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“Not Motorcycle Friendly”

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Level 4 Contributor
45 reviews
56 helpful votes
“Not Motorcycle Friendly”
Reviewed 11 April 2008


In the past two winters I’ve ridden 16,000 miles in Mexico on my motorcycle and it’s been a wonderful experience. I’ve been treated so graciously and have been accommodated in parking and security for my transportation by hotels and well as local police no matter what town I visited. Not so in San Miguel Allende.

The city is indeed beautiful and I hate to dissuade visitors but motorcyclists need to know what to expect.

On a Monday morning in February I had an abscessed tooth extracted in the morning. With meds I slept till 3 p.m. and then jumped on my bike to search for my first meal of the day. Despite the designated motorcycle parking I had been parking for two days across the street from my hotel so it could be watched by the front desk. Typically you’re allowed to park on the sidewalk, in the lobby or courtyard or wherever your bike can be secured. San Miguel, as an old colonial city has tight parking and streets hence that’s where I HAD to park.

Seeing a sign reading “Chicken Consomme’ I knew I had found lunch. As I parked diagonally in front of the restaurant there was space in front of my bike to park a limo. A black Volvo pulled up as I was entering the restaurant and a woman opened her door and started yelling, “You have to park that down there! You can’t park that there, move that right now!!!” I wasn’t even sure if she was yelling at me or not and on meds and in pain I really didn’t care. No problem observed.

Greeting the friendly waiter I told him why I needed the consommé and in typical Mexican hospitality sought me a seat and stated the soup was exceptional. At that moment the large woman stormed through the door yelling at the top of her lungs about the motorcycle having to be moved and closed stating that SHE WAS GOING TO KNOCK MY MOTORCYCLE OVER WITH HER VOLVO. The waiter, who could see where the bike was parked, looked at me incredulously. I did the same. Yes, we had a nutball yankee matron on our hands. Apparently a gringa transplant, it is sad to see such behavior inflicted by Americano’s as visitors to Mexico. This is behavior that you would never see from a Mexican and is exactly why I enjoy riding in Mexico as opposed to the United States. I responded to her, thinking “I don’t need this hassle now”, stating that I didn’t know who she was and that I didn’t let people talk to me like that and turned on my heel to my table. She exited still howling and I sat, staring at my parked motorcycle. She did, in fact, back into the front tire. The bike rocked and nearly went over but she then backed off and parked and left. If she only knew how close she came All I could think about was a long stint in a Mexican prison. That is the ONLY thing that saved her bacon. The soup was excellent but hard to enjoy as my hands shook.

I parked across the street from my hotel after lunch and retired for the day. Meds made me sleep in and just after rising the housekeeper frantically knocked on my door stating there was a problem with my motorcycle. Great. Hitting the street I see a local cop writing and one of those common street guys that park and polish cars lounging on my motorcycle and a car, belonging to Saul Garcia of HSBC Bank, parked so close to my bike that I couldn’t even bring it upright or get it out. In other words the car monkey had intentionally parked this car close enough to trap me and then he went to a cop to complain about my parking choice. In other words I was encroaching on his turf. One thing I know is where I won’t be getting a bank loan for the property I’m going to buy in Mexico.

At this point I was getting quite fed up with being hassled about my bike and my bike being hassled. It was all unnecessary . First, I told the monkey to get off my bike and to never touch it. Then he started blabbin and I told him to shut up and that this was between me and the cop. The hotel owner came out, mortified, and backed my need to park there for security and for that matter the ticket he was writing could be scraped and I could just move the bike. Nope. Paper had to be written, my plates were confiscated and I had to pay $9 to get them back. So, I did. Returning, Saul’s car was still jammed up against the bike but, by god, I was going to move it. Well Saul, if you’re wondering where those dents came from on the right side, now you know. No apologies.

I parked a block away in the designated area that night and waited till the morning to see if I’d be using my theft insurance. Commonly if you’re get shook down you’re also set up and wondered if the cop and the monkey had plans for my bike. Other colonial cities like Queraterro had very professional and tourist friendly police unlike San Miguel.

To load my saddlebags and gear I moved the bike across the street from the hotel. Two spots away was a Ducati, the local owner of which I had met the day before and was a right gentleman, parked in the exact same spot I was the day before and was being detailed by who else, the monkey. The message was clear.

As I rode away I gave that guy and friendly parting gesture and said goodbye to San Miguel Allende.

So that’s all folks. Motorcyclists, there’s plenty of wonderful places to go in Mexico but it’s good to make a list of ‘where’ and ‘where not to’. For San Miguel’s sake I hope they can clean up the street hustling and don’t get too californicated, otherwise the charm will be lost.

5 Thank BluesSeeker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
St. Catharines, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
42 helpful votes
“Beach lover falls in love with inland Mexico!!!”
Reviewed 28 March 2008

Did a weekend in San Miguel Allende...yes there are thousands of expats there but it still is permeated with a Mexican ambience. Behind the doors that are practically on the street are surprises. Saturday night in the square (and they all have squares) the locals come to relax, come to dance, come to listen to music, play music. They don't know what a couch potato is on a Saturday night...Moving, exciting and you become an untourist....My first away from beach all inclusives...I wonder if I could ever do that again...lineups and answering "where are you from" a thousand times...For once, go inland to a city and experience a whole new Mexico....I've travelled most continents on and off for 20 years and this was great...

11 Thank jannnn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Las Cruces, New Mexico
1 review
4 helpful votes
“Our wonderful days in San Miguel”
Reviewed 26 January 2008

We have traveled Mexico extensively and found San Miguel delightful, satisfying and worth the eight days we spent there. There was plenty to do, including evening entertainment. We enjoyed straying into the people's world and were welcomed with enthusiasm. We especially liked Casa de la Questa. The breakfasts were sensational and the hospitality warm. Best of all the views from our room were wonderful, night and day.

Vic and Nancy

4 Thank quadalupe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
3 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 January 2008

Wonderful place to visit. I stayed at a friends casa while there. The city is very easy to navigate and the people are friendly and helpful. Great food and shopping. Incredible architecture.

3 Thank natchezgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Antonio
Level 5 Contributor
88 reviews
62 helpful votes
“American Tourist in Mexico”
Reviewed 21 August 2007

San Miguel de Allende is a very pretty and quaint city, but its unique and casual air has been trampled by the ugly American. You see that what was once a very special place to go has become a mecca of Norte Americanos and their specialty of having everything their way, I see the reflection everywhere you go in San Miguel, from the market , where you can no longer negoiate your purchase of wares like you used to, to the American style restaurantswhere they serve "Gringo Mex" just to cater to the turistas. My hotel the La Posada is still not as "American" as some of the others, but with Americans on TOUR buses, it won't be long until it will go that way and soon there will be a Wal-Mart.

5 Thank Fred P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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