View Full Version : bikes in Mexico ( long with photos)

05-16-2004, 09:10 AM
this was also posted to another forum, some of you may see it there.
The Mexicans certainly have a handle on bikes as transportation!! They are
everywhere, and helmetless riders every one!! The most incredible parade of
bikes I've ever seen.
I'm fascinated by triciclos: only $2250 pesos ( $195 USD) and I think
they'd be great for groceries, kids and carpool. They use them for
everything from transporting the family, taxi service, hauling construction
material , taking grandma out for a spin or ???? The cure for America's SUV


Bikes are a very interesting part of the culture. It's interesting that many
folks commute by bike to whatever type of jobs they have, and even out on
what appear to be undeveloped areas you'll find someone along a road slowly
pedaling along. Most of the highways in the more developed areas we visited
have separate bike paths. Behind most buildings you see them parked en
masse from the workers. At our hotel in Valladolid, every morning you'd see
bikes getting wheeled across the courtyard as folks arrive for work. Let's
not even talk about the traffic, bike and car, and the drivers!

here's a fun one we saw, kid seat with tri-bars...

We went to one Maya AZ (archaeological zone) Coba` which is about 40 kms in
from the coast, way south of Cancun.


This is a really interesting site in
that it's only partially excavated, and very spread out. It gets quite a few
visitors, but not nearly to the degree of it's famous neighbor to the NW,
Chitzen Itza. It's the kind of place where you'd expect Indiana Jones to
come swinging out on a vine at any time. We'd heard that you could rent
bikes there, and much to our pleasure, you could... pick a bike, any bike,
for 25 pesos ($2.50)


The site is rather spread out: there are several
groupings, but there are several kms apart, so bike of course is the
choice!! The roads linking the groupings are ancient Maya limestone paved
roads, called Sacbe, that link building groups and AZ all over the Yucatan.
So these sacbe are perfect bike paths. They are wide and **somewhat** flat,
terrain altered by 1300 years of jungle growing through and over it.

It feels so great to be on a bike... and single speed at that ( new
territory for me) Flying through the jungle is cool and breezy. Each little
grouping has a special parking area just for bikes. We turn off on some
single track that goes ?? I wonder about where is it going...no maps of
course, and it gets narrowed and rockier with low limestone outcrops here
and there. The plan was that it would connect up with the sacbe we were on
that went back to some engraved monoliths, but no.... my comfort zone got
the best of me and I insisted we turn around. Bike is definitely the way to
travel here. The minute you stop it's hot humid and oppressive.. No choice
tho as close to the structures is no bike, and not even JD could tackle
the pyramid on a bike!


The main castillo is amazing. They've only uncovered one side of it, and
barely reconstructed it enough to be able to climb up it.It's the tallest
pyramid in this part of the Yucatan. The other three
sides are still covered in trees, roots and vines. We hike to the top, take
in the view, recover from the climb and then back down. We'd parked are
bikes right across from where the bike taxi guys hang out while their
customers are on the pyramid. These guys are strong... pedaling family
groups that may be Granny, or Mom and toddlers, or Cruise Ship
Passengers types around the site.


On the return journey thought the site, Craig cuts off on another little
trail, but I tell ya, I am NOT feeling adventurous. He meets up with me,
turns out his little trail went by the site of a little (crocodile infested)
lake, and he was a little worried about snakes dropping on his head.

We park our bikes at the little "lot", with big smiles on our face. What a
blast, really a lot of fun. We sure had big grins on our faces: the trip
had gotten off to a rough start with some CC lock out problems ( I had the
wrong PIN, what a pain!!) but with a few hours of bike FUN, all remaining
stress and anxiety were blown away. It was the perfect set up for the
beach phase of our trip. I saw the little bike repair shop on the way out.

The rest of the trip was devoted to scuba diving, eating, sleeping, etc, and
hanging on the beach.
http://www.cet.com/~pennys/images/mxbike/IMG_1131.jpg (view from the porch
of our palapa, thatched house)

Didn't have dinner here, but the sign was good:

On the last day home, I got my wish. After disembarking from the ferry at
Playa Del Carmen, we had for blocks to go to the bus station, to get to the
Cancun airport. We were not looking forward to lugging three heavy gear
bags that distance. ( note to self, get wheeled bags for next trip) Lo and
behold, to no surprise, there's a triciclo taxi, " carry your luggage? 35
pesos..." You, bet, but please let me ride it!! So the driver walked, and I
rode our luggage to the bus station.

05-16-2004, 12:10 PM
Great pix! So......I guess you had a great time? :p I'd love to try one of the three wheelers.

05-17-2004, 05:33 PM
All of this looks So Fun and I'm glad you had a great trip. It's great that Mexico has such a bike friendly set up. Great pix. Cool to see the mini bike shop too, thanks!

Adventure Girl
05-18-2004, 08:35 AM
Great write-up, Penny. Sounds like fun. Quite and adventure! I don't know about the crocodiles, though!!:eek: I love the part about riding the triciclo taxi. I would love to give it a try. How did it compare with your mountain bike?;) The gearing looks pretty high! I would think they would be geared really low since they often have to carry a pretty heavy load. The drivers must be pretty strong riders.

Oh... and the bike with the tri bars and the kid seat made out of wood is priceless!

05-18-2004, 04:09 PM
I saw all sorts of goofy peiced together or home made things on bikes.

AS for the SS triciclos and the SS's we rode in at Coba`, I have nothing to relate them in terms of what kinds of SS bikes my mountain biking friends ride.

The rentals in the jungle were a hoot, but you did spend some time out of the saddle a) for no suspension and b) to keep pedaling for momentum. I had some serious close calls where my momentum was, um, lacking and it was a good thing I had decent bailing technique down!! Although the "sacbe" were relatively flat, there were places where tree roots would push up the ancient limestone pavers into heaps.

I think the guys who ride those triciclo taxis all day with big loads must be real bike studs. Some of them would ride two big people all around the ruins in the heat of the day!!

I suspect the one gear is pretty industrial. Everything is flat, tho!!! When I rode it, we went up a little grade from the ferry, and I had to work to push it up the hill. On the flats it was easy. The steering part was actually very sensitive. I was a danger to all the people.. who is that crazy woman.


05-18-2004, 06:29 PM
Love the photos, especially you riding the tricycle.
If you ever get tired of your day job....


05-19-2004, 07:12 PM
TOOO fabulous!

I am so jealous!!

God I need a vacation!!!!

I think I have seen a webpage before for an outfit in Britain that markets those kind of "service bikes". I'll have to see if I can find it.:D

05-19-2004, 07:45 PM

This seems to be a sort of clearinghouse site