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Old 02-11-12, 02:01 AM   #1
ebonyp
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Have you cycled the Baja Peninsula?

What's it like? in a nutshell.

how many days do you really need and what's the ride like not along the coast? I'm considering doing this tour as soon as possible..thnx
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Old 02-11-12, 08:23 AM   #2
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First, it's Baja, pronounced Baha. Good book to read is "Baja Haha" if you want the flavor.

Fantastic place with incredible scenery and wonderful people, once you are south of Ensenada. Do a search of "touring" and there is a thread covering the details. Started last Fall some time.

In short, it's a 1000 mile cactus garden with narrow shoulders on the road, relatively light traffic, long distance between support/provision stops, excellent "stealth" camping, great beaches (though very little of the highway is on or near the beach), and more memories than you can imagine.

Do it!
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Old 02-11-12, 11:08 AM   #3
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I would suggest that you contact the local SF office of the US Dept of State, and/or AAA for any travel advisories. There was a news item on GMA this morning [2/11] wherein the State Dept issued a cautionary travel notice for various parts of Mexico due to the ever-increasing drug cartel violence. It was pointed in that the strong recommendation was for those that do go, to stay withing the resort complex.

Since you anticipate a long {solo?] ride down the Baja peninsula you will be at the whim of whom ever drives by.

I am not suggesting that you don't ride it. Just be fully aware of what you might be facing.
YMMV
-dg
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Old 02-11-12, 02:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by 200miler View Post
I would suggest that you contact the local SF office of the US Dept of State, and/or AAA for any travel advisories. There was a news item on GMA this morning [2/11] wherein the State Dept issued a cautionary travel notice for various parts of Mexico due to the ever-increasing drug cartel violence. It was pointed in that the strong recommendation was for those that do go, to stay withing the resort complex.

Since you anticipate a long {solo?] ride down the Baja peninsula you will be at the whim of whom ever drives by.

I am not suggesting that you don't ride it. Just be fully aware of what you might be facing.
YMMV
-dg
Travel advisory is only for the city of Tijuana right now. You're in and out within an hour on your bike. Most issues happen in the slums. The rest of Baja is perfectly safe. Hundreds of riders have been doing that route for the last few years with not a single issue or incident other than dogs chasing you. I host many of them who take the ferry to the mainland going south to Central and South America. I understand that they even keep a Facebook club to keep other riders updated on any incidents. Believe me, drug cartel guys deal with millions of dollars and they are NOT after foreign bicycle tourists. Cyclists riding in Baja have been quite pleased about the hospitality in general. They tell me the natural beauty and peacefullness is undescribeable. Truck drivers will even wave at you as they pass you by. I'd say go for it! There's nothing to fear.

PS. The prime season to ride Baja is almost over. It gets hot there after February. Having said that, I've met a few hardcore cyclists who've ridden Baja in the middle of the summer. It's a miserable experience though.

Last edited by Chris Pringle; 02-11-12 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 02-11-12, 11:09 PM   #5
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Cycled it this December (took 3weeks from Mexicali to La Paz).
PeeringA1 summed it up perfectly!
If interested, you can read my blog with photos, for more...
Blog about Baja
(First 5 posts under Mexico).
And no problems with safety.
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Old 02-12-12, 09:53 AM   #6
raybo
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Check out this thread from 2007. It has lots of information and journal links.
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Old 02-13-12, 09:19 AM   #7
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I did it 2 years ago, http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=6422&v=HE.

It really was the trip of a lifetime. The cycling south of San Quintin was definitely easier and the weather through mid March was nice - probably reached the 80s during the day.

I highly recommend it.
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Old 02-13-12, 11:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 200miler View Post
I would suggest that you contact the local SF office of the US Dept of State, and/or AAA for any travel advisories. There was a news item on GMA this morning [2/11] wherein the State Dept issued a cautionary travel notice for various parts of Mexico due to the ever-increasing drug cartel violence. It was pointed in that the strong recommendation was for those that do go, to stay withing the resort complex.
To say that the Department of State is "overly cautious" is, perhaps, the understatement of the century... Those guys would probably advise you not to leave your bed in the morning, if they could!
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Old 02-16-12, 03:18 AM   #9
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To say that the Department of State is "overly cautious" is, perhaps, the understatement of the century... Those guys would probably advise you not to leave your bed in the morning, if they could!
Yup - sstorkel nailed it.

We cycled Baja in 2006 and loved it. We were ahead of schedule and had 6 weeks before we would meet my mother in law in Mazatlan, so we stretched Baja out for 6 weeks. It was lovely.

Our favorite part was cycling until we passed through a teeny tiny town that had a small store. We would stock up with food and water, then ride another couple miles before heading back into the desert to camp. We found a nice place to pitch our tent in the desert, then stayed there 2 or 3 days - I could easily ride into the town to get food and water. Our sons had a blast playing in the desert!
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Old 02-16-12, 01:52 PM   #10
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Yeah, I'd agree with everything said above. I cycled it with my brother in 2008 on our way to Argentina, and it was one of the highlights of the trip. The first few days south of Tijuana weren't the best - decent amount of traffic and not all that scenic in my opinion... After El Rosario it gets fantastic - desolate and beautiful. From San Diego to a beach just past La Paz we cycled 16 days, 1545 km, with an average day of 91 km (that includes one day we biked 10 km as a rest day, just to a beach nearby). Of that, we stealth camped 14 of the 16 nights, and paid for camping once at a hotel, and once at a 'trailer park'. If you want, I've got a detailed little spreadsheet we made along the way with little route notes about road conditions, daily distance, avgs, and where we slept and all that. Feel free to send me an message and I can email it to you.
Good luck! I'd highly recommend it, and am envious - I'd love to join you!
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Old 07-10-13, 09:06 PM   #11
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Bump.

Looks like OP hasn't posted since this thread was created, however I have the same question that was raised a year and a half ago. This thread and associated links are already useful, but anyone have updates or new information or opinions on bicycling the Baja Penninsula?
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Old 07-10-13, 11:05 PM   #12
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Since this bump is written in July I recommend riding in the Spring or Fall although I have had water bottles freeze in the Sierra Juarez in December at 5000 foot elevations.
For an alternative to the standard paved route in Baja Norte, I always cross at Tecate to avoid Tijuana and Ensenada. I prefer heading East from Tecate climbing the Sierra Juarez mountains to La Rumarosa to pickup a sandy route South to the Parque Nacional de 1857/Laguna Hanson. [Wider tires needed for float in increasingly sandy conditions at times. Great place if there has been a rainy year otherwise big rocks in a sandy depression.] Heading South in the Sierra Juarez Mountains to connect with Hwy 3 heading toward Sea of Cortez and San Felipe for resupply. Then South along the Sea of Cortez shore through Puertecitos and Bahia Gonzaga and out to Hwy 1 at Laguna Chapala.

If taking the traditional route along the Pacific Ocean in N. Baja consider adding the 40 milesclimb to the observatory near 3000 meters/10K feet at Parque Nacional Sierra San Pedro Martir/ Picacho Del Diablo. Take the San Telmo exit to the park. A surprising series of climatic changes with enormous pine trees, springs and exfoliating granite at higher elevations. The views east over the Sea of Cortez to the mainland are wonderful. The down hill exit is lots of fun too.
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Old 07-18-13, 05:45 PM   #13
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Thanks Arctos for these routes. What do you mean by wider tires? What is the minimum tires size required to take these routes? I never rode heavy bicycle in the sand.
Does anybody know if riding in the sand with a bike trailer is easier or worst than with a touring bike with bags?

Do you also need such large tires to go to Picacho Del Diablo?
Thanks in advance
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Old 07-18-13, 07:30 PM   #14
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I used 2.0 for the section from La Rumarosa through Laguna Hanson to the Sea of Cortez but would have liked wider tires at some spots. It was not continuous sand just some short sections periodically. You might check with the Baja tourist ministry for current road conditions there. There were rumors of plans to improve the road a bit- whatever that means there.

2.0 also on Picacho Del Diablo with pavement and dirt/gravel alternating at times. With the university observatory up top the road is kept in rather good condition except after heavy Winter rains when you would not want to be trapped in the heavy snow up high anyway.
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