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Cycling in Mexico - Do I dare???(20 posts)

Cycling in Mexico - Do I dare???dave11
May 29, 2003 11:00 AM
Going on a 4-5 day vacation to Mayan Riviera (near Cancun) with the family. I am finally back in shape this year and want to get at least some training in while on vacation. Has anyone had any experience cycling in Mexico? How are the roads? Will I get mugged for my bike? Is it worth the risk?

I would do it for sure if I had some other people with me, but am a little nervous about riding alone.
May 29, 2003 11:04 AM
Safety aspects aside (I have no idea as to safety of metro cancun), noone looses fitness in 4-5 days. Take a hard ride the day before you leave. Consider the 5 days off as rest days, and maximize time with your family.

Lay on the beach and show off your new-found fitness. Or rent those big, baloon-tired bicycle-boat thingies.
I wouldn't darePaulCL
May 29, 2003 11:10 AM
Never been to Cancun. I've been to Puerto Vallarta plus some other not so scenic areas.

Odds are you would be fine. But what happens if you get lost?? Do you speak Spanish?? How do you think the locals will feel about the American on the $3000 toy?? Spend the time with the family, run on the beach, workout in the hotel gym, have one less beer, but I would leave the bike at home. IMHO. Paul
not even that.Steve_0
May 29, 2003 11:13 AM
do not run on the beach. do not workout in the hotel gym. Have one MORE beer.

Vacations are too far and few between. Vacations (IMO) should be spent doing things you typically don't do all year long. You have another 28 weeks left in the year to run, workout, bike, and refrain from beer. Do it then.

my $.02
I doubt you'll have any problems.Lon Norder
May 29, 2003 11:22 AM
I've talked to people who enjoyed bicycle touring in the Yucatan and didn't have any problems. I recently biked in Baja for two weeks, including riding across Tijuana several times. We had a great time. I think the crime rate is very low outside of the big cities. The Mexicans were very friendly towards bicyclists and slowed way down and gave us a wide berth when passing in cars.

Mexican dogs are another thing. We got charged by them several times a day, but they didn't seem too keen on biting. Justed wanted a little exercise.

Me personally, I'd probably leave the bike at home and go snorkeling instead.
I doubt you'll have any problems.Fender
May 29, 2003 11:29 AM
that's one thing I miss. DOGS.. man those dogs turn any rider into a sprinter!!!
Being Mexican......Fender
May 29, 2003 11:25 AM
and having lived in Mexico for 21 years and ridden in different parts of Mexico for 6-7 years, I'm probably one of the better qualified persons to respond to this. Even though I am from Baja Mexico, I can give you an idea as to what to expect if you decide to ride.
None toll roads are narrow with lots of traffic and no shoulder room. Toll roads are much nicer, with wide lanes and shoulders. Problem is that bikes are not usually allowed on them.

People's reactions to a cyclist:
Most people will just look at you and smile. People in cars might honk and yell "Si Se Puede" (translates to you can do it). Very few might chant an obscenity. Most of the time they will allow for sufficient room to pass you. One time I even had a driver follow me down a long descent with his hazards lights on in order to protect me.

Bike Safety:
take obvious precautions, i.e. don't leave it unattended or in hands of a stranger. Most people will know it's an expensive toy, but don't know it's real worth, i.e. if stolen will sell it for $300 USD. Also, take a mini tool because if something breaks down, a shop might not be able to get if fixed.

Now, being in the Mayan Rivera/Cancun, why would you want to take your bike with you? Beautiful beachs, mayan ruins, restaurants, clubs, etc.. 5 days will not be enough to take in all the beauty. Plus it might be hot and muggy, so do you really want to ride when it's like that? IMHO, if you really want to ride,just rent a bike at the beach and go for a ride with your family.
thanks for the infodave11
May 29, 2003 1:03 PM
I am definitely going to spend most of the time on other activities: snorkel, beach, etc. I just thought I try to get a couple good rides in and see the countryside. Maybe I will just rent a clunker down there.

Sounds like the responses are split on whether or not its the best idea

Thanks for the advice.
thanks for the infoFender
May 29, 2003 1:31 PM
Honestly, it's not the best idea, not because of safety issues, but because you'll be in paradise!!! Want to see the country side? then rent a scooter and take your wife. You could turn it into a romantic picnic. Your family will appreciate the time of your bike!!

Enjoy your trip and don't forget to post pic's once your back!
Pass on it only because the risks outweigh the benefitsSerac
May 29, 2003 11:35 AM
Yes and no. I lived in Mexico for four months while working on a tuberculosis research project. I have been all over Mexico including the Yucatan, "el D.F."--Mexico City, and Chiapas. There is plenty of crime, and kidnappings (as I can speak from experience). There are also plenty of people ready to take advantage of turistas. Myself, I am from a bilingual latino background, and I can't tell you how many times I heard something along the lines of: "I'll give you a good price on XYZ but watch what I do to whitey." No joke. I know I am not being PC about my own culture, but hell, it was true. So, some potential risks: theft of bike, theft of person, Montezuma's Revenge out in the middle of no where, getting ripped off, etc. All of those risks are one thing if you have a base of operations (like I did) but another if you are on your bike.

All that being said, the people are really really nice and friendly and will generally go out of their way to help you. The country is beautiful as well. Also, if you do decide to go on your bike, check with your local CDC for recommended shots. Last time I went with plans that involved staying for longer than a week and involved travel outside of the typical tuorist spots (like you will on your bike), I had to have TB tests, Dengue fever immunization, and few others that I don't remember.

Good Luck,

Please don't call it the "Mayan Riviera"!shamelessgearwhore
May 29, 2003 12:11 PM
what is it called then?dave11
May 29, 2003 1:00 PM
Must be lots of triathaletes down there.....lampshade
May 29, 2003 12:51 PM
Isn't the resort area you are speaking of in Quintana Roo?

SGH- What is a more appropriate name for the area known as "The Mayan Rivera"?
It's just thatshamelessgearwhore
May 29, 2003 1:24 PM
I've seen that area change A LOT and the tourist industry sort of invented that name that went along with the HUGE amount of all-inclusive resorts full of Americans, Germans, Spaniards, etc in their own separate resorts where you really don't ever need to touch the local currency or risk hearing any Spanish spoken. It's gotten a out of control with access to most of the public beaches being controlled by the BIG resorts. Actual Mexicans aren't made to feel terribly welcome in the area. Just call it Quintana Roo (kintahna - roe) or the Yucatan (yoocatan). Don't get me wrong, there are some real gems in the area and I really do love it there. It's just gotten to look a little like the Vegas strip in places for my tastes. Have fun and leave the bike at home. find somewhere to rent a mountain bike.
Must be lots of triathaletes down there.....Bruno S
May 29, 2003 1:41 PM
Quintana Roo is the name of the state. The state right next to QR is Yucatan. The whole area is called the Yucatan peninsula.
I dare all the timeterry b
May 29, 2003 12:52 PM
I've got a place in Sonora, about 6 hours south of Tucson where I ride 2-3 times a year. Some restrictions apply though - I only ride MTB, off the roads - the drivers on the asphalt can be quite crazy.

Never had a problem with Mexicans and me on my $3000 toy. Very friendly people, no threat and I've had some great conversations with people out in the bush in my broken Spanish about cycling, horses, cows and whatever. I simply don't take the same risks that I don't take here.
do you ride alone there?dave11
May 29, 2003 12:59 PM
all by my lonesome. (nm)terry b
May 29, 2003 2:06 PM
I know very well where you are going....Bruno S
May 29, 2003 1:34 PM
my sister lives in Playa del Carmen in the "Mayan Riviera".

Has anyone had any experience cycling in Mexico?
Yes, used to live there. Cars do not respect you but neither do they respect pedestrians. Still you will see plenty of people on bikes commuting.

How are the roads?
The roads are OK. The main highway has wide shoulders but I have never seen people riding on it. Toll highways are closed to bikes and the smaller two lane highways don't have almost any shoulders.

Will I get mugged for my bike?
Bike theft is a problem. A friend of mine got his Klein stolen at gun point in a remote trail in central Mexico. Had to walk back without shoes (they took them as well). In Cancun however nobody would dare to harm a turist. They are their main source of income and the place is very safe for them. Overall crime rate is much lower than in north or central mexico.

Is it worth the risk?
The risk of getting run down by a truck or getting into somekind of accident is low. The risk of getting lost is high since there are not enough signs. I've seen roadies down there and your best bet would be to hook up with some club or LBS if you were going to stay for a long time.

Most important is that it is not worth it because there are so many other things to do and the beaches are so nice that you will not miss the bike at all.

Exactly where are you going? I may be able to give you some tips.
Leave the bike homeWalter
May 30, 2003 6:26 AM
I agree 100+% with the people telling you to spend time with the famiy. Believe me they'll appreciate it and may well resent it if you don't.

As I recall the traffic in Cancun itself is crazy. I only felt semi-secure when in a bus. Summer is not a great time to ride. Hot and very muggy. I was born, raised and still live in S. Florida and as a HS coach spend alot of time outside so I know humidity yet I found the weather away from the coastal breeze to be nearly stifling.

You'll be near or on some of the best beaches in the world. You'll have easy and inexpensive access to spectacular sites such as Chichen Itza (if you want to work out climb that pyramid, but remember getting up is the easy part!

A bike will not enhance yor time there and will pull you away from your family, a big no-no IMHO.