By Justin Porter Biel
Raised near the collegiate peaks in Colorado, I come from a community of mountain bikers. During my childhood riding a mountain bike was like skiing or hiking, it was just something you do. So when I moved to Baja in the summer of 2017, I brought my mountain bike along for the ride.
I ended up settling in the Pueblo Magico of Todos Santos, and initially, I was looking forward to spending my free time at the beach instead of the mountains. The first few months in Baja, mountain biking remained an afterthought. The bike was only a mode of transportation; it’s off-road tires perfect for traveling the dirt, bumpy roads from the palapa where I lived to downtown Todos Santos and back.
But as weeks turned to months, I began to have a craving to ride my bike. I mean, really ride – to pedal until my lungs burned, to dip and weave on single track, to explore my new desert surroundings atop an aluminum frame, shocks, and two wheels. Just as the cravings became unbearable, I also began to notice signs of a biking community around town; a sole rider on a full-suspension, a bike shop near an unexplored edge of town, a group of guys wearing team kits and cycling shoes grabbing coffee. Maybe I hadn’t been looking before, but now I was seeing all the signs. There looked to be a dedicated group of mountain bikers in Todos Santos, and they seemed to be having a lot of fun.
So I went in search of reliable info on the local mountain biking scene. The first clues I got were from Dave Thompson, a life-long cyclist and bike shop owner from Arizona who has been coming to Baja for the last decade. Dave’s also the owner of Over The Edge, the local bike shop in Todos Santos that rents out the best mountain bikes in town. I will forever be grateful to Dave, for he was the first- person to open my eyes to the beautiful system of easily accessible trails that weave in and around Todos Santos.
Armed with a few tips from Dave and a renewed excitement to ride, I began my exploration of the Todos Santos mountain biking scene. What I found utterly exceeded my expectations.
Around Todos Santos, bikers will experience miles of lightly ridden single track matched to a variety of skill levels. The terrain ranges from cliffside ridge rides along the Pacific to rolling hills East of town, both of which offer gorgeous views of coastline, Todos Santos, and the Sierra Laguna Mountains. On the Tres Santos property alone, riders have access to thirty miles of single track that pass over dunes and through fields of massive Cardon cactuses. Though Tres Santos remains a topic of heated debate in the local community, the trail system they’ve built is surely a gift to visiting bikers and die-hard, local riding community.
Instead of only spending time in town or at the beach, Mountain bikers coming to Todos Santos can (and should) spend a few days enjoying the local biking trails and community. To get started, check out the website for Dave Thompson’s “Over The Edge” bike shop. There are eight local trails listed, one of which is appropriately called “Dave’s Trail.” And if I had to guess, I would bet there are more trails to discover in this evolving, little known bike mecca of the Baja.