Niko’s Kantina Ride: Topes

Some make you fly, some make you die. The topes are the most efficent way to slow down traffic.


First of all, I’d like to ask a pardon for the huge delay in posting to this blog. I came to realize that time really flies when you ain’t doing shit. Almost every day starts at around 8 o’clock and ends at midnight. Where all the hours go, no clue, but we’re having fun, that’s for sure.

Back to our story. One thing that a motorcycle traveler has to deal with in the entire Latin America are the so called topes. You can call them speed bumps on steroids.

They come in all shapes and sizes. From the nice, ramp like, smooth asphalted, wheelie aiding road add-on, to the killer, rim bending piece of concrete that seems to just have fallen off a truck. I’ve seen certain places use huge ropes laid on the street, same as in Albania. Others just pile a bit of dirt, as you can imagine not all the topes are man made. Some just happen, others are made by the government, others by locals who want to slow down traffic so they protect their children when they are trying to sell you all sorts of local products. Sometimes locals just like to sit and watch what happens at that particularly nasty tope.

I think it’s brilliant, it is a really effective way to slow down traffic. Especially when there is enough space on the side (or sometimes between lanes) to ride your bike past it. Tabasco and Chiapas regions had the highest density of topes, sometimes you had a set every kilometer or so. It gets old very quick I have to say. Especially when you have a fun road with lots of turns, they love to place them just behind a turn.

After all the fun at sea, it was time to go and join with William in Chiapas. From there we were to cross the border into Guatemala. Decided to be in South America as soon as possible. Will it happen?

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