With multiple options for turning, it was good to know we were following a seasoned guide who is from Todos Santos.
While Trino Castillo was a man of few words, and Spanish only, he was the perfect guide. He is one of two guides at Over the Edge Baja bike shop in Todos Santos. He set a pace that worked for us, waited when necessary, explained when a downhill was coming up, and took pictures for us. It was also fun to see Castillo taking his own photos of the scenic Sierra de la Laguna that was our focal point for much of the 9-mile ride. Even a true local can still be captured by the mountains and desert terrain.
With an average speed of 4.8 mph, we weren’t getting anywhere fast. That was more than OK. It meant plenty of time to catch our breath (I so don’t have cycling legs anymore), take pictures and appreciate where we were. In all, we gained 650 feet in elevation. The low point was 137 feet, with maximum elevation 471 feet.
Volunteers have built an intricate trail system in the area; most of which is on private land. Going through gates is the norm. Locking them is necessary to keep the cattle and other livestock from getting loose. While the trails are outlined on the Trailforks app, markers are scarce for those not looking at their phones.
We did a loop, mostly on the Sierra Madre Trail, with a stint on the Cardón Trail. The latter is aptly named with so many of these towering native cacti. Most of the trails here are single-track. They provide dramatic views of the desert and mountains, which are still a lush green after all the rain from last fall.
Several yellow butterflies flitted about; not sure if they were curious about us or upset we were invading their habitat.
A thin line of blood on both forearms proved I got a little too close to the cacti. The flora is always going to win in the desert. Battle wounds were a temporary reminder of the great fun that was had.
Bike shop owner Dave Thompson selected a route based on our ability (non-technical) and wanting to see something new. Most trails around Todos Santos are not beginner. Sue and I were off our bikes more than we were used to. This was in part because of the narrowness of the trail, rocks and unfamiliarity with what was around the next bend. Peddling uphill on sand or being slowed by sand at the beginning was problematic for me. Castillo made it all look so easy. Maybe what I really need is a lesson more than a guide.
We started riding from the shop’s doors, toward the new cemetery, along easy dirt trails that got us comfortable on our unfamiliar bikes. For a short stretch we pedaled along the Highway 19 bypass toward La Paz before heading into the mountains. This is where the real riding began, and the most stunning views were.
Thompson will create guided rides for anyone who wants to explore the area. Bikes and helmets are part of the package if needed, as they were for us. I was the high bidder at the Gastrovino silent auction last May for the bike tour for two that was donated by OTE. I would bid on it again.
- Over the Edge Baja is online.
- The store is open 8am-4pm, Monday-Saturday.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Over the Edge Baja opened in December 2017. It is part of a chain that started in Fruita, Colorado. Other bike shops are in South Lake Tahoe, California; Sedona, Arizona; Hurricane, Utah; and Melrose, Australia.