Baja Divide Rider Profile: Franzi and Jona

Names: Jona Riechmann and Franziska Wernsing
Age: 30
Hometown: Hamburg, Germany
Bikes: Bombtrack Beyond Plus, rigid steel 27.5+
Website: Tales on Tyres
Instagram: @talesontyres
Which sections did you ride? San Diego to La Paz

Images by Franziska Warning, additional images by Saška Bellian.


Favorite ride or section? Climbing into the mountains of Nueva Odisea and dropping down into cactus land on the other side towards Cataviña, also the beautiful canyon scenery riding towards Mulegé.

Hardest ride on the Baja Divide? The stretch towards San Ignacio, because of very sandy and rocky terrain and it goes on forever. Just when you think you have made it, you will have to walk your bike for the last 3km.

Please describe your wheel and tire system (tire size and model, tubeless features, etc.). Did it work well for you? WTB Scraper 27.5” i40, WTBTrailblazer 27.5×2.8″, 4oz Stans sealant in each Tire, 6 oz sealant shared between the two of us.

We used the WTB TCS Rim Tape (does not stick very well and required pre-final inner tube/tire installation to press in place) we used duct tape for the other wheels, 949 Schrader valves and Stan’s sealant.

The Trailblazer is not the strongest tire and would not be our first choice for the Baja Divide. Better stick to Nicholas’ recommendation and get something stronger and more durable. We used them as they came with our bikes and they made it, but needed some attention from time to time (thanks to Przemek’s outstanding stitching skills) and plugs.

After the ride we replaced them for our further journey, as they started leaking through the sidewalls.  There was surprisingly high thread wear on the rear tires and also several cuts in the sidewalls.

Also, we would probably use 6oz sealant in each tire and pack more extra sealant. You will need a lot.

What did you use for navigation? Smartphone running OSMand+ (very detailed offlineMaps), Garmin eTrex20 as a backup and for elevation information (which is the only feature I miss in the OSMand App), Son 28 dynamo hub for power supply through power bank

Shelter: Hilleberg Anjan 3.

Anything else you would like to share? Take cash from ATMs whenever you can, as they are not working very reliably and we had a few occasions were we ran short on cash.

Take lots of water and keep in mind that many sources need filtering, we used the Platypus Gravity Works which is kind of big but has very fast flowing rates.

Know your bike, carry all necessary tools and be able to fix it yourself as the trail is far more remote than the GDMBR for example. Daily drivetrain maintenance is a must due to the sandy/dusty terrain (carry enough chainlube).

Spanish skills are useful, we didn’t speak any and so we definitely missed out on the cultural exchange during the ride.

Flat sections are never easier than climbing as they are mostly very sandy. 😉

Camping is superb and easy once you left the San Diego/Tecate area.

Bring sunscreen as it is hard to get on the route.

What would you do different next time? Learn some more Spanish beforehand.

Biggest surprise? We thought we might get bored of the landscape after a while, but that wasn’t the case, we loved it and it was surprisingly diverse. The Baja Divide is definitely tougher and more remote than the Great Divide. It helps to have done some riding beforehand and to be in good shape. For most parts, you won’t come across many people either and we really enjoyed riding in a little group. Be content with being by yourself for long stretches if you attempt to ride it solo and be sure to know how to deal with repairs, sickness and other problems without help.


4 thoughts on “Baja Divide Rider Profile: Franzi and Jona

    1. Yes the contours are good and we’ve been using them all the time, but OSMand + is still missing an elevation plot for a route/gpx track. Apparently there are third party plugins which can do it, but we haven’t found any proper solutions yet. May be something for future versions …

  1. Franzi and Jona, Great profile with lots of good tips! I need to get better at bike mechanics. Wonderful pictures (except Franzi’s eye!). Mejor suerte mientras viajais al sur!

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