Hungry Cyclists In Guanajuato

The desire to escape to the mountains of Guanajuato after our fantastic trip to Sierra Gorda was all too alluring. We packed our panniers and took off for a six day trip with a strategy to return to San Miguel de Allende. Here’s a photo map of our route.

[wi_everytrail url=”2065792″ title=”View map on”]

Juicy Tomatoes On Route 67

We hit the road. Just as we left San Miguel, we were confronted by a steady headwind which persisted for the duration of our 55km ride. We stopped outside a tienda along the highway to refuel our weary muscles. I can’t seem to cover many miles on a bike without a lot of sugar in my system; gel shots and electrolytes have been hauling me up the hills thus far (I am sure my dentist will have words with me when I return). Whilst sitting on the curb outside the tienda, the owner approached us and asked,

[gn_quote style=”1″]Do you want to try some of my juicy tomatoes?[/gn_quote]

The question amused and intrigued us, so we followed him behind his shop and down into a bizarre subterranean green house, not yet sure if we would be fed or slaughtered. His face flooded with pride as we sampled his ripe, red glories. To his credit, they were the sweetest, yummiest tomatoes we have ever tasted. After a munch on some other greens and sugar leaf, he led us back into the tienda where he demonstrated a very effective homemade bokashi compost bin, reveling in his fascination with the composting powers of the Californian red worm.


Homemade indoor bokashi compost system with a family of California red worms living inside an avocado

Time was of the essence. We got off to a slow start and needed to make up some miles. We thanked the worm master and got back on the road as the afternoon light was slipping away.

Jenny’s Inner Monster

Riding our bikes into dusk… hmm, not exactly following our touring rule of thumb. A ferocious dog ran out into the road and chased my bike with a rabid looking snarl on its face. Time was going to tell whether I would fight or flight (luckily on my bike I could do both). Lars was quite impressed to hear my inner monster. I roared like a bear and subsequently scared the living shit out of that mangey dog!

[gn_box title=”Jenbell Touring Tip” color=”#333333″]If you are accosted by a pack of dogs (or one really crazy dog), just get off your bike and place it between you and the dog, then walk past. Most of the time they get bored. For particularly persistent dogs, a clenched fist usually does the trick (the locals tend to throw stones at them). For downright crazy rabid werewolves, it may be necessary to release your inner monster.[/gn_box]

Hungry Cyclists Devouring Guanajuato!

We finally hit a road side town called La Sauceda (Santa Fe de Guadalupe). We were starving, but unfortunately the last 35km were barren of food stops to fill our hungry cyclist bellies. In La Sauceda we found tortas, gorditas, more gorditas and tacos! Mexican food has the perfect balance of naughty yet satisfying calories teamed with awesome fresh ingredients to keep any cyclist’s insatiable hunger at bay. Below is an array of food we ate on our trip through Guanajuato. It varied from campfire cooking with the finest ingredients to the street food of the Mexican Mammas and their special recipes!


Two massive pambazos and with side of taquitos. These disappeared within minutes!


Smokey campfire roasted vegetables with a pot of tortillas keeping warm on the side


Enjoying a little breakfast jugo de manzana y zanahoria (fresh carrot & apple juice)


Several market stalls in Mercado Hidalgo de Guanajuato selling mouth watering tortas de carne de puerco (pulled pork sandwiches) at 18 pesos each (~96 pence)


More epic camping cuisine – Magic Yum Bowls of BBQd beef with super crunch veg


Jenny double fisting her second round from another vendor on the same street, these were even better than the first batch. Look for Helados Aguilar in La Parroquia Nuestra Señora de Dolores Hidalgo.

[gn_box title=”Jenbell Touring Tip” color=”#333333″]For a great road snack try Philadelphia cheese on salty crackers! We are getting through a pack of cream cheese and crackers a day whilst riding. The salty goodness tastes amazing in the heat of the day and prevents me flaking on the hills.[/gn_box]

Camping in Guanajuato

Finding a place to camp in Guanajuato is simple, but much easier before dark. On our first night, we found ourselves in La Sauceda without a campsite. After some shrugs and shakes of the head by a few locals we went up a quiet street and were lucky to meet Angelica and her husband who kindly offered us their garden. Their three children were incredibly sweet offering us blankets and pillows. The family was so humble, offering to share with us what little they had. If we are lucky enough to meet more families like this on our bike tour it’s going to be a truly amazing experience. Lars bought the family a massive bag of pastries to say thank you. Those kids would have been high as kites by 11am!


Jenny, Angelica and son Hendrik – This kind family let us pitch our tent in their back garden when we were stuck out after dark on our first night

The following five nights were a mix of simple campgrounds and stealth camping in the wilderness. Los Palomas cost a mere 40 Pesos (£2.13) per person per night so we stayed for two. We had the place to ourselves, we were so tempted to run around naked in the wilderness… Ok, so we did 😉


We were lucky enough to have the entire Las Palomas campsite all to ourselves … for the first night


On our second day at Las Palomas, we returned from Centro de Guanajuato to find that a group of noisy 10-12 year old scouts had descended on our quiet campsite


Rise and shine at Presa de Peralillo on day 5, Jenny is asleep in the tent whilst Lars watches the sunrise from above


Arrival at the final campsite on our minitour. Thanks to Angelo for letting us camp on his beach.

Guanajuato City

The second day of riding was really tough (for me anyway, Lars is a mountain goat). We rode 35km, all of which was uphill. By lunchtime we hit the crazy underground tunnels of traffic under Guanajuato City.


An underground spiderweb of bus stops and graffiti lies beneath Guanajuato (NB: this was taken a day later after the crazy traffic was gone)

We finally manoeuvred ourselves above ground to be welcomed unexpectedly by ‘El Día de la Flores‘ (Day of Flowers), an annual festivity in Guanajuato that takes place on the 6th Friday of Lent. Everyone makes a big effort on their appearance. ‘chicas guapas’ were everywhere, all carrying flowers given to them by the men. The children were given very creative papier mache toys, balloons and wind-up caballeros. I definitely saw a papier mache Sponge Bob Square Pants bobbing through the crowd.


A sweaty Lars attempting to navigate the flower girls with a fully loaded touring bike


Jenny is decorated with glitter and bubbles in front of the fountain of La Plaza de La Paz, Centro de Guanajuato

Reaching The Summit Above Guanajuato City

On our third day riding we hit the highest point of the mountain pass above Guanajuato City. At a whopping 2640m (8660 feet), this was the highest either of us have ever been on a bicycle. A small playground nestled on the summit with a restaurant a stones throw away. We enjoyed a cup of Cafe de Olla, a sweet coffee flavoured with cinnamon. It was… delicious.


Jenny having a swing at the top of the mountain pass

We met some bad ass dirt bikers outside the restaurant. They were so excited to hear that we want to cycle to Argentina they had their photo taken with us and added it to our Facebook Page!

Dam It

From the summit, we descended a few km down to Santa Rosa de Lima and then up to Presa de Peralillo (Peralillo Dam), a beautiful nature area of Guanajuato. It’s certainly worth a visit if you can handle the the gnarly off road hill climb to get up there. I was pushing my bike up a lot of it but on the way back to the road I was a springy young gazelle! We wild camped there for one night in a small field of cow pats.


Presa de Peralillo (Peralillo Dam) near Santa Rosa de Lima just over 2500m (8200ft)


Setting up camp at the bottom of the dam surrounded by cow pats


With camp all setup, it was time to catch the sunset

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Now this is my kind of riding! We enjoyed a 20km decent of 600m (2000ft) with a bonus tail wind. We flew all the way down to Dolores Hidalgo just in time for two helpings of their famous ice cream and set up camp alongside the lake.


Yaaaay, we get to go down!


Lakefront sunset view from our front porch just outside Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato

With about 50km to get back from our Guanajuato adventure, Lars suggested that we take the scenic route from Dolores Hidalgo to San Miguel de Allende. The 17km of undulating off road terrain was actually a short cut (in distance). Lars said I ate it for breakfast with no problem. I was quite pleased with myself! By the time we reached the highway, we only had 15km of easy paved road before I crashed out on the sofa.


Jenny working on her technical riding skills on a gravel donkey trail descent – it’s steeper than it looks in the photo!


A refreshing head dunk outside a gringo ‘retirement centre’ (hehe) five miles from San Miguel de Allende

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: