Kauai’s first official bicycle race took place on the morning of July 4, 1927, starting at the Koloa side of the Hanapepe Bridge on Hanapepe Road, and finishing at the Makaweli baseball field, a distance of approximately four miles.
More than 50 cyclists entered the race, which was easily won by John Kauhako (1909-66) of Honolulu riding a racing bike.
A youngster from Port Allen by the name of Ching, who happened to be deaf and unable to speak, took second place around 300 yards behind Kauhako, while riding an ordinary bicycle with a coaster brake.
Isamu Harada of Makaweli, also riding an ordinary bike, came in third.
Kauhako was awarded the winners cup, and a cup donated by the All-Around Chinese Athletes organization was presented to local boy Ching.
John Kauhako was one of the top cyclists in Hawaii during the 1920s and 1930s, competing in many bicycle races on Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island.
Although he never won the annual “Around Oahu Bicycle Classic” sponsored beginning in 1924 by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin newspaper — and in his day Hawaii’s premier long distance cycling event — he was a top finisher, placing second in 1929 and 1930, fourth in 1927 and sixth in 1925.
He also took second place in the annual Waianae to Honolulu bicycle races of 1928 and 1930 and was second in the Honolulu sprint championships of 1927 and 1928.
His wins included a 12-mile and a 5-mile race in Honolulu in 1927, the above-mentioned Hanapepe-Makaweli race, a 2-mile race in Honolulu in 1928 and a 10-mile win on the Big Island in 1929.
Tragically, John Kauhako died in 1964, three hours after being hit by a car while he was cycling on Likelike Highway in Kaneohe, Oahu.
Other Hawaii cycling greats during the Kauhako era were: Richard Takeguchi, Happy U. Mitsuhiro, Louis Dias, John K. Lovell, three-time around Oahu race winner John Duarte and five-time winner Peter K. Schubert.