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Mountain Biking | Guanajuato Mexico

Mountain_Bike_Guanajuato1Yes! The bike and our gear made it through the flights and customs without any problems. They never even asked me to open the bike box. I guess Annie is the antidote for the suspicion that I seem to inevitably inspire at border crossings.

I should back up for a moment…the big news is that I just started a 6-month leave of absence from LinkedIn in order to train for and participate in a bunch of bikepacking races this summer. We decided to move down to Mexico for two months, so that I could start training and we could work on our Spanish. Fortunately, Annie can work on her website from anywhere.

Guanajuato is an ideal spot for training. It’s at 6,500ft elevation, has mild temperatures, and offers lots of routes with quad-busting climbs.

So, without any more excuses, I quickly headed off into the mountains to scout out a good training ride. I was going to ask for advice at the local bike shop, but it turns out that the owner recently closed it and went back to Switzerland. (Warning to tourists hoping to rent a bike, Bike Station Guanajuato no longer exists!)

FYI – I’ve only been able to find a small shop that sells tires, tubes, and kids bikes. They have an air compressor and I think they have a mechanic because I think I saw a makeshift bike stand. It’s on Plaza Canatador (see map).

In the spirit of helping the next hapless tourist, the route I’ve been riding the last couple of days is below. Click on the blue markers to see pics of the route.

Right now, it is taking me about 4 hours to complete the loop. Hopefully, I’ll shave some time off in the coming weeks. And, shockingly, it turns out that there are a few  locals who actually record their rides on Strava . Enrique de Alba, I’m coming for you! Say adios to your king-of-the-mountain badges!

Guanajuato Mountain Bike Route

GPX file of route

Miles ~30; Elevation Gain ~5,000; Max Elevation ~8,400

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4 Responses to Mountain Biking | Guanajuato Mexico
  1. Lisa
    June 20, 2014 | 7:31 pm

    Hey, I’m moving to Guanajuato and am planning on taking my bike with me my only problem is which one! I’m a triathlete with a road bike and was wondering if i would be able to use it there? I have a MTB too so could take that instead (and it isn’t worth as much so don’t care about it as much) but am more of a road cyclist. Are the roads paved or all that cobblestone stuff? I took a roadie with me to Galapagos and that was a bad decision so want to try and make the right one this time!!

    • Forest Baker
      June 27, 2014 | 10:55 pm

      Hi Lisa,

      During the two months I was biking in Guanajuato, I only saw one road biker (who had a nice bike). Most of the Panoramica has pretty smooth pavement and Hwy 110 has pretty good pavement too. Basically, if you get out on the highways that run between cities, the road surface is pretty good. Your road bike will be fine. It’s when you get into the towns were the surface often gets a bit rough (cobblestones, etc.).

      If you decide to bring your road bike, consider putting 700×25 tires or larger on. And ride with plenty of patches. Lastly, bring tubes, spare tires, and chain lube. The closest “real” bike shop is in Leon and bike gear in Mexico is more expensive.

      I’m jealous! Have a great time.


  2. Will G
    September 19, 2013 | 5:31 am

    I’m leaving for Leon, Guanajuato this Oct 01 for a 6 month work project. Was thinking of taking a carbon Superfly hardtail 29’r any thoughts on taking such an expensive machine down there? Was thinking of picking up a cheaper alum 29’r? I did find a few bike shops (Trek dealer) in Leon, much bigger city than Guanajuato. Do you have any contacts to share with regards to local riders, clubs, etc?
    Thanks for the GPX file, looking forward to try it…Will

    • fbaker
      September 19, 2013 | 9:01 am

      I’m jealous about your work assignment! I never felt any concern about getting my bike jacked while riding in Guanajuato or the surrounding hills. And I was always riding alone. When I would stop at small tiendas for a snack and a drink, I always had my bike in eyesight. Otherwise, I kept it inside our apartment. I did read a blog post about an expat that biked up to some cliffs above Guanajato, left his bike by the trail, and then went rockclimbing. When he came back, his bike was gone. Don’t do that. 😉

      I never spent any time in Leon, so I don’t know the vibe there. The locals didn’t say anything bad about Leon beyond that it is a bigger city and, therefore, has a different feel.

      Yes, Leon has the only good bike shop (none in Guanajuato). Bikes are cheaper in the US. I’d bring one instead of buying in Mexico. Depending on how many times you plan on riding, you might see if the bike shop rents nice mountain bikes. If you are only going to ride like 5-10 times, it would probably be cheaper to rent each time than to pay airline fees for your bike.

      My typical routes were mainly dirt roads that sometimes turned into paths. They weren’t technical except for a few short stretches. You’d be fine with a hardtail on the stuff I rode.

      There is an area full of single-track trails between Guanajuato and Santa Rosa. It’s a park called Las Palomas and it’s up in the hills just before you get to Santa Rosa. I never rode those trails, so I can’t say if you’d end up wishing you had your nicer bike.

      In the end, I’d probably be more worried about the airline banging my bike up than getting it stolen.

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