New attraction shifts ziplining into a higher gear on Kauai

Kauai, Hawaii’s Garden Isle, has long been known more for its outdoor adventure opportunities than urban amenities such as nightlife and a busy dining scene.

It recently added another feather to its adventure cap when Kauai ATV and Koloa Zipline opened the first bicycle zipline in the U.S.

The activity is as simple as it sounds: a bicycle is rigged to ziplines above and below, riders slip into a harness attached to the line above and pedal across the lower line while suspended three stories in the air.

Kauai ATV and Koloa Zipline owner Olie Rivera got the idea to add the Kauai Zip Bike while vacationing in his native Colombia in 2018. While there, he was able to experience one of the few bicycle ziplines in the world (they can also be found in Mexico and the Philippines).

“Our owner did it with his family over there, and when he came back, he immediately started planning to set one up here,” said Matt Wood, manager of marketing and groups. “We already had a zipline course, we have lots of property, and Olie felt it would be something cool that would be easy for us to introduce.”

The construction on the platforms and ziplines began in late 2019, and the project was completed just in time to offer a new adrenaline-pumping adventure to the tourists who are making their way back to the Islands now that Covid restrictions have been lifted for most.

The Kauai Zip Bike is located on Kauai ATV and Koloa Zipline’s 22,000 acres of land on the south side of Kauai in the town of Koloa.

“The bike is locked in, and you are locked in, so there is really no way for anyone to fall off the line,” Wood said. “You are above the Waita Reservoir and get just beautiful views of the water and surrounding mountain range.”

The line is 700 feet long and perched 30 feet in the air. Participants turn around after reaching the first platform with the help of staff and make the return trip above the 545-acre reservoir.

“You pedal both ways, back and forth down the line, and it’s easy to pedal the bike,” Wood said. “You really don’t need to know how to ride a bike to do the tour because the bike is locked in the upright position. All you need to know how to do is move your feet.”

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There are three separate, parallel lines, so friends and family can race each other down and back, and Wood said the new experience has resurfaced some of the jitters that experienced traditional zipline riders feel on their very first rides.

“It’s like the high wire at the circus where you’d see clowns ride a bicycle across a tightrope. For me the experience stands alone and is very different from a regular zipline tour,” Wood said. “It’s like doing a zipline for the very first time, you get butterflies again.”

At the end of the zip bike, riders take the “Leap of Faith.” Participants are attached to a belay system and jump off of the platform for a momentary free fall before being slowly lowered to the ground.

In addition to the Kauai Zip Bike experience, Kauai ATV and Koloa Zipline offer a waterfall ATV tour and a cave ATV tour as well as the standard zipline course of eight lines, including one that is a half-mile long.

“It’s been slamming,” Wood said. “Our ATV and zipline tours are pretty much sold out a couple weeks in advance and sometimes farther out. If you are booking your airline ticket within a two-month period of your trip dates, I would go ahead and book activities then, too.”

Kauai ATV and Koloa Zipline plan to add to the Kauai Zip Bike experience over the next six months. There are plans to build climbing walls into the sides of the platforms so participants will have another activity while they wait for their turn on the zip bikes. They also have fishing poles and water bikes available for guests to use in the reservoir.

The Kauai Zip Bike is priced at $70 per person. Participants must be at least 7 years old, and all minors must be accompanied by an adult. The maximum group size is 12.

Kauai ATV is open daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Koloa Zipline is open Mondays through Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. However, the Zip Bike is currently operating only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The companies pay travel advisors 15% per booking.

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