Is Mexico Safe?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Arte, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. rockymountainoyster

    rockymountainoyster Been here awhile

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    I will soon be making my first solo crossing or the US/Mexican border on my moto. Any thoughts on bike and cargo security while I am getting the Visa and TVIP processed inside a building where I can't see the bike. Thanks.
  2. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    Oyster

    It depends where you are crossing. I can tell you about Arizona only.

    Agua Prieta has a secure parking lot with a gate and at times, helpful "helpers who will promise to watch your stuff for a tip. Never had a problem - 10 peso tip will do it. I think the Aduana folks have chased these guys away

    At Naco - Banjercito (permits) is only open Thursday afternoon through Sunday night - you will park right outside the door. You can get a visa in Naco 7 days a week.

    Nogales at km21 Never a problem there, lots of agents wandering around.

    In any event, if your boxes are locked and your stuff tied down no one will bother you. I have used a cable lock for my helmet and jacket in the past. Run the cable through the sleeve and the chin bar an cover up the luggage with it. Naco is usually pretty quick because no one is there. When the Banjercito in Naco is closed, you can get a visa at migration there then go 20 miles to Cananea for the permit. The too are rarely busy and the elementary school guard will watch you bike.

    You will not have a problem. Many solo riders cross all the time.
  3. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto

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    I have never had my stuff jacked in dozens of TVIP stops at the border. I would bring my helmet in anyway because its such essential gear. Hope you enjoy your ride. Saludos, Jim
  4. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

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    Common sense. I'd lock it up but not get too concerned. The more modern crossings usually have a watchman and if you say Howdy to him he will keep an eye on your stuff.

    As I recall you are around Nogales and I have no idea there although the outgoing TVIP place there used to be pretty primitive.
  5. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    Advice on this is no different whether its parking a bike anywhere in the U.S., Canada, Peru, Mexico or anywhere else. Simply, don't leave anything of value loose that can be quickly walked away with.

    If you're going into Burger King in Bayonne or the mall in Manchester, and you leave your Schuberth on the mirror and you come out and its gone, you've learned an expensive lesson. And these stops don't have to be long at all and you don't have to be too far away for stuff to be snatched - it happens all the time. This isn't just Mexico advice.

    I have a long cable with loops and an electronic Master padlock and I put the cable through the sleeve of my jacket and through the chinbar of my helmet, and lock it somewhere to the bike, on the GS its through the hand loops at the pillion position. Then I make sure the panniers are locked. If I don't use the cable, I'll take my jacket and helmet inside with me. This leaves nothing for the tactical thief to steal. When the cable is not in use, I wrap it around the pannier at the pillion to keep it out of the way.

    Here is my recommended lock, the Master Electronic Combination Lock:

    [​IMG]

    This is a great lock because its fast. No spinning dials to remember or screw you up. Highly, highly recommended.

    I got two at Lowes for about 20 bucks each. They'll have cables of varying lengths there too, each end of those will have the loops you need. I have two cables, one for when I want to lock both a helmet and a jacket, and one for only a helmet. The one I take on travel is the longer one, since I often end up locking someone else's stuff to my bike.

    I'll say at this point I feel much more vulnerable to theft in the U.S. than I do in Mexico, but that's another thread.

    Another tip is to ask yourself what you can't easily do without right away. For example, between a helmet and a jacket, most people would agree that a jacket can more easily be sourced for replacement than a helmet, and a helmet is more critical to safety, so I would tell that person that if they're going to choose between the two to secure, to at least lock the helmet up or take it with you. Your money is more easily replaced than a passport, so pay high priority attention to your passport and don't leave it in your jacket and your jacket left unattended on the bike. A jacket and passport was stolen off an unattended bike in Durango last year of a friend of mine, so its not just a theory. He had to go to the consulate in Monterrey to get the passport replaced.

    If you don't have locking panniers and you have loose stuff strapped down to the bike, like duffels etc., I would simply continue to lock the jacket and helmet/take them with you as mentioned above, and just make sure you are happy with where you are keeping your hard-to-replace items.

    After you take these basic steps, relax. You've done all that is reasonable and if crap happens, it happens. You can't travel anywhere in a defensive/fearful crouch (not saying this to you, but the general reader) and have a good time. Your job is to take basic, reasonable, prudent risk management measures and after that point, you throw off the mooring lines and head out to sea. Put your face to the wind, and enjoy your ride.
  6. MikeMike

    MikeMike Long timer

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    If I can't see it from where I will be, I take it with me. Tank bag, jacket, helmet, sacrificial goat, whatever, it all comes with me. I know a guy who rode from Mexico City to Patagonia and back and always left his stuff on his bike and never lost a thing, he still does it. I don't, never have and never will.
    Locks like Trice has work fine.
    Most people are honest, the difficult part is when a poor person is offered the temptation to take something simply so they can feed their family. Take away the temptation and everyone is the better for it. You can take away the temptation by literally taking things with you, locking them down, or hiding them in your panniers.
    Panniers...yes...something I have to think about getting some day.
    Metal or soft textile? Large or small? Too many decisions, I need to have a cup of coffee and look at something shiny and that will take my mind off of such details, details, details.
  7. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    Oh such a lead-in line. If only Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon were still around........
  8. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    One more tip on locks: If you're going to use a keyed lock, take an extra key with you on your trip and keep this key with your spare motorcycle key, electrical-taped to somewhere on your frame. Do not keep spare keys in your pockets or jacket, but that's another thread too. If you use a combination lock, whether its electronic like the one I posted above or your standard gym locker model, send an email to yourself with the combination, and save this email to your saved file. Same way you've sent emails to yourself with copies of your important docs attached.

    Anything you travel with that has a key or combination, have a backup system. Motorcycle, pannier boxes, locks, whatever.
  9. rockymountainoyster

    rockymountainoyster Been here awhile

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    Excellent all! Thank you very much. Have cable lock that I use for jacket both here and in SA... have combo "helmet lock", saw a Mexican BMW rider a few years back with steel mesh locking net over his gear. Anyone have thoughts on that and where I can get? I will most likely be crossing at Columbus/Palomas. It is almost a straight shot south of Mancos, CO where the bike will be stored as of today. That is where I crossed six years ago headed for Copper Canyon. I am on the road now in Williams, AZ... it is icy! My Mexico planning stuff is at home and I will be back on trip planning over the next few days. Thanks again to all, especially Trice for taking the time for detail that applies to the general and specific.
  10. MikeMike

    MikeMike Long timer

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    You can take the boy out of Burbank, but you can't take the Burbank out of the boy...

    On a more serious note, I think if you google ,"traveler steel mesh security net" you will find what you are looking for.
    Either that or the fourth book in the "50 Shades of Gray" series.
    Maybe a Bass Pro Shop might have it...the net, not the books.
  11. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    [​IMG]

    There is often a useful alternate application for travel gear.
  12. MikeMike

    MikeMike Long timer

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    Thank our lucky stars Bob Loblaw didn't post his findings!
  13. Craneguy

    Craneguy British Hooligan

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    Drum roll people......

    I have just been informed that the 50% toll reduction went into force yesterday! :clap

    Now the bad news...it's not all the tolls. :huh

    Apparently there's a map. As soon as I get it I'll post it here.

    The government giveth, and the government taketh away. I hope the exempt tolls are the 25 peso ones...difficult to make change...?
  14. Craneguy

    Craneguy British Hooligan

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    Here are the TOURATECH ones...typically expensive. It looks like a cross between 50 shades and a squid.

    [​IMG]
  15. going south

    going south hero & Zero...

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    I have one of those, called a Pac-safe. it works very well with a big duffel inside & I carry very little in it! when I get someplace to do some real walking around, like an Museum boots & tank bag & helmet go in duffel, draw string/cable sucks up nice & said draw cable goes through pants & jacket like trice said and back to Bike...

    works really well..
  16. miguelito

    miguelito Been here awhile

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    Unless it's unusually crowded, you should be able to park right outside the office where you'll be checking into Mexico and paying the deposit on your bike. There were about 10 kids at the office parking lot trying to get me to pay them for help in getting the paperwork, so you could try offering the biggest one 10 pesos to watch the bike if you're feeling sketched. Disclaimer: I came in the time I crossed at Columbus with an FM3, and not a TVIP, so your mileage may vary. Specifically, I'm not sure if they'll process your payment for the TVIP, or if you'll have to go to a banjercito for that. When I crossed, I needed to get a xerox at the pharmacia across the way, which was not within easy sight, so get your documents in order before crossing. As others have said, I've never had a problem at border crossings, but I either take my loose gear with me or lock it up. Have a great trip and ride safe Oyster man.

    Edit: BTW, there's a pretty nice big American style hotel as you're entering Gomez Farias if you're coming that way via Buenaventura.
  17. Joe Mc

    Joe Mc Adventurer

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    I crossed to Palomas a couple of weeks ago and my buddy and me got ourselves new eyeglasses had dinner, did a little bar hopping and never once felt threatened. We parked our bikes in front of the places we visited, left my helmet on the sissy bar and nobody bothered our stuff. Folks were pleasant wherever we went, even at the border crossing.
    FYI I can't say enough good things about Martha's Place (in Columbus). Reasonably priced, clean, great breakfast and only a mile or so from the border. Martha and her husband Javier could not have been more accommodating. I highly recommend it.
  18. BobLoblaw

    BobLoblaw Comfortably Numb

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    :wave
  19. noshoes

    noshoes soñando con México

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  20. Road Dust

    Road Dust Adventurer

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    Just crossed the border at Laredo this morning and rode down to Torreon. Tolls were 1/2 price for bikes. Some had the new toll posted, others did not but they charged the new toll.