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Riding Mexico-is it safe

Old 12-16-03, 12:17 PM
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Riding Mexico-is it safe

I am wanting to do some riding in Mexico this summer. I am thinking of maybe going from Laredo TX down to Guadalajara then up the Pacific coast. I am worried about my panniers getting stolen. I know I can get locks on them but couldn't they just take the whole thing? I got a U-lock so i think i'd be alright about the bike not getting stolen. And what about getting mugged, camping on the side of the road,etc?

any thoughts would be great

GQ
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Old 12-16-03, 03:34 PM
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Anytime you go into Mexico, you'll want to carry anything of value on your person. Anything else will get stolen faster than you can say "ay, caramba!", especially in any 'touristy' town. Also, make sure you carry enough cash to satisfy the federales when they ask for a bribe, lest ye find out just how bad a Mexican jail is....
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Old 12-16-03, 05:13 PM
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I always bungee corded everything to my rack- I had so many bungee cords securing my packs on, and they are so tightly woven, that even with a knife, it would take at least a minute or two, and that's all I need to get in and out of a store or in and out of a bathroom.

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Old 12-16-03, 07:37 PM
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Some of my bike group ride down Baja California each January. Baja is pretty isolated. They seem to enjoy it. Biggest worry...ROads are narrow and at times busy. They do all 1100 miles. ONly problem they once had with conflicts.They occupied what they thought was an abandoned barn. It was not. The rightful owner came back to recalim the property.
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Old 12-16-03, 07:47 PM
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It would not be worth the worries that come along with it in my opinion. Just ride here in the states.
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Old 12-16-03, 07:56 PM
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I did a lot of touring through Mexico and NEVER had a problem in 3.5 months. Granted 1 of those months was touring the desolate Baja California, but you will probably have some of that along your way through the mainland.
I don't buy the bribe talk Dave was giving you. None of the police or military gave me or any other cyclists I talked to problems.
Do you plan on tenting? I recommend it for some parts of Mexico, though you may have locals telling you it is more dangerous than it is. Use common sense. Anyway, if you keep your panniers or valubles inside the tent, it should be fine. I always figure if people are going to go thru the trouble of grabbing that stuff while I am around, they are probably willing to be aggressive and probably want more than just the panniers. When you are stopped and going into stores to get some food, you might want to snap off your computer and I always bring in my handlebar bag which carries my camera and other important stuff. People won't mess with it in a public place, in my experience. You might have a collection of hombres checking out your rig when you come back though, but they are just envious or want to ask you questions.
You can get one of those wire cords and wrap them around the panniers, but I really don't think you should worry about it. Just bring a good U Lock. Really, I hardly ever lock my bike and nothing happens. I may have gotten some sunglasses lifted of my handlebars once, but I also may have just lost them. Y'know?
Its all good. Enjoy Mexico.

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Old 12-16-03, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by SamDaBikinMan
It would not be worth the worries that come along with it in my opinion. Just ride here in the states.
Well, summer in Mexico sounds like tough ride. I would recommend a summer ride in Canada! You will not find nicer roads and people in this hemisphere. The temperature in the summer will be much more bearable in Canada than in Mexico in the summer.

Oh, and I have never had a "Mounty" hit me up for a bribe!

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Old 12-17-03, 08:31 AM
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Tim and Cindi Travis have toured through Mexico and were prepared for the worst and in fact had nothing but great experiences. You'll find there is a lot of bias about touring Mexico.

There is much more to be worried about in places like Peru, Columbia, Argentina and Bolivia.

One of their keywords for safety is, "Your bike is your Lifeline... if you cannot take it where you need to go(or have someone you personally trust watch it)then you DO NOT need to go there". This is refering to things like stores, eating establishments, sight-seeing places of interest, banks, etc.
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Old 12-17-03, 10:48 AM
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Anytime you talk about visiting a foreign country, especially Mexico, all your freinds, neighboors, and coworkers (who have NEVER been there) will tell you what dangerous place it is and how crazy you are just for thinking about it.
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Old 12-17-03, 08:07 PM
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I came back 3 weeks ago from Mexico prematurely (I was going for a cross Americas trip to Terra del Fuego, you can check my webpage listed on my profile for more details) after being pushed off the road near Cardenas (south east of Mexico), beaten with a machete and robbed at gunpoint... and was therefore not in the right frame of mind to continue on... I like my life and want to continue living for a long time !

I too tought that these incidents were infrequent and statistically insignificant since it appeared that many go through Latin America without any problems... However when it happens to you, the statistics take on new significance....

A large portion of the Mexican population is very poor and struggle daily for their livelyhood to the point where violent acts become attractive alternatives... As with other poor countries there is some resentment from the population against rich countries which may be "exploiting" them (justified or not)... So cycling in any poor country is risky as you're often on isolated roads with little traffic (less cars per capita) alone or in a small group and therefore you present an easy opportunity... If you deem the risk acceptable... then go for the adventure... if not, there are plenty more attractive and civilized places to cycle through....
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Old 12-17-03, 08:25 PM
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I spent about nine months in Mexico during the 1980ís and was pick pocketed once and the police picked me up one night and put a pistol to my temple etc, but other then that I had no serious problems. It really is a magical place and definitely worth risking your health/life just for the experience. I would not hesitate going just because of security reasons I would certainly not go in summer due to the heat as mentioned above.
 
Old 12-18-03, 01:46 AM
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Ever wonder why Automobile Club of America puts out travel advisaries against travelling to Mexico? And if by some small chance you get killed, don't worry about the police investigating to find out who did it-they won't. If your set on going take along at least 2 others, it's a lot safer travelling in groups. I've been there and experience no problems-BUT I had 2 friends (brothers) that went there to do some surfing in Baja and their dad had to come and claim their bodies; the brothers were shot on the beach and the police didn't care. I had a neighbor go there to have his car reupholstered and the nice workers added chicken guts to the stuffing which started to stink just on the northside of San Diego and by the time he got to LA it was reaping.
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