RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Facebook
Tour cycling in Mexico.

Tour cycling in Mexico.

 

I have just come back from a 7 week bicycle tour of Mexico. This is the 4th time I have been cycling in Mexico. Here are a few tips on cycling in Mexico, based on my own experiences.

Is it safe to go cycling in Mexico?

This is always the first question I get. People mostly ask because they hear about crime in Mexico. But very little crime in Mexico is geared towards tourists. The crime in Mexico is very much about drug running and if you stay away from that, then there is very little risk of getting in trouble. You might want to stay away from certain trouble regions, where the drug running is dominant. This is especially the two states on Guerrero and Michoacan. And the entire border region with USA. In these areas you could end up in crossfire if there is a clash between criminals and the police. The risk is not that great, but I personally stay away from these 3 areas at the moment and they only count for about 10% of Mexico anyway. So I have still got 90% of the country to explore. You will see police check points all over Mexico along the roads. But I have never experienced anything but friendly attitudes from these guys. They almost always wave me straight through and if they ask me to stop it’s because they want to hear about my journey and take a photo with me.  Rural Mexico is surprisingly calm and I have never had a single moment where I felt in danger there. I do not recommend cycling at night. That is just asking for trouble, not just in Mexico, but in most countries.

Rural Mexico is calm and relaxed.

Rural Mexico is calm and relaxed.

 

What are the roads like for cycling in Mexico?

Most roads in Mexico are nicely paved. And if they are not nicely paved, then they are very little used and attractive for off road cyclists. I am a road cyclist myself though and prefer the paved roads. The good thing about the roads in Mexico is that most of them have a large shoulder. That is really good for cycling as long as the cars are not using it as a second lane. I have found that when you are in industrial areas with little farming. Then the cars are using the lane. Especially the mini van drivers who take workers to and from factories are really bad at using that lane, without caring for the cyclist. The mini van drivers are probably the single biggest danger to cyclists on Mexican roads. Good news is that these areas are not that common. Most parts of Mexico is agricultural and hirses are still very much in use. That means that you will see cowboys on the roads riding their horses and families riding horse carts. When you have that then the shoulder is generally reserved for soft traffic. And then you can cycle there happily with animal traffic and other cyclists.

Mexican main roads are generally of a good quality.

Mexican main roads are generally of a good quality.

 

Mexican truck drivers are nice to cyclists.

In some countries, mainly in the west, truck drivers and cyclists are not the best friends. They seem to just want the other part off the road. But in Mexico I have always found good camaraderie with the truck drivers. They do generally not have the “get out of my way” attitude. And they have shared their food and coffee with me many times. As truck drivers in most countries they are not the most educated guys, but I have never had problems with them. I have received help from them several times and I always enjoy stopping at little truck stop cafes and share a meal with them.

Nice little truck stop restaurant in Mexico.

Nice little truck stop restaurant in Mexico.

Cycling in Mexico City.

Cycling in Mexico City is better than I expected. Sure sure, it’s not Copenhagen or Amsterdam, with bicycle lanes everywhere. But the center of Mexico City is actually quite well equipped with bike lanes these days. Making it quite ok to cycle there. And it’s hip to be cycling in Mexico City. So get on your bike if you want to hang with the hip young Mexicans :-). I like going out at night in Mexico City and I found that the bike is very useful there. I do not like walking home to my hotel in a big city when I have had a few beers. And taking a taxi is often complicated at night when the drivers know you have had a drink. But the roads in Mexico City are not busy at all at night. And when I am cycling, then I am gone in 2 seconds if any potential trouble maker sees me. I have always felt safe when cycling in Mexico City at night. Also I am not a guy who gets overly drunk when I am out. That happened in the past, but these days I stick to just beer or just wine, which means I still know how to cycle safely. but I can still keep a decent speed, so that I do not attract potential trouble makers.

Cyclists in Mexico City.

Cyclists in Mexico City.

You can take you bicycle to the hotel room in Mexico.

I have stayed in more than 50 different hotels in Mexico during my bicycle journeys in the country. I am a cyclist who prefers staying in hotels by the way. 95% of all stays there has never been an issue taking my bike to my hotel room. In fact, in most cases they have asked told me right away that I can just roll my loaded bike in to the room. In a few cases, taking my bike to the room has not been practical. Mostly because my room has been high up in a hotel with no elevators. But in these cases I have always been offered a closed parking area or a locked room on the ground floor of the hotel. So you do not have to worry about having your bike stolen at night in Mexico.

Sleeping with my bike.

Sleeping with my bike.

 

You can have extreme weather in Mexico.

Be ware that Mexico is a country with many types of weather. You can have extremely hot weather in the desert areas and also in the tropical regions, such as Veracruz, Yucatan and the coastal part of Chiapas. You also have rainy/hurricane season in some parts of Mexico from May to October. This is not a big problem though. Just prepare your day so that you try not to ride in the middle of the day if it’s really hot. And try to not ride too much in late afternoon during rainy/hurricane season, when it tends to be pouring down with rain. I have just been riding in Mexico season for 7 weeks during rainy season and I loved it. I have also been cycling in the desert regions of Mexico on previous trips and loved it. But remember to prepare yourself a bit, so that you do not end up getting stuck in the middle of nowhere because of the weather.

Finding shelter for the rain at a local taco shop.

Finding shelter for the rain at a local taco shop.

 

You can often take your bicycle on the bus in Mexico for free.

On my last cycling trip in Mexico, I decided to ride a few different regions and then transport my bicycle with bus between the regions. I was very happily surprised to see that I could bring my bicycle as free luggage on all the long distance journeys I took. The long distance busses in Mexico are generally of a very high standard. They have large trunks that can take a lot of luggage, including bicycles. I always got my bicycle on for free when going long distance. On most occasions I tipped the guy who helped me putting the bicycle in the trunk and they always looked very happy, but also surprised. So it’s clearly something they are not used to. But I like to tip someone doing a good honest job when it’s in a country where he clearly earns less than I do. You will also make the luggage handler happy if you either take the pedals or the front wheel off, so it’s easier to find space for your bicycle in the trunk.

Taking my bicycle on a bus in Mexico.

Taking my bicycle on a bus in Mexico.

 

Bicycle repairs in Mexico.

Many regular folks ride a bicycle in Mexico, when they commute to and from work. Or maybe to and from school. In the bigger cities you also have quite a few hipsters who are getting in to cycling, as well as people who see it as a good way to exercise. All this means that you have bicycle mechanics in just about every town and village in Mexico. Just ask around if you can’t find them and people should be able to guide you the right way. Remember to ask a person who is on a bicycle, as they are almost always bound to know, where to get a repair. Do not expect too many spare parts on in the villages though. I am a person who rides with very few spare parts and I often rely on buying tires, tubes and so on locally. But be ware that bicycle repair shops in small Mexican towns often have a very limited supply. So try to bring a couple of spare tubes and maybe also a spare tire and the repair shop will be happy to help you. I am personally much more of a globetrotter than I am a bicycle mechanic. I really suck at bicycle repair, so I rely a lot on bicycle repair shops when I cycle. But in Mexico, these places are cheap and they usually know what they are doing. So my suggestion is to support the local economy a little and let them help you when you have a problem.

Bicycle repair shop in Mexico.

Bicycle repair shop in Mexico.

Fixing a flat tire in Mexico.

Fixing a flat tire in Mexico.

This was a bit of advice from me about cycling in Mexico. Feel free to write me if you have any additional questions and I will be happy to answer them as good as I can. As mentioned, I have been to Mexico several times with my bicycle, so I know the country quite well as a cycling destination.

Happy cycling in Mexico.

Claus.

Mexico is full of live music.

Mexico is full of live music.

Cycling the Mezcal route.

Cycling the Mezcal route.

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Facebook

11 Comments

  1. I enjoyed reading your tips and advice. We are driving down in December and thinking about taking our bikes. Since you stay in a lot of motels I was wondering what your average cost was. I am trying to decide how much to budget for our trip. Thanks and happy cycling. Joyce

    • Hi Joyce. The price I paid for small local hotels long the route was between 200 and 800 Pesos. Most nights it was between 300 and 450 pesos fora single room in a small local hotel. Hope you will have a nice trip.

  2. Good advice! I’m a bit too old to do this kind of trip any more, but I enjoy reading about it.

  3. Great perspectives and advice, thank you! Could you give us a general idea of the routes you took on your trips, the difficulty level and at what time of year? Thanks!

  4. Great read! Thanks for sharing! We would love to bike travel mexico sometime. Have always been worried for safety, not only towards crime, shootings and robbery, but also because of the driving. To get a driving license in Mexico is like getting a Big Mac!
    Your post gives me hope, I’d love to try it out sometime. Maybe the Baja California peninsula, maybe from Mexico City towards Oaxaca… I’d love to do it all! So much to see, so little time…

  5. This post was particularly helpful for me to respond to the many people whose initial reaction to me cycling from Vancouver Canada to Colombia is always about how dangerous it is…. thank you for sharing.
    Hudson

  6. Claude – thanks for the useful tips. I was specifically looking for current information about bringing my bike onto the buses and you provided me with all the info I needed. Much appreciated!

  7. Mexico looks like such a beautiful place to go cycling. I too have been worried about the crime, but from the way you state, it seems comparatively safe for tourists. I hope that’s true. Loved the rest of your advice about cycling in Mexico. Will definitely get back to you with some more questions when I plan my trip down south.

  8. Thanks for the tips and a bit of itinerary. I am planning of visiting Mexico next year. I will surely not going to miss this tour.

  9. My Brit bike buddy and I are meeting in Cancun in Feb and riding Mexico for 6 weeks. I’ve cycle toured all over the world, Australia/Tasmania, Eastern Europe, Ireland, Cairo to Capetown, US, SE Asia for past 8 years during winter, Cuba, etc. But have never gone down to Mexico to cycle tour. We’d planned for Cuba again but decided to head down Mexico way. Plan is to cycle out of Cancun down to Tulum, then over to Coba and up around the Yucatan taking in the Mayan ruins, then over to Vera Cruz and down along the coast. Not sure if we’ll head into Guatamala and up through Belize before we fly from Cancun on March 18.

Leave a Reply to Joel Morales Escobar Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please confirm that you\'re not a robot: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.