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Anyone Cross the San Diego/Tijuana border with a touring bike recently?

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Anyone Cross the San Diego/Tijuana border with a touring bike recently?

Old 10-05-17, 02:24 PM
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Anyone Cross the San Diego/Tijuana border with a touring bike recently?

I've seen lots of YouTube videos of people walking across and presumably, as a cyclist, I'm supposed to take the "pedestrian" crossing. There's a rotating gate there now and I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to get my loaded touring bike and myself through that.
Doesn't look big enough and it's at the end of a long fenced in pathway; not easy to go back around.

I'm 6'8" or 2.03m and my bike is about 1.5m long, very tall and probably an average of 100lbs with long fenders. Great for riding, rubbish for trundling through revolving doors.

What did you do when you crossed?

Last edited by TallTourist; 10-05-17 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 10-05-17, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by TallTourist View Post
I've seen lots of YouTube videos of people walking across and presumably, as a cyclist, I'm supposed to take the "pedestrian" crossing........ There's a rotating gate there now and I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to get my loaded touring bike and myself through that.

What did you do when you crossed?
I haven't been there in decades, but you start out with what's likely an erroneous assumption.

Why would a cyclist presumably use the pedestrian gate?

You're on a vehicle, and if I were there, I would try to go through the vehicle lanes first. OTOH - if that weren't possible, or they waved me off it, I'd find an alternate way through. This is one of those situations where you might have to do some problem solving based on what happens when you get there. However it's nothing to worry about because if there dozens of skeletons of cyclists accumulated outside the gate, it would have made the news by now.

As they say, it's a bridge that you'll cross when you get there.
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Old 10-05-17, 03:05 PM
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Well according to the people taking unladen bikes across (many people) you have to use the pedestrian route.

The car lineup is undesirable because its much longer.
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Old 10-05-17, 03:21 PM
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I think the other way(Mex to US); the pedestrian line should be ok. No revolving gate; but there are metal detectors.
I've used that revolving door a few times. It might be doable with you and your bike(standing/front wheel up). But I
think using the vehicle line might be easier. I didn't have a bike; I drove to the border then parked my (borrowed)car.
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Old 10-05-17, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by TallTourist View Post
Well according to the people taking unladen bikes across (many people) you have to use the pedestrian route.

The car lineup is undesirable because its much longer.
That's fine, and if that's how it works that's what you do. But as I pointed out, it can't be an issue and there's obviously a workaround of some kind that you'll manage when you get there. If nothing else, they have to have a provision wheel chairs.
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Old 10-05-17, 04:22 PM
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Just filter around all the cars. Give a friendly wave to the car in the front of the line and they'll let you cut in. That's what bikes are best for.

P.S. Do not take this advice seriously.
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Old 10-05-17, 04:43 PM
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Old 10-05-17, 05:33 PM
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I have not crossed at San Ysidro since before 9/11. Last year I crossed at Tecate instead which was a very easy and quiet crossing. However, a few thoughts:

- Browse crazyguyonabike.com and search for Tijuana. Best I can tell, several tales of crossing and most involved negotiating the gate. I did find two different stories, not on CGOAB of someone who accidentally ended up on the automobile crossing and was waived through once without a problem and once being yelled at.
- You don't need to go far to make it across a revolving gate. Are you able to lift your bicycle on end by the front wheel? Perhaps asking someone to carry front panniers. I remember using this method to cross into Tijuana in 1998 with an earlier incantation of the revolving gate...

By the way, in addition to making it across the gate, if you are going further into Baja, remember to pick up your FMM card at the border. Also if you do get an FMM card save any receipt given for payment. It might have been a scam, but when I left Mexico to get into Guatemala they decided to fine me for not having a receipt that I paid my FMM fee (I had the actual card).
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Old 10-05-17, 07:47 PM
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We crossed in about 2013. As we remember, not a big deal as the turnstiles were bigger.

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/pics...531651.jpg?v=0
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Old 10-05-17, 10:41 PM
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I went through in November of last year. I used the pedestrian route and don't remember any issues or any revolving door. I'm not sure if there was another gate or what. I do not remember having to negotiate any difficult doorways or passageways. Just rolled on through. I believe that bicycles are supposed to use the pedestrian passage but I'm not 100% sure.
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Old 10-06-17, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by DanBell View Post
I went through in November of last year. I used the pedestrian route and don't remember any issues or any revolving door. I'm not sure if there was another gate or what. I do not remember having to negotiate any difficult doorways or passageways. Just rolled on through. I believe that bicycles are supposed to use the pedestrian passage but I'm not 100% sure.
Might that have been Tecate?

I get the impression the crossing further east is brand new for the revolving gate.

I'm leaning toward crossing at Tecate now.

Any advice for me? First time in Mexico.
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Old 10-06-17, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by TallTourist View Post
Might that have been Tecate?

I get the impression the crossing further east is brand new for the revolving gate.

I'm leaning toward crossing at Tecate now.

Any advice for me? First time in Mexico.
I know this may offend you, and please understand that this is NOT my intent.

But, I wonder if you're ready to cope with Mexico where all sorts of stuff happens, and you have to be ready to roll with the punches and adapt.

Do you really believe that there's a border crossing anywhere (I really mean ANYWHERE) where they can't deal with a person on a bike? One way or another I'm sure there's a way that doesn't include having to take the bike through a revolving door.

I have no idea what it might entail, but one way or another, there's a way. It might entail being told to take the bike to the road and walk it through, it might be a detour through the office, it might be that there's a wheel chair door (in accordance the ADA), but it is not going to be an insurmountable barrier, and the likely worst case likely involves a 5 minute detour, if that.

So, go ahead and change your plans if you feel you must, but IME bike touring, especially off the beaten track takes a certain degree of optimism and expectation that you can cope with stuff as situations arise. I wish you a happy tour and hope that this border issue is the worst you encounter.
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Old 10-06-17, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I know this may offend you, and please understand that this is NOT my intent.

But, I wonder if you're ready to cope with Mexico where all sorts of stuff happens, and you have to be ready to roll with the punches and adapt.

Do you really believe that there's a border crossing anywhere (I really mean ANYWHERE) where they can't deal with a person on a bike? One way or another I'm sure there's a way that doesn't include having to take the bike through a revolving door.

I have no idea what it might entail, but one way or another, there's a way. It might entail being told to take the bike to the road and walk it through, it might be a detour through the office, it might be that there's a wheel chair door (in accordance the ADA), but it is not going to be an insurmountable barrier, and the likely worst case likely involves a 5 minute detour, if that.

So, go ahead and change your plans if you feel you must, but IME bike touring, especially off the beaten track takes a certain degree of optimism and expectation that you can cope with stuff as situations arise. I wish you a happy tour and hope that this border issue is the worst you encounter.
Of course I can handle it. That's why I'm asking for advice from people who have done the crossing recently. I want to minimize time spent at the border where criminal activity is more likely and I want to avoid pissing off border guards who require little incentive to extort gringos. I've been doing research on the crossing for this reason. I really can't understand why you're even chiming in as, by your own admission, you haven't crossed the border in decades. A lot has changed in the last several months at las fronteras nevermind the last few decades. Normally I'm all for "winging it" when it comes to travel plans but I find even border guards in first world nations are humourless and on edge so add potential corruption to the mix and my usual MO of not ***ing around at borders is even more critical.
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Old 10-06-17, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by TallTourist View Post
Of course I can handle it. That's why I'm asking for advice from people who have done the crossing recently. I want to minimize time spent at the border where criminal activity is more likely and I want to avoid pissing off border guards who require little incentive to extort gringos. I've been doing research on the crossing for this reason. I really can't understand why you're even chiming in as, by your own admission, you haven't crossed the border in decades. A lot has changed in the last several months at las fronteras nevermind the last few decades. Normally I'm all for "winging it" when it comes to travel plans but I find even border guards in first world nations are humourless and on edge so add potential corruption to the mix and my usual MO of not ***ing around at borders is even more critical.
I understand the issue of hassle at border crossings, though I've never encountered any. However, you're focused on a mechanical barrier, which realistically is like to be the least of the issues.

However, since you're willing to change plans, all I can offer is my best wishes for a great trip.
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Old 10-06-17, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by TallTourist View Post
I really can't understand why you're even chiming in as, by your own admission, you haven't crossed the border in decades. A lot has changed
My 2009 size large Salsa Fargo with racks front and rear and 4 Ortlieb bags fits throuth the rotational gate. An xl would also fit. xxxl? I dont know? You walk on the inside with bike on outside of circle. Migration is just inside the gate.

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Old 10-06-17, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by TallTourist View Post
Might that have been Tecate?

I get the impression the crossing further east is brand new for the revolving gate.

I'm leaning toward crossing at Tecate now.

Any advice for me? First time in Mexico.
I don't know where Tecate is and don't care to look it up. My response was for the San Ysidro/Tijuana border which I crossed on November, 2016. I took the pedestrian crossing with my bike and don't remember any difficult doorways of any kind.
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Old 10-06-17, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by chrisx View Post
My 2009 size large Salsa Fargo with racks front and rear and 4 Ortlieb bags fits throuth the rotational gate. An xl would also fit. xxxl? I dont know? You walk on the inside with bike on outside of circle. Migration is just inside the gate.

Baja Divide
I do it this way now.
Alright well thanks for the info. Sounds like I might be able to fit. Hopefully I will run into other two wheeled giants before the border that can confirm but if not I'll give it a try.
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Old 10-06-17, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by DanBell View Post
I don't know where Tecate is and don't care to look it up. My response was for the San Ysidro/Tijuana border which I crossed on November, 2016. I took the pedestrian crossing with my bike and don't remember any difficult doorways of any kind.
Okay well I'll probably give the pedestrian route a shot then. Thanks.

Btw Tecate is something lije 5-10miles west of San Ysidro crossing. I haven't researched it much yet but it looks way less busy.

Gracias para su consejos
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Old 10-07-17, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by fbinny View Post
i know this may offend you, and please understand that this is not my intent.

But, i wonder if you're ready to cope with mexico where all sorts of stuff happens, and you have to be ready to roll with the punches and adapt.

Do you really believe that there's a border crossing anywhere (i really mean anywhere) where they can't deal with a person on a bike? One way or another i'm sure there's a way that doesn't include having to take the bike through a revolving door.

I have no idea what it might entail, but one way or another, there's a way. It might entail being told to take the bike to the road and walk it through, it might be a detour through the office, it might be that there's a wheel chair door (in accordance the ada), but it is not going to be an insurmountable barrier, and the likely worst case likely involves a 5 minute detour, if that.

So, go ahead and change your plans if you feel you must, but ime bike touring, especially off the beaten track takes a certain degree of optimism and expectation that you can cope with stuff as situations arise. I wish you a happy tour and hope that this border issue is the worst you encounter.
^this
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Old 10-07-17, 01:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Timequake View Post
^this
Are you trolling or just trying to increase your post count?

If you think asking for advice shows a lack of preparedness I'd be interested to know how you gain up to date info on places you intend to go.

I speak a decent amount of Spanish and have enough money and mechanical aptitude to fix bikes. Not to mention being reasonably young, fit and trained in self defense. Just what do you think is going to happen to me that couldn't happen to you? I'd be curious to know.

I've seen much weaker groups and individuals go down there and have a good time despite all the naysaying.
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Old 10-08-17, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by TallTourist View Post
Btw Tecate is something lije 5-10miles west of San Ysidro crossing. I haven't researched it much yet but it looks way less busy.
Tecate is approximately 30 miles east of San Isidro
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tecate_Port_of_Entry

It is a much quieter border crossing.

I picked it not so much because of the crossing, but because the roads from there to Ensenada would be less hectic than crossing Tijuana.

Lots of people cross Tijuana, but reports I read included some on the toll road (good road but chased off) and some on the free road (busy and more debris). From what I can tell, it would be fine but this was my first ride beyond the immediate border towns so I picked Tecate to make that easy.
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Old 10-08-17, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
But, I wonder if you're ready to cope with Mexico where all sorts of stuff happens, and you have to be ready to roll with the punches and adapt.
Just curious where you have gone bicycle touring in Mexico.

Rolling with the punches and adapting is a skill I would describe as helpful to bicycle touring in general.

However, nothing in my two months in Mexico in 2016/2017 happened that would have me call it out for special mention.

What happened during your Mexico cycle trip?

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Old 10-08-17, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
Just curious where you have gone bicycle touring in Mexico.

Rolling with the punches and adapting is a skill I would describe as helpful to bicycle touring in general.

However, nothing in my two months in Mexico in 2016/2017 happened that would have me call it out for special mention.

What happened during your Mexico cycle trip?
I've only toured in the Yucatan. My point about rolling with the punches wasn't about Mexico, where the only unique issue was a drug checkpoint. It was about bicycle touring, and probably any travel because you have to expect the unexpected.

I posted the comment because IMO, the OP was projecting, and fretting over a problem that in all likelihood didn't exist, or if it did, could easily be resolved on the spot.
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Old 10-08-17, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by TallTourist View Post
Any advice for me? First time in Mexico.
Not sure where you are headed, but I found it helpful to read other travel journals and accounts from CGOAB before I left.

In my opinion, there is a fair amount of hype about Mexico. I had toured in ~20 countries and had been to Mexican border towns before my trip. However, the hype still had me cautious.

Reading the journals gave me both a perspective of others experiences and a catalog of places to stay or visit. It also helped me set expectations.

In hindsight, Baja was pretty easy and rest of Mexico, not much more difficult.
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Old 10-08-17, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
Tecate is approximately 30 miles east of San Isidro
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tecate_Port_of_Entry

It is a much quieter border crossing.

I picked it not so much because of the crossing, but because the roads from there to Ensenada would be less hectic than crossing Tijuana.

Lots of people cross Tijuana, but reports I read included some on the toll road (good road but chased off) and some on the free road (busy and more debris). From what I can tell, it would be fine but this was my first ride beyond the immediate border towns so I picked Tecate to make that easy.
So how were those roads to Ensenada? Worked out well? I'm leaning heavily toward taking that same route
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