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11-03-12, 01:51 PM
Hey all -
Wondering if anyone has any experience cycling southern Europe in Winter? I am a farmer so only have winters off and thinking of going from early January to Mid-March. I have done a lot of cycling but never a tour so I am a bit intimidated but have been obsessed with this idea since it struck me. Would like to start in Barcelona go across southern France, down through Italy and across to Greece. I have a Trek 1000 with road tires.
Anyone done anything like this?
Any thoughts on general feasibility/weather?
Do you need a touring cycle to tour or can you get away with a road bike?
Are panniers the way to go?
I guess I have a lot of questions. Any feedback would be much appreciated!
I don't have any experience with that part of Europe in the winter, but I have ridden part of your proposed route in the summer. Winter might be better! The route you are proposing has a Mediterranean climate, and even in winter the temps do not get much below the low 40'sF. However, they don't get very high either.
Something you may want to check on is the availability of campgrounds and hotels during this time period. It is the off season and many of them may not be open.
There is a good site that rm-rf posted in another thread on this forum that should help you.
Originally posted by rm-rf
weatherspark.com has weather averages for many U.S. cities. But temperatures can change a lot from day to day.
For instance: Columbia SC (map)
Weatherspark averages. At top right, click F or C to change the temperature units.
Or look at last year's history charts (but last winter was unusually warm in many places)
Or even browse previous months or years in detail (but navigating these charts takes a little practice. You can zoom in or out to see one day, or even years at a time.)
The Trek 1000 can be used for touring. I've done several tours on one. While not optimum the Trek will do OK, if the load is relatively light. Heel strike could be an issue, especially if you have large feet. The panniers on this bike are custom made with a lot of taper, so my heels will clear them. I used 25 mm tires, but you may be able to squeeze in 28 mm tires. Either size is usually adequate for most touring situations.
The route from Barcelona to Blanes, France has relatively good roads, and the 1000 should be able to handle them. I turned inland at Blanes, so I can't speak to the rest of your route.
A little better picture of the panniers and how they are tapered.
Stock gearing is most likely adequate for the part of the route I'm familiar with. However, if you want to get a little lower gearing it is easy to put an 11-34 cassette on the rear and replace the road derailleur with one like a Shimano Deore. I also changed the crankset for even lower gearing.