Ride the Baja Divide, 2017

Update 9/13/16:  Due to a high level of interest in the Jan 2, 2017 group start on the Baja Divide, “registration” for the ride is now closed.  Anyone who has e-mailed or commented on the site with the intention of the doing this ride will soon receive a message verifying participation and providing further details of the event.  If you have already made plans to begin the Baja Divide on Jan 2, 2017 and have not yet contacted us, please email Nicholas at bajadivide@gmail.com.  Note, the Baja Divide is a free resource and the route is open to ride at any time, while this message pertains only to the event on Jan 2.

Join a group of riders on the Baja Divide Route.

Meet in San Diego on Jan. 2, 2017.  Ride over Otay Mountain to the border crossing in Tecate, continue riding south at your own pace, build your own group ride.  Ride as much of the route as you want; plan up to 6 weeks for the complete route.  Bring a bike with at least 2.3″ tires (3.0″ recommended), up to 8L water capacity, and with the ability to carry up to 2 days of food.  Tubeless tires are required, not recommended.

Three airports serve Baja California Sur, in Loreto, La Paz, and San Jose del Cabo.  Daily bus service is available back north to Tijuana from most larger towns along Hwy 1.  Several ferries are available from La Paz to the mainland, connecting to Topolobampo and Mazatlan.

Leave a comment below if you plan to join the ride on January 2, 2017.  Include your name, hometown, and the bike you will be riding.

Contact Nicholas Carman at bajadivide@gmail.com for further questions.

Nicholas Carman1-5831.jpg

320 thoughts on “Ride the Baja Divide, 2017

  1. Looks like a terrific route, and should be much warmer than Idaho for that time of year.

    Going to choose between an ECR, Krampus, or even the Big Dummy running 2.5″ Extra Terrestrials. (Most likely either of the 29+…but you never know.)

    Coming from Boise, Idaho.

    1. Kurt, Our friend Alex has spent lots of time on a Big Dummy in Baja, some time on a Pugsley, and is now riding an Advocate Cycles Hayduke which is a 27.5+ steel hardtail. I’d recommend something more like the latter. An ECR or Krampus would also be good for this route. Thanks for your interest in the route!

  2. I am going to make this ride happen! Super excited that you guys are taking the time and effort to put this together. Thank you. I will be coming from Salt Lake City, Utah and riding my trusty Krampus. I look forward to meeting you guys and riding the route.

    Regards,
    Eric K.

    1. Joel, the Fargo (or any drop bar bike) wouldn’t really be at home on many parts of the route, and would almost never provide an advantage. Further, running 2.8″ Trailblazer tires on the Fargo will lower the BB by about 10mm, making pedal strike a serious concern. If a person really had to ride a Fargo, I’d recommend the largest possible 29″ tires that can fit in the frame, something like 2.4″ rear and 2.5″-3.0″ front. Plus+ bikes with 3.0″ tires, suspensions fork, and upright bars are what we recommend for this route. Aside from sandy sections, there is also a lot of technical dirt road riding along the route.

      1. Thanks! enjoyed following your photos on instagram and putting this route on my “must do” list. I’ve traveled mostly by 4×4 on many parts of Baja since the 70’s (I’m now 45) and have a deep love for that place. Looking forward to the writeup when you all get back. Safe journeys!

  3. Michael Finn

    I’m looking forward to going the distance. Live in San Diego and I’m looking at picking up a Salsa Mukluk running 3.8″ for the trip.

    1. Michael, the Mukluk would make the trip, but if you are shopping for a new bike I would recommend you check out the growing list of plus bikes, with 3.0″ tires. There are a number of good options from Advocate Cycles, Marin, Jamis, Specialized, Cannonade, Trek, etc.

  4. Trying to fit this in; I have a Mukluk with 4.0 X 26″ tires and a 1 x 10 drivetrain (42 t rear). Would it make sense to build a set of 27.5 x 3″ wheels for this?

    1. Aaaaand actually I’m out for the whole route. Doing a race up here in CA this summer that will take up too much of my time off work. But I’m still gonna try to make it to the start to ride at least some of the route with y’all! Wooo!

  5. What’s up y’all. I’m Jessica, out in Oakland, CA. I’m in! I’m figuring out my custom bike now, but it’ll be 26+ for sure, and waffling on the idea of single speed. Hmmmm.
    Anyway. See you in the desert.
    ❤ Jessica
    @glittergravel

  6. I’m 95% sure I will join you on the trip. I’m from Worcester, UK. But living in Vancouver, BC currently and would likely ride down the coast first. I’ll be on a Surly Ogre.

  7. Greatly looking forward to this. I am currently building a 29er (Ridley) and will tailor the build for this tour!

  8. I am seriously interested in joining this event. It seems amazing. I ride a Salsa Mukluk with standard configuration 26×3.8″ (going tubeless soon). Giorgio from Milano (Italy).

  9. Hi – Sounds fantastic – Hope to be able to get the timing right to join you! We’re setting off freewheeling south from Prudhoe Bay in June, riding LOTA with my partner, both from Lyttelton, NZ. Have just finished Tour Aotearoa on my Surly Ogre. Hana and Mark.

  10. Very interested in the southern 7-10 day loop at the end. I’ll have an Advocate or a Marin Pine Mt 2 in the very near future. Home is Phoenix AZ.

  11. Hello
    Adam Frame – Bournemouth – England

    Very excited to join this ride, still deciding on a bike, any advice would be greatly appreciated. Also advice on essentials to bring.

    Also anyone coming from the UK my friend has a range of bags & makes custom one offs for rides like this with hard wearing waterproof materials – http://www.bigxtop.com/

  12. Hi Adam, I’m from Blandford but now live in SoCal. Not sure if I’m doing the ride but if I did a Jones Plus would be my first choice of bike.

    1. San Diego and 7-9 days south, then a bus back to Tijuana and cross the border back to San Diego. Or, fly to Loreto and fly out of La Paz/San Jose del Cabo. Or, fly into and out of La Paz or San Jose del Cabo, use the route as a guide and enjoy some hiking, beach time, and urban exploration along the way.

  13. I am still working on a bike, a 27.5+ with gate carbon belt drive. I’ll find out more after I test out some REEB frames. Do you recommend a suspension fork or not? I run salsa anything cages on my current setup and would love to use them for this.

    1. Most of us like having a suspension fork on the route, although it is not strictly necessary. I personally never liked the idea of the Anything Cage on the fork. I prefer to keep smaller loads such as water bottles, fuel, tequila on the forks.

  14. I plan to leave with you all from the mass start. I will be on a 27.5+ with gates carbon belt drive. WOudl you recommend a shock, or can I roll with a rigid fork to use my anything cages?

  15. Out of curiosity, aside from the less-than-ideal frame triangle space, would a full-sus Cannondale Bad Habit 27.5+ be a terrible idea? Just thinking I would like to get a plus bike and could use full-sus locally.

    1. I think Bad Habit+ would be a great idea. Lots of touch descents and battered roads. the only challenge would be to stash a few days of food and a full day of water, but a small hydration pack might do the trick. That bike would be great fun!

  16. For those who haven’t converted to tubeless, but want the protection of sealing punctures, what do you think of using tubes with tubeless sealant in them, for the Baja Divide? Not all sealants give the same results, but I’ve been using Bontrager TLR tubeless sealant in my fat bike tubes and so far it’s working stellar, similar to running tubeless, minus the pinch flat protection and lighter weight. I’ve run through multiple patches of goat heads and had up to 30 puncture the tires at once. After pulling them all out and spinning the tire, all the holes sealed almost instantly and never leaked after that.

    The main downside is that the TLR sealant will eventually dry out after 3-6 months inside the tube which will require buying a new tube, but seems like a small price to pay for the ease and convenience of this method. I’ve run tubeless and while it worked great at higher psi, I had problems with burping and air loss at ultra low psi dues to a poor rim tire combination. I think tubeless is ideal when using the right rims and tires and I plan to revisit it again, but for now sealant in tubes seems to be an easy alternative that might be an option for those used to running tubes and not wanting to invest in the time/money to convert to tubeless.

    1. I lived in Albuquerque for six months and arrived in town on my Pugsley. Even with sealant in my tubes I still woke up to flat tires every day for a while before I converted the bike to tubeless. Can someone ride in Baja with tubes? Yes. But I do not recommend it. Heavy duty tires and full size tubes and sealant may help, but the rolling weight may be a substantial burden (especially with 3-4″ tires) when trying to connect food and water points across long stretches of desert. My recommendation is made to help as many people as possible make successful journeys in Baja, but if you must, tubes will probably work.

  17. Totally in. From Encinitas, CA. Will be riding whatever plus or fat bike I can get at that time. Most likely a ICT or a Pine Mountain. Cheers from NZ!

    1. Hey Nick, I am planning on doing the Baja ride also. I would like to get some of us together from the San Diego area. It would be great to meet and be able to colaborate a bit on equipment need, share riding tips, help each other with plans, etc. What ya think? Anyone else?

    2. Jeff,

      I’d be down for a local meet-up in S.D. in the later part of the year to get things settled in advance of the depart.
      I have no bikepacking experience and would love any additional insight i could get in advance of potentially laying down some cash for a new equipment.
      Actually leaving on a 4 month road tour at the beginning of May, but will be back in town by September.

  18. This ride is now at the top of my to-do list. The leave is approved and the bike is well tested after the tour aotearoa.
    I’ll be riding my trusty Muru Innamincka 29 rigid, its set up with 29×2.4″ tyres laced to a dynamo and a Rohloff hub with a belt drive, but I might go a touch wider on the front tyre or even rebuild with 27.5+

  19. Edouard Laferrette, Woking
    Commotion divide 2.75″ tyres

    Looks like a great trip. will we need pepper spray?

  20. As sent to Lael Via Facebook, I am considering doing this on my Off road recumbent trike. However I am at present the sole caregiver for family with ALZ so my participation hinges on being able to find another caregiver during the trip. Though I am very excited about this route!

  21. I absolutely want to do this.
    Tori Miner, currently residing in Grand Junction, CO.
    I ride a Salsa El Mariachi – Tubeless, 2.35s, singlespeed (considering gears).
    May have a new bike by January, or get this one more prepped and ready!

  22. Hi,
    I am very interested in the ride and hope to ride some or all based on school. I just purchased a Fargo 2 and was thinking that would be a great bike for a ride like this, but I noticed in the comments you were not to keen on the Fargo? Thought?
    I am in Denali btw.
    James

  23. I’m willing to universe to make this happen in January 2017. Preparing self, family, and my bike shop to make it happen.
    I’ll be riding my Marin Pine Mountain.

  24. Hey Nick and Lael! I’m Jonah Kliewer’s dad and want to ride. I’m ordering a Heyduke for the trip.

  25. Chris from Rhode Island here – This sounds perfect and I’m gonna make it happen! Currently working on building a Salsa Blackborow as a 29+. Much excite!

  26. Herbert Harris from Ashland OR. A neighbor, an old hippie in his 60’s, was recently relating his experiences down in Baja back in the 70’s. He has some crazy tales – all great, funny, or crazy (but nothing dangerous). That aroused my interest and, lo and behold, I come across your site. I’ve got on order a custom 27.5/26+ non-suspension frame. While I’ll be able to run 26+ front and rear, I’ll be running 27.5 x 2.4 in the rear as I will be using a Rohloff. I believe you mentioned that you relied on iodine tablets. While iodine will kill off bacteria feeding off of deer or cattle poo, it does nothing for pesticides or heavy metals. In northern CA, and southern OR, with all the pot being grown in the lower elevation mountains, pesticide/herbicide concentrations are through the roof in many streams that one would otherwise consider remote. What is your thought about pesticide/herbicide/heavy metal concentrations in water sources down in Baja. Thanks for your time and effort!

  27. I’m in!

    Dylan
    Surly ECR w/ Rohloff 29×3.0
    Sacramento, CA

    Me and a buddy are doing the GDMBR first, ending in Mid-October. Then there is a 2 1/2 month gap where I’ll be climbing in mexico and Texas. We may start a week or two early if we get antsy, but we ride slow so ya’ll will likely catch up with us…

  28. First off CONGRATS to LAEL on teh TRANS AM Race. Totally amazing.

    Hoping to do the first 10-14 days on my Salsa Deadwood. It has 3.0 tires and it pretty upright. Not sure how the drop bars will handle the technical stuff. I live in San Diego and teach right on the US/Mex border.

    Which piece of the trail is more technical the Northern or Southern?

    Thanks for all your hard work.

  29. Definitely in. Not sure what I’ll be riding. Something with big tires. Maybe home-built. Baja is my favorite place on the planet, thus far. Been wanting to do an off-road bicycle ride down there forever. Thanks for stringing together a route.

  30. Chris Corral here, leaving from Oakland/Bay Area for a scenic cruise down the coast and into baja. I will most likely be taking the ferry from La Paz at some point, for a ride down to South America. I will be on a Surly Ogre. So stoked – Nick, I met ya’ll with Cass in Santa Fe after one of Lael’s rides on the AZT. thx

    corral.chris7@gmail.com

  31. I love the idea and support the ride. I also have a bike with 27.5 x 2.8!tires and a bike with 29×3.0 tires and neither are acceptable on the sand road that is shown in the photos. If one can make it go, Sand not too deep. You are looking at 6 mph. At best

    1. Colleen, The website with all details will be ready by the end of the summer, it has been a busy season. We will meet somewhere on the San Diego waterfront, or possibly in Coronado which would provide a coastal bike path cruise from the start.

  32. I’m joining from Minneapolis, MN. I will be riding down the pacific coast route and then arriving in San Diego. I am riding a 2016 Krampus. Is it better to hack the rabbit hole rims or to purchase velocity 29+ that are tubeless ready?

    Also would you recommend the knard or the dirt wizards?

    I work at a bike shop so I have some time to play with the bike before I leave in September.

    Thanks for your time! Stoke level v high!

    1. Rabbit Holes actually do well tubeless, as the bead seat diameter is appropriately tight for tubeless applications and even features a bead lock ridge. I would not recommend 120tpi Surly tires, 60 or 27tpi tires are more durable and work better for tubeless applications. Bontrager Chupacabra tires are great, Maxxis Chronicle are fast rolling with a decent EXO casing but I wouldn’t select it as a front tires. The Dirt Wizard makes a great front tire. You may have to use Gorilla Tape to build the bead a little if not using tubeless ready tires, otherwise you might be able to use standard tubeless tape, Orange Seal is best for contoured rim profiles. Also, SunRingle sells a wide rim tape for their MuleFut rims, which you might be able to get your hands on.

    2. In addition to the tire suggestions above, I would include the Vittoria Bomboloni as a good tubeless choice. The other suggestion would offer, is using the rim strips from SunRingle on the Rabbit Holes, as they stretch less than the original ones from Surly. This allows for better support for whatever tubeless taping option you choose. (Less sag from the rim strip will prevent leaking as the tape pushed further through the cut-outs.) Enjoy the ride.

      1. Actually, I have heard good things about the Bomboloni. To clarify, the SunRingle rim tape helps to make a good tubeless seal? They advertise rims strips and a tubeless rim tape. I’ve seen the tape used on MuleFut rims and it seemed to work well. Otherwise, I recommend Gorilla Tape or similar.

      2. I ended up using gorilla tape on the rabbit holes for tubeless, and put a maxxis chronicle on the back, and a bomboloni on the front because idk anything about tires. Tubeless setup seems to be holding up great so far but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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