Traveling Baja California via Motorcycle
Known by many to be the west’s last frontier, Baja California entices Americans north of the border with a blend of freedom, exotica, and nostalgia.
The Baja California peninsula, which is surrounded by the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean, is comprised of two Mexican states – Baja California and Baja California Sur – with the population centers at the American border and southern tip.
For those who prefer paved riding, Mexican Federal Highway 1 runs uninterrupted for just over 1000 miles from urban Tijuana to the resort town of Cabo San Lucas, by way of the Parque Natural del Desierto Central de Baja California. Along the way, lodging is available, though many stretches across the desert and beach landscapes are uninhabited.
Many American motorcyclists, weary of the excessive regulation of off-road riding in California, find Baja California to be sweet relief. SCORE International promotes three popular races in Baja – the 250, 500, and the iconic 1000, which celebrates its 46th run in 2013. This has allowed many Americans to embrace the charms of the rugged beauty and friendly people that make up the vast rural areas of the peninsula.
Although Baja is a desert, altitudes vary from sea level to over 10,000 feet, so there are seasons. Generally, the summer is hot – with temperatures over 100 degrees common inland – and the winter can get downright chilly. Spring and fall offer a good compromise for first time visitors.
MotoVentures out of Anza, Calif., offers tours to Baja California designed to accommodate the needs and desires off the participants. Rather than establishing dates and routes, MotoVentures customizes the experience to suit your skills and available time.
Guides with local knowledge are crucial in Baja California, as there are certainly areas to enjoy and others to avoid. To make the ride more memorable and meaningful, a typical tour will include portions of the Baja 1000 racecourse, and riders will stay at the best accommodations possible.
For those unsure of their off-road skills, MotoVentures offers on-site courses in Anza, so someone who has not ridden off-road recently (or ever) can re-acquaint himself with dirt biking. Riders without a dirt bike can rent an appropriate motorcycle for the classes and the tours.