Touring - Mexico Touring
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03-21-10, 10:29 AM
Hi all, was just wondering if anyone has had any experience riding in Mexico recently, because hopefully next year I'm wanting to do a tour that will take me through the US and try to spend a month and a half to 2 months in Mexico during winter, mostly the Sonora, Durango, and Baja regions, but I've been hearing on the news about the drug wars at the border towns and apparently they dont recommend traveling down in Mexico because of this and also some tourist in an RV got murdered down there, basically my question is does anyone know if it is safe for a cyclist to travel in midland Mexico? and if the drug wars are just contained to the border towns.
03-21-10, 10:31 AM
I should also mention that I will be traveling alone
03-21-10, 10:36 AM
Go through Juarez first. 4700 murders last year. If you get through there the rest of the ride might be safe.
Exclusively Sunday in the Houston Chronicle: The border is aflame and more chaotic and dangerous than anytime in memory because of the unrelenting drug violence from warring cartels, who continue the slaughter that has killed 18,000 people in three years and made Mexican border cities among the world's most dangerous.
Despite the presence of thousands of Mexican troops, hitmen strike at will and civilians increasingly are caught in the crossfire.
In Ciudad Juarez to the north, businesses are shuttered and thousands of families in the city of 1.3 million have fled.
03-21-10, 10:41 AM
yeah... no, haha, I was gonna cross at a little tiny place called Sonoyta, across from Arizona
My dad had told me when he was on his bike back in 1976 people told him not to go to Jaurez, and now obviously its ALOT worse there.
03-21-10, 10:42 AM
Just go and have fun.
03-21-10, 10:53 AM
I have a good friend who lives in El Paso and works in Juarez. She goes down there every single day to work and has had no problems. She says the killings are targeted and - as long as you aren't involved in the drug trade - you will be fine.
But anyway, yes we've cycled Mexico. We spent 3.5 months back in 2006/07 cycling down Baja and then back up to Arizona from Mazatlan. It was wonderful! In 2009 we cycled the entire east coast all the way down to Belize and loved that as well. Mexico is one of my favorite places to tour in the whole wide world!
03-21-10, 11:11 AM
Cool, what is like for food/water, are the towns spread really far apart?
03-22-10, 06:51 AM
I found the places i cycled to be very safe;...yucatan....chiapas....pacific coast from PV to Huatulco...oaxaca.
Check out www.pathebikeguy.com (http://www.pathebikeguy.com) for details.
Have a good time.
This page has 10 links to information about bike touring in Mexico (http://www.biketouringtips.com/searchTips.html?country=Mexico&state=&place=&id=&subtopic=). Not all the links will be of interest to you but some will be.
03-22-10, 10:20 AM
It will depend on where you are if the towns are spread out or not. We could generally find a tiny little town where we could buy water every day, although there were some times when there was nothing. Just ask - it won't be hard to find out.
03-25-10, 01:49 PM
I just got back from Baja - seemed safe to me.
Here's my blog of my experiences:
03-30-10, 01:40 AM
I cycled Baja a last year and it was incredible!! I recommend it very highly.
First of all, with regards to safety: use common sense and listen to the locals. Of course anything can happen, but you will be amazed by how friendly people are. There are federal police checkpoints throughout Baja and it can be unnerving for people not used to soldiers with semi-automatics, but I never had a problem. Bottom line: I felt safer in Mexico than people back home listening to the news, serious!!
Quick advice: Use Baja California maps by International Travel Maps from Canada. They were very accurate and helpful.
Food and water are fairly easy to come by, there are even supermarkets in bigger towns and water can be purchased in gas stations, etc.
I would also recommend Swable Marathon tires because of the hard to see thorns and lots of glass. Worth the extra money for peace of mind. Learn how to make some basic recipes using ingredients most likely to be avaliable in your tour region. Sample the local food!!
I would also recomment buying a guidebook (simply tear out the sections you don't need). This makes finding cheap lodging so much easier. Don't forget about hotshowers.com and couchsurfing.com.
Hi - we spent a couple of months riding through Mexico at the end of last year and had no problems. We entered through El Paso/Juarez (due to bicycle reasons), we stayed in an expensive hotel whilst there, saw lots of milltary/police but no violence. We were nervous though and when we road through and out of Juarez we made sure we got well clear of town and got well of the road to camp the first night. After that our nerves relaxed and we never had any problems - with the exception of a few towns that had a strange feel (we came across a couple of these riding in the US as well) the people were very friendly and happy to let us camp on there land at night. All in all a positive riding experience for us - so I say go for it.
For more info on our route and experiences in Mexico - http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/NM2009P1
03-30-10, 01:48 PM
This is older but I toured Mexico as part of my 1998-2000 world tour. The border areas are dangerous (all border areas are, in their own way). But I gave my 'happiest people in the world!' award to the folks in Mexico.
That being said: there are several comments I will make:
(1) ride early in the AM and stop around 5 PM. The roads are safer and less traveled then.
(2) listen to locals, not government sources/state department sources etc, about dangerous areas. Most government bodies have an incentive to lie about problems in order to keep tourism dollars flowing in.
(3) The latest scam is "ATM drainage" but this is primarily in the cities and wealthy tourist areas.
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