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Got the green light

greenie

Member
Member
We had a crash last August - the wife was injured more than I was. She had been tentatively OK with riding with me again but not to Mexico. We're both healed now and she's agreed to a Mexico motorcycle trip for early 2022 - with absolutely no pressure from me.
We live 2,500 miles from the border but it's worth the long tow to Laredo (in winter) to motorcycle tour in Mexico. We've done it six times so far and I want to keep going back. Many might not understand the attraction. Listen to the news and Mexico sounds very dangerous but I'd feel a lot safer in Mexico than I would in most US cities.
Gasoline and most food is more expensive there. Hotels are reasonable. People are amazing - friendly and honest. Many Mexicans love speed and the open road. The men especially are appreciative of the motorcycle - many bikes in Mexico are very small Chinese bikes although Harley is building large showrooms in Mexico.
The roads rank right up there with some of the best in the world IMO. Mexico has the Sierra Madre and at least a dozen good highways threading through the wide mountain range with the Pacific near the western edge.
The biggest risk is traffic, not the cartel. Mexican nationals drive fast and aggressively. Despite my own fast clip I need to check the mirrors 2 or 3 times more frequently than I do in the US before overtaking other traffic - a car that was a mile behind me 20 seconds ago is right behind me. Screwy things can happen - toll booths might be taken over by protesters who may or may not waive the tolls. A left turn signal on the vehicle ahead means the road is safe to pass - or that the driver is turning left. Roads are posted at super slow speeds yet most vehicles drive twice the limit. Police might stop me but have never yet written a summons. Some may hint at a bribe but in the 21 years I've ridden or drove in Mexico I've paid only one bribe ($20) - still a bargain compared to a speeding ticket and the surcharges in New York or California.
The wife is a saint. Not many would put up with these trips. 200 miles in Mexico is like 600 miles in the US yet she keeps accompanying me. While motorcycling in Mexico is growing in popularity with Americans most of those ride alone (without a woman). What little Spanish we speak is largely not understood despite our best efforts yet someone will almost always come to our aid.
I'm not a braggadocios person - I offer this as encouragement to others who enjoy mountain roads, great food, the best beer, and friendly, misunderstood people. Few here could possibly live further from the border than we do but I can't ever get enough of it and keep wanting to go back. There's a joke about telling friends how dangerous Mexico is to discourage others from discovering how much fun it is - but I'm sharing it here in this forum. I had gotten used to the reality that I would never again ride a motorcycle in Mexico (you don't know what you've got until you lose it) and my wife of 45 years and 5 nights in the ICU has said we can go back. Early January 2022 is the target.

Here's a link to past rides: https://forum.concours.org/index.php?threads/mexico.41911/
 
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kenr745542

Tricycle
Forum Subscriber
Jealous of your MX trips. I have a place in Puerto Vallarta and will be retiring there. 100% agree that I feel safer there than US cities. Even Guadalajara felt much safer than being in Portland.

When I'm down there for good I will either take my TW200 or just buy a small bike to get around on.
 

texas.devops902

Member
Member
We had a crash last August - the wife was injured more than I was. She had been tentatively OK with riding with me again but not to Mexico. We're both healed now and she's agreed to a Mexico motorcycle trip for early 2022 - with absolutely no pressure from me.
We live 2,500 miles from the border but it's worth the long tow to Laredo (in winter) to motorcycle tour in Mexico. We've done it six times so far and I want to keep going back. Many might not understand the attraction. Listen to the news and Mexico sounds very dangerous but I'd feel a lot safer in Mexico than I would in most US cities.
Gasoline and most food is more expensive there. Hotels are reasonable. People are amazing - friendly and honest. Many Mexicans love speed and the open road. The men especially are appreciative of the motorcycle - many bikes in Mexico are very small Chinese bikes although Harley is building large showrooms in Mexico.
The roads rank right up there with some of the best in the world IMO. Mexico has the Sierra Madre and at least a dozen good highways threading through the wide mountain range with the Pacific near the western edge.
The biggest risk is traffic, not the cartel. Mexican nationals drive fast and aggressively. Despite my own fast clip I need to check the mirrors 2 or 3 times more frequently than I do in the US before overtaking other traffic. Screwy things can happen - toll booths might be taken over by protesters who may or may not waive the tolls. A left turn signal on the vehicle ahead means the road is safe to pass - or that the driver is turning left. Roads are posted at super slow speeds yet most vehicles drive twice the limit. Police might stop me but have never yet written a summons. Some may hint at a bribe but in the 21 years I've ridden or drove in Mexico I've paid only one bribe ($20) - still a bargain compared to a speeding ticket and the surcharges in New York or California.
The wife is a saint. Not many would put up with these trips. 200 miles in Mexico is like 600 miles in the US yet she keeps accompanying me. While motorcycling in Mexico is growing in popularity with Americans most of those ride alone. What little Spanish we speak is largely not understood despite our best efforts yet someone will almost always come to our aid.
I'm not a braggadocios person - I offer this as encouragement to others who enjoy mountain roads, great food, the best beer, and friendly, misunderstood people. Few here could possibly live further from the border than we do but I can't ever get enough of it and keep wanting to go back. There's a joke about telling friends how dangerous Mexico is to discourage others from discovering how much fun it is - but I'm sharing it here in this forum. I had gotten used to the reality that I would never again ride a motorcycle in Mexico (you don't know what you've got until you lose it) and my wife of 45 years and 5 nights in the ICU has said we can go back. Early January 2022 is the target.

Here's a link to past rides: https://forum.concours.org/index.php?threads/mexico.41911/

Interesting! How are you decked out when riding in MX? Does the bike look like a camper van on two wheels (eg. very intimidating to the average hombre)? Reason I ask is that after having lived in Latin America (LATAM) for nearly a decade I've found that the number of highway/road/street hijackings is disheartening. Riding alone would be a no-go for me personally, having witnessed (from the safety of a 4-door SUV) numerous gun-point thefts of motorcycles from dudes who were just riding their ride. Harleys are a big target, with smaller bikes from 125cc to 750cc being the primary victims.

Moreover, to convince momma to ride any distance with me is already a bit of a chore. Coming from the south of Brazil she's paranoid of bike accidents, which in LATAM can basically be a death sentence due to emergency response in some areas being under-funded and under-prepared for critical care beyond fixing fractures or patching up some road rash. And to your point, the latino pilotos are all trying to emulate Emerson Fittipaldi each time they get behind the wheel. Head-on crashes are commonplace because everyone wants to pass everyone else no matter the road condition or on-coming traffic (and those being passed are obsessed with NOT being passed).

Building a TVA (Threat and Vulnerability Assessment) for a long trip through many states across the Sierra Madres would take some effort, partly dependent on the availability of reliable/timely/accurate data like we can find on Lexis Nexis for our domestic jurisdictions. Then there's the question of bike maintenance/emergency repairs/parts while up in the cloud-covered twisties.

To make a trip like that we'd need a whole lotta unrestricted time, a comfortable budget and no pressure. Sounds like fun! :^ )
 

greenie

Member
Member
We carry about 110 pounds of stuff. When we pull up at a hotel the cart the busboys use is full. Two stock saddle bags, a 54 liter Givi top case, a Chase Harper tail bag on top of the Givi, and a Eclipse tank bag. We are right up to the maximum weight so I use tires for that weight. I've had two rear tires fail on these trips - not flat but out of round or a wobble. I was able to find a Pirelli rear tire in Querétaro. A shop in Manzanillo replaced the speedometer cable (labor & parts $6). Nationals can fix just about anything and as the C-10 has no computer or fuel injection it's the perfect bike. It's a good bike too because it is worth very little to bother stealing. It's fairly uncommon for tourists to ride alone, so I like to think the bad guys are waiting for the 2nd or 3rd bike to fall upon. Seriously though the risk is minimal. Don't buy drugs, stay out of rough looking bars, be in bed by 10pm to avoid trouble.
We carry medevac insurance that will bring us back to a hospital of our choice. Mexican insurance is affordable and keeps us out of jail ( no assumption of innocence ).
Mexico is much safer than the Central/South American countries you cite. Our T-Mobile phone works easily in Mexico as it does in the US. A GPS is a lifesaver - so much so that I bring two in case one fails. Intricate one-way streets, highways threading through busy towns with little signage, finding hotels and restaurants is so much easier.
It helps to manage worry. There really is no way to detect trouble in advance - keep the motorcycle in good mechanical shape, park it in safe locations (most hotels and restaurants will provide a safe place to park).
 

texas.devops902

Member
Member
We carry about 110 pounds of stuff. When we pull up at a hotel the cart the busboys use is full. Two stock saddle bags, a 54 liter Givi top case, a Chase Harper tail bag on top of the Givi, and a Eclipse tank bag. We are right up to the maximum weight so I use tires for that weight. I've had two rear tires fail on these trips - not flat but out of round or a wobble. I was able to find a Pirelli rear tire in Querétaro. A shop in Manzanillo replaced the speedometer cable (labor & parts $6). Nationals can fix just about anything and as the C-10 has no computer or fuel injection it's the perfect bike. It's a good bike too because it is worth very little to bother stealing. It's fairly uncommon for tourists to ride alone, so I like to think the bad guys are waiting for the 2nd or 3rd bike to fall upon. Seriously though the risk is minimal. Don't buy drugs, stay out of rough looking bars, be in bed by 10pm to avoid trouble.
We carry medevac insurance that will bring us back to a hospital of our choice. Mexican insurance is affordable and keeps us out of jail ( no assumption of innocence ).
Mexico is much safer than the Central/South American countries you cite. Our T-Mobile phone works easily in Mexico as it does in the US. A GPS is a lifesaver - so much so that I bring two in case one fails. Intricate one-way streets, highways threading through busy towns with little signage, finding hotels and restaurants is so much easier.
It helps to manage worry. There really is no way to detect trouble in advance - keep the motorcycle in good mechanical shape, park it in safe locations (most hotels and restaurants will provide a safe place to park).

Aaahhh, you're on a C10. That makes more sense now. And I concur re: the ability to get ingenious work done for next to nothing (so long as there isn't a major part failure). It's rare to find that here in the US anymore. Also agree that staying out of the line of sight of the goons and dealers is a key to remaining invisible, and keeping different hours (early-to-bed-early-to-rise) means you're out of phase with their hunting instinct.

And given that you're normally riding straight through (unless finding food/shelter) it makes you a much more elusive target. Being weighed down by a pillion and bulging bags helps turn off the would-be bike snatchers.

Excellent write-up! Thanks for sharing that. Now you've got me thinking. Of course I still haven't gotten a chance to do much interstate riding yet, so that's on my list first I think.

We'll probably make a trip to Hot Springs from Houston so that our better halves will have how to give their approvals. :^ )
 

Cra-z1000

Member
Member
Sounds amazing . I would be up for it if I went with someone like you who knows the routine . Back in the 80s when I was a young pup we drove down to Ensenada quite a few times . Always had a blast and only had one issue with some bad gas in my friends VW (baja bug) .
 
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