Bicycling in Toluca, Mexico
About nine months ago I was fortunate enough to meet a good group of guys who form the mountain biking group Escarabajos Toluca. Every Thursday night we gather in the Zocalo (center square) and do rides through the city and into the mountains.
The night rides can be pretty crazy – some neighborhoods are pitch black, and you have to avoid holes in the ground, topes (speedbumps), stray dogs, buses and bad drivers.
This is all organized and promoted by the guy in the middle, El Gallo. He runs a good bike shop in town too.
Apart from the night rides on Thursdays, we do longer Sunday rides. One time we followed the torch of the Panamerican Games as it passed through Toluca on the way to Guadalajara where the games are being held.
That was chill – we were following joggers, after all – but other Sundays are intense. There’s a lot of great mountain biking in Toluca, and the spots are within biking distance of the city. The next photos are from last Sunday (October 16th), a 92 km ride.
We started out on the highway to Villa Victoria, a long fast descent. Then from there we climbed a hill on a winding, paved road to a little town on top, only to turn around and zoom back down. From there, we took dirt roads back and returned on the highway from Toluca to Atlacomulco.
If you don’t live in Toluca then this means nothing to you, but basically we did a huge circle route around a small chain of hills right next to downtown Toluca called Sierra Morelos. This is a great place for mountain biking. I can get there in about 15 minutes from my house.
We also passed La Palma prison, the former home of “El Chapo” Guzman, number one narco and most wanted man in the US since the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
We rode full out for about 5 hours. We’ve had many epic all-day rides like this one, but without a doubt the craziest was when we rode from Toluca to the center of Mexico City. We crossed La Marquesa, the mountain chain in between, and then from there it was downhill all the way, flying down the highway.
There will be more rides to come. Mountain biking in Mexico offers a lot more than just nature, great terrain, and mazes of single track and country roads. You also get to ride through some diverse, interesting communities. Or you can fly down the highways with full police escorts and 1,000 other cyclists.