We're Sandra (24 years) and Ella MacDonald (20 years) and we road 2858 miles from Canada to the tip go the Baja to raise money for Right to Play.

It took us 58 days and cost $18.50 per day. We raised over $5700 and 100% of funds went to the cause!

Here is our website with pictures of the trip and posts on all the craziness! http://macdonaldsisters.wordpress.com

Ask us anything…we have some stories! We're excited!

Comments: 234 • Responses: 92  • Date: 

Darkchyylde58 karma

You RODE on the ROAD. but good for you. Yay for Canada!

ellamac322 karma


ellamac3-19 karma

That's how we spell it in Canada…

Darkchyylde10 karma

I've lived in Canada my whole life. Road and Rode are two different words. Rode=you rode your bike. Road=you travelled on the road. Look it up if you don't believe me.

ellamac315 karma

We were trying to be sarcastic to cover up our 27-year old roommates spelling mistake. He even proof-read what he wrote and still posted it.

bobbysr47 karma

did you see that Tesla pass you?

ellamac313 karma


TheCoolAnt9 karma

Have you ever worried about this trip in the past?

ellamac312 karma

Not really, but we were very warned by others and are naive and young. Despite all the warnings, we hopped on our bikes anyways! We didn't die or get our heads chopped off so that was a plus.

TheCoolAnt4 karma

And two more questions. 1. What city did you start in and what city did you end in? 2. Have you eaten any bananas on the trip?

ellamac317 karma

Started in Vancouver British Columbia, Canada and ended in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. WE ATE SOOOOO MAY BANANAS and not to mention 27 jars of peanut butter. In my humble opinion, Jiffy should sponsor us.

mlennon157 karma

Jiffy or Jif?

ellamac38 karma


BluMyselfEarly2 karma

Great attitude you two. Listen to most people and the world sounds like a terrifying place, it really isn't. Glad you had such a good time!

ellamac36 karma

Mexico is amazing, despite what 99% of what people said. Alll we want to do now is speak Spanish but we suck at it..

ArrrGaming-3 karma

Most of the world can be a terrifying place. These two got lucky and that's awesome!

ellamac34 karma

Most of the world is filled with sketchy places, true. You just need to accept it and avoid the places that you will be a target. I lived in Vancouver for two years and there are roads I would never go down and roads I can't wait to do down!

mad4bad48 karma

What brand of bikes did you ride? How many flat tires did you have? How fast did you get at changing flat tires?

ellamac36 karma

Mys sister, Sandra, never got a flat tire believe it or not! Her tires were super shredded and worn down by the time we got to Cabo but she was sooooo lucky! However, she did get two broken spokes along the way in Baja which was a shitshow because there are hardly any bike shops along the way… We also don't speak Spanish. We got down to changing flats in about 5 minutes (maybe longer if we were looking for the leak!)

ellamac35 karma

Sandra rode a 7 year old Le Monde road bike in mediocre condition, I got a Giant hybrid bike a couple of weeks before leaving and they were both fine.

Ponchorello74 karma

What did you like about Mexico? What did you dislike?

ellamac37 karma

We love the people, they have been so nice and generous along the way. Otherwise of being generous, we got stalked once and will never forget it. We also didn't shower for a few days which was pretty disgusting… Me and my sister actually bathed each other once and it was disgusting. I can officially say now that I have bathed my sister from dirty well water with a dirty cloth. I'm saving that story for her wedding for sure!

snorkel-freckle5 karma

Wait. You were stalked? What happened?

ellamac310 karma

We stealth camped and this odd guy followed us there. He ended up talking to us for about an hour before we finally got him to go away - no big deal. It got creepy when he showed up again at 7:30AM the next morning and followed us to the bathroom which was super annoying. It got even MORE weird when he showed up 60km south of where we last saw him last and he was lurking around our bikes waiting for us to return. Turned out he was going around in his van and then went on his bike until he found us.

AATroop4 karma

Wait, you bathed each other? Is this like a GoT brother sister relationship?

ellamac36 karma

Oh god no….. We only had a tub of water and a towel so we had to get each others backs

AATroop7 karma

You shouldn't assume that's the first image that pops into our head. We're sick.

ellamac32 karma

My bad..

merrim4n3 karma

You mentioned it cost 18.50 a day. Was that just the cost of food, or were there any other costs? How/where did you sleep?

ellamac36 karma

That was including food, accommodations, and stopping at coffee shops along the way (which can be quite expensive day after day)

merrim4n2 karma

Wow that's really not all that bad since you included accommodations! How many miles was an average day of biking?

ellamac34 karma

We averaged 60 miles throughout the United States and 70 through Baja.

Brad_Wesley3 karma

So to be clear, while peddling all day you both only at 9.25 per day of food? what did you eat to get so many calories for so little?

ellamac33 karma

A lot of the time we didn't pay for camping because we stealth camped and when we did pay it was 5-6$. We mostly ate peanut butter, bagels, rice, and a lot of vegetables.

BikeCyclin3 karma

I love it! I am doing a similar thing soon - mine is for affordable housing through Bike & Build :) http://www.bikeandbuild.org/rider/7247

ellamac32 karma

This sounds awesome, good for you! We love to hear stories like this. > http://www.bikeandbuild.org/rider/7247

alfienism3 karma

Can you post a pic of your calves for proof?

johnthewolf3 karma

did you do the 1 along Oregon coast? my buddy and I walked the entire stretch south to north in 2003...it's pretty epic

ellamac36 karma

Yea we did! We agree on saying it's epic.

nlucas61023 karma

what gave you the crazy idea to do this? it sounds like fun

ellamac36 karma

I wanted to travel and Sandra wanted to do a bike tour so we combined the two!

nlucas61022 karma

that's crazy awesome. The closest I've ever done is a 50 mile bike trip with my scout troop over a weekend

ellamac34 karma

That's about all I had done before I left for the trip - who needs to train?

Ral30132 karma

Hey! Quick question could you post a picture of your bikes? Ya myself and a few other guys rode our motorcycles down and I saw a lot of bike riders on the way down so I want to know if I saw you two! Also I am currently in San Jose del Cabo so we are like a Hal hour away from each other!

ellamac31 karma

We actually just sent our bikes home yesterday, sorry! Awesome that we're neighbours right now :)

Ral30131 karma

Ha yeah it is! Were you riding a really tall bike that looked like you needed a ladder to climb up?

ellamac32 karma

No but that sounds like Carey! He's a dude riding on a unicycle and we were riding with him for a few days!

infected_goat2 karma

your glutes must be firm as shit

ellamac38 karma

Sandra's are soft as shit

Zeckdo2 karma

picture proof?

ellamac32 karma

I'll ask her..

diddybopper2 karma

How did you plan your route? I would like to one day travel by bicycle a long distance such as what you did.

ellamac35 karma

We gave up on planning. We decided to bike 4,000km as a set goal but there are so many things that can go wrong or people you will meet and want to hang out with that will throw you off your game plan. We took it day by day! Plus it depends on the weather... for example we decided to get through Washington asap because of the rain so we took a more direct route than we had initially planned.

Jaksuhn2 karma

Were you always on roads, if not, how much off-road did you do ?

ellamac32 karma

Funny story. We were soooooooo excited to get to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco that we just booked it South. We were going along the I5 when we suddenly heard over a loud-speaker to "pull over on the right" and we were talking to a cop. We were so excited about getting to the Golden Gate that we didn't take in account that the I5 was illegal to bike on… needless to say we had to take an illegal fire road through the mountains to get to the Golden Gate Bridge. We never thought it would be so hard..

ElectricFeedback2 karma

Did you guys lose a noticeable amount of weight on the trip? Also, CONGRATS!!! 2858 miles is quite the trek!

ellamac35 karma

No noticeable weight loss but we gained some muscle weight for sure.

TheFatherPimp2 karma

What was the most beautiful moment, when everything just clicked - where were you? what were you seeing? How did you feel?

ellamac34 karma

It's hard to pinpoint an exact moment when everything clicked… I'd say a really good moment was the first day we didn't have rain. We were in Seaside, OR and the sun finally came out. I don't remember what we saw but I remember finally being dry!

elegant_walrus2 karma

What was the hardest part physically of the ride and where was it?

ellamac34 karma

I would say going into San Francisco because it was really hot out, we ran out of water, and the hills were steep.

pure___poppycock2 karma

Where did you guys sleep every night?

ellamac33 karma

we mostly camped but if we got lucky someone would invite us into their home.

crtracy12 karma

did you girls ever have 3rd world problems with corruption or drug cartels? just checked out your web site and you look like babes

ellamac34 karma

My brother and two other friends met us in Cabo. They went to the bar the other night and cops took 500 pesos (about $50 USD) from one of the them. Sucks eh? Well about 10 minutes later the same cops took another 500 pesos from the same dude and tried to take money from my brother and other friend. Too bad for them is that they had absolutely no money, not even change, in the wallet. The turned their wallets upside down and turns out the cops just laughed.

ellamac30 karma

3rd world problems: One time I drank water out of the tap and had the absolute shits for the week. Kind of put a damper on the first week of drinking in Cabo. The toilet HAD to be near by and the toilet paper HAD to be put in the garbage can…. = hotel room constantly smelling disgusting.

cakeslol1 karma

how jacked did you get with all that cardio did you take a before and after pic?

ellamac32 karma

We were hoping on getting jacked but not so much and we never took before and after pictures

Juufro1 karma

  • How do you remove a bike's inner tube quickly? Got my first leak, and I feel like shoving a dam flat-head screwdriver under my wheel to pop it out.

  • What did you usually think about while riding each day?

ellamac32 karma

Don't use a screwdriver!!!! Use tire levers to pop one side of the tire out and just take the tube out from there. And awesome question of what we think about while biking.. A lot of the time it was about what we were going to eat next and a lot of the time I found myself not thinking at all and just looking around.

theguycogecho1 karma


ellamac33 karma

Why not? :)

kbud1 karma

Do you know ahead of time whether you will be staying at a hotel or trying to stealth camp? If you are going to stealth camp, how hard is it to choose a place?
Are there lots of places to stealth camp? I would be concerned that I couldn't find a suitable place.

Thanks and congratulations on the awesome ride!!!

ellamac32 karma

It can be very difficult sometimes to find a decent place to camp. We always planned on camping and decided to get hotels in specific situations (such as we needed a safe place to put all of our stuff or we were in a dire need of a shower). I think it depends on the person on how comfortable they are with where to camp - we saw one guy who just slept under a tree right off the road. We usually picked places that are hidden from the road or we asked locals if it was safe to camp there. There are lots of places behind rocks and tress though! Camping at actual campsites was our first choice though!

Therealthepio1 karma

How did you cook your food?

ellamac38 karma

We brought a propane stove to cook stews. We mostly just ate peanut putter and bagels to be honest, we thought we would loose weight along the way but turns out we didn't….

Marclee17031 karma

wtf what? This is incredible, how is that possible? How many hours a day were you riding? I honestly can't see how could not have lost weight.

ellamac34 karma

We're asking ourselves the same question. Our legs have way more muscle, but our overall body figure didn't change much. We rode 6-8 hours a day on average.

crtracy11 karma

As far as i know highway 1 runs along the cost for hundreds of miles, what was the most beautiful spot? is this something you would recommend for non experienced cyclists?

ellamac30 karma

As a non experienced cyclist, I would say it's pretty damn good. I mean, I hardly trained and drank every other night until 3AM for four months before leaving. As far as I'm concerned, I'm not considered as "experienced". What the hell though, it never stopped me from biking up the huge hills and biking along a beautiful coast!

SueZbell1 karma

Pairs of shoes worn out?

ellamac33 karma

I wore touring shoes and they are still in great condition!

Mcchew1 karma

What kind of conditioning did you guys do to prepare?

ellamac35 karma

I didn't train all that much but I biked to work. On the other hand Sandra has been training for years for this because she is passionate about skiing.

sofkt1 karma

Do you still have feet?

ellamac32 karma

I believe so

DaSchmorgisborg1 karma

What was the most interesting place you stopped to eat at?

ellamac30 karma

We stopped in the middle of nowhere in Baja, I think it was somewhere 500 km South of El Rosario.. anyways this place was a little hole in the wall right off the highway. The lady who was running the kitchen had a verbal menu of corn or flour tacos filled with dried beef. It was very rustic and no one there spoke a word of English. The food was delicious!!!

lu1scantu1 karma

What was your favorite part of the trip?

ellamac33 karma

We both loved the ride into San Francisco. We rode into Stinson Beach and then past it was very hilly and not to mention soooooo hot. Despite the intense bike ride we saw beautiful views of the coast!

lu1scantu1 karma

Sounds beautiful, I've always wanted to travel from Canada to the tip of South America

ellamac32 karma

Not that we have been to the tip of South America, but we have met people along the way who have said it's beautiful and nothing is like it.

lu1scantu1 karma

Maybe one day you and I will run into each other there. (Not a pick-up line)

ellamac32 karma

Maybe we will (Not a pick-up line) ;)

wajayjay1 karma

Did you meet any interesting/strange characters?

ellamac33 karma

I got a flat tire on highway 1 near Fort Bragg and we ended up meeting a guy while I changed the flat and biked with him for 2 weeks. I consider him one of my good friends now (even though he's 10 years older!). We also met some interesting people, such as a guy on a unicycle, a couple biking from the Yukon to Argentina, and locals that have taught us generosity we never knew existed before. We also met some hooligans AKA our brother and their friends who introduced us to having fun again (not that biking 150km a day isn't fun!)

Shermzilla1 karma

What did you guys do for sleeping arrangements? Just stop at motel's along the road?

ellamac30 karma

No we camped almost the entire way. The U.S. has 'hiker/biker sites' that are only $5-6 so we utilized that as much as possible. We bought a hotel 5-6 nights in the entire trip when the weather was really really bad or when we found a cheap place in Mexico.

OiChoiOi1 karma

How much can you squat?

ellamac33 karma

My personal best used to be 275 lbs but after this trip I honestly think I couldn't even break 175 lbs… I'm so weak after this ride!

Marclee17032 karma

wait a minute..are you a guy? That's a good number...especially for a girl.

ellamac32 karma

Sandra actually commented on my account - she works out a lot.

JesseLMac1 karma

How much weight did you lose on the trip?

ellamac34 karma

We actually gained 10 lbs.. of thighs

ctraysamigos1 karma

Did you listen to tunes while riding? If so, what kinda music? im guessing gansta beats...

ellamac35 karma

Tupac and Biggie strictly

JuxtaTerrestrial1 karma

What's your favorite color?

ellamac33 karma

White - like the colour of white line as I'm biking down the road.

ctraysamigos1 karma

Hi, thanks for doing this AMA. as a person who mountain bikes regularly i get a sore butt, and i only ride 100 miles a week, sometimes on longer rides i wear two pairs of bike shorts did you try that? what else did you try?

ellamac35 karma

We just toughed it out - our butts did get sore the first week but it got better after that. P.S try using only one pair and not being a pussy :)

sbbh31 karma

Wouldn't it be easier just to drive the distance and pocket the money?

ellamac32 karma

Yea that would be easier but we like a challenge

Baconface2341 karma

What is the wackiest experience you had on the trip?

ellamac314 karma

Oh and I peed on a snake.

bananaskeleton1 karma

on purpose?

ellamac31 karma

Nope! Peeing on the side of the road behind a bunch of bushes and trees. I looked down and it was looking right up at me!

ellamac38 karma

Wackiest experience? Probably biking along Venice Boardwalk in LA and accepting a place to stay from a man who talked to us for about 10 seconds.

hallflukai1 karma

What kind of preparation is necessary for a trip like this? I've been wanting to do a trip somewhere from 150-300 miles but my friend insists that "you can't just decide to do that and do it"

ellamac32 karma

My sister was getting mad at me all summer because I didn't train much and she kept on saying "you can't go if you don't train". I've been active my whole life but I've never been in amazing shape and I never had any health problems along the way. The hardest thing to prep for was setting a leaving date and actually going!

nonconformist31 karma

What do you feel was the largest challenge in doing this trip? Also where did you sleep at night and what was your route?

ellamac32 karma

Largest challenge was enduring uncomfortable sleeping accommodations and constantly unpacking and packing day in and day out. We camped throughout the states except we got a hotel three times. We also tried to use the website warmshowers.com as often as we could to do laundry and such. We went along the west coast, so highway 101 to 1 almost the entire way. In Washington we took some shortcuts due to the weather.

Melnorme1 karma

It's weird that you say "no fuel cost" when the food your body burns to power a bicycle is more expense per mile than gasoline.

ellamac32 karma

We were doing a play on word from another AMA haha

ILoveSlothsAndToast1 karma

Great work y'all I'd love to do this! Roughly how many Kms did you cover a day? Also what always you favourite place to cycle though?

ellamac32 karma

Roughly 90-100km a day is probably what we averaged. Some favourite places were San Fran, Santa Cruz, Tomales, Big Sur, and the Oregon coast was unreal the whole way.

WhatAGoodDad1 karma

How heavy was your pack? What did you bring? What did you wish you brought?

ellamac33 karma

We had about 75 lbs of weight on our bikes. That includes tent, sleeping bag, matt, clothes, and cooking supplies. For cooking supplies we had one small single stove top, propane, plates, bowls, and utensils. Our load obviously got heavier when we did food shops. I wish I brought a headlamp.. Forgot that but then finally bought one about two weeks in.

bbuk111 karma

I looked at my globe ...... It was all downhill. You should try Mexico to Canada ..... all uphill!


ellamac31 karma

That's exactly what we were thinking when we left too!

smoothtrip1 karma

I would hope you did not have any fuel costs if you were riding bikes.

ellamac33 karma

technically we did buy some propane for our cook stove...

1SmallVille11 karma

When did you start planning/training for the trip?

ellamac31 karma

We started planning in December 2012 when I got super sick of post-secondary school. And training? Who ever said anything about training!? I just got on my bike.

1SmallVille12 karma

That's very impressive! Congrats on the great ride

ellamac33 karma

Thanks so much! We are planning on biking the rest of Central America within the next year.

Syd_G1 karma

How many people told you it was a stupid idea?

ellamac32 karma

About 95%.

Zeniusboy1 karma

How are your legs feeling?

ellamac32 karma

It's a bit harder to walk now, I'm not used to having such big thighs but legs are feeling great!

ShaiHulud231 karma

How many tires?

ellamac31 karma

I changed my tires once, which was at the very end of the trip and Sandra didn't change hers at all.

fappsNclapps1 karma

This is actually what I've been planning to do! I did a bike tour from Montreal to PEI to raise money for the Lac Megantic derailment! Good on you girls! If you're interested --> www.pedalaide.com

ellamac32 karma

COOOL!!!!!!!! That sounds like an unreal tour and I'll check out the link!

Therealthepio0 karma

How many Kg did your bikes with all the gear?

ellamac32 karma

Not compltetly sure but we think about 75 lbs of luggage/equipment not including bike. I packed two nights before leaving and put in as little as possible to avoid packing too much.

Marclee17031 karma

Was it mostly strapped to the bike or did you have a lot of weight on your back? I can imagine it would have been really tiring to have a heavy backpack.

ellamac31 karma

All of it was attached to our bikes. We had front and back racks!

ellamac31 karma

Not to mention carrying all that gear along Big Sur, California. It was 75 miles of intense uphill, but we met amazing people along the way.

Slyfox300 karma

Most memorable experience on your trek?

ellamac32 karma

Most memorable: Sandra got her panniers got stuck on the side of a bridge near Santa Barbara and fell into oncoming traffic. She also fell off her bike because she couldn't click out in time, EVEN THOUGH I told her and gave her…. somewhat… clear warnings that I was stopping at a stop sign. OOPS.

ellamac30 karma

I forgot to mention she almost died both times.

canucksfan19440 karma

How did you come up with the idea?! Any other trips planned?!

ellamac32 karma

It was number one and Sandra's Bucket List to do a bicycle tour. On my behalf, I just wanted to travel. We combined the idea and decided to raise money for Right To Play (www.macdonaldsisters.wordpress.com) because we always wanted to do something worthwhile. If we are biking to Mexico from Canada, might as well raise money for something you believe in!

PounderMcNasty0 karma

Are you tired?

ellamac32 karma

We have got tired along the way, but since we got to Cabo we have been pretty tired. That's considering we have been boozing since November 19th, the day we arrived! The only way to celebrate our journey is to take a few shots right?

Petillionaire0 karma


ellamac32 karma

Just the worst comment

rillip0 karma

How long did the trip take? Also do you have significant others and if so were they supportive?

ellamac31 karma

The trip took 58 days. Sandra does have a bf and yes he was supportive even though it was hard being gone for 2 months

ellamac31 karma

We took 58 days to get to Cabo San Lucas, we actually took a boat out to the very tip of Baja today. The last piece of land of Baja is a tiny piece of rock which we saw today! I don't have a significant other but my sister does. They have been dating for 2 years and he was very supportive. They Skyped and messaged each other as much as they could, especially when internet was available. Sandra's boyfriend knew it was something she always wanted to do and they also planned on moving in with each other before the trip took place.

crtracy1-2 karma

hey, i bet your in great shape now. how great was mexican food?! did you eat gluten free on the way down?

ellamac32 karma

Mexican food was EXCELLENT!

[deleted]1 karma


kevin69901 karma

Correction Mexico is now the fastest country in the world. No link on mobile but ya science teacher showed us in class.

ellamac3-1 karma

Yup we heard that as well… I think there are a couple more obese countries but Mexico is the most obese populated nation. It's really hard to eat low calories here that's for sure.

CharlieKillsRats-7 karma

So you each made about $50 per day to donate. Couldn't you have made -far- more if you just worked a normal job and donated your post-expense profits to the same cause?

ellamac36 karma

Well our goal is $15,000 and neither of us had a job leaving for this trip. We both saved up money for four months to pay for US to get down. We wanted to do it for the awareness and donations for Right To Play. Also, a 'normal' job for us is picking fruit which doesn't pay all too much! Ahhhhh the joys of living in British Columbia.

CharlieKillsRats-11 karma

You pick fruit as a normal job? You can't be serious, you're white and the pay is shit. Why would you do that? You could hop over to starbucks and make more and be chill.

Maybe its time for you and your sister to go to college. And you probably could have personally used the money you raised far more than this charity. I'm doing my calculations right by what you have said about income, you are basically in complete poverty (financially).

ellamac34 karma

Thanks for pointing that out, but I would like to clarify and confirm that I am in the middle of university and Sandra just finished a bachelor degree in Biology. I never said we are rich and that never stopped us from doing this trip.

ifiasco-5 karma

Braving the circlejerk to say most honest post here.

Same reason why privileged folks like to spend thousands going to Kenya to volunteer and help a few people, and earn this sense of making a difference and doing good and gaining "worldly" life experience, when donating the money the trip would cost would make more than two times the difference.

When it comes down to it though, $50 a day isn't shit when split between 3 people. And more awareness can be gotten putting that much time in.

Realistically all three of them working minimum wage, part-time jobs would have made a bigger difference, and they could have put more time into advertising if they wanted awareness.

ellamac32 karma

It's a combo of life experience, awareness, and raising money…thanks for your opinion though…appreciated but you sorta miss the points...

ifiasco0 karma

No dear, I'm afraid you are the one who misses the point. At least your conscience feels good though, right?

ellamac31 karma

You worry about your conscience and I'll worry about mine. I feel pretty good about what I did.