Bad rep, bad roads. Good people, great rides.
Words & photos by Meligrosa, bikesandthecity.blogspot.com
It was a bright and sunny Sunday morning in May and I was ready to attend two major bicycle events in the city of Tijuana, both the same day. Ciclopista’s 8th anniversary ride, and the bi-monthly women only “Ladies Ride en tacones” (in high heels). If anyone had imagined 15 years ago a myriad of cycling groups were to gain any kind of momentum, it would have been a foreign thought. Why would anyone not want to move in a car instead?
Getting Around in the Borderlands
Tijuana is the biggest port of entry into the United States, and San Diego and Tijuana share the world’s busiest international border. The last corner of Latin America, the most misunderstood city in Mexico, and where its local community strives to regain its city with violence slowing down, a terrible media reputation and to show both national as well as international tourists, that in its own chaotic way, Tijuana is a beautiful place.
The dirty business of the semi-private public transportation “companies” which are ran mafia-style, is an absolute joke. The transborder linkage between the city of San Diego and Tijuana and their incapability to work together with a functioning efficient urban infrastructure, could be easily described as a time bomb itself.
Bikes As Transportation
Most people consider themselves beginners but each will let you know they have an important role in the growth of the bicycle community in Tijuana. There are many opportunities to explore the concept of riding a bike by participating in an organized “paseo” (ride) or group gathering around town. Tijuana is not a city where you can easily walk places due to its rapid growth, most roads have been made without pedestrians in mind, never mind bicycles. Sidewalks double as magicians, often you see them, often you don’t. Sometimes they suddenly disappear, often you end up having to run to get across the street to avoid getting hit by a speeding car.
Besides having a tough mentality and a few extra inner tubes to change a flat on the go, the sentiment of Tijuana’s citizens on bikes is to show their fellow Tijuanenses that moving around town on a bicycle is definitely possible. One of the facts that can’t be ignored is the rough condition of the streets throughout. Perhaps the most important characteristic is to maintain a positive attitude and also become a skilled rider in detecting the half circle lane divider bumps to avoid falling, those seem to be the worst sneaky enemy.