Several months ago, I worked up the courage to mention to my parents that I was going to bike from Canada down the U.S. west coast, Baja, Mexico and into Central America to raise funding and awareness for Right To Play. They both laughed in my face, not taking me seriously and said I couldn’t do it. They weren’t laughing because I couldn’t physically do it, but because they were freaked out about me getting hit by a truck, not speaking a word of Spanish, and stuff like that… fair enough! Secretly, I had been planning this trip for years and I was already 100% committed. Soon enough my sister, Ella, was on board! Now they were worried about BOTH of their daughters getting killed in Mexico…
Being the older sister, I said “Ella, if you are going to come on this trip then you HAVE to seriously train because if you’re slow I am not going to wait for you.” She and I both knew I meant it. Don’t get me wrong, Ella was physically fit before we started this bike tour but we were not on the same playing level. I am more or less obsessed with exercising, can’t go a day without it and have been training for years for a trip like this. Ella… let me just say that she would rather stay out until 4 AM drinking on the weekends rather than use that time for rest and recovery or a bonus ride. To top it off, she bought her bike two weeks before our departure date of Sept. 22nd 2013… I did force her to come for a 100 km ride with me before we left to make sure she could actually do it (without the load on the bike). She did it (in good time), but I was basically planning on her ditching me two weeks into the trip and cycling the rest solo.
Today is Nov. 17th, 2013 and we are in La Paz, Mexico. My sister is still with me, along with another young man by the name of Gerry Hol (who asked if he could join and literally bought his bike one week before the trip). Neither of them trained much and I don’t think Gerry had biked more than 50 km in his life before this trip. My point is, you don’t need to be some crazy endurance athlete to bicycle tour. How can you even train for something like this unless you quit your job and bike 8 hours a day with a 75 lb load on your bike? It’s just not realistic. But it is realistic for anyone to do. The hardest part is stepping outside your comfort zone and coming to terms that you aren’t going to be sleeping in your king size bed, the weather will not be perfect and you will get thirsty and hungry. If you’re okay with that then you are ready!
As for our adventure, we are 160 km from Cabo San Lucas where we are going to call it quits for now. The rest of Mexico, Central and hopefully South America will have to wait until I can speak Spanish and have a bit more money saved. The trip up until now has been unforgettable for all of us. The only bike repair I knew how to do before I left home was how to change a tire and put a patch on… amazingly I haven’t had a single flat this whole trip! How is that even possible?! However I did get two broken spokes in the most rural part of Baja (of course I didn’t have any extras or know how to change them) so I had to improvise with some emergency wiring until I found a very rustic bike shop in Guerrero Negro. Other than that my back tire is almost completely worn through to the tube and my chain looks like it will fall apart at any moment. Hopefully my bike can pull through for another 160 km!