WAIPOULI — Padric Gallagher of the American Red Cross was not riding his bicycle in the 2016 Paradise Ride.
“I’m training for the big run (The Kauai Marathon),” Gallagher said. “I’ve never done that event so I was considering doing it. I’ll be doing the responder duty for this event.”
Gallagher’s role Saturday was the sweeper, bringing up the rear end of the pack of riders who left the Courtyard by Marriott at Coconut Beach for a 50-mile ride to Kauai’s Westside. The turnaround point was the Kauai Coffee Visitor Center where lunch greeted the field of riders.
Kymm Solchaga, the fund development director for Malama Pono, said 45 riders, including riders from Canada and Belgium, were registered for the event.
“We had 14 registered from Philippine Island Hawaii Island Bicycle Club,” said Angelo Catiggay. “Only about half came Saturday because the others had to work. They’ll all be here Sunday when we go to the North Shore.”
Solchaga said a new aspect for this year’s event is the addition of a keiki ride for youngsters which will take place today at Pono Kai resorts following the release of the adult bicyclists on the 50-mile North Shore run.
The event will take place from 8 a.m. to noon with activities, games, animals and other fun events for keiki. All participants will receive a T-shirt, snacks, drinks and lots of goodies. For those who do not have a bicycle, Holo Holo Bike Rentals, located across the road from Pono Kai, will have bikes to rent.
Jim Wolff of San Francisco said he is glad to see the Paradise Ride continue.
“I come to Hawaii special to participate in the Paradise Ride,” Wolff said. “I’ve been in all of the rides, except one — the first one. That’s 17 years I’ve been doing this. It’s a great event.”
Noran Siegel of Kona has also been a longtime rider and wants to see something similar done on the Big Island.
“I miss the camping,” Siegel said. “When the route was throughout the island, we camped out at Anini Beach. We also rode farther — to Hanalei versus Na Aina Kai. There is something about camping — eating together, spending time together — outside of bicycling where you really get to know people. Anini is one of my favorite camp sites.”
Following the run to Na Aina Kai, Greenstone Project will perform at the luau from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott.
Proceeds generated from Paradise Ride allow Malama Pono Health Services to provide a range of health and human services including case management; counseling; prevention education; testing for HIV, STDs and viral hepatitis; Women’s Wellness Clinic; fatherhood classes; and transgender services.