Ready to Ride? Adventure Awaits in QuéretaroBy Georgina Hidalgo Vivas
This buzzing city in the center of the country has more cycle routes than anywhere else in Mexico. This is why Querétaro is best appreciated on two wheels.
From your bike you can take in the baroque splendor of its churches, the squares with their pink stone fountains and perfectly pruned trees, the tiny alleyways with their colorful houses, its old textile factories and, of course, its Aqueduct. Not only is this a healthy way to explore the city, it will also put a smile on your face.
You don’t need to take a bike with you to cycle ’round the city. You can use the bikeshare service QroBici. Its smart stations are conveniently located to coincide with the QroBus route, and you can get membership for a day, week, month, six months or a year (400 pesos—around 20 dollars—paid with a credit card).
Just download the app to your phone. You have half an hour to cycle ’round and leave the bike at another station, and the service operates 24 hours a day, all year round.
100 Percent Urban
You can explore the historic center of Quéretaro or take a tour of the pretty villages in the surrounding area, thanks to stores such as Rodamoda, which organizes different cycling tours and experiences.
Accompany them on their city center tour, Paseo del Centro, and they’ll take you to the Jardín Guerrero, Plaza de Armas, Jardín Zenea, Mirador de los Arcos, Templo de la Cruz, the old train station or the iconic Paseo de los Arcos.
Duration: two hours, up to 7km (just over 4 miles), basic level.
If you’re already an experienced cyclist and don’t need the help of local guides, take a ride along the University cycle route, which runs alongside the Querétaro River, and enjoy a snack at the stalls along the riverbank or at one of the places dotted along this route.
Querétaro at Dawn
Pedalling and taking photos is another way of engaging your senses. On the last Sunday of the month, at 6:15 am for departure at 6:30, when there’s hardly any traffic in the city or anyone on the streets, you can make the city your own.
This photo tour also includes breakfast at the café Bretón, with gourmet delicacies for cyclists. (380 pesos, bike, safety vest, helmet, guide, 2 to 12 people, call 4422129676 to book).
Beer, the Perfect Fuel
Beyond the Avenida de los Arcos you can venture towards the iconic municipality of Hércules, home to the brewery of the same name, an enormous industrial building dating back to 1904, and saved in 2011, to the delight of beer lovers. Here you’ll need to take in a bit of “fuel” for your muscles, with one or two Macanudas.
This huge textile factory also houses some original restaurants, the Cine Tonalá cinema and some photo and graphics galleries and workshops. They’re well worth exploring.
Several local cycling groups run night-time tours every Wednesday from the Cerro de las Campanas (Saca la Bici) or on Fridays (CiclonautasMx). True to their motto “Llueve, truene o relampaguee” (“Come rain, thunder or lightning”), none of these cyclists will need an excuse to go out and enjoy the beauty of cycling and they will even lend you a bike.
The tours are free and always cover different parts of the city.
Beyond the City
Are you looking for something other than riding ’round the center? Cycle to the surrounding municipality of La Corregidora, where you’ll find El Pueblito, home to the archeological site of El Cerrito, with a pyramid that is testimony to the greatness of the early Chichimeca, Toltec and Chupicuaro inhabitants. There is also a small Site Museum.
There is a cycle route that will guide you along the way if you prefer to go on your own. The municipality also boasts the Santuario de la Virgen del Pueblito, a very important patron saint in the state, and a handicraft store selling the traditional Querétaro doll, Lele.
If you’re up for the ultimate challenge, take a tour of the state’s magical towns. On the Paseo ConSentido, organized by the activist group Libre a bordo for the more experienced visitor, you can go as far as San Miguel de Allende (33.5 miles), the Peña de Bernal (50 miles) and Dolores (70 miles).
These routes are for physically fit cyclists and breaks are taken for a typical local dish or to enjoy a beer or a pulque and to buy handicrafts.