Zacatecas Cacti Ride

Today I: went for a stunning ride in the desert that spills out around Zacatecas, an open and heat parched land, pocked with gold and silver and copper mines. I rode with Carlos and his friends, through colonies of  bony-fingered yukkas proding into the sky, and amongst layers of prickly pear cacti…

A biking collective of teachers, artists, store owners, businessmen, anyone, the Alivia2 are amongst the most laid back mountain bikers I’ve met. Their motto: En el mundo de los enfermos, los aliviados son los buenos.

It was great. We stopped here and there to laze around and listen to tunes, fix flats and soak it all up… I met school teacher Carlos in the street, and he’s taken me on three mellow rides.


Heading out in the desert, towards Nueva Australia. Then we turned off and followed a beautiful trail that wound in and out of the yuccas, before slipping and slidding our way over a tide of sand dunes. An amazing ride.

The Yukka might just be my favourite tree. I love how social they look, growing in their colonies. So weird and alien-like.

Desert textures.

Desert critters.


Our picnic spot at Cerro del Gato. Avocados, homemade wholewheat tortillas and fruit. Delicious.


The prickly pear cacti.


Prickly it is.


Muchos espinas! Sergio, a ceramic artist, repairs a flat. Plenty of punctures ensured we rolled on at a sedate pace. Carlos was particular laid back in his repairing process. The calming patience born from knowing a process intimately… I counted at least 20 patches on his inner tube.


I spotted this Mexican made sealant in one of the bike shops in town. I’ve also heard of local guys using sap straight out of the desert plants, rather forking out for the usual tubeless brands. Nice!


Carlos’s little home made portable ghetto blaster, which he slung around his shoulder as we rode.


The late afternoon light during the ride back was incredible – pin clear and bright. Then we hit the city, and everyone peeled off to their respective families. A great day. Thank you Carlos, Cayetano, Sergio, Fernando and Arturo.

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