Mexico is a quarter of the size of Australia or continental USA, yet has several disparate regions that offer motorcyclists a wide variety of riding conditions.
In the north, there are vast deserts offering thrills for adventure riders; central Mexico hs towering mountain ranges with juicy, winding tarmac’ in the south, the roads snake through thick jungles and traditional villages; and on the Yucatan Peninsula wide highways whisk you quickly through the low and dense jungle from quaint cities to fabulous beaches.
We have just finished the Tacos n Tequila Tour with Ferris Wheels Motorcycle Safaris (from January 1, 2016, to be known as World on Wheels) across about 4500km of Mexico that includes the best of the riding conditions and avoids the industrial lower Gulf area by cutting through raw and exciting Guatemala, and relaxed Caribbean-Style Belize.
The last part of the tour through Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula has not been the motorcycling nirvana that surprised us every day on the first part of the tour.
However, the more relaxed pace has been welcomed in the latter stage of a hectic 19-day tour that has rewarded us with amazing Mexican sights, sounds, smells and tastes.
The roads on the Yucatan Peninsula are straighter, smoother and there are fewer speed bumps (called topes, reductors or vibradores) than we experienced elsewhere.
But there is a stronger police presence.
Regardless, the traffic seems to flow well above the posted speed limits and you’d have to be unlucky or doing something really stupid to be pulled over.
And that’s exactly what happened to us!
There are plenty of police checkpoints around Mexico and we’ve only been pulled over once for a fleeting inspection of our luggage for drugs and guns. At most checkpoints we were waved through or there was no one there to stop us anyway.
So when the traffic backed up for yet another police checkpoint, our group of 19 bikes rode up the side of the traffic line and through the orange witches hats, innocently thinking we were not doing anything wrong.
Four bikes zipped through before the police jumped out and halted the rest of us, very angry that we hadn’t all stopped.
After some tense minutes fearing the worst, we finally got in phone contact with our Mexican minder in the support van way behind us. We handed the phone to the angry machine-gun-toting officer, things were quickly smoothed out and we were again on our way.
It’s a salutary lesson to read the situation, follow the rules, learn to be flexible, always smile and point to the Australian stickers on your helmet!
Anyway, it made good fodder for diner time conversation that night.
Like all good Ferris tours, it ended at a superb location – the beachside haven of Puerto Morelos.