t’s not the Tour de France, but over 400,000 cyclists agree: The Rosarito Ensenada Ride is: “A PARTY ON WHEELS!”
|The Rosarito Ensenada 50 Mile Fun Bicycle Ride is a 30 yr. tradition that has attracted over 400,000 cyclists. Many return each year to repeat the 50 mile experience that is unique in the cycling world. Who could resist breathtaking ocean and mountain vistas and cyclists in costume creating an ambiance of carnival? Local children line the course, screaming and laughing with wide-eyed innocence, waiting for the traditional candy toss from the riders. And the biggest attraction for us men: thousands of fit, female bodies straining all that beautiful muscle. Ladies are also allowed to check out our “tight cycling shorts.”
Over the past 30 years, the total number of miles logged by the riders equals 19,875,000 miles. This September 26 will be a special day and celebration of completing the 20 million mile mark of bicycling in Baja! Special recognition will be given to veteran riders who return to help make the 20 million mile goal.
Much of the paseo’s route is along the scenic highway that extends from the border to Ensenada. When describing that stretch of coastline to friends, I compare its majesty with the highway that winds through the French Alps or the North Cascade pass over the mountains of Eastern Washington State.
An Ensenada resident for 26 years, I drive that highway once a week. I never tire of the trip. It always looks different, depending on: the light, the time of year or the weather. The highway is carved into the side of 600 ft peaks, hanging at a 90 degree angle above the blue Pacific. Long stretches of beach, with no access roads, are visible from the highway’s 200 ft. craggy cliffs. The Rosarito Ensenada bike ride affords more enjoyment of this route than cruising it in a sports car with the top down. Race days are the only times this highway is open to cyclists.
The course curves east at La Mission: a pueblo that is so “Tipica Mexicana” that it could be mistaken for a Hollywood set, depicting 19th century Mexico. The countryside here is high desert mountains and fertile agricultural valleys. The La Mission area is a step back in time: cowboys, ranchlands, farm animals, and one of Baja’s few remaining rivers. Check out pictures Jason Sattler and Mike Senese of the route took by visiting their website at www.stinkyninja.com/rosarito-ensenada.
Aid stations with medical first aid and purified water are located along the course at 16 miles, 27 miles, 42 miles and at the Finish Line Fiesta. Event organizers also station ambulances on the course for major medical support, and they provide free bike repair and free “sag support” for riders who cannot finish and need a ride to the finish line.
This year the event organizers are offering more travel options for family members while waiting for their significant others to arrive at the finish: bus tours to the Valley of Guadalupe wine country, just 20 minutes from downtown Ensenada; bus tours to La Bufadora, an ocean geyser with an 80 foot tall water spout! La Bufadora combines great shopping with spectacular ocean vistas and terraced restaurants clinging to rocky cliffs. Families can also shop in downtown Ensenada or play in the casino. In Rosarito, they can visit the movie studio Xploration, where movies such as Titanic and Pearl Harbor were filmed.
The legendary “post-ride Fiesta” that normally concludes at dusk, will this time be extended into the night with dancing to live bands that include rock, salsa and jazz. Wine, great food and, of course, the mandatory brew skies will be served. Event organizers want this year to be a real celebration of our mutual cultures. The event is definitely Mexican and American at the same time. This is the beauty of our fronteriza (border) culture, and we need to celebrate the blessings of mixed traditions, two languages, art , music, food and wine. “Spanglish” is definitely the language spoken event day! Many cross border friendships and romances have been kindled during the event and at the Finish Line Fiesta.
“El paseo ciclista” is primarily attended by Southern California and Baja cyclists, but, event organizers invite participants from around the globe. According to U.S. promoter Gary Foster: “We’ve had riders from 48 of the 50 United States and 17 different countries. It is known, around the world, as ‘the Original Party on Wheels.'” This year, Foster expects participants will be coming from all over Mexico and the United States.
To facilitate arrival by air to San Diego or Tijuana airports, event organizers will assist with bike rentals, transportation and lodging. If you don’t want to drive your car into Mexico, bus transportation from the border leaves every half hour in luxury buses with bathrooms and a movie en route.
Age is never a limit. The ride has hosted cyclists from 6 to 78 years old. So, bring the family! Michael Cuevas, who drives 400 miles to the event each year from his home in Northern California, says it best: “This event never gets old and every year it seems to get better. I would not miss the opportunity. I’m 68 years old, but I’m gonna ride it till I can’t ride no more!” September 26. Be part of the 30th Anniversary Rosarito Ensenada 50 Mile Fun Bicycle Ride. And be part of cycling history when we reach 20 million miles of bicycling in Baja!