Bike Adventure Along The Coast

Put this in the extreme adventure category
BY: CATHY WATKINS

Now you can enjoy an ecological bike adventure in the desert, on the edge of the Sea of Cortez. 

Cabo Cycle just opened its Adventure Park on 460 acres of woodsy land between the Holiday Inn and the Thompson Hotel on the Cabo Corridor.  The terrain has amazing views of the iconic arch of Cabo and the bay and plenty of cactus. 

Cabo Cycle uses modern electric bicycles that are environmentally friendly and sort of easy to handle. They’re made by Fat Bike in Mexico and have five speeds and front and back brakes.  Brakes are very important, as the bike accelerates with a throttle just like a motorcycle, You can also pedal to help accelerate your speed on the uphills.

As you travel up and down the terrain, the guide will instruct you when to accelerate as you go uphill and brake on the downhill.  Don’t laugh, of course you will think to do that, but you may not do these things in time. Do as your guide cues, or you’ll find you run out of steam on the uphill, and will plop over, and well, we all know what happens if you lose control of the damn thing on these rather serious downhills.  The tour uses two guides as one leads and the other heads up the rear, in case someone gets lost or plops over or over shoots a turn or any combination of such disasters.

Your adventure starts with pick up at your hotel or you show up at their pretty cool camp behind Office Max. First you complete a general questionnaire about your bicycle experience. The guide then gives a general description about the tour and route, which is three miles long. It’s a long three miles.

Next, the guides help you put on lots and lots of safety equipment consisting of a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads, and wrist braces. At this point, it dawns on you that this is going to be more than just a leisurely peddle through the tundra but no, we did not catch on to it that early. It does say “Extreme Adventure” in the ad, yet we still didn’t catch on to the extremeness of this adventure.

The guides give instructions on how to operate the bike and a run-through of their signals, which will be in Spanish, but there’s only like two commands, so you can do this. Basically it’s “peddle like hell”,  and “get ready with hands on the brakes”. A handy heads up would be nice, like here comes a turn left or right would help, but they were still working out kinks when we went. You will find out it’s important to maintain some distance behind the bike in front of you, in case they screw up and plop over or you screw up and override them.  Finally, you get a very short practice session in very soft sand to acquaint yourself with what’s in store for you.  The practice course was really one of the hardest parts, what with that hairpin turn. Oh, we didn’t mention you will be in very soft sand? Cushions falls and anyway you have very fat tires that can handle the sand, even if you can’t.

The route begins with the desert trails which seemed like the most difficult part of the tour.  The dirt is hard with some ruts that could make the Grand Canyon look easy because the rains have carved out big crevasses and the tour company has maybe kicked some sand into some of the deeper ones. You are expected to avoid them and for gods sakes don’t get your tires into the ruts that go in the same direction as you or you’re done for. Now you’ve completely lost control of your direction and you employ your knee, wrist and elbow pads but hopefully not your helmet.

My friend, a pretty old Gringa but very experienced bicycler and motorcyclist, never crashed but I am not so experienced and I plopped over about three times, never getting hurt at all. Well, my feelings were pretty hurt when she laughed her ass off at me.

Here’s the secrets we found out the hard way: As  you approach a hill, the guide shouts “Accelerate or actually acelera” in Spanish.  Pull back on the throttle and pedal like mad to make it to the top without losing so much speed you plop. See, the bike motor doesn’t have enough oomph to get you up the hills if you don’t make a run at it and peddle.

As the guide heads down the trail, he shouts “brake, brake,  (Frena, frena” in Spanish).  Use both brakes and keep breaking all the way down. Now here’s another secret: The brakes are backwards to what American bikers are used to. Front brake is right hand, back brake is left hand, and we’ve all been told all our lives not to stand on the front brake our you will surely go ass over tea kettle. Opposite here, got that?

As soon as you are down the hill, it’s time to accelerate again for the next hill.  Don’t delay with that as you need speed or it’s Plops Ville for you.  While you keep your eyes focused on the trail and operate the bike, a little rush of adrenaline begins to creep in. No, that’s not fear, call in adrenaline, because adrenaline is what you’re paying for, fear is always free.

This is more difficult, than a peddle through Central Park, but it’s really a great ride. If in some parts it seems too scary, the guide will help you walk the bike down.  Nothing will help you through the cackling guffaws of your friend, however, you will just have to be the bigger person than she is and deal with that.

Finally, it’s time to peddle down onto the beach.  The sand here is firmly packed, and it’s easier to maneuver the bike.  While pedaling along the beach and breathing in the salt air, the arch and the bay will always be in sight, so it’s nice.  

At the end of the one and a half hour tour, a light box lunch is served back at the camp. Photos that were taken along the way are available for purchase. Tips are not included, so don’t forget to tip your guide.

Take sunblock, sunglasses, long sleeve shirt and long pants. And wear real shoes, don’t try this in flip flops, you may flop.  No fatties! You can’t weigh over 250 pounds. Don’t be pregnant and don’t be less than 4 feet tall because they don’t have kids’ bikes yet.

If all this sounds too scary, Cabo Cycle has now started a hiking tour. You leisurely stroll the same trail, and with a guide who points out cactus and nature stuff.  You may see iguanas, and birds such as road runners, sparrows, hummingbirds, and wood peckers.  The flora is extensive and even includes medicinal plants.  This terrain is still pristine which is amazing since it’s so close to town.

The tour through the desert and beach is available in the morning or late afternoon for the sunset  The bike adventure costs $89 and the hiking tour costs $49. Locals will be given a generous 50% discount.  Call 624-150-9451. For more information visit their website: www.cabocycle.com or send an email to info@cabocycle.com.