Scootin' In Kona! Karleen's wild moped ride on the Big Island of Hawaii!

Scootin' In Kona! Karleen's wild moped ride on the Big Island of Hawaii!
image of Karleen geared up for scooter ride in Falcon jacket

Well, I bit the bullet and finally took a proper little vacation! First time since 2019 (before my vertebrae fracturing accident!) I highly recommend taking a break to all of you. Even a little 5 day refresher did me a world of good. The last couple years have been insane. So I went back to one of my favorite places on earth, Kona, Hawaii. ::elated sigh::

First of all, the scooter rental people were all cool and chill. It was hard to choose. Ultimately, the guy who was enthusiastic and helpful about helmets is who I went with. Hunter at Big Island Mopeds was rad! 

I was last minute so all the 125-150’s were rented. So, I opted for the less expensive 50 cc because hot stone massage and guided waterfall hiking tour and ocean view room all happened. 

Falcon Jacket and 50 CC moped my noble little steed!
My noble 50 cc steed & Falcon Jacket. 

It was Sunday, Mother’s Day. After 2 days in Kona I was excited to cruise! First order of business, test run to the Hawaii Forest and Trail HQ. I don’t like surprises at 6:30 AM on Monday. So I wanted a test run on Sunday at a lazy 9:30 AM well fed and caffeinated! 

Well, it started fine. Then I realized the 25 mph road was now a 2 lane divided Highway 35 MPH ok…that little scoot was topping out but I’m confident and dressed in gear…

I kept going, oh shit! Then it turned to 45 mph. Full open I got 40 - and now I’ve ridden mopeds a long time, they are not stable at high speeds. And they have tiny tiny brakes. Rather than max out a 50 cc moped, piss off locals in big trucks, and give myself a panic attack. I exited and made a safe turn around before getting stuck on the highway! 

That mile on the highway back was exciting! A jeep passed me on the right in the merge lane, whipped in front and made a cockeyed stop at the light. I saw all that coming and was 100% happy with my choice to abort this mission! 

That light was the end of the 45 zone, back to the moped's 35 mph range. Phew! 

Hahah OK so, this little scoot was gonna get me to the beaches and gorgeous scenic byway of All’i Drive. But not the commercial part of Kona, where my tour HQ was located. See, this is why a test run is a good idea! 

Glad of my gear choices. Feeling confident with my decision to NOT be a dumb ass tourist. I had some water and checked my map. 

Then had a beautiful, appropriate speed cruise down the coast! 

Kona coast photo by Karleen
Magic Sands Beach 

White sand beaches, tropical palms, hot pink flowers dotting the road way. Sea breeze. I was enjoying it so much, I didn’t want to stop for pics! 

Lots of mopeds, a few big bikes…we all grinned and waved at each other! 

Alos, Sunday drivers and beach traffic to the max. 

It was also Mother’s Day, as I mentioned. So, after about 2 hours of scooting I was OVER the Sunday beach traffic and cruised on back for some pool/beach activity myself. 

Ginger flowers growing wild
Shell ginger flowers in the wild!

Rental Day One Takeaways: 

Travel with pono 

Be respectful of local people and environments. That includes not taking your 50 cc moped on the Hwy! Sheesh! 

Hawaii laws; no lane sharing, you gotta chill in beach traffic like everyone else. 

Eye protection is required by law.

Helmets are not required by law. Big Island Moped strongly encourages them and makes you sign a contract saying you’ll wear one. That’s why I choose them over a similarly priced competitor! 

I also encourage you to wear some gear- always. 

Falcon Jacket, pants, boots
Falcon Jacket on the beach, jeans and leather boots.

Let me tell you, when I found myself suddenly on the Hwy I was happy I had boots, pants, Falcon textile jacket, gloves, 1/2 shell helmet, and eye protection on. That’s a lite gear kit for me, a scooter get-up. My regular boots, jeans, and light weight gloves are NOT actually motorcycle gear. 

When the speed limit increased, and I saw the divided highway begin…My reflexes went for the clutch and shifter - that’s when I was cognizant of the facts. I did not have the right machine or gear for that road! So, pay attention. TRUST yourself! 

Day Two…

Well day 2 I actually was totally beat from an all day hiking adventure. So, I decided to relax and get at it the next morning! 

Karleen in falcon jacket
Nothing like that wind in your hair don't care vibe!

Day Three! 

All’i drive cruise on Tuesday morning was a totally different experience! You know when no one is in front of you, and no one is behind you, the weather is perfect and you can just cruise ? 

Yup. That’s exactly what I got! 

I stopped at beaches for little walks, saw a beautiful school of fish swimming in the reef. It was low tide so the tide pools were amazing! 

Glorious ocean views washed all my troubles away in a couple hours! 

Tropical fish
I didn't put my snorkel gear on my bike, and I didn't even miss it!

Feeling elated, and ready to hit the water myself…I then scooted into town for a new sari to resume my beach bum status! 

And yeah, I did wear my light jacket, boots and jeans the whole time. It was about 75 degrees and breezy.  So moving along the coast I was totally comfy and happy in my Falcon Jacket. I removed the armor and back protector so it was lightweight, airy, and easy to roll into my suitcase. 

Raven Rova Falcon Jacket on the beach
Falcon Jacket on the beach chillin'

For a low speed, casual cruise that’s been my jacket and set up of choice for a few years! When I go tackle a twisty road on my dual sport, yeah I gear up with armor. I also live in the SF Bay area, tons of people on the roads. So ya know, “dress for the slide, not the ride.” Back to Kona for a sec….

tide pool
low tide is magical!


Would i rent a moped again ? Yes, but I’ll plan ahead and get a 150 or 250 for more range. I will also bring my own helmet because I have a tiny head and I just feel better with a well fitted brain bucket. 

Would I rent a bigger bike visiting the Hawaiian islands ? Probably not. 

If I’m going far out I want an epic hike or something. And I tend to like food, water, and some AC after all day hiking - not more elements from riding. 

Now, on the other hand I have seen some dirt bike adventures pop up recently- I’d definitely go do that in Hawaii! Or anywhere! 

The 50 cc moped was comical on hills. I’ve been riding super moto / adv bikes for 7 years too. So, uh, haha haha basically the opposite! I managed just fine though, I pulled over to let antsy people pass, just like on the PCH that’s a nice thing to do! More of that “pono” I was talking about earlier. 

Karleen all grins
After glow, feeling much better after a cruise! 

So, all in all - 2 wheels move the soul! Regardless of your budget and top speed! 

Mopeds are a fantastic way to get some 2 wheel time on your vacation without breaking the bank, or feeling guilty when it’s parked and you're sipping a mai tai at the pool! 

Make sure you give yourself a break once in a while! As we reemerge into the world after 2 years of covid…travel with pono! 

Grip it, rip it and enjoy the ride! (or just chill…..)



Oh, and FYI I just want to be crystal clear about this in case you’re wondering. Raven Rova doesn’t pay me. So, all your crowdfunding contributions and orders go 100% into production and keep Raven Rova going! I work as a professional UX Designer on top of Raven Rova. So, yah the hustle is real babes! 

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