Southern Europe in the winter? - CycleBlaze

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Southern Europe in the winter?

Scott Anderson

It’s mid-November, and suddenly it’s turning damper and chillier here in southern France.  We expected this of course, and aren’t surprised.  We’ve got another month left of our tour here before we leave, but ieven then t still won’t really be winter yet.  I wonder what it would be like if we came here even later and biked through the heart of winter.

Any experience, insights, or recommendations on midwinter biking in southern Europe?

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11 months ago
Mike AylingTo Scott Anderson

AFAICR  from my high school geography a long time ago the Mediteranean climate has a lot of winter rain.

You can dress for the cold but staying dry all day in the rain  can be challenging.


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11 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott Anderson

This is a topic that comes up for us every Winter. We cast our gaze across the world and think about places that could be good for cycling.  We are much more wimpy that you two, and cross out many spots (continents, actually!) favoured by braver travellers: Asia, South America, Australia. Consequently we have circled Hawaii, twice, done the US Southern Tier, and cycled Yucatan. One year we went actually insane and just pedalled out of our driveway and down the Washington, Oregon coast - in December! We would have been just as comfortable standing under a cold shower at home.

At least the Coast gave us an idea of what could be deemed acceptable for Winter cycling. The key parameters are the daily minimum and maximum temperatures, and the monthly days of rain. We think it's ok to start off in the morning with the temperature about 6, and if a day warms up to 12 or 14, that's good. Rain every third day could be alright, so that's 10 days a month.

With these figures in mind (or with your own tolerances), all that is needed is to go to one of the many climate web sites, and to see what months are acceptable in places of interest. For example, there is

If we look at that for your recent visit to Saint Remy, we see that daytime highs over 12 can not be expected in December and January. February and March are getting there, but these months have very cold nights, and consequently maybe too chilly starts. November, December, and January are marginal in terms of rainy days. So it looks like a Winter cycle would begin in April. But wait, that's Spring!

Well fine. Haven't all the Brits discovered Spain for vacations? e.g. What is Malaga like in January?  Start in the morning a 8C, end at 16! Only 8 rainy days in the  month. Hasta la vista!

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11 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/Grampies

The Pacific Coast in December!  That’s a pretty heroic adventure, alright - almost in Shackleton territory.  We like to go over to the coast biking in the winter for a long weekend when the weather is fair, but planning a tour is really extreme.

Funny about the temperature and precipitation tolerance.  We’ve been discussing it daily lately.  Today it was down around 4 this morning when we got up, with the threat of rain off and on all day.  That’s getting near our own threshold.

And yes, we have been seriously looking at southern Iberia.  With luck, we’ll end up in Valencia or Mallorca sometime next winter.

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11 months ago