The doorbell of the Alaska bike shop jingled shut as another khaki shorts cruise ship goer left, leaving me alone at the counter for a brief moment to contemplate my future. My job at the bike shop would end in mid-September, and I wanted to be riding the Baja Divide in mid-January. These things were clear, what lay between them was not.
Karla and I were on route before Covid-19 had been detected in Mexico, but as we saw the situation develop we decided to pause our trip and go home. It feels weird to have our outdoor space reduced to a small backyard after being on the limitless open road, but we stay positive and hope you’re all safe and to see you on the road once all this passes. Stay strong and cheers!
We leave San Ignacio and after a chill ride we make it to Laguna de San Ignacio where we join a whale watching tour. On our previous segment we had seen whales spout from the coast, but seeing them dive under the tiny boat we were on was an amazing experience. Back on dry land we stop at the tiny store in town for a quick resupply, where the lady behind the counter is actively scrolling on her phone and she expresses her concern about “the new virus”. This area relies heavily on sea related activities and the main buyer is China, but because of Covid-19 all product shipping has been stopped, leaving people without part of the income they count on for the rest of the year. She’s also worried about being in a touristy spot, where most of the visitors are from abroad.
Last year, my partner Karla and I rode the northern half of the Baja Divide which soon, and as expected, became the hardest pedaling we had ever done, but also one of the most fulfilling experiences of our lives so when we went home we just kept on dreaming about going back for the second half of it.
One of Lael Wilcox‘s dreams when it comes to the Baja Divide is to provide the route in Spanish. Well, thanks to Daniel Zaid, that dream has become a reality. The Baja Divide begins at the US/Mexico border and continues all the way down the Baja Penninsula, with the route describing each section in detail. This is a huge undertaking for Daniel to take on. Many thanks to Lael and Rue for making this happen!
See the translated site at Baja Divide.
The name “California” was first given around 1535 to what’s now Baja California Sur when it was rediscovered by the Spanish conquistadores, and the term didn’t extend to the now USA-California until 85 years later, a territory commonly referred to as New Albion. Some years later for land management purposes the former was then named Antigua (old) or Baja (lower) California, and the latter Nueva (new) or Alta (higher) California; in 1848 as a result of the Mexican-American War, Alta California becomes the American state of California. Then in the 1970s a trend is born: Newcalifornians start calling peninsular California simply “Baja”, as a brand name for investing in commercial, touristic and real estate development.
Baja Divide, La Sierra Norte – Daniel Zaid
Words and photos by Daniel Zaid
In 2016 I rode my bike through the Baja California pennisula on the only paved highway, the Carretera Transpeninsular, and as pretty as it was, having to look over my shoulder all the time prevented me from fully enjoying the ride. I ventured in some dirt roads and after some very bumpy rides I thought I’d also look into getting another bike, something that could put more cushion between the rocks and my bones. Few weeks before finishing I read about the Baja Divide project; I saw a photo of the map and did the Cape Loop and thought “This is what I needed.” Three years later I’m finally able to go back again, this time though on a bike made expressly for dirt road touring: Ultraromance´s #RoseEmojiBikes aka the Warthog Wash Wiper aka “Rosita”. Also I’m joined by my partner Karla on her Surly Krampus, who has been dreaming of doing this route for months.
Dan Clark takes us on Koby Clark’s journey along the Baja Divide. In this video, Koby tells the story of his ride and hints at some of the ‘sticky situations’ he encountered along this challenging 1700-mile route. The film also showcases the innocence of youth and the richness of the experience while bikepacking as a family in a foreign country.
Back to Baja
Photos and words by Gabe Tiller
After I returned from riding the first half of the Baja Divide route with Spencer Harding, #nicksande, and a hundred other of my new friends last winter I vowed to take a similar warm-weather vacation every year. Well this past January rolled around and I found myself already scheduling work through the indefinite future. Realizing I had screwed up, I emailed some good friends and bought plane tickets about 5 minutes later. I had no excuse not to—round trip from PDX to SJD was ~$360 direct and a bike box was only another $25 each way. This left plenty for tacos, the most important component of any travel budget.
Bombtrack has put together a video showcasing the Baja Divide. On a related note, congrats to Lael who recently completed the entire Baja Divide!
DFL the (Baja) Divide
Photos and words by Spencer Harding
I went into the Baja Divide grand depart expecting it to be more of a social occasion than a bike tour. I’ll admit, despite the plentiful resources provided on the Baja Divide website, I barely looked at the maps and descriptions of the route. All I knew was that there would be a bunch of really wonderful people there that I wanted to hang out and ride bikes with. So I piled my car full of chubby bikes and wonderful humans and headed south to San Diego.