Bicycling equipment, safety tips offered

Biking on Maui is both beautiful and risky, which is why riders should take precautions no matter the skill level, bicycle advocates say.

No one under age of 16 is permitted to operate a bicycle on a public road without a helmet, according to state laws. Pricey cycling shoes, clothing or extra gear are not required, according to the League of American Bicyclists. Everyday clothes are acceptable, just pay attention to the weather in case warmer clothes are needed, the league said.

When cyclists begin to advance their skills, they may add a pedal with shoe clamp combination piece, bike patrol uniforms, racing helmet and other tactical gear.

There are four main types of bikes:

• Road bike, which has dropped handlebars and skinny tires.

• Mountain bike, which has flat handlebars with more gear change options, larger tires and suspension.

• Hybrid bike, which has flat handlebars and more upright sitting position. This is a more common style for beginner riders.

• Recumbent bike, which has a reclined position.

According to Donnie Arnoult, owner of the Maui Cyclery bike store in Paia and Go Cycling Maui tours, road bikes can range from $900 to $11,000 depending on the model, material and parts.

Arnoult has been cycling since 1969, which has included a mixture of racing motocross, BMX and road bikes. After settling on Maui in 1999, he opened his bike shop and began leading cycling tours.

Each guided ride is about 35 to 55 miles a day, depending on the skill level of each group. Arnoult’s personal weekly mileage is around 200 to 300 miles.

When riding on the road, the law requires cyclists to alert other cyclists and cars on turns, lane changes or stopping. Constantly scanning the road is another safety tip provided by the American League of Bicyclists and other avid riders around Maui.

“We just try to stay far enough away from the white line, which is the edge of the road. Always keeping an eye out on the ground and the road in front of you,” Arnoult said. “Also, looking behind you and making sure that, if there is a vehicle, you’re calling it out to the people in front of you. . . . We usually use a blinky taillight, even during the day, just for more exposure.”

The best places to ride on Maui are on the north shore greenway, Maui Veterans Highway bike path or upper Kula, according to several Maui cyclists.

For more information regarding what to wear, which bicycle to use, where to ride and how to ride safely, visit the Maui Cycling League website at www.mauibike.org.

* Dakota Grossman can be reached at dgrossman@mauinews.com.

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