The master Heinz Stucke ( more than 650,000 km cycle touring in the past 54 years) once said that he could not conceive a serious cycle tourist being a bad person.
I totally agree. Time and time again the cycle tourist community has proven to do extraordinary things wherever we go. On and on we have seen the positive legacy cycle tourists have left wherever they go.
According to the American Cycling Association a cycle tourists spends 19% more money than any other tourist in the places where they stay. Of course we are talking about places where bus stops are not common or where tour operators do not even bother stopping on their tour.
This is why we were surprisingly grateful to get to know Othon and his family, proud owners of (Cycling House) Casa Ciclista San Ignacio, Baja California Sur.
Casa Ciclista San Ignacio was born our of necessity and work from unexpected partners: Alexys, Valerie and their dog Boyd. These french travellers got stuck in San Ignacio due to an illness that affected their dog Boyd. Othon found them inconsolable in the parking lot of the biggest supermarket in town. Heartbroken by the scene he offered them help. He was sure Boys suffered from the same thing as his dog a couple of months ago.
Othon offered them a place to stay in their home, he had a big garden where they could pitch their tent. Othon took care of the dog by giving him certain medication he knew the dog could take. Valerie, Alexys and Othons family grew closer together every day while Boys healed. Time flew and Christmas and New Years where around the corner, so Othon and the family insisted that they should stay with them to spend the feasts. Of course they agreed with pleasure.
Othon opened up and told them about the difficult situation they were going through, money wise. So Valerie and Alexys came up with a wonderful idea to help them solve their conundrum. ¨Why don´t you make your garden a camping ground for cycle tourists!¨. They said. Othon liked the idea so they al started working on it.
Very soon the idea became a reality, so Othon, Sugey (Othon´s wife) Eric, Miguel (their kids) along with Valerie and Alexys started adapting the garden for a Casa Ciclista.
Since then Othon and Sugey have received around 100 cycle tourists in their yard. This has substantially helped Othon´s family economically and morally. The place has been growing and adding several upgrades due to the help of other cycle tourists that stop by, hear the story and feel motivated to leave their grain of salt to the growth of the place. Ramon a Spanish cyclists has helped them with their website, Cristina Spinola made them a colourful sign and many others have left their mark.
Today staying a couple of days in Othon´s cycle tourist house is becoming more of a tradition for the cyclists who pedal Baja. The flow of cyclists have made an important change in the lives of Othon and his family. They keep the place spot on, and are always make you feel welcome and comfortable. Plus they have hot showers, clean toilets, internet and the best tips to eat the best food in town (Othon owns a small sea food stand and is a great cook!).
Sadly we were only able to stay one day with them. We would have loved to stay more time but it would have to be next time.
I would love to see many more places like these all over Mexico. Casa Ciclistas where cycle tourists find clean, secure and homelike one night homes. These places result in a win win situation, where the locals can take a profit in exchange for world class hospitality.
Othon´s case in San Ignacio is such a great example of a success story and I a pretty sure that this can be replicated in Mexico, all we have to do is travel with our bikes in Mexico.