Imagine standing at the top of a 10,000 foot dormant volcano - two miles high - getting on a bicycle, and coasting down a 38-mile road all the way to the ocean, without pedaling. This is a reality on Maui's Mount Haleakala. Thousands of downhill biking enthusiasts have experienced this adventure since the industry began in 1982.
Of all the activities on Maui, this is the one that can't be done anywhere else on earth. This is how it works. You're picked up at your hotel and transported to a baseyard at the foot of the mountain. Here you're fitted with the windbreakers, helmet and gloves you'll be wearing on your downhill journey.
After a continental breakfast you're off to the top of the mountain where you witness the spectacle of Haleakala Crater. This enormous crater is 21 miles in circumference, 3000 feet deep, and is large enough to fit all of Manhattan Island within its perimeter.
If you choose to go at sunrise (a good choice) you will also see one of the most spectacular solar displays found anywhere.
Your breathtaking descent begins from the crater rim. Each group follows a lead guide in radio contact with the "chase van" that follows the group with cameras, warm clothing, etc. Many stops are made on the way down for extraordinary views of the island.
A luncheon stop is usually made at one of the restaurants and then the final descent is made to the sea. Once at the bottom, the experience takes on a somewhat surreal quality as your mind keeps replaying the constant series of turns and roadways that led to your final destination.
One glance up at the top and you realize that you've conquered a mountain. You've connected with Maui in some way that you know is different. You smelled the camphor of the eucalyptus trees as you passed through the forests, and you breathed the cool thin air from Maui's highest slopes. Today was a different day for you, and it was worthwhile.