Last February I bought a bike from my cousin, Joshua. The Brougham by Felt Bicycles is a beautiful chrome fixed gear bike with a flip-flop hub complete with both a freewheel and a fixed cog. The chrome and and white is in line with its simple and clean look. Once the bike switched hands, though, it turned into a single-speed bike. The thought of riding a fixie without brakes horrified me. Especially since I hadn’t rode a bike since, well, probably elementary school. It took some time, seven months to be exact, before White Nightmare (that’s what Josh named his bike) saw the light of day again. There were a few hiccups, but she got the job done.
For my first ride, Ahnate and I decided to check out the Pearl Harbor Bike path, which runs from Aiea to Waipahu, and maybe beyond. Some people say that the trail goes as far as Ewa and even Nanakuli. I live about a mile from the trailhead at Aiea Bay State Recreation Park, so we biked it from my house to the park.
Instantly, I was thrust into the world of road biking. It was unnerving to be riding my bike alongside much larger vehicles. The ongoing thought was that I would take a nasty spill and I would be roadkill. Believe me when I say that I did not want to be roadkill.
We eventually passed Aloha Stadium, which was starting to fill with hopeful Rainbow Warrior fans and tailgaters alike. With some direction from a fellow bicyclist, we eventually found our way to Aiea Bay State Recreation Park. The park itself is out of the way, and looked a bit shady. I probably would not recommend leaving your car here. I know that I wouldn’t.
I was stoked that we had reached the park and I had not been roadkill yet. We spent a few moments taking photos of our bikes, and then we were off on our mini adventure. Or so we thought. A few minutes in, the rear wheel on my bike had locked up. Turns out that the wheel had not been bolted in place tight enough. Probably from when I had removed the tires transferring it from Joshua’s garage to my garage. Luckily, the incident occurred just across the street from a couple of mom and pop car shops. We walked on over to ask for a wrench and within a few minutes we were good to go.
Along the trail, you’ll pass under a portion of Moanalua Freeway before reaching the backside of Pearl Kai Shopping Center. Ahnate pointed out Jelly’s, while I reminsced about a naughty little warehouse store that used to be found in the vicinity. Other notable landmarks along the path include Best Buy, Harbor Center, Cutter Ford, and Neal S. Blaisdell Park. We noticed a large group of bikers hanging out at the Blaisdell Park. They probably had a wrench.
Next up was the very industrial Hawaiian Electric (HECO) power plant. I had seen the front side hundreds of times before as I drove by in my car. This was my first time seeing it from the back. It was neat. We stopped for a bit to look around. Just beyond the power plant was a little taro patch. Such an odd place to have a thriving taro patch, but hey, I know next to nothing about growing taro.
Beyond the taro patch is one of the coolest sections of the Pearl Harbor Bike Path. You’ll get the best views of the Sea-Based X-band Radar (SBX) in Pearl Harbor. This is the white dome that you can sometimes see while driving on the freeway en route to Honolulu. According to TIME, the SBX was “designed to keep an eye out for rogue missiles flying toward the United States.” According to Ahante, the SBX is used to control spy drones. Yep, some secret agent stuff right in our backyard. As you pass by the Pearl City Peninsula, you will eventually come to an abandoned shipyard. We stopped here to take a couple of photos. I wonder if there were cameras in the surrounding areas taking photos of us.
The bike path ended for us at Waipahu Home Depot Road. I’m all too familiar with this road, because of the Toyota Servco there. Across the street would be our lunch destination, the aptly named Wat Get Kitchen. We in fact did check out wat dey get and ended up ordering some fresh pasteles plate lunches. The gandule rice topped with the hot pasteles really hit the spot. If in Waipahu and craving some Puerto Rican food, then definitely check out Wat Get Kitchen.
After lunch, we reversed track and rode back home. We made a pit stop at the HECO plant, to check out the views and gawk at the fishermen fishing in waters surrounded by “contaminated” signs. Blasidell Park is a good place to use the restroom and also refill water bottles. You’ll also get a view of the white spyball from here. Not long after that, I was home. Ahnate decided to bike back to his home in Manoa via Nimitz Highway. I did not envy him. I was simply satisfied to be home in one piece and not as road kill.
Roadies: Coty Gonzales and Ahnate Lim.