"Taking you off the beaten path... to a beaten path."
Because you ride your own bike, I don't have to keep a fleet of new and nearly new bikes in tip-top condition. Some would say you are forced to ride your own bike, but I say you are allowed to ride your own bike. Our tours are geared towards people who are already enthused and knowledgeable to some degree about motorcycling, not folks who just wanna try something different. And starting in 2018, we no longer pay for your meals and beverages (with the exception of the first dinner and breakfast), so you decide how much you will spend on those items.
While things have died down in th last several years since Mexican president Pena Nieto took office, the quick answer is that the shootings were related to the drug cartels battling it out between themselves and the Mexican police and military forces. Tourists are not the targets, and as such tourists have not been killed. Additionally, these activities have mainly occurred in border towns, mostly Juárez and Tijuana, with Tijuana being the only one that's in Baja. Our tours do not take place in or pass through Tijuana. We cross at the smaller town of Tecate, and are out of town and on a remote dirt road into the mountains within minutes. Apart from the Tijuana area, Baja is as it has always been... a peaceful, friendly place you'll want to return to again and again.
Yeah, we've all heard the stories of a friend's sister in-law's step-son who was robbed at gunpoint in the middle of nowhere. While no doubt someone at sometime has had a bad run-in with a bad person while in Mexico, the fact is that most of these horror stories are nothing more than tales that have been over exaggerated into urban-legend mythical status. It is true that caution and diligence must be exercised when traveling abroad, however the same holds true for traveling anywhere here in the good ol' U.S.A. as well. The fact is there are bad people everywhere, and folks who have spent much of their lives visiting Mexico regularly will assure you there are less of them south of the border.
You'll just need meal, drink, and souvenir money. It is recommended to bring most of your money in pesos, which is the most convenient, and accepted everywhere. However, having a few extra bucks in small bills for souvenirs is a good idea. A handful of American ones and fives always assures good bartering power. There will be an opportunity to exchange currency before we cross the border into Mexico.
If you start the ride with new tires, they will make it, no problem. But we do carry semi-worn front and rear replacements in the support truck just in case of major blowouts--no charge!
Back in the day, it was noticeably inferior to pump gas in the US. Today, it's not a problem anymore. In Baja California it's actually the same gas we use here in the States, but without any additives that US fuel retailers add. Better yet, it contains no ethanol. However, outside the larger more populated areas like Tijuana, Ensenada and San Felipe, premium grade is likely to be either sold-out or not available. Depending on your bike (likely carb vs fuel injected), using the regular grade unleaded "Magna Sin", you may or may not notice something different about the way your engine performs and even sounds, but the GripTwister crew has used it many a time without problems or suffering damage of any type. Some newer model bikes have an ECM that can be switched to run low octane fuel, which I would recommend doing if you have one. If you are concerned about it, you could carry bottles of octane boost, but that's not so convenient. Now, buying fuel out of barrels from roadside vendors (in some locations the only option) has the most potential for getting "watered down" fuel, but we've done this many, many times with never an ill effect so far.
Oh yeah, I would say so! In Mexico, if you have an accident you are held until fault and the ability to pay for any damages have been determined. Napoleonic law there states that you have to prove your innocence, or at least have the funds to cover the damages if you aren't before you can be sent on your way. And in Mexico, damages could include crazy stuff like the gouge you put into the fine Mexican asphalt or the signpost you broke when you plowed into it. Having liability insurance is like having a get out of jail free card. Note that if you do not hold the title to your motorcycle, you'll need a letter from the title holder giving you permission to take it into Mexico.
Speed and acceleration. Keep your speed up to a level that would be the same or just a bit lower than it would be if there was no sand at all in that same place. The gyroscopic forces of the spinning wheels are what make the bike resist tipping over or quickly changing directions. The faster the wheels are spinning, the stronger this gyroscopic force.
Unfortunately, when starting out from a dead stop in deep sand, there is none of this gyroscopic force to do it's "thing" until you get some speed going... which is the hardest part of riding in the stuff. What you want to do is accelerate up to speed as quickly as you can, because like a boat in the water, your bike also has a minimum speed at which it will remain up on a "plane" in sand. Heavy acceleration is required below this speed, and the bike will be extremely squirrelly or unstable feeling at these slow speeds, and your front tire will want to turn abruptly and plow into the sand.
But getting up onto a plane sometimes requires accelerating to a speed faster than you think you should go, especially when your bike is throwing you all over the place. Listen to what I tell you now: The very moment you have your bike moving forward and steady on course... give it full throttle immediately until you get up on this "plane". You'll think I must be crazy, but once you see that it works, and your bike becomes much more steady with the speed, you'll have a new confidence and understanding. Until then, just remember that if you don't gas it, you are doomed to eventually plow the front tire in and either fall over or have to stop to keep from doing so. If you're really squirrelly still... then you're not going fast enough!
So, relax. Don't be anxious or intimidated by the sand. I would tell you not to have too stiff a grip on the bike, but you likely won't be able to help yourself. Besides, at slow speeds, the tire can really turn into ruts, ridges, and the like with a LOT of force, so sometimes a bit of tension or "firmness" can help there. But it will wear you out very quickly if you ride like that. Just try to think about not being so overly puckered up, and that may help you to relax, at least for a second or two. And that's a window of opportunity to accelerate up to speed, where it's WAY easier to ride.
Also, scoot back on the seat to keep weight off the front wheel. If possible, avoid riding in or near ruts in otherwise fresh, wind blown sand.
Don't be too afraid to fall over in soft sand. Except for the bitch of having to pick up your bike, sand is way more soft and forgiving than dirt.
It can't be stressed enough. Speed and acceleration are THE keys to riding in deep sand.