going on a crazy adventure

jaysodyssey

New Member
Hello Everyone

I put a limited bio here for those interested, but if you really want to learn about me you should visit my website (that’s what I built it for) as to type it all out would take away from what I am looking for.

My name is jay of course, I was supposed to buy a boat and sail around the world but I got scammed out of a lot of money on that deal. Then I was going to backpack Central America but then my friend wasn’t ready to go. Well now I sit here in Florida with my brand new passport and I am ready to go. I am going to outline my plan of my jump point and then some ideas for my trip. Obviously some of these (if not all) will be outrageously impossible, but then again what is fun if we can’t live in life!

Right now my plan (which is in its infant stages) includes the following. I want to fly to Cancun from Florida, there I will take my bike (or backpack if I don’t go the bike route) and ride to town. After staying two days in Cancun I plan on heading west towards the Yucatan jungle. After exploring some really interesting places there I plan on diving south east towards Belize. Once I reach Belize I plan on crossing into Guatemala where hopefully my friend will finally have arrived. He owns a house (several houses) on Lake Atitlan and I want to stay with him before continuing south.

My ultimate goal is to bike to panama and I am in no rush at all. I do not want to follow the “normal” touring routes and I will plan my trip to avoid the touristy spots purposely. I am a travel blogger but the difference between my blog and others is I don’t use the blog to make income. I own a few private companies and I just want to do this. I have no issue reporting my experiences to help others. I plan on doing something I like to call “immersion adventure travel”. What this is is basically not just traveling someplace, snapping a few pics then leaving. That’s for the tourists. I plan on meeting the local people, staying with them if invited and learning about whom they are and their cultures. I of course will do interviews and blog about it as well so others can enjoy the knowledge as well.

My requirements for this trip are not many. I know I’ll need an international cell phone (I own an unlocked IPhone 4s with sim card capability) somewhat decent wife access, as well as a way to power my devices. I am thinking a solar panel pack for the bike. Bike lights for safety, helmet? (mine is pretty banged up) a tent and sleeping bag, some cookware in case I have to stay in the woods ( I was told central America wild camping will get you killed, I would be curious on peoples thoughts of this). I am trained in survival aid; first aid CPR, rescue deep woods and ocean deployment, as well as several forms of martial arts. I am also trained in backwoods survival as well as being highly logical.

Right now I own a bike, it’s a mongoose XR 75 21 speed mountain bike, I bought it in California for 50 bucks from a guy who didn’t like it. It’s a full suspension model with twist shifters and good brakes. I just replaced both shifters (the right one broke after use in phoenix) and the handle bar grips also just got redone. The front shock barely moves anymore and the seat has slipped off the metal so I can feel it now. The gears skip a bit so the cog may be wearing down as well. Obviously I do not think this bike would be appropriate for my trip without some work, and it’s HEAVY.

I know this is going to sound weird but instead of spending thousands of bucks on equipment and bikes and gear I want to try to do this cheap. It’s not that I do not have the money it’s that I know I can do it at a good price. I have no issues buying a “decent” bike, I’m thinking amazon and no more than 300 bucks tops, add some panniers to hold some of my gear and a backpack and lights and I should be good to go. I noticed in lots of blogs that flat tires seem to be an issue but I’m wondering if buying slime tubes wouldn’t negate that altogether.

I should point out I worked at a bike shop when I was younger and do not have any issue tearing a bike apart or getting my hands dirty. I have respoked (retrued) rims, installed cogs and derailleurs, redone brakes and shocks, and of course fixed flats. I don’t have a gear list or anything but my friend matt karsten (the world knows him as the expert vagabond) once took a trip to Mexico and has been traveling over four years.

I have talked with JetBlue (nonstop flight) and Aero Mexico (3 hour layover in Mexico City, chance my luggage could get lost) about bringing a bike. Right now it comes down to cost of ticket, layover, and arrival times. I heard I had to box my bike but then I was told it could go in a plastic bag as long as handlebars and pedals were taken care of. I will have to reassemble the bike curbside as my hotel is 14 miles into Cancun; I have no issue with this at all.

I am in the field of information tech and know this heavy 17” dell laptop will not be going with me, what do you all use when communicating from the road. If it was just the blog I would use a netbook and tablet, but I have to have video editing for one of my other business (it pays so I can keep traveling).

Like I said this is all scattered, I am trying to form a plan, I book my ticket today. But if I’m not taking a bike there is no sense in buying panniers. I have a prime membership with amazon so once I start with my list I can get everything shipped in.

I carry about 70 pounds of gear with my when I travel domestically, lots of clothes, electronics, and misc. stuff. I plan on thinning all this out big time for my trip. I considered a hammock for my shelter but honestly I don’t like them, but wonder if animals will make me lunch if I’m on the ground.

I appreciate any advice to help me out, I’ll probably post this a few places to get maximum exposure. If you have biked Central America I would love some real world info about the people, camping, surviving in general. Also greatly appreciated would be where to find others who may be doing the same thing.I would love to ride with a group!

Thanks in advance!

[Mod edit: Your site link needs to go in your forum signature. You'll be able to add it later on.]
 
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TL;DR
 
Honestly -and I don't mean this to be disrespectful -but the best advice I can give is to write or edit that down to a shorter post. I'm not sure people on here will want to read through all of that. Try to distill it down to 2-3 questions. E.g:

I'm planning a basic touring trip to central America.
i. what devices do you use to communicate when on the road?
ii. anyone had experiences with hammocks? I was thinking they are better for protection from animals.
iii. Any advice from people who have toured central America? Specifically countries.... x, y.. z....

...and for people who have done this, checkout crazyguyonabike.com
 

ANT 666

Trying to re member
Location
N.Wales
I read your post with interest (all of it) when i got to the end i'd forgotten what was at the top, reread it and then forgot the lot.

PS I am a goldfish.
 

Bodhbh

Guru
Honestly -and I don't mean this to be disrespectful -but the best advice I can give is to write or edit that down to a shorter post. I'm not sure people on here will want to read through all of that. Try to distill it down to 2-3 questions...
There's also the fact that every couple of months a thread like this pops up - publicising a blog or a charity ride - by a poster with no history of using the forum. After the initial post - publicising whatever - the job is done and poster makes no further use of the forum, not bothering to check whatever helpful replies are made. Sorry if the OP doesn't fit into this catigory, but that's why people are probably shy of bothering to reply.
 
Yes, I also toyed with the idea of writing whenever you try to include a personal web page link as a first time poster, alarm bells go off.. Was trying to give the benefit of the doubt :smile:

There's also the fact that every couple of months a thread like this pops up - publicising a blog or a charity ride - by a poster with no history of using the forum. After the initial post - publicising whatever - the job is done and poster makes no further use of the forum, not bothering to check whatever helpful replies are made. Sorry if the OP doesn't fit into this catigory, but that's why people are probably shy of bothering to reply.
 
Check out www.crazyguyonabike.com for starters, that way you will find loads of stories covering your basic plan. Like most routes we plan, when we get out on the road, blow me, loads of cyclist doing the same.
I know on crasyguyonabike there are at least two families which includes children who did your proposed route.
 
OP
J

jaysodyssey

New Member
Hello everyone

I have NO INTEREST in promoting a blog, or not returning with info, In fact i made it clear in the post that i wanted to tell others about my travels.

I found it funny how people "couldnt be bothered" to read such an in depth post, but this is a cycling forum which promotes exercise, just apparently not the mental type i guess.

I do appreciate the helpful thoughts and I have reached out to a few travel bloggers (pedaling nowhere) to name one. I also think that a trip like this can be a huge undertaking.

I will do the research to the people that are willing to help push the trip forward, i land in cancun on the night of the 25th of this month. Where from there who knows!

Thanks everyone (BTW, I bought a sleeping bag, tent, and tent light so far, i know i still have much to gear up on!)
 
Hey, here's to wishing you safe and happy travels. Fwiw I did read your post in its entirety! Crazyguy is going to be a great resource for you, as well as being able to read real life accounts of travel in that region.
 
OP
J

jaysodyssey

New Member
Im not MAD at anyone, anyone who takes time to stop and read my post is thanked. I just wanted it clear that as i read in all the summarys of all the ebooks and help articles people are trying to sell me, there is no right list, right route, or right gear. This is the purest form of freedom to pedal in an unknown country and to be alive in all aspects.

I was looking for some good pointers, tomorrow im going to a local bike shop to look at bikes, I have upped my spending to 4-500 tops, after all these two wheels will have to get me everywhere.

Thanks everyone for the help!
 

Shaun

Founder
Moderator
I was looking for some good pointers, tomorrow im going to a local bike shop to look at bikes, I have upped my spending to 4-500 tops, after all these two wheels will have to get me everywhere.
Hello Jay, welcome to the forum.

I suspect some of the replies are based on, what appears to be, a very ambitious but rather under-planned and seemingly off-the-cuff "Let's go for it!" expedition.

I think the best advice we could give you is to consider greatly increasing your bike spend and rather than going for an MTB, have a look instead at a proper touring / expedition bike. These are purpose built for long, hard treks - carrying the additional weight of your gear and camping equipment, etc. - and if you're not very experienced / competent at bike repairs (you don't know what you'll come up against in such territory and you won't be able to find a bike shop in the middle of the jungle) you might want to consider a touring bike with a rohloff hub, where the gears are enclosed inside the hub, and therefore less susceptible to damage.

We're also primarily a UK cycling forum so perhaps don't have a much south-american knowledge as you might expect, but that doesn't stop us giving useful advice once you've qualified what it is you think you need.

Let us know the models of the bikes you end up with on your short-list and I'm sure some of our members can help you narrow things down.

Good luck. :okay:

Shaun
 
OP
J

jaysodyssey

New Member
Shaun

It helps to know all that, and yes of course it is not a well planned adventure, i think some of the best ones are not planned out ahead. i will have a route but have not constructed it yet.

As for the bikes i am not looking for anything so elaborate as to what your discussing, i have no issues with MTB bikes, they allow me to go places others cannot. As for balancing the gear i think panniers will be fine in the rear, i do not plan on hauling much gear. I can do a lot with a very little.

I did not know that this was primarily a UK forum. I have posted a thread on CGOAB as well, hopefully i can get more info there!

Thanks for all the help right now i am eyeing a schwinn , raleigh, or possibly a trek bike, unsure of the model at this time, the more gears the better im thinking. I know there are some huge hills going into gautemala
 
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