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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
Photo by Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

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Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia

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  • 1 Post By brclarke

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Old 3 Sep 2018
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Puebla/Guadalajara/Mexico City

Hey all,

I'm planning a trip to Mexico City and would love to take a few days to ride to either Guadalajara or Puebla. I've never ridden abroad and it's been 4 years since I've owned a bike. My longest ride was Wisconsin to Kentucky over the course of 2 days, each way. Few questions:

1) Has anyone ever done either of these rides?
2) Anyone have any tips on renting a bike in Mexico? I'd probably go with a ~500 CC since it's been a while since I've ridden.
3) Any other tips for a noob?

Thanks much in advance!
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Old 6 Sep 2018
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Bump! I know I'm being impatient and the trip is small, but I could really use some tips
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Old 6 Sep 2018
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I don't have many tips for you, but I have a lot of questions that might lead you to your own answers.

I don't want to sound pedantic but, motorcycling, even when you are a totally seasoned and capable rider, and 100% knowledgeable about local driving customs/ signage/rules, can be hazardous, sometimes deadly.

-Can you read signs in Spanish?
-How will you navigate through the cities- Do you have a GPS of some type? Can you operate it while riding?
-How much experience do you actually have on a moto?
-Can you ride without ever having to look at your controls?
-Would you feel comfortable riding an unfamiliar bike across Chicago or Houston? In the wind and rain?
-Do you have a current moto endorsement on your license?
-Do you have moto riding gear that you will carry with you? Helmet, jacket, boots, gloves, and raingear- at a minimum.

I have ridden in Mexico (and other places) and I feel comfortable there, BUT, I usually try to avoid riding in crowded, hectic unfamiliar cities if I can. If I were going to Mexico City, Puebla, or Guadalajara, I would prefer to park my bike and my gear on the outskirts of town at a small hotel, and take public transportation in.

Don't be offended by my skepticism, I don't know you or your abilities and experience. I know it took me years of riding before I attempted what you are doing; and that, in my local club there are many people to whom I would say ' Go for it!' and more than a few for whom I don't think it would be a good idea.

Most likely, if you rode through small towns, parked the bike and took taxis or buses into the cities you would do fine. Watch out for those ever present 'topes' (speed bumps)!

It's a worthy goal if you work up to it, IMO.

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Old 7 Sep 2018
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Hey Shu, thanks much for the reply!

Actually, your skepticism is much appreciated. I'm definitely looking for a gut check on my plan

I know you meant those questions rhetorically, but I'll answer them anyway

- I'm pretty proficient at Spanish (reading/writing/speaking)
- I'd use my phone with an intl data plan and in-ear headphones for the voice prompts. It's worked well for me on a bike before.
- About 3 years experience riding
- Yup, I ride without looking at controls
- Riding through Chicago? No problem! But that's assuming a bike I *am* familiar with, so I share your concern here.
- Yes, current M license
- Have all the gear except a rain poncho (full-face helmet, boots, gloves, armored jacket)

That all being said, I now live in NYC and the idea of riding through Manhattan would make me nervous. I'd do it but I don't think it would be fun.

What in your opinion do you think I'm underestimating? Getting out of Mexico City and onto the highway? Riding an unfamiliar bike straight away? Or is there something tricky about the route/Mexico in particular I'm missing?

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Old 7 Sep 2018
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ledhed- it sounds like your plan is reasonable.

Getting out of the city will probably not be fun- much like your thoughts of New York City.

It's the little things that you are unaware of that will make you nervous. Such as: Mexican drivers can be aggressive, but not insistent. If there is an open space, someone will take it quickly. It's okay with them if it's you that gets in there, but someone has got to do it. They may cut closer to you than you are comfortable with when they make their move. Motorcycles are expected to split lanes, which also puts you very close to the cars.

While you are dealing with this, keeping yourself safe, you will have to be finding your way across town through a maze of unfamiliar streets, massive intersections, traffic circles, construction, delivery trucks stopped in your lane etc.

At the same time, you will discover that your front brake grabs more quickly than you expected and the clutch lets out unexpectedly late. Your left hand mirror is okay but the right one is loose and you can't see cars in it until they are on top of you. The tires are underinflated and the bike feels a little wobbly as you come to a stop.

Plus, it is hot and you are steaming your visor, and sweating to death in your jacket, and traffic is building for the afternoon rush.

This is a pretty accurate description of my ride out of Quito Ecuador after picking up a rental bike. It was a huge relief to clear the city and ride in the countryside. After a few days I had everything sorted out and was able to ride much more confidently.

I would guess that your experience might be similar.

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Old 24 Sep 2018
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Thank you shu! I'm going to keep this thread posted on my prep and progress, just in case anyone else would find this useful for their first intl ride!
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Old 25 Sep 2018
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To be honest, you haven't rode much in the last 4 years, and even when you were riding years ago you didn't gain a whole lot of riding experience.

IMHO I would try doing some more riding at home before you fly into Mexico City, hop on an unfamiliar bike, and then go riding for at least a few hours out of a busy congested city with unfamiliar traffic conditions.
Bruce Clarke - 2020 Yamaha XV250
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mexico, newbie, newbie questions, noob advice, rentals

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