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Small country road

Old 11-24-22, 09:24 AM
  #1  
denis_987
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Small country road

I am planning a trip to Mexico up to Cancun with Ride With GPS. I know that it is more preferable to use small country road with no traffic but RWG put me on very tiny road very small dirt roads so small that they look like tractors path (if I do Street View)! Is it safe to ride on those road; I mean is it reliable to use them?

On a different note, do bikes are allow on toll road in Mexico? I dont plan on using them all the way, but sometimes, they save a lot of mileage and allow to skip very small villages or steep slopes.

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Old 11-24-22, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by denis_987 View Post
I am planning a trip to Mexico up to Cancun with Ride With GPS. I know that it is more preferable to use small country road with no traffic but RWG put me on very tiny road very small dirt roads so small that they look like tractors path (if I do Street View)! Is it safe to ride on those road; I mean is it reliable to use them?

On a different note, do bikes are allow on toll road in Mexico? I dont plan on using them all the way, but sometimes, they save a lot of mileage and allow to skip very small villages or steep slopes.
I have no clue, but could you add a link to your route? It'd help if you want advice about your route.
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Old 11-24-22, 02:57 PM
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In the past, I was allowed to ride on a toll road in Mexico. It was free. I was directed to go around the vehicle sensors when I approached the toll booth, I assume so the money accumulated by tollkeeper added up correctly. There was only one time when I biked on a toll road. It was deemed to be a better and safer road than the free road, which had a lot more traffic and no sholders.

As for safety, much of Mexico is pretty safe, but some Mexican states are best avoided.
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Old 11-24-22, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by denis_987 View Post
On a different note, do bikes are allow on toll road in Mexico? I dont plan on using them all the way, but sometimes, they save a lot of mileage and allow to skip very small villages or steep slopes.
In 2016/2017 I cycled across Mexico has part of a longer trip.

My route included some toll roads. I would bypass the toll booths on the right side and nobody gave me trouble.

In my research prior to that trip, I read a number of journals/books of other cyclists. There were accounts where a cyclist was asked not to use the toll road. More typically, accounts were similar to my experience.
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Old 11-25-22, 05:17 AM
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crazy guy gots the answers. see travel reports for mexico.

crazyguyonabike.com: Bicycle Touring: A place for bicycle tourists and their journals
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Old 11-25-22, 07:21 AM
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Where are you starting from and when? What kind of bike, and more specifically, what width of tires are you thinking of using?
I would recommend 2inch tires, helps for when on very rough or soft surface stuff.
Are you French speaking?
Cancun does get pretty darn hot and humid, and is fairly flat.

I too have never had a problem riding on toll highways. Generally it's been ok, just ride up confidently with a smile and follow instructions. As noted , do not ride through the actual car spot, but walk your bike on the sidewalk area to the right.
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Old 11-25-22, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Where are you starting from and when? What kind of bike, and more specifically, what width of tires are you thinking of using?
I would recommend 2inch tires, helps for when on very rough or soft surface stuff.
Are you French speaking?
Cancun does get pretty darn hot and humid, and is fairly flat.

I too have never had a problem riding on toll highways. Generally it's been ok, just ride up confidently with a smile and follow instructions. As noted , do not ride through the actual car spot, but walk your bike on the sidewalk area to the right.
Yes, I am french speaking. I live in the province of Québec, Canada
Hybrid bike with 700x35c tires
Starting at Reynosa in december, actually my bike is already at Mission (TX) on a RV park (my brother in law bring it there and it (my bike) is waiting for me)

"but walk your bike on the sidewalk area to the right" : that is a very good tip!
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Old 11-25-22, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by mtnbud View Post
I have no clue, but could you add a link to your route? It'd help if you want advice about your route.
This is my planned route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/41481974 Any advices are welcome
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Old 11-25-22, 08:29 AM
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If you want a cool and very relaxed crossing into Mexico, cross here: https://goo.gl/maps/an1tv8rwV2chKHaw7 . It is a hand-pulled ferry crossing with very little traffic and a small border town so now issues. You can mostly take county roads to get there. Be sure to get your long-term visitor card and you may have to ask for it since they assume most people crossing there are going to stay withing the border exclusion area. Once in Mexico, I would stick to toll roads over the free road. I would personally avoid "two track" types of roads when possible, just because they are slower, sandier, and are typically near less services. Of course, if riding on one to avoid a major congested area then fine. Have a great trip!
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Old 11-25-22, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by denis_987 View Post
Yes, I am french speaking. I live in the province of Québec, Canada
Hybrid bike with 700x35c tires
Starting at Reynosa in december, actually my bike is already at Mission (TX) on a RV park (my brother in law bring it there and it (my bike) is waiting for me)

"but walk your bike on the sidewalk area to the right" : that is a very good tip!
dac, chuis un bloque de Montreal, j'ai fait deux voyages du vélo en Mexique. Si tu as des questions spécifique, on peut jaser. J'adore le Mexique, les gens en compagne sont ben gentil, mais il y a toujours des soucis et les choses à éviter, ou au moins faire attention. M'envoi un message privé si tu veux discuter plus.
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Old 11-25-22, 03:01 PM
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Bonjour Denis, bienvenu à Bike Forum.
I know nothing about Mexican roads, but here, in Vermont, large trucks will get stuck by following their GPS into "roads" that are entirely unsuitable.
The prudent tourist does not rely on only one source of information,
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Old 11-26-22, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
Bonjour Denis, bienvenu à Bike Forum.
I know nothing about Mexican roads, but here, in Vermont, large trucks will get stuck by following their GPS into "roads" that are entirely unsuitable.
The prudent tourist does not rely on only one source of information,
At least it is easier for cyclist to turn around, but implied more milleage/fatigue. When I look on the satellite view, I see that those roads go somewhere... Sometimes they are shortcut, but other times, they make us do a large deviation.

I think since it is my first trip to Mexico (by bicycle) that I will stick to states roads instead of those dirty little roads as much for my security as for the services along them. Maybe I will try to explore a few of those roads just to see what they look like for my next trip (if there's an upcoming trip)
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Old 11-26-22, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by John N View Post
If you want a cool and very relaxed crossing into Mexico, cross here: https://goo.gl/maps/an1tv8rwV2chKHaw7 . It is a hand-pulled ferry crossing with very little traffic and a small border town so now issues. You can mostly take county roads to get there. Be sure to get your long-term visitor card and you may have to ask for it since they assume most people crossing there are going to stay withing the border exclusion area. Once in Mexico, I would stick to toll roads over the free road. I would personally avoid "two track" types of roads when possible, just because they are slower, sandier, and are typically near less services. Of course, if riding on one to avoid a major congested area then fine. Have a great trip!
thanks for the tip! After verifying, this will lengthen my road because I'm going to the east coast... maybe next trip I will go west and enter Mexico there
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Old 11-26-22, 11:17 AM
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Denis, and Pratt, in rural Mexico on smaller roads, the vast majority of truck drivers are very courteous and careful around bicycles, much more so than here in Quebec.
Especially in rural areas, they are used to slow moving trucks, pickups, horses, people on foot etc.
The toll highways have more traffic, but generally have quite a wide shoulder, and so are pretty good to ride on, although noisey. Trucks do often straddle the wide shoulder to give more room for cars and other trucks to pass, so one must be careful.

I highly highly recommend using a good mirror while touring, this is indispensable.

Your route map idea shows you starting in a city on the east coast, but are you thinking of crossing the border at Texas and riding down through North East Mexico? I have a friend how lived in NE Mexico and described to me how bad it was for illegal activity. I also know a Mexican who actively discouraged me from riding in the north.

look up Crazy guy on a bike, you will be able to find trip journals , hopefully with some of the areas in the NE, and for sure, some from the Cancun area.
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Old 11-27-22, 12:30 PM
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Typical one lane each way toll road, no divider. Truck on right straddling shoulder to make it easier for passing cars.
With a mirror, it's pretty easy to keep an eye on this and just move over more on shoulder.

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Old 11-27-22, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Denis, and Pratt, in rural Mexico on smaller roads, the vast majority of truck drivers are very courteous and careful around bicycles, much more so than here in Quebec.
Especially in rural areas, they are used to slow moving trucks, pickups, horses, people on foot etc.
The toll highways have more traffic, but generally have quite a wide shoulder, and so are pretty good to ride on, although noisey. Trucks do often straddle the wide shoulder to give more room for cars and other trucks to pass, so one must be careful.

I highly highly recommend using a good mirror while touring, this is indispensable.

Your route map idea shows you starting in a city on the east coast, but are you thinking of crossing the border at Texas and riding down through North East Mexico? I have a friend how lived in NE Mexico and described to me how bad it was for illegal activity. I also know a Mexican who actively discouraged me from riding in the north.

I always ride with a mirror and a Garmin Radar. I have read the warning for Mexico from the Canadian gorvernment. Tamaulipas and Nuevo León are some of the many many (14 of 32) states to "avoid non-essential.travel" . When I cross check the states with the map and my route, I can see that except for Tamaulipas, all others states that I will cross are not on the list. I will be 4 to 5 days in Tamaulipas, so I will stick to national roads and ride only during day and will stay in hotels for those nights.

Last edited by denis_987; 11-27-22 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 11-27-22, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by denis_987 View Post
I always ride with a mirror and a Garmin Radar. I have read the warning for Mexico from the Canadian gorvernment. Tamaulipas and Nuevo León are some of the many many (14 of 32) states to "avoid non-essential.travel" . When I cross check the states with the map and my route, I can see that except for Tamaulipas, all others states that I will cross are not on the list. I will be 4 to 5 days in Tamaulipas, so I will stick to national roads and ride only during day and will stay in hotels for those nights.
Good on the mirror. While the Canadian govt warnings just have some merit to them, I'm sure I've biked through places not recommended, but they were fine.
Yes, riding only in day and generally just using common sense , is for the best.
JUst be really on the ball.
What travel experience do you have?
How is your Spanish?
My wife has done a bike trip in Mexico once, with a supported group, in a state that was not recommended, and all was fine.
I highly recommend reading some crazy guy trip journals, ideally with some recent ones, to get a better idea of what you are getting yourself into.
Again, don't hesitate to ask specific questions to those of us with experience riding in Mexico.
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Old 11-27-22, 01:22 PM
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Another thing to keep in mind is that it's typically extremely easy to take a bike on Mexican buses. 1st class buses have luggage areas underneath the passenger area with lots of space. On 2nd class buses, they always seem willing to find a place for a bike. Tips are appreciated.
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Old 11-27-22, 01:24 PM
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Before I forget, as of 4 years ago, when you enter Mexico, you are given an entry paper with the stamped date on it. You MUST keep this paper to present for when you leave Mexico, or you have to pay a fee.
Like a lot of stuff in Mexico and other nearby countries, things like this are pretty wishy washy or unclear , but you will get a fine if you don't hold onto this.
I really encourage you to learn some Spanish. Don't know when you are going, but it makes a difference.

Oh, you may find it cold in December or January, perhaps less so on the coast, I been usually higher up in altitude but had some really cold days in January. Nights of 5c or less and cool rainy days sometimes. Just be prepared and look up weather.
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Old 11-27-22, 03:51 PM
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country road?
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Old 11-27-22, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
country road?
His first language is French so some spelling errors are to be expected.
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Old 11-27-22, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
What travel experience do you have?
How is your Spanish?
My wife has done a bike trip in Mexico once, with a supported group, in a state that was not recommended, and all was fine.
I highly recommend reading some crazy guy trip journals, ideally with some recent ones, to get a better idea of what you are getting yourself into.
Many solo bike experiences but always in Canada. 100% camping (wild or commercial)
I have also been to Cancun many times (sure it is not representing to entire country)
Spanish? just enough to start a total immersion
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Old 11-28-22, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by denis_987 View Post
thanks for the tip! After verifying, this will lengthen my road because I'm going to the east coast... maybe next trip I will go west and enter Mexico there
It only adds 100km max and gets you immediately away from traffic but of course do what is best for you. Also, if you can get a copy of a Guia Roji atlas (I think the most current is unfortunately 2014), it is a pretty good reference between paved, non-paved roads.
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Old 11-28-22, 12:47 PM
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The majority of small hotels have WiFi, so helps with being able to plan ahead your route for a few days. Google maps Street view is generally available on most roads, and you will get more used to judging if a town of X size will have a hotel or not.
Often hotels will show up on Google maps, maybe not the tiny ones, but a lot of them.

As for camping, you'll have to decide if it's worth it. I'm not convinced, but even if you do, you do have to use common sense of theft risks.

4 years ago, little hotel rooms were in the 5-10,15 dollar range. I'm not fussy, so slept in a wide range of them.

Of course, getting into touristy areas will be a different story, especially gringo touristy areas.

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Old 11-28-22, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
country road?
A day when I learned something is not a wasted day...What should I have used instead?
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