Riding a motorcycle in Mexico City for the first time

With the metropolis of Mexico City approaching quickly my worries also grew. I love riding a motorcycle but I prefer the more quiet roads, paved and the sun in my back. Mexico City appears to offer none of that. Looking at maps, I saw endless roads, flyovers, red markings for heavy traffic, and tons of road crossings and bypasses.

On top of all that I heard some pretty bad stories about riding a motorcycle in the Mexican capital. People told me I would be robbed while waiting for traffic lights and I would be pulled off my motorcycle.

Not the kind of stories I wanted to hear and that made me ride very stressed. I seriously considered taking down the GoPro and the GPS that day because they’re in plain sight. Me with my vivid imagination was totally worked up and nervous the night before.

Luckily for me the road towards the city was quite awesome. Arnan picked a twisting road through the mountains with lots of nature, forests and sunlight filtering through the trees. It was a good road too. You really had no idea that you were approaching one of the biggest cities in the world. Well, have a look for yourself.

After arriving safely at our hotel in the middle of Mexico City I realized that things weren’t as bad as people make it out to be.

In 2021 Arnan and I did a motorcycle trip through Mexico

Driving through Mexico City was but a small part of our large trip through Mexico.

  • More than 9500 kilometers (~6000 miles)
  • From Cancun to La Paz
  • Avoiding toll roads where possible
  • We drive through the heart of Mexico
  • from north to south
  • from the East coast to the West coast
  • from state to state
  • from Pueblo to Pueblo

You can download our routes from city to city Cancun to La Paz here. These routes include all the information you need for an amazing and hopefully safe road trip through Mexico in GPX files that you can import into most GPS systems.

Included with the routes you’ll get Points of Interest which include:

  • Gas stations
  • Lunch Stops
  • Hotels
  • Government checkpoints
  • Illegal checkpoints and caution zones we encountered
  • And for some segments; Road Conditions and warnings

The entire route is split up in segments which makes it easier to use the routes also for day trips.

Seeing a family member crash with the motorcycle

Motorcycle accidents

I think one of the most devastating things a mother can witness is seeing her child being involved in a motorcycle accident right before her eyes. That split second you see the body being thrown in the air, not knowing how it will end.

I have witnessed it twice during my motor-rider lifespan, which isn’t that long, probably 4 or 5 years. I ride a lot with my son Arnan, the owner of this website. And I have seen him crash into a Labrador-sized dog. That happened on the island of Siquijor in the Philippines.

That time he left a lot of skin on the asphalt. A scraped-up knee, leg, elbows, and hand. Scratches on his hip and more such wounds. And his motorbike, a Honda, a nearly total loss. It took forever to find parts to repair the damaged bike and it took even longer for my son’s body to heal. He still has scars today.

Recently I witnessed it again when an ignorant SUV driver cut him off, swerving into his lane to avoid a car in front and not paying attention to other road users. While he tried to avoid colliding with her car he crashed into the rear of a car in front of us. I was driving behind him but luckily could stop in time.

I saw him hit the car, being thrown over his windshield, slammed back on his gasoline tank, and being launched into the air before falling over and hitting the ground.

The woman in the car, kind of tried to ignore the whole thing although I urged her to get out of the car. Unfortunately refused to take any kind of responsibility or even say sorry and kind of waved me away like I was an annoying insect.

After we lifted the motorcycle, with help from the driver of the car my son hit, my son walked his bike to the side of the road, pure on adrenaline I guess. After the initial shock, he sat down on the pavement with that look in his eyes people have when after an accident. Probably the awe of what just happened, processing in shock. Feeling pain, disbelief, relief, and every emotion in between.

I called our insurance company which promptly put me on hold for over 10 minutes, I kid you not! After 10 minutes of listening to how important I am to my insurer, I called again and finally got to speak to a person.

It was the first time we had to deal with a foreign insurance company. But they handled it fine I think, although it took a long long time for everything to be processed. First, we had to wait for about 40 minutes for the accident investigator to arrive. Then the endless parade of forms, signatures, photos, describing damages, and more forms, and a few phone calls.

Imagine that you hit a car around 8 and by 11.30 you finally can leave the scene.

By daylight, while feeling sore and heavily bruised all over his body, he discovered more damage to his bike than we noticed in the bad streetlights of the Mexican night. So a few messages to the insurer to make sure they covered all the damage in the report they were expecting from the repair shop.

Before the accident, during the day, we had a weird ride anyhow. We decided to make a quick round through Cabo and on the way there we passed a flipped-over gasoline truck on the highway with a few guys around it flagging traffic to slow down. When we drove past there was a stench of fuel that was still pouring out of the cracked tanker wreck into the gutter. An hour later when we entered Cabo we saw emergency vehicles from the Civil Protection head the way we came and in the news, we heard they finally closed the highway for several hours.

In Cabo we had fun eating ice cream, watching a sea lion in the port of Cabo San Lucas, and exploring the marina a bit before finally driving home through the crazy busy rush hour traffic of San Jose del Cabo.

We left a bit late, but we figured that driving in the night wouldn’t be that bad for once. And headed through the mountains where we were caught up in a long line of slow traffic following a bus with a police escort because it had a flat tire on the narrow road there was no way for the bus to stop and no way for everyone to overtake the bus.

In villages and straight stretches, balzy drivers would overtake the line of slower vehicles and often push in at the last second nearly driving others from the road, this also happened to us a few times.

Riding a motorcycle in developing countries is always juggling with death. You need to have eyes everywhere as well as ears. I guess we have guardian angels that are on overtime since over the years, as new drivers, we do not have that much damage and accidents if you take into consideration the crazy traffic and situations we sometimes find ourselves in.

But this was a day I will not easily forget, some images will stay with me vividly for way too long, like my son’s body being thrown in the air.

Material damages from the accident total about $1500US and include; A broken headlight, crushed fender, bent crash bar, broken spokes, and a bunch of superficial damages to plastic covers and such.

Luckily we have insurance for all of it.

My big regret on long-term travel

Going on adventure is a big deal and it is big fun also. It usually is. But inevitably after a while you get tired of it. Tired of the grind of riding hours on end. And most people, me included, just don’t take the time to enjoy the adventure anymore. The only objective is to get to the next location that day.

Sure you’ll enjoy the moment and probably enjoy the views, the road, or whatever gives you your rush. I like the scenic bits. Maybe a hint of danger and excitement. And on a good day I can immensely enjoy my rides.
But then later on, when the adventure is over and you look for a photo of something along the route you notice the bad days easily.
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