Dear People's Guide,
Please tell me, in your opinion, if this is a stupid idea: buy some mountain bikes, bring them in our car to San Diego, leave our car with friends there, ride our bikes down to Baja, and then bike and bus (and ferry) wherever we please through Mexico.
To me it seems like a great idea. My girlfriend and I would have the freedom to go almost anywhere in the country, and being on bikes would allow us to take in more of our surroundings while we went from one place to another. I dont mind at all that we would cover less ground, because the ground we covered we would really experience. So these are the pluses.
But everyone we talk to seems to think it would be 'unsafe'. They cite the problems of traffic and reckless drivers, of our vulnerability to being abducted by some horrible bandit and the difficulty of keeping our belongings safe from theft. They seem to think that being sheltered in several tons of steel, glass and plastic would be much safer. Ill admit that biking would expose us to the possibility of such disasters, but Im sure I could think of a hundred hazards of driving through Mexico by car as well.
In fact, you name quite a few downsides to car travel through Mexico yourself in The Peoples Guide to Mexico, a thoroughly sane and heartening book. I cant wait to drink pulque and swim in the ocean and see a rain forest and sit in front of the local store drinking warm Coke. Well, Ive read your book from cover to cover and I tried to get ahold of the guide to RV Camping in Mexico, but its out of print. Nowhere is biking mentioned. Is this simply because youve never happened to travel that way yourself, or is it because its not a very good way to get around Mexico?
I would greatly appreciate your advice in this matter, because I just dont feel I have enough information to make a wise decision. Are my girlfriend and I being naive to think that we could happily ride our bikes through Mexico like some wonderful amusement park? We are both experienced campers, so that part of it is not a problem. What are we not thinking of?
Well, hear my desperate please for help! And please, oh please, do write me back if you can. Thank you.
In a word, "Go for it!" Your plan sounds very reasonable to me and should give you one hell of a good trip. Forget the doomsayers, your biggest 'problem' will be talking with Mexicans who want to admire your bikes and ask about your ride.