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June 11th, 2012 | Mexico

Los Mochis and the Baja Bikers…

The media attention I received in Mazatlan had taken up much of the morning, and I had left the city at noon… You know…, the coolest time of the day…!!

Culiacan, the capital of the Sinaloa state, and a city you might do well to avoid…

With the sun burning my face, I was forced to ride with my helmet closed, something I do not usually do…

By the time I got to Culiacan, over 200 km to the north, I was thankful that I did not have any Tattoo’s, because I am certain that they would have slid off my skin…!!

Culiacan is the hometown of one of the best boxers ever to set foot in a ring, Julio Cesar Chavez, who won six world titles in three different weight divisions, in a career spanning more than 25 years…

His son is the current Middleweight world champion…

Although famous for the many world champions that it has produced, Culiacan has a claim to fame that cannot be matched by any others… It is the base of the Sinaloa Cartel, known as the “most powerful drug trafficking organization in the world”…!!

Together with a few other smaller cartels with which it is affiliated, the “Blood Alliance” as it is also known is by and large responsible for the many “disappearances” and deaths of its rivals over the past few years…!!

On the edge of town, and on the main road leading north, I came across a hacienda, where two Federale vehicles were parked nose to nose, blocking the main gate to the property… Behind the cars were crouched six police officers, their automatic weapons in their hands, and their focus on the front of the house that stood a few hundred metres off the main road…!!

I was astounded that the road had not been blocked off for what was obviously an official “take-down”… A few minutes later, I passed a convoy of heavily armed military jeeps coming the other way, which confirmed that there would soon be “fun and games” on the edge of Culiacan…!!

Needless to say, I did not hang around in this area…!! I stopped about 50 km north of the city in the small town of Pericos to refuel and take on a litre of water, before deciding to make the next 200 km run to Los Mochis, without stopping…!! I figured a fast-moving bike was less likely to pick up a stray bullet or two…!!

The Baja Bikers, a great bunch of young guys, mostly riding what I call “classic” bikes, rather than the choppers many of the other clubs seemed to prefer…

I joined the toll road about an hour outside my destination, and put a call through to the contact I had been given by the Mazatlan bikers.

Cano, a member of the Baja Bikers, answered at the first ring, and we agreed to meet on the main road leading into town…

Juan, who was the designated interpreter during my stay in Los Mochis… Like the Venados, and the riders from Mazatlan, the Baja Bikers did not bother with helmets…!!

The Baja Bikers have a logo that incorporates the region they represent, as part of a bike…!! Neat…!!

A posse of six bikers was waiting for me under the last bridge before Los Mochis, and we rode into town together… I was informed that the local radio station was waiting to interview me, and that after that, the “El Debate” newspaper offices would be our next stop…!! The media circus surrounding my last week in Mexico, just wouldn’t quit…!!

I was now being recognised at fuel stations, and seeing more and more people staring after me or waving as I passed…!!

We were ushered in a studio, where a forest of microphones around a large oval table awaited us… I had hardly sat down when the announcer signaled to the sound technician in the glass booth behind the table, the lights flashed to signal we were on air, and the interview began…!!

I was asked all the usual questions, to which by now I had the answers well rehearsed, and the interview went as smoothly as you like, despite my initial nervousness…!!

Juan translated most of my answers, but did not have to do the same for the questions, because after so many interviews, I knew exactly what the announcer was referring to when he rattled off in Spanish…

Juan and I entertain the listeners of the regions prime radio station…!!

With Juan and Felix Sanchez, outside the studio of Radio RSM…

After the studio interview was over, the host of the show, Felix Sanchez, asked to see the bike and continue our interview there…

Passersby gathered around us to snap photos and listen in on our conversation, and for a short time the quiet street became a lot busier that was normal…!! Cars hooted as they passed, making the whole affair quite a spectacle…!!

We later rode into the downtown area to find a suitable hotel for me to stay in and after finding most of them fully booked, we eventually settled on the Hotel America, which had a large and well secured parking area attached to it, and suited my needs perfectly…

It also served to remind me that America was the next, and 100th country on my tour…!!

The Hotel America was also within walking distance of the El Debate’s offices, and after confirming that they were ready and waiting for me, Cano Juan and I strolled the three blocks, and met with the reporter who was handling the story of my arrival and visit to Los Mochis…

The paint job on Cano’s bike depicted the object of his desire, horns and all…!!

Our interview was a casual affair, and actually took place in the basement of the newspaper’s offices, the reporter scribbling furiously as I replied to his questions…

I made mention again of the very special treatment I had received from the Mexican Biking Clubs over the past week, and how indebted I was to them for their kindness and hospitality…

I also went to great lengths to explain that despite the country’s reputation for danger, I had not felt threatened at any time, and had enjoyed a trouble-free stay in Mexico…

My liver was not asked to comment, so this part of my “troubles” went unreported…!!

Cano follows us through the traffic as we head to yet another interview….

The reporter was a little dismayed that I did not have the Big Fella with me, and begged me to go and collect the bike from the hotel, and bring it around to their offices so that they could photograph us both…

I was a little hot and bothered by now, having been through four separate interviews already today, and ridden close on 500 km in searing heat…!!

All I wanted was to get out of my riding kit and under a cold shower…

After trying and failing to get him to come over to the hotel, we eventually agreed to go and fetch the bikes, ride them across the El Debate, and have our photographs taken…!!

Later that evening, a large contingent of the Baja Bikers arrived with a thunderous roar, startling hotel guests as they rode into the parking area…!!

They brought with them carrier bags of beers which we shared in the parking area, while deciding where we were going for the evening…

The evening lasted until about 4.00am the following morning, and included a long search for a restaurant that was open; and interesting visit to a local “dancing club”; a light snack at a sidewalk vendor at 2.00am in the morning, followed by the discovery of a 24 hour cafe, where more beer was purchased…!!

The Baja Bikers were more than ready to take me out on the town…!!

By early morning, it was decided that a single beer at a time was not enough for a tough, world-touring biker such as myself… I was introduced to the “Tecate two-can” method of drinking…!!

Hotdogs at 2.00am…!! One was not nearly enough…!! We sat on chairs provided by the vendor and washed them down with more of the amber liquid…!!

Back at the hotel, we all piled into my room and the small lounge area just outside it, and drank the rest of the beers the boys had so thoughtfully procured for the occasion…!!

We discussed the remainder of my ride through Mexico, the guys again advising me to not to ever ride during the night, and which towns to breeze straight through without stopping at…

Funny thing was, a day later, someone told me that Los Mochis was a “very dangerous place”…!!

Earlier that evening I had met an interesting guy known as “Dormie”, a nickname given to him because he always seemed half asleep…!! I noticed that he did not wear the colours of the Baja Bikers, but those of a gang known as “Juaria”…

Turns out he was working on a short contract in Los Mochis, but actually lived in Hermosillo, the city I was heading for, and belonged to one of the bigger clubs there…

He made a call to his club president, “Kameleon” and arranged for them to meet and host me when I passed through the city…!! So the Baja Bikers would not be the last bike club I would encounter in Mexico after all…!!

Last photo with the “die-hard” portion of the Baja Bikers, who finally left my hotel at 4.00 am …!!

We downloaded and exchanged photos and video clips from the afternoon and evening’s festivities and just as the sky was beginning to lighten, I bid them all goodbye and watched as they rode as quietly as a large motorcycle can, out of the parking area and into the deserted streets of Los Mochis…

We had arranged to meet at 9.00 am, so that they could escort me out of town, but by the state of my young friends, I did not think this arrangement would come about…!!

And I was correct…!! By 9.30 am, they had still not arrived and with a long, hot ride ahead of me, I decided not to wait any longer, and quietly left Los Mochis…

I had managed to grab just three hours sleep and would smell like a brewery for the next few hours, despite a cold early morning shower…!!

©GBWT 2012

1 comment to Los Mochis and the Baja Bikers…

  • Mark Behr

    Sounds like you will be heading into detox as you leave Mexico. Great post – good to see the continued hositality.

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