Author Topic: border crossings  (Read 1055 times)

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Offline dtsloan

border crossings
« on: December 27, 2019, 10:48:28 am »
Next summer going to ride into Canada at Blaine and then to Mexico at San Ysidro. Any thoughts on these border crossings on a bike? They treat you as a vehicle or pedestrian? Any help appreciated - like to plan. Thanks.

Offline John Nelson

Re: border crossings
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2019, 02:21:59 pm »
I have not crossed into Mexico by bicycle, but I have crossed into Canada many times on a bike. It's a pretty simple process. They ask you a few simple questions and let you go on your way. Just don't bring any guns or bear spray (or any number of other prohibited items).

Getting back into the US from Canada is harder. Make sure you have the proper documentation.

If you just want to cross both borders because you're a completionist, it's easier at Peace Arch on the Canadian side. You can just walk or ride across the border without taking to anyone, but you can't go very far into Canada. On the Mexican side, I settled for reaching through the fence.

Offline dtsloan

Re: border crossings
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2019, 04:26:59 pm »
Yup, wanting to get the passport stamps to “complete.” ;-)

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: border crossings
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2019, 02:06:15 pm »
Like John, I have not crossed into Mexico, but have into Canada many times.
Most of these border crossings involved going through in the car lane. The only time I had to act like a pedestrian was at Peace Arch.
Most of the crossings were fairly smooth. The most resistance I ever got was crossing back into the US in Minnesota via US 59. That border officer was definitely unfun. The most lax was going into Quebec from New York via the US 11/Rouses Point crossing. I don't even remember if the guard asked me for ID!

Offline hikerjer

Re: border crossings
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2019, 03:53:08 pm »
I've never crossed Mexico's or  Canada's border by bike but have by foot (hitch-hiking) and car on numerous occasions. My experiences is that the Canadians are pretty laid back and cooperative. American customs/border agents, however can be real dicks.  Seems like they're all on power trips.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2019, 06:23:40 pm by hikerjer »

Offline John Nelson

Re: border crossings
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2019, 05:46:15 pm »
Yup, wanting to get the passport stamps to “complete.” ;-)
I assume that you don’t mean this literally, because they’re not going to stamp your passport.

Offline Yakfish

Re: border crossings
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2019, 09:57:15 pm »
My crossings last year didn’t go so smooth! A friend and I were doing the Northern Tier and wanted to cross over for the day to see Niagara Falls. We spent the night at the hostel in Buffalo, great place, and headed to cross on the Peace Bridge. The Adventure Cycling map said that you could cross with the new drivers license but we brought our passports just in case.  There was construction so a nice young lady escorted us across behind her van. We got in the car line and I gave the guard my drivers license, he want to know how long we were staying and I told him just the day then he wanted to know how we were leaving and I told him I didn’t know I hadn’t looked that far away, I didn’t even know there was another bridge close. Well that must have made him mad, he wanted my passport then, well it’s in my panniers so when I get off to get it out he yells at me for being to close to the window. He keeps my passport writes me a yellow ticket and sends me inside, my friend is sent in a few minutes later. I feel like I am a kid back in high school being sent to the office, I’m 66 years old, wasn’t trying to be any trouble, guess we caught that guard on a bad day. After about 15 minutes we got our passports back and were told we could go with no explanation. The falls were beautiful but way to crowded but coming and going on a bike is the way to go. We crossed back on the Rainbow bridge with no problem.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: border crossings
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2019, 09:37:55 am »
Yup, wanting to get the passport stamps to “complete.” ;-)
I assume that you don’t mean this literally, because they’re not going to stamp your passport.
I could have sworn I got stamps when I crossed into Canada and then back into Montana at Chief Mountain in 2009, but I just found my passport that I used and it's got none from that trip. I think maybe it was the previous passport that I used for the Northern Tier trip back in '99. I definitely remember getting a stamp after crossing the Peace Bridge into Canada. The woman behind the desk rolled her eyes at me at gave me a "courtesy" stamp.

As for the ease of crossings, I think it all depends on the person you encounter. We got the third degree going into Canada at Roosville. The woman in the booth even fired off "What's your next day back at work." It was the second day of our trip. I did not even know what that day's date. Best I could come up with was "A week from Monday." Fortunately, my companion could figure out the date. When we crossed back at Chief Mountain a few days later the two young workers were as pleasant as could be. They even scolded the driver behind us for pulling up instead of waiting at the line behind us. As noted above, the woman who checked us after the Peace Bridge was not nice. When we went back into NY on the Rainbow Bridge the American worker was not pleasant. The young guy at Del Bonito at the Alberta/Montana border never even looked at our passports. He simply asked us if we were American citizens and how long we had been in Canada. (That was pre-911.)

Offline John Nelson

Re: border crossings
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2019, 11:38:07 am »
I think maybe it was the previous passport that I used for the Northern Tier trip back in '99. I definitely remember getting a stamp after crossing the Peace Bridge into Canada.

20 years is a long time ago.

As for the ease of crossings, I think it all depends on the person you encounter.

I agree. I've had a wide range of experiences. The Canadian agent at Chief Mountain was very friendly. He asked me if I was carrying any alcohol and then laughed and waved me on without even waiting for a response. The US agent at Del Bonita was very stern, and acted like he didn't believe anything I told him. The Canadian agent at Marine City Michigan asked me a lot of questions, but only because he was very curious about my bicycle trip. The US agent at the Lewiston-Queenston bridge seemed intent on finding discrepancies in my answers.

There seems to be a very distinct difference in tone, but I think it's just because the US is more concerned about terrorism than Canada is. There is also a difference in facilities. Canada seems to build small buildings that look like toll booths. The US builds impressive, intimidating edifices.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: border crossings
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2019, 06:20:20 pm »

20 years is a long time ago.

Found my previous passport. I did get stamped in Canada at Chief Mountain and at Fort Erie on the way to Niagara Falls. The latter has the word "-COURTESY-" written under it.

It also has stamps related to bike tours I trips in Italy and Spain. Memory lane.

Offline John Nelson

Re: border crossings
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2019, 09:12:06 pm »

Found my previous passport. I did get stamped in Canada at Chief Mountain and at Fort Erie on the way to Niagara Falls. The latter has the word "-COURTESY-" written under it.

Very interesting. I had heard a long time ago that you could request a passport stamp even if they weren't otherwise going to give one, but I wonder if that is still an option.

Offline geegee

Re: border crossings
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2020, 02:29:53 pm »
You should be able to get a stamp at the Canadian border if you asked for one. They don't normally do it for Americans as they expect these crossings to be frequent and routine. If the guy at the booth doesn't have the proper stamp you may have to go into the office after going through.

Offline dtsloan

Re: border crossings
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2020, 06:14:55 pm »
thanks all