Beginning in September of 2015, the bike traveling duo of Nicholas Carman and Lael Wilcox set out to explore and map an off-road route from San Diego, CA to San Jose Del Cabo, B.C.S., Mexico. They are meticulously recording and cataloguing their travels in order to provide future travelers with maps and resources that are currently unavailable. The Baja Divide, when complete, will be nearly 2000 miles long and is expected to be over 90% unpaved. This February the team stopped back in San Diego to present their progress and reorganize before heading back to Baja to complete the project. Their goal is to “safely give people real routes” so that travelers can be confident that all roads will be accessible, open, and (mostly) rideable. They are taking special care to avoid as much deep sand along the way as possible, while acknowledging that avoiding all sand won’t be possible. Further, they hope to include stops and routes that are less frequented and harder to access by normal transportation. “Our purpose is to help you get to the places that aren’t easy to find,” Nicholas said while describing the route.Much of the evening focused on gear selection and it was clear that certain trends are starting to stand out in Baja’s harsh, sandy terrain. They have had riders join them along the route with rigs ranging from standard 29ers, to fatbikes, and everything in between. The all-around most versatile builds have been from the mid-fat category. Lael is riding an Advocate Cycles Hayduke with Specialized 27.5+ Ground Control tires. Nicholas is running the widest tires he can fit in his Meriwether Cycles custom frame (2.5/2.4 front and rear). Their friend Alex who joined them for a portion of their first trip and is returning to Baja with them has traded out his Rolloff equipped Pugsley for a leaner Hayduke as well. Even with the frequent sand encountered, the plus sized bikes have proven to be more than capable and much more weight friendly. 1x drivetrains seemed to be preferred by most of the group, and everyone was running a suspension fork for comfort and fun. Several riders had dynamo equipped hubs, but the group found that they weren’t necessary in most situations. For camping, Nicholas and Lael brought along a pyramid style shelter, but found that after the first week it never came out of storage. They were greeted with great weather for almost the entirety of their trip. The group had iodine tablets in case of emergencies, but traveled without a water filter, preferring instead to only rely on known sources of clean water. Along the way they were met with hospitality, curiosity, and aid from locals along the route. The team is planning a January, 2nd 2017 group start in San Diego. This will be a self-supported tour, but will give people a chance to get through the border and along their way with a larger group of bikepackers. They are also completing a shorter seven to ten day loop at the southern tip of Baja for people who don’t have the time to tour the entire peninsula. For more information about gear and routes, or to see pictures from the trip, please visit gypsybytrade.wordpress.com. You can contact Nicholas and Lael at firstname.lastname@example.org.