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Small country road

Old 12-01-22, 02:24 PM
  #51  
denis_987
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Ive ridden on lots of dirt roads in Mexico, and some (most) have a good enough surface, some though I was really, really glad to have 2in wide tires that make it so much easier riding over soft, loose or very rocky surfaces.
As your bike has 35mm tires, it probably will be ok on dirt roads, but it could sometimes be a bit of a pain in the derriere.
Hey, by the way, what bike is it?
It is a Ghost Square Trekking 4.8 at least 4 or 5 years old
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Old 12-01-22, 03:53 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by denis_987 View Post
It is a Ghost Square Trekking 4.8 at least 4 or 5 years old
ya, I remember when they were selling Ghost bikes at MEC.
It has good gearing with the 48/36/26 and 11-34
Be sure to check the rack bolts every week or so, they tend to loosen with panniers on day after day. Do not over tighten though.
Don't forget to be careful if you have to remove a wheel if you get a flat, to not press the brake handles. Being hydraulic discs, if you do this, you can over extend the pads and cause problems with seals.

I found Mexico to be pretty good for broken glass on roads. Guatemala is much worse, but you still have to be careful. And you could be going through areas with thorns, so again, you have to be on the ball. It is too late for tire suggestions because your bike is already down in Texas. I was pretty lucky for not having flats, but one never knows. I did have pretty good tires though.

touche de bois, touch wood,

Also when I know that I have just run over some glass, I take 1 minute , stop and run my finger over each tire to make sure a tiny piece isn't just starting to stick in, I don't always always do it, but often if I think its worth it because I will catch a small sharp piece before it works its way deeper. Be careful when pushing your bike over grass and whatnot, for thorns. I have clear memories of seeing field workers with their bikes upside down and running a cloth over their tires to dislodge stuck in thorns.

Last edited by djb; 12-01-22 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 12-02-22, 08:52 AM
  #53  
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Hey Denis, did you prepare and educate yourself properly for getting vaccines etc? What did you get?
Are you aware of health Canada or Quebec recommendations for various things like hepatitis, etc plus the fact that you most likely will be going through higher risk malaria, dengue, chikunguya (probably not right spelling) ie mosquito borne diseases?

I hope you are prepared, because you are too late to get things done now, vaccines I mean.

Have you also researched getting together a good first aid kit etc, including meds to deal with intestinal issues that could very likely happen, almost a certainty to be realistic.
Being on your own and having super painful diarrhea and vomiting at same time is not fun. Been there done that.

All I bring up are serious considerations that I hope you have planned for.
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Old 12-02-22, 09:03 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
ya, I remember when they were selling Ghost bikes at MEC.
It has good gearing with the 48/36/26 and 11-34
I changed the 11-34 for a 11-46... Better for steep climbs as the bike is very heavy with all the luggage.
Years ago I was using a Radical Design Cyclone IV trailer much too heavily loaded and the 11-46 was very useful. Since then, I managed to reduce a little bit of my luxury items for camping and now I use panniers instead (front and back) but still use the 11-46. And I still use the trailer from time to time (without panniers!!!). I switch from trailer to panniers because when renting a motel, I had difficulties with the space taken by the trailer in small rooms..
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Old 12-02-22, 09:11 AM
  #55  
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The incidence of malaria, dengue, chikungunya, & zika in Mexico is low. Malaria prophylaxis for Mexico is not recommended by any health site that I've seen.

The following has data for dengue, chikungunya, & zika in the Americas:
https://ais.paho.org/ha_viz/Arbo/Arb...22.asp?env=pri
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Old 12-02-22, 09:22 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Hey Denis, did you prepare and educate yourself properly for getting vaccines etc? What did you get?
Are you aware of health Canada or Quebec recommendations for various things like hepatitis, etc plus the fact that you most likely will be going through higher risk malaria, dengue, chikunguya (probably not right spelling) ie mosquito borne diseases?

I hope you are prepared, because you are too late to get things done now, vaccines I mean.

Have you also researched getting together a good first aid kit etc, including meds to deal with intestinal issues that could very likely happen, almost a certainty to be realistic.
Being on your own and having super painful diarrhea and vomiting at same time is not fun. Been there done that.

All I bring up are serious considerations that I hope you have planned for.
Thank you for your advice, you are very kind for these reminders... I am up to date with my doses. I bring with me a full box of imodium ( ), a small first aid kits, ointment for the buttocks, Tylenol, Voltaren extra, a Steripen, water filter, tick tweezers, maybe other things (I should have to look in my bag to give you the whole list ).
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Old 12-02-22, 10:11 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by denis_987 View Post
Thank you for your advice, you are very kind for these reminders... I am up to date with my doses. I bring with me a full box of imodium ( ), a small first aid kits, ointment for the buttocks, Tylenol, Voltaren extra, a Steripen, water filter, tick tweezers, maybe other things (I should have to look in my bag to give you the whole list ).
The other one I would look at is Yellow Fever requirements. When I cycled central America in 2017, it was a little unclear if any country would ask for yellow fever certificate at border. None did as I crossed land borders through US/Mexico/Guatamala/Honduras/Nicaragua/Costa Rica/Panama. However, prior to travel I found the requirements ambiguous (e.g. only need a yellow fever certificate if traveling from Africa and not neighboring country). I had a yellow fever certificate because of prior travels across Africa in 2013 so it wasn't an issue in any case.



The other medicine related item I'll mention is that I brought with me doxycycline as an anti-malarial (after consulting with a travel clinic). I didn't end up taking any because I didn't seem to get into any mosquito areas (traveling from November to April).

I did later take a few doxycycline when I developed some painful saddle sores coming a day or two before arriving in Quito. It seemed to be an antibiotic and I followed instructions as if I was going into a malaria zone. One I was in Quito I found a clinic and they helped treat the saddle sorts and confirmed it had been ok for the doxycyline.
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Old 12-02-22, 10:51 AM
  #58  
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Yes. Doxycycline is an antibiotic. One of its uses is to prevent malaria. It can also help with acne, among other things.
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Old 12-02-22, 11:02 AM
  #59  
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I had with me some antibiotics for if I had a really really bad gastrointestinal situation. I can't recall name but got a prescription for it easily because of my travel plans. Never used it thankfully.

I would suggest buying some of those little packets of powdered electrolyte stuff. I'll take a photo of it later, easily bought at a jean coutu pharmacy or whatever. Very useful if you've lost lots of liquids from diarrhea and or vomiting.
I also used these at times when riding in extremely hot and humid days made me feel wrung out from sweating so much. It's like Gatorade, to replenish lost electrolytes, salt, pottasium.
Bananas are great for potassium, plus I love them as a cheap, easy snack to keep on top of blood sugar and carbs.
Coconut juice, often sold by roadside vendors, is also great , kind of like Gatorade too.
Also suggest some of those little packs of individual antiseptic wipes, handy to clean out a scrape.
I also had polyspirin, handy for any wound, including saddle sores.
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Old 12-02-22, 11:27 AM
  #60  
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denis, I wouldn't be seeking medical advice from random people on bikeforums, including from me. I know you haven't been seeking it, but lots of folks are giving it anyway. When I see things which are either incorrect or give a false impression, I feel compelled to respond.

Yellow fever is not found north of the Panama Canal. It is found in parts of South America and Africa. I got a yellow fever vaccination myself before I went to amazonial Ecuador.

Yes, doxycycline is an antibiotic which can be used as a malaria prophylaxis. However, a common side-effect is that it makes many people photosensitive, which could be a major issue on a bike trip. Furthermore, as I wrote previously, anti-malarials are not recommended for Mexico by any health site that I'm aware of.

Pharmacies are easily found throughout Mexico.
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Old 12-02-22, 11:42 AM
  #61  
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Absolutely Ax, I got all of my recommendations from an established travel clinic in a major Montreal hospital, regarding recommended shots, their evaluation of malaria risk as per their guidelines for a given area at given month of the year.
I personally had no need for worrying about mosquito born diseases, but I wasn't traveling down the coastal areas.
I have no idea what professional recommendations he has had, if any, so just wanted to start the conversation. (Albeit, leaving in less than a week probably doesn't really leave time to get an appt at a proper travel clinic)

I do know friends and family who have gotten dengue fever, malaria and chekenguya (gotta find out how to spell that properly) , but one in Africa, two others in the Carribbean. Not gulf of Mexico coast, but still wanted to address it to hopefully initiate some looking into things if not done already.
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Old 12-02-22, 12:41 PM
  #62  
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djb, none of the mosquito-born diseases you brought up are deemed to be significant issues in Mexico by any health authorities that I'm aware of. I wouldn't mention a disease unless it's known to be an actual issue for where someone is going. Lots of people, not just Denis, will read it and then have incorrect ideas in their heads about diseases found in Mexico.

I've traveled to the Gulf coast of Mexico myself, as well as to the Yucatan. This is the dry season in most of the area where he'll be biking. Tabasco state and southeastern Veracruz state will likely have some rain, though it's still drier during the winter than from June-November. I don't recall any issues with mosquitos during my travels in Veracruz state or in the Yucatan. My travels were between December and February, i.e. the dry season. During the North American summer months, the Yucatan sounds awful with high temperatures, high humidity, high rainfall, and lots of bugs.
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Old 12-02-22, 03:16 PM
  #63  
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If all what you say is correct, that's great. If it were me going this way, I would still want to confirm that from reliable sources.
I certainly wasn't fear mongering, just bringing up the concerns, as Denis hadn't mentioned anything of this sort of stuff, but thanks for your specific experiences in the area.
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Old 12-03-22, 08:17 PM
  #64  
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Denis, it is fairly easy and inexpensive to purchase a Mexican cell phone plan and sim card. You'll get some data and unlimited phone calls to the u.s. and Canada. I found this very useful.
You may want to consider this.
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Old 12-04-22, 09:30 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
Furthermore, as I wrote previously, anti-malarials are not recommended for Mexico by any health site that I'm aware of.
I typically look at the US CDC site for travel health and at US State Department site for travel advisories.

For what it is worth, here is the CDC page on Mexico: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destina...vel-single-001

"CDC recommends that travelers going to certain areas of Mexico take prescription medicine to prevent malaria."

From that page. this link: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowb...ico#seldyfm948 clarifies the recommendation is for Chiapas and southern part of Chihuahua and for all other areas with malaria transmission mosquito avoidance only. It also says there is no malaria transmission along the US/Mexico border.

The US State Department health and safety page - https://travel.state.gov/content/tra...es/Mexico.html in the general health section has a list of diseases that are prevalent. Malaria is not on the list, though some other mosquito borne diseases are on the list. Correspondingly, the CDC has a map for dengue - https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowb...iseases/dengue

The Canadian travel advisory for Mexico has a health section - https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/mexico#health that says "Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options." It also lists some mosquito borne diseases.

In any case, before I went through Latin America in 2016/2017, I had a consultation with a travel clinic. Based on that consultation, I picked vaccines and medicines to take with me. I took an anti-malarial with me, but didn't end up using it.

Last edited by mev; 12-04-22 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 12-04-22, 07:50 PM
  #66  
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mev, I was aware that there have been some cases of malaria in a small part of lowland southern Chiapas state along the border with Guatemala (it's a very remote area), but I was genuinely surprised that there have been any recent cases of malaria in Chihuahua state. Most, if not all of Chihuahua, is a desert, not exactly a prime environment for mosquitos. PAHO, the Pan Am Health Org I linked to earlier, has a map having fairly good detail about where there have been cases of malaria reported in Mexico. That map shows there are 2 very small geographic areas with a concentration, one is a small remote part of southern Chihuahua, the other in a small remote part of southern Chiapas. In any event, the OP isn't going anywhere near either of these areas, plus he's going in the dry season. In fact, few visitors go to either of these areas because of their remoteness. I was actually in Chiapas for 3 weeks but mostly in and around San Cristobal de las Cases, which is at a very high altitude (about 7,200 ft/ 2,200m), and during the dry season (winter). Zero mosquitos. Indeed it's pretty chilly at night there in the winter. I was studying Spanish there but I did a bunch day trips on my bike while there, but at altitude. Anyway, I'm a little surprised the CDC seems to be painting all of Chiapas with the same broad brush since it's a large state with huge elevation differences.

Other mosquito-born diseases like dengue are not non-existent in Mexico, but the incidence is low compared to other countries in tropical Latin America, and once again, the OP is going during the dry season. While I would expect the Yucatan to be bone dry while the OP is there, there's a good chance he'll encounter some rain in Tabasco and SE Veracruz, so some mosquito precautions may be prudent. FWIW, there are a small number of dengue cases reported in the US, too. (I imagine that many or most are travel-related, but I haven't attempted to look that up.)

My friend & I had a significant rain shower in a microclimate area in SE Veracruz in Jan/Feb. When we visited a moist tropical forest reserve the next morning, we couldn't get a guide to take us on the trails there. The reason? The guide said that after rain, there were often snakes out and about. There are a variety of venomous snake species found throughout Mexico. The dangerous fer-de-lance is found in eastern Mexico and is reportedly an aggressive snake.

As I wrote previously, yellow fever is not found north of the Panama Canal. Hopefully, that remains true in the future.

The first time I went to the Yucatan, my guidebook incorrectly warned of swimming in fresh water due to schistosomiasis. I was surprised to read that so I researched it because I wanted to go swimming in a cenote, if possible. It turned out the guidebook was wrong. Schistosomiasis was not found in Central America or Mexico. Apparently there is a small danger in some Caribean islands now, however.

I've taken anti-malarials twice after doing a fair bit of research. In some places, I decided that the risk was extremely low and didn't take them. For example in Laos. Because cases were mostly in southern Laos during the wet season and I was only going to northern Laos during the dry season, I chose not to take anti-malarials. I never noticed any mosquitos on that trip and I had zero rain while biking there. I did begin taking anti-malarials before going into the Amazon basin of Ecuador, but we were there in the dry season and we slept under mosquito netting the 2 or 3 nights we were there. When I was back in the highlands of Ecuador, I decided to stop taking the anti-malarials because I hadn't been bitten at all by mosquitos while in the Amazon, and there was no danger up in the Andes.
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Old 12-05-22, 11:21 AM
  #67  
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Agree that there wasn't much in way of mosquitoes when I visited - and don't have anything to dispute your account of Chiapas.

Not sure exactly what was on the sites before my visit, but if it was something similar to what is on there now, I can see how my travel clinic consultation would have said "there are some places listed with malaria so consider taking anti-malarials" (Mexico, Central America and Colombia/Ecuador). That is what I did and brought with me. However, when I didn't see much in way of mosquitoes I also didn't take the medicine I had with me.

I had taken anti-malarials on a prior trip through Africa. In that case, it was a supported ride (TDA) and while didn't see much in way of mosquitoes either, it was part of the general recommendations and we were traveling quick enough through different climates that it made sense. Fortunately, didn't notice any side effects that these medicines can have.

Also this year, I know someone who died of malaria. This was a couple in their 70s where we both cycled with the same Colorado-based cycling group. They went on a (non-cycling) trip to Rwanda to see gorillas earlier this year. On return didn't feel well, eventually ended up in the hospital with a diagnosis of malaria. She survived and he passed away. I don't know if they were taking anti-malarial medication and note the level of warning is higher for Rwanda than any of the places I traveled in Latin America. So in any case, I am cautious and have a travel consultation before trips like this and try to follow advice given.

As far as yellow fever goes, it was more about admission requirements across various borders than the disease itself. There are some borders where they can be picky and I recall some didn't have the best wording (I think the general intent was to avoid spread from places where YF was prevalent e.g. Africa into these countries - but the wording didn't always clearly say this). I did have one border (Bolivia) where they were definitely interested in seeing a YF card even though I was at high altitude in the Altiplano and had come from Peru. I had the YF yellow card with me from prior trip across Africa.
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Old 12-16-22, 03:56 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by John N View Post
If you want a cool and very relaxed crossing into Mexico, cross here: https://goo.gl/maps/an1tv8rwV2chKHaw7 . It is a hand-pulled ferry crossing with very little traffic and a small border town so now issues. You can mostly take county roads to get there. Be sure to get your long-term visitor card and you may have to ask for it since they assume most people crossing there are going to stay withing the border exclusion area. Once in Mexico, I would stick to toll roads over the free road. I would personally avoid "two track" types of roads when possible, just because they are slower, sandier, and are typically near less services. Of course, if riding on one to avoid a major congested area then fine. Have a great trip!
Originally Posted by denis_987 View Post
After checking for the Los Ebanos ferry option, I is very tempting to go by the ferry!

There is a Youtube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhjmnCBFTHU) that shows it. Seem to me at lot more quiet than any other entry point...and it is only 2$ as per in the video and also only 37 Km extra. It crossed a small town on the mexican side and not the crowded city of Reynosa.

The only thing that bother me is the fence on street view just before US customs in the middle of the road ( https://www.google.com/maps/@26.2400...!7i3328!8i1664). Will see by myself when I get there.


It is true that the ferry is very relaxing to cross the border BUT: The customs guys on the Mexico side (3 young guys 18 to 25 years max) do not know anything about the FMM form. I even had to show them a picture from internet of the form!. After that they called Reynosa customs and they tell them that I have to go to Reynosa to be able to have and pay for the FMM form.

So, ok to cross the border but be aware that you have to make a detour and waste a lot of time at Reynosa customs. But since I was already in Mexico, they didn't search my luggages a second time.

By the way, there was no fence (or gate) on the road (as on street view on US side) before accessing the ferry. And don't forget to applied brakes when going down to take the ferry - there is a very steep slope.

At Reynosa Customs: I wanted to pay my passage by credit card, and the window between me and the clerk has only a small opening (to pass cash) they tried to ask me for my pin number!!! Don't tell tell! They have a secondary window a little further that have a bigger access for them to pass the credit card keyboard. Don't fall into the trap! This was not a good "first impression" of mexicans.
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Old 12-16-22, 05:17 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by denis_987 View Post
It is true that the ferry is very relaxing to cross the border BUT: The customs guys on the Mexico side (3 young guys 18 to 25 years max) do not know anything about the FMM form. I even had to show them a picture from internet of the form!. After that they called Reynosa customs and they tell them that I have to go to Reynosa to be able to have and pay for the FMM form.

So, ok to cross the border but be aware that you have to make a detour and waste a lot of time at Reynosa customs. But since I was already in Mexico, they didn't search my luggages a second time.

By the way, there was no fence (or gate) on the road (as on street view on US side) before accessing the ferry. And don't forget to applied brakes when going down to take the ferry - there is a very steep slope.

At Reynosa Customs: I wanted to pay my passage by credit card, and the window between me and the clerk has only a small opening (to pass cash) they tried to ask me for my pin number!!! Don't tell tell! They have a secondary window a little further that have a bigger access for them to pass the credit card keyboard. Don't fall into the trap! This was not a good "first impression" of mexicans.
That is good to know. Out of curiosity, when did you cross. My experience was probably 5-7 years ago and I completed the form there.
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Old 12-18-22, 09:18 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by John N View Post
That is good to know. Out of curiosity, when did you cross. My experience was probably 5-7 years ago and I completed the form there.
I crossed last week (december 11th)
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Old 01-07-23, 03:57 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by denis_987 View Post
A day when I learned something is not a wasted day...What should I have used instead?
Peut-être bien une histoire de « s » à road ?
;-)
Have a nice trip.
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