BAJA !!!: Is it in Your Bucket List?

BAJA !!!:  Is it in Your Bucket List?

Baja, The Bucket List

We have all read the stories or seen the countless photos and videos of racing in Baja and wondered… What is it really like. If you have never experienced Baja and you ride off road, this is one for the bucket list. Baja is a magical place full of adventure and no magazine article, photo spread or video can really put it into perspective.

If you have done a Baja trip perhaps you can pass along some of suggestions how one would likely begin to plan a trip. Here are a few of my personal recommendations.

  • There are many different qualified tour groups that offer a great Baja experience definitely a good place to start.
  • Another great option is to find someone that you can trust with Baja experience that will walk you through each step of what he knows about Baja.

Experience in Baja is worth it’s weight in gold and when you find this person, pick his/her brain in every detail. Take notes on their advice because it could be the difference between a fun and safe trip to a total disaster.

Planning for Baja

The Baja desert is a beautiful place to ride that can and will present many hazards that you should be prepared for. Countless hours of planning and preparation must go into a Baja trip/adventure and every ride will almost be different than you planned it to be and that’s where the adventure comes into play. Always be prepared to deal with these hazards

  • Water-Be sure to have plenty of water
  • Fuel- Baja is a desolate place make sure you have enough fuel for your trip
  • Medical Issues- Riding motorcycles is dangerous, always have a plan for medical issues
  • Broken Motorcycles- A well prepared motorcycle and fanny pack with tools can prevent you from being stranded in the middle of nowhere
  • Snakes & Critters – This is the wilderness and there are plenty of critters who call it home, stay safe and avoid contact
  • Food – Don’t forget to pack enough food to keep you alive in case you get stranded.

Having said all the above you can have the experience of your off road life doing Baja. After your first trip you will react in one way or another. It will be either; well I did that what is next, or you will start planning your next trip on the way home.

Here are a few photos of what you can experience along the way.

Eric Miller

Eric Miller

Web developer, Designer specializing in content management systems. I have a long history of involvement in the motorcycle industry and racing in the Southern California Deserts. 

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2 thoughts on “BAJA !!!: Is it in Your Bucket List?

Greg says:

I go with a group out of Utah almost every year, I’m not an expert at this, but here’s what I’ve learned after 6 or 7 recent trips. We start & end in San Felipe, but there are lots of other ways to do Baja.
1. Avoid going during any major Baja races, you don’t want to come across trophy trucks or buggies on your ride!
2. Go with someone who’s been before if possible, they’ll have great perspective on Baja to share.
3. Expect the unexpected, from flat tires to terrible motel rooms–keep an open mind & stay positive.
4. Work to stay hydrated all the time–you’re in the desert for hours, a hydration pack is essential to hydrate while you ride!
5. Do pre-Baja bike maintenance. Seriously, I can’t tell you how many people fail to adjust valves & replace wheel bearings before Baja, then have big-time problems on the trail. Tell your mechanic you’re going to Baja!
6. Run hard tires & XHD tubes-Maxxis Desert IT tires are the most durable for Baja! Always start with new tires!
7. Have at least 100 mile range, carry extra fuel if you are not sure.
8. Plan to ride only 100-150 miles/day, unless you & your buddies are all expert riders, you will only be as fast as the slowest person in your group.
9. Build in time on the trail for repairs & backtracking, with weather & erosion, the trails and backroads can be washed out or closed.
10. Talk to the locals & spend money in the small towns–it is expected. The locals are very friendly & like motorcyclists if you treat them well.
11. Spend time on the internet forums-ask others for advice if needed.
12. Buy Car, Trailer & Bike insurance!
13. Have a valid bike registration w/your own name on it-you will need to show it at the border.
14. Consider Medivac insurance. Guys get hurt riding all the time. If you’re in Mexico it compounds things-if you have a real job you have to get back home to, this is a worthy consideration.
15. You must have a passport.

Chuck says:

Thanks Greg, Your comments are right on. On our most recent ride in Baja, October 2015, one of the riders, Ed, crashed in a huge ‘Povo Section”, Povo is just like talcum powder and you have to treat it like muddy water. You cannot see through it, it is slick just like moss rock and therefore you must be very cautious while in Povo. Oh, did I fail to mention the dust factor, it is the worst of any type of dirt, you may end up riding in your own dust!

Following Ed’s crash it was determined he had either separated or fractured some ribs and we all know how much fun those are, you can’t fart without hurting. Rider injuries present a huge problem because there is no 911 or ambulance service available, so now what. Well, you just have to pull up your big boy pants and ride your motorcycle out, which is just what Ed did. The closest location to fuel, food, and rest, Which in this case was a campsite in the desert mountains, after he had ridden 38 miles. This was not a fun ride for Ed and I must say Ed did what he had to do.

This was the second trip of my 35 plus trips when we had an injured rider. KEEP IN MIND, RIDING IN BAJA IS A GREAT TIME, BUT IT IS NOT A “MOTOCROSS”. If you want to motocross go to a track where you can have medical help available.

Something to remember while in Baja, do not use the inviting rises in the trail/road to loft your bike as there could be a washout or deep rut on the down side of the rise. If you can’t see over the rise use the technique of COAST UP AND ACCELERATE DOWN”.

Enjoy the great time Baja has to offer but do not forget the many, many dangers that it also offers.

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