift, how do I know when to shift this thing?" The guy seems to think that everything will fall into place once I ride the thing so I get on. I am wobbling so bad that my straight line is more like a fast zig-zag at a very slow pace if that makes any sense. Working the throttle and pedaling at the same time makes me anxious and I am shaking like I am having a seizure. The boys jump the curb into the parking lot. "I can't do that!" the guy has realized the situation and he is walking at a quick pace to stay in front of me, close enough to maybe catch me but far enough away that I may not hit him (that is a big maybe) and he has a slight panic to his voice, "There is a ramp ahead! Go to the ramp!" while guiding me there, arms out to catch me, and a look on his face that says, this girl has never ridden a bike has she? As I make my way around the parking lot the guy pulls Tyler aside, "Stay CLOSE to her okay?!" I go around the parking lot once, so terrified that I have sweat completely through my shorts in that short amount of time. I am trying to put on a brave face but I am pretty sure that I am going to die. I think the guy is pretty sure of it too because he looks shaken and asks to take our picture with our bikes. He tried to make it sound like it was because he was excited for us but I am quite sure it was to document either the state of me or the bike pre-ride.
Here I am looking WAY more confident than I feel.
As we left the parking lot, there were little old Asian ladies on the sidewalk. I rang my bell but they didn't move. The boys hopped the curb but I had to stop and awkwardly walk it down. At this point I was certain of my demise and wondered how Tyler and Josh would fair without me. After seeing me cross one street my husband was also certain of it and made us stop and practice in a parking lot. I didn't get much better but enough that they thought we could move into mostly stranded streets. I was a nervous wreck. Passing cars, sharing the sidewalk with a pedestrian, crossing the street, everything had me in a tunnel-vision type of panic that I could barely breathe but slowly I got better and with every instant I didn't die I felt mildly better. The boys were very patient and we took many small breaks and went very slowly at first.
Here we stopped under the Front Street Banyan tree to have a lemonade (the best one I have ever had). I love the Banyan trees, they are trees that send down vine-like branches which burrow into the ground making other trees connected to the original tree. This park was full of trees all from the one original Banyan. If the homeless looking guy who passed his joint to his buddy to tell us the history of the tree is correct, this is the third biggest Banyan in the world. I always forgot to take off my helmet. We all signed a contract saying we would wear our helmets "at all times" which ended up being about 5 minutes for the guys and literally at all times for me. Each time we stopped they would have to remind me to take it off.
The original Banyan
Some of the baby Banyans!
Richard is trying to figure out how to get to the coffee farm without killing me.
The ride was beautiful! I was feeling quite a bit more confident here where there weren't many other people to share the sidewalk and the ocean breeze felt amazing. The view was so perfect it was hard to feel worried.
Selfie while riding? I would have died but Tyler took quite a few.
Even though he did a great job getting us to the coffee farm in as isolated a route as possible, we did have to drive on the highway for a bit. The picture looks like it was pretty dead but I assure you there were many many cars. The rental guy assured me that there was a large shoulder but that was before he saw me ride. It felt pretty small when cars flew by over 60 mph but I did it!
When we got to the coffee farm I really began to feel good about riding. I had made it past all kinds of obstacles and this road was large and deserted. The road was just off of the main road but we took one turn and suddenly it was quiet and smelled like a mixture of fresh mountain and Hawaii. It smelled so amazing I wish I could describe it or bottle it to share; it was freedom and adventure mixed with victory.
I have not retouched these pictures at all. As we rode everything got greener and the road was red from dirt and the effect was incredible.
Acres and acres of coffee plants
We stopped in the prettiest, shady place that we could find which turned out to be a person's driveway. Wouldn't you love such a driveway? There we ate a packed lunch including some smashed sandwiches that tasted perfectly amazing probably due to the freedom-adventure-victory air.
I love my brother. We actually look like we are related in this photo. It's the smile. I miss him; he and I are cut from the same cloth.
This is before I realized that the lookout had a handful of wasp nests and the largest spider I have seen in a long time.
The back of this house is just one huge window, you can see right through it! But they have such a beautiful view. Between the view and 3 garages,Tyler wants this house one day.
Back in Lahina riding through the resorts
My bike has a coffee branch and Tyler's has a bunch of green bananas that we found on the side of the road. Kinda cute huh?
We stopped to look at the ocean and we happened upon a bunch of sea turtles. I lost count at 8. They were grazing on the rocks that made the shore.
When they graze their cute bums come out of the water
One of the better shed shells that we found. This one is a black rock crab's shell. They are actually very black but the shells turn red after they bake in the sun.
Guy paddle boarding with his dog
Tyler calls this my "Asian pose". Stereotype you say? I saw some pretty incredible poses done by Asians on our trip. Many of them actually choreograph a little dance thing before they do a picture and then hold the last pose or they squat with their legs spread really far out almost like they are ninjas. It was odd to us but hilarious. We certainly have different cultures but the way I see it, they are going to have some pretty awesome pictures, maybe we should have channeled more Asian-ness when we took pictures.
We fell in love with Shave Ice the moment we tried it. You can buy it every where on the islands. It is not Hawaiian ice or snow cones. The ice is shaved really finely and they really smother it in flavoring. It is amazing and we ate it each and every day at least once since we tried it on the third day (we stayed 2 weeks so that is a lot of shave ice). And it is shave ice, NOT shaved. Only mainlanders add the "d". They also will add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the bottom or li hing or condensed milk to the top. (Li hing: salty plum powder, see also delicious crack you add to almost anything to make it yummier) Tyler and I had already scarfed ours down so if you notice that ours looks very similar to Richard's it is because it is Richard's.
Richard and I watching the ghost crabs come out of their holes to throw sand and collect sticks
This is one of Tyler's favorite pictures of us. I think it is because it captures us so nicely; it shows who we are and our relationship.
We were all sad to give the bikes back but we had been riding for 8 hours and it was time to go back for dinner. This ended up being one of our favorite days.