Author Topic: Mexico Gulf Coast: Is it safe?  (Read 2107 times)

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Offline hank97

Mexico Gulf Coast: Is it safe?
« on: February 05, 2011, 07:11:13 pm »
I am thinking of a trip from North Carolina to Central America starting this June 2011 as I sit here retired at Jaco Beach, Costa Rica. Is it foolhardy to even consider a bike trip through Mexico with all the drug related violence? TIA. Hank

Offline ronnie421

Re: Mexico Gulf Coast: Is it safe?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2011, 01:33:27 am »
I hope no one jumps all over me for this one but I would not consider going thru Mexico.  I dont live too far from the Mexican border and have family there.  I have had cousins who go there and get stopped at "checkpoints" who get their money and equipment taken from them by the "authorities" as they travel even the main roads. Its a corrupt situation there and you cannot PAY ME ENOUGH to travel thru that area. IMO... its a very dangerous area. STAY AWAY. 

Offline Awf Hand

Re: Mexico Gulf Coast: Is it safe?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2011, 09:47:44 am »
It can't be any worse than hiking in Iraq. :-[

There are many, many other fantastic places to ride.  Don't bother traveling to/through a locale where even the police will rob you.

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Mexico Gulf Coast: Is it safe?
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2011, 04:44:36 pm »
It can't be too bad.  Tim and Cindy Travis were quite inexperienced and had a great time of it.  It was not all wine and roses, but their first book detailed a novice's trip that was enjoyable and life-changing.  That said, there are so many interesting, "safer" places to tour that I give those places greater priority.
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Offline pptouring

Re: Mexico Gulf Coast: Is it safe?
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2011, 06:09:59 am »
It can't be too bad.  Tim and Cindy Travis were quite inexperienced and had a great time of it. 

How many years ago was their trip?

Offline DaveB

Re: Mexico Gulf Coast: Is it safe?
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2011, 06:53:40 am »
It can't be too bad.  Tim and Cindy Travis were quite inexperienced and had a great time of it.  It was not all wine and roses, but their first book detailed a novice's trip that was enjoyable and life-changing.  That said, there are so many interesting, "safer" places to tour that I give those places greater priority.
A bicycle trip through Mexico can be "life changing" allright.  Just not in the way you want it to be.

Offline hank97

Re: Mexico Gulf Coast: Is it safe?
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2011, 07:38:40 pm »
Thank you all for the input. I will heed the advice given and not attempt to ride through Mexico.

I have crossed our beautiful American continent many times over the years by car, bus and airplane. I think it is now time to give it a shot by bicycle. I look forward to buying a Cruzbike Quest folding recumbent to see more and relieve the neck, arm, shoulder and back strain from riding my Roubaix Specialized road bike these past few years. At 66, I need and welcome all the comfort I can get.

As regards hammocks; in the Hennessy Hamock is one commited to sleeping on your back or possibly your side but certainly not your stomach? Since I sleep face down I imagine a hammock would not be for me. Is this the correct conclusion I should draw? TIA.

Hank




Re: Mexico Gulf Coast: Is it safe?
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2011, 09:14:43 am »
I didn't make it over to the gulf coast side of the country, but I did spend over a month last year touring the Pacific side, and central Mexico.  The roads were smooth, traffic courteous, and the people kind.  All and all, it was a great experience that I look forward to enjoying again in the near future.

As for any kind of corruption by the officials at checkpoints, or drug violence, I never witnessed anything remotely close to what people hear about in the media, although we steered ourselves clear of major cities and only rode during the day, which is what we like to do no matter where we're touring. We were also consistently waved past the lineup of cars at every checkpoint we came across.

That's not to say corruption and violence doesn't exist there, it exists in some form just about anywhere you go, but even if it were a problem, who are they going to go after.  A sweaty touring cyclist with very few belongings, or some tourists in a rental car?

 

Offline MrBent

Re: Mexico Gulf Coast: Is it safe?
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2011, 07:21:23 am »
I can't speak to riding in Mexico, but you'd be wise to stay away from the major border towns.  There is, indeed, major violence in places like Ciudad Juarez.  Headlines today about narcos busting into a bar and gunning down eight people, most of them women.

New Mexico?  That place is awesome.  In my cross country ride in 2007 it ranks as one of the best states.  That Westinghouse had a less than stellar experience on the MAJOR interstates is no surprise.  Generally, that's what I would always expect on such roads regardless of the state.  I made a huge "L" through the NM, coming in at the top from Alamosa then down through Taos to Santa Fe, down the Turquoise Trail (super fantastic) until I hit Mountainair.  Then it was across on Hwy 60, a little jog south on 25 to Soccoro, then 60 again all the way into Arizona.  Hwy 60  one of the highlights of my tour.  Brilliant cycle touring.  Good roads, virtually non existent traffic.  Westinghouse, try NM again!  Do a rambling tour in the autumn, and you won't be disappointed.

Scott

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Mexico Gulf Coast: Is it safe?
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2011, 01:13:09 am »
Yes, that's what I'm saying. I-10 E to W through NM is quite rough, doable, but choose a better route. I'd follow the ACA route if I were you. Still though, I did the ST from east coastal FL to SD in 43 days of actual cycling, so it didn't hinder me all that much. It's just that it slows you down and on downhills and with nice following winds you can't really hit your best speeds because the road surface is so messed up in places. It was kind of like cycling in some places in the developing / third-world where the roads were so messed up I had to go slower downhill than I went uphill.

However, I-8 in CA isn't bad at all.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Mexico Gulf Coast: Is it safe?
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2011, 02:02:08 am »
I posted here a long time ago about safety concerns near and in Mexico. I got some lukewarn responses, and one denial advising people to visit some nice little border town where since then have been some pretty horrific human slaughter and other lawlessness. Border towns often thrive on tourism and such, and what someone tells you could be more out of economic interests than out of concern for the safety of strangers.

The fact is a war is going on along the border. Tens of thousands of people have been systematically murdered. Hundreds of women have been murdered in Ciudad Juarez. When I first posted about safety conditions near and in Mexico I was already aware of certain problematic conditions, which, for some reason, some posters wanted to more or less neutralize. For example, there had been robberies and murders along that ST route between Van Horn and El Paso, and I was aware of that and other matters too. The fact others have gone over the border and had a good time would be no consolaton to someone or to their family who takes that chance and does not come back or is never seen or heard from again.

The point being, don't place yourself in a position where things like that are happening at an alarming degree of frequency. Safety first. Fact is, there is a lot of illegal stuff going on out there, but mentioning it on a public American forum doesn't seem to be well received. In the end you have to make your own decisions. Good luck.

Offline Tourista829

Re: Mexico Gulf Coast: Is it safe?
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2011, 09:09:27 am »
I beg to differ, I would ride through Mexico on my way to South America. I know people who have recently done it and they are still alive and had a great trip. If you are concerned about the border towns, rent a car or get a ride through those areas. It would not deter me, where is your sense of adventure!  :o

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Mexico Gulf Coast: Is it safe?
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2011, 10:56:37 am »
Discretion is the better part of valor. Have a nice ride. I would too if I wanted to, but I am not recommending cycling through a low-intensity war zone. Things happen. People wanting to put on blinders in life will not make those things go away. I had a friend from Canada who used to spend six months in FL on his 24 foot San Juan sailboat and then six months in the Bahamas to comply with immigration laws. He was found on his boat murdered by shotgun. There have  been travel advisories about Mexico from the US government for decades, which have seriously intensified lately. If anybody cycles through Mexico and something happens to them, it will not be because I encouraged them to do it.
By the way, I have cycled through Mexico. I liked it. The food and the beer and rooms were cheap.

Offline DaveB

Re: Mexico Gulf Coast: Is it safe?
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2011, 04:32:34 pm »
I beg to differ, I would ride through Mexico on my way to South America. I know people who have recently done it and they are still alive and had a great trip. If you are concerned about the border towns, rent a car or get a ride through those areas. It would not deter me, where is your sense of adventure!  :o
I also know people who have served multiple tours in Iraq and Afganistan and are still alive and well so, I guess they are good touring locations too, right?


Offline Westinghouse

Re: Mexico Gulf Coast: Is it safe?
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2011, 09:59:47 pm »
I beg to differ, I would ride through Mexico on my way to South America. I know people who have recently done it and they are still alive and had a great trip. If you are concerned about the border towns, rent a car or get a ride through those areas. It would not deter me, where is your sense of adventure!  :o
I also know people who have served multiple tours in Iraq and Afganistan and are still alive and well so, I guess they are good touring locations too, right?

Yes, DaveB. That's like what I'm saying. I'm just not going to encourage anybody to do it. I bicycled through a region where a war of massive human genocide was going on. I was not inside the actual country itself, but skirting its border region and countries. I would not advise that either. I am still alive, but some seriously bad things happened too, including my being pinned down by a military barrage that lasted for over half an hour---automatic weapons fire, artillery, hand grenades, mortars. Sure, I got through alive, but I would never have recommended cycling through there to anyone at that time. IMO cycling the border areas inside Mexico is an unnecessary risk. The Mexican people are really nice, but now there are serious troubles.

I also cycled northen Ireland during the troubles there. I remember having rifles with scopes aimed at me when I was crossing a road.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2011, 01:38:54 am by Westinghouse »