Mexico City News and Travel

Feeding the people of Mexico City by bike

Tacoos are one of the basic foods within Mexican diet, and within all varieties that exist, there is one that is distinguished by two things in particular, the container and the vehicle in which they are transported: Basket Tacos.

The state of Tlaxcala is famous for being the place of origin of this variety of tacos; The municipality of San Vicente is known as the cradle of the basket taco. In fact, the area has celebrated the “Taco Fair of San Vicente Xiloxochitla” every first Sunday of December for 12 years.

In the first edition of this festival Marcial Balderas was presented as the oldest taquero in the town, since he was one of the original basket taco people in the 1950’s. Using a basket and a bicycle to transport his merchandise, he began one of the most characteristic traditions of the central zone of Mexico.

Today, Efrén has carried on the tradition for more than 30 years of the Basket Taco, considered a good complement in the Mexican diet, as long as it is not abused in its consumption.

Daily, from early morning hours, Efrén begins to prepare his basket, although he confesses that the work actually starts the night before with the preparation of the potatoes and beans for the next day.

After personally preparing the tacos, Efrén takes his bicycle and travels more than 12 kilometers, from Culhuacán, in the Iztapalapa delegation, to the streets of the Mixcoac colony, and in the Benito Juárez delegation to get to the point where he sells his tacos.

“Well the truth is that I have my car, but it’s a pain to fight with traffic and find parking, so I prefer to grab my basket, my bike, and I arrive faster, it’s about an hour or so,” he says.

Efrén has offered the traditional potato, bean, chicharrón and adobo tacos in the same place for more than 30 years, which has granted him recognition by the locals who live and work in the area.

In spite of the long bike journey, he says that the most tiring part of his job is to remain standing practically half a day at the same point. “Imagine, I’m here from 11 in the morning until four or five in the afternoon, at my 50 years, yes, I’m tired,” he said.

When questioning the reason why he decided to dedicate himself to this work, Efrén said he didn’t want to study so his family gave him his basket and bicycle and he continued with the family business. That is why he has dedicated himself to this work for 32 years.

Considering the road culture in the city, Efrén says that “there is no respect, especially among buses and taxi drivers, these guys do not respect anyone, the individuals are a little more respectful, but that has not prevented me on a couple of occasions from being knocked off the bicycle”.

Despite these disadvantages, Efrén stated that he prefers to continue using his bike, and that the use of the bicycle could be the solution to all mobility problems that exist in the city.