This Saturday, bicycles are ruling the roads in Kalihi Valley. The First Annual Kalihi Ahupuaʻa Bike Ride will give riders a chance to experience the valley like never before. HPR reporter Ku’uwehi Hiraishi went for a spin.
CHRISTENOT: In cars, you’re missing – whether it be rain drops on your face, wind in your hair - the sounds and the sights of the community.
I met Jared Christenot outside the Kalihi Valley Instructional Bike Exchange or KVIBE. He’s one of the organizers of the inaugural Kalihi Ahupuaʻa Bike Ride and had a bike at the ready.
CHRISTENOT: So yeah, I was thinking we’d cruise up Kam IV road, take the bike lane, and then cruise through the District Park and then we can kind of cruise down.
We get into the bike lane along Kamehameha IV road and you can hear and even feel the cars whizzing by. But Christenot says the streets are much safer than they used to be.
CHRISTENOT: For decades they just kept repaving it as that four-lane mega highway even though we have a district park up there, an elementary school, a middle school, and a youth bike shop.
KVIBE along with a coalition of community members successfully lobbied the city for safer streets.
CHRISTENOT: It just kind of helps create that vibrant community.
We pedal up to Kalihi Valley District Park where we see several dozens of kids out on the playground for summer fun. One of the kids yells at the man riding the bike behind me.
Kevin Faller is a familiar face to Kalihi youth. Faller runs KVIBE, a program engaging youth by teaching them to fix bikes.
FALLER: How it works is they do 12 hours of sweat equity to beautify the shop, and eventually you’ll get 12 hours to build your own bike.
We end today’s ride at the bike shop. KVIBE is one of five story stops along the seven-mile ahupuaʻa bike ride. Each stop showcasing a story only found in Kalihi – like that of KVIBE and its ability to not only teach kids valuable skills but create space for them to relate to one another.
FALLER: In our shop we practice this protocol checking in. Each person takes a turn in a circle by stating their names, their homes, their ancestors, and usually a simple question or prompt like how does your body feel.
This practice helps cultivate a sense of community, and may very well be the protocol at this Saturday’s Kalihi Ahupuaʻa Bike Ride.
CHRISTENOT: Just the simple act of us being on bicycles and being able to show people the abundance or the waiwai that we have in our area – that’s an instant success right there.
The mauka to makai bike route starts at Hoʻoulu ‘Āina and ends at the BMX track in Sand Island.
Visit k-vibe.blogspot.com for more information.