Big Island Bike Tours offers an electric bike ride around the historic property
II parry hard, shifting my weight to meet the sloping dirt road in front of me. My balance is not lacking and I coast around the turn, only having to lean left, then right as a series of tight turns test my cycling abilities. Finally, the path straightens out just enough for me to catch my breath and search behind me for my companion and photographer, Aaron Yoshino, who does everything I do, only with a camera on my back.
It’s an extremely hot but perfect day as I gaze out at the foothills of Waimea, an endless blue horizon filling my vision. Small clusters of buildings are overshadowed by a huge amount of lush farmland, with distant hills and mounds framing the vast landscape. Getting back on my pedals, I go up the trail once more. The view could be even better where we are heading.
We just started to climb the farmlands of the Anna Ranch Heritage Center on a tour with Big Island Bike Tours. Started by former professional cyclist Alex Candelario, who competed on the American Peloton Tour for 13 years, Big Island Bike Tours offers bike rentals and tours of the island of Hawai’i. One of its most unique offers is an exclusive chance to ride an electric bike – it’s electric! – on the hundred acres of land behind the historic Anna Ranch residence. The check-in process is straightforward: you go to Big Island Bike Tours’ tiny cabin filled with bikes, sign a few waivers, learn to use the knobs and knobs on an electric bike (we’ll talk about that later), then set off with one of the company’s experienced guides.
Our guide, Jeremy Wagner, is a natural storyteller. Tanned from countless hours in the sun, guiding groups like me down the slopes of Anna Ranch’s sublime cattle yard – which are now mostly used for tours like this, but cattle appear every now and then – Wagner makes the two-wheeled excursion easy. And it makes sense, the ever-smiling wisecracker grew up here in Waimea and the land is basically his backyard. He is also very familiar with the story of Anna Leialoha Lindsey Perry-Fiske, who took over her family’s ranch in 1939 and, through innovative breeding practices and hard work, saved the business from an almost crushing debt.
As Wagner tells the story of Anna Fiske, giving us a brief respite from cycling the dirt trails that Wagner and Candelario made themselves, with the help of a small excavator, I take a moment. to check my bike. Two to three times heavier than a conventional mountain bike, electric bikes compensate for their weight by adding “assistance” to your pedaling. This âassistâ comes in the form of pure speed, with each rotation of the pedal generating more energy and forward momentum than on a standard bike. With the push of a button, I lower my assist a bit, because you want to go fast, but not too fast, on the trail to get around reductions and sharper turns. However, I don’t turn it off completely. I’m not in bad shape at all, but this trail is steep – if I was on a normal bike I would have given up 10 minutes for this three hour jaunt.
To take a look at the waterfall flowing through the ravine from the trail and read the rest of the story, go to hawaiimagazine.com.
This story originally appeared under the title “Pedal to the Prairie” in the November 2020 issue of HONOLULU magazine. Get your copy at shop.honolulumagazine.com and subscribe now to print and digital editions.