Cycling around Tulum, Mexico

After a frigid winter in Chicago, a welcome spring break in Tulum. Third time I bring my bike to Mexico: Here’s a little scenery from my Ritchey Break-Away (best travel bike!):


Took this picture on the first day, going along the Tulum “beach road”. I was on my way to Punta Allen but it turned out that the beach road pavement ended after 10km. Did continue on the dirt road for another 8km. (thankfully my Ritchey is a cross bike and I had put on 28mm Gatorskins.) This was true gravel with major potholes. While navigating them I was wondering what I “prefer:” this gravel or the Belgian cobbles? Couldn’t make up my mind but decided after 8km to turn back. I would not make it to Punta Allen (40km on the dirt road + 40 back–that’d rival Paris Roubaix’ cobble sectors).

For the remainder of our trip, I restricted myself to paved roads, of which Mexico has few. So that means riding out of town, ideally into the wind, for as long as you want or can muster along a straight, endless road with jungle on each side. Each 20km passing through a pueblo. Then doing a 180 and turning back the same way, hopefully with a tailwind. (I only figured out wind directions near the end of the trip.)  I had two roads to my disposal: the road to Coba (going west) or the highway south. Flat, but windy: 36-40kph with tailwind, 26-30 into the wind.  I have never seen a road cyclist around here, which makes sense: it is hot and humid–typically high 80s in temps and 90s in humidity, which was working against my mojo, but the Gods heard me: since yesterday it was cool (it was 75F this morning) and dry–perfect biking weather.

First travel with the Garmin Vector, which worked out well, except that I felt they needed fairly frequent re-calibration.  I figured perhaps they are more heat/humidity sensitive, until I packed my bike and realized that my pedals had loosened.  Lesson learned: during travel, retighten pedals.

Sad to be leaving: great trip, 7 morning rides and 14hours in the saddle, followed by the more usual Mexican activity:


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3 Responses to Cycling around Tulum, Mexico

  1. Ken Cahill says:

    I assume your drink is not alcoholic!!Ah the wind, i remember how that played a big part in my one century on Long Island. The first 50 miles I went West to East; then doing my turnaround to get back to the ferry to return to CT, i realized I was now heading East to West, into the wind. Out there, there were loads of potato farms—all flat—not much to block the wind. Da

  2. Moshe says:

    Very nice post. Thank you!
    I’m going with partner and our daughter to Tulum in 12 days and was thinking of using the Coba road for cycling (road). Is it safe , traffic-wise?
    I’m not sure flying all this way with my bike, so looking at hiring some simple. Maybe in cancun.

    • Moshe: Yes, I would say it’s fairly safe but this is a personal and relative assessment. I’ve ridden in the Yucatan on several trips and never had an issue. I stay off the major highways and ride on the “secondary” paved roads. Traffic is typically very light but realize that there often is no shoulder. Cars typically swerved out for me (more than they do in Chicago). Like I wrote in the blog, there are few roads so typically it’s out & back. They are good training roads (TT or endurance) and I would target a village and turn back there. Enjoy!

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