A trip up (and down) Haleakala with Mountain Riders was well worth the time and money. After talking with friends and reading online reviews, we opted for Mountain Riders and the self-paced tour. Not only was it less expensive but we preferred the later start (we see many sunrises/sunsets in FL where we live) due to not having to leave in the middle of the night, and, less crowds. It was at the perfect choice.
We met at Starbucks on Dairy Road for our pickup at 7 am. Good place to start. After an quick instructional video at their base camp we were off for a drive to the summit. At 10,200 feet we had breathtaking views of the island, the crater and got a taste for the change in temp (and wind). Learned that winds can often hit 100 mph up there.
Our driver, which was really also our tour guide even though we didn't have an official one, was Mark, and he did a great job. Not only did he set our equipment up, he also followed us down the mountain and was never more than a call away if we needed him.
He did a great job on educating us while we were in the van (which was about three hours going up and descending back to our bikes at 6500 feet) and allowed us to have the best of both worlds - all the info we wanted but allowed us to bike without the confines of a large group.
My wife and I enjoyed the trip down, stopping at Sunrise Cafe (?) for a snack and then at Cafe Mambo near the end in Paia.
The equipment was great, the coast was fun, topped out at just over 30 mph one spot, and we always felt safe. Don't do it without expecting to do some pedaling, and on a one-speed bike, that pedaling speed is about 7 mph (and you seem to resemble a hamster on a wheel), but it certainly isn't any big deal.
I strongly recommend this attraction - I would have been very disappointed if we had not done it - and highly recommend Mountain Riders and Mark.
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