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  1. #1
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Snowbirding. Best south western wintering locales?

    We are contemplating heading south for a month or more, maybe before and after Christmas. Since we are in Idaho, heading more or less directly south to Arizona looks good to us. We're thinking Mesa or Tucson. I doubt we'll head east (FL or the likes), at least not for a pre-xmas trip. Also, may be considering condo/house rentals.

    I have my eye on maybe doing the Tour de Tucson and other late season events to extend our late season form and prevent extending my stomach.

    Recommendations for nice winter cycling areas?
    Last edited by twocicle; 10-11-12 at 03:47 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Tucson is a great spot for snowbirds/tandemers.
    Lived in the area since 1978.
    Winters are usually great compared to northern climes.
    Summers are less than great with 74 days of 100+ degree temps this summer.
    El Tour will celebrate it's 30th anniversary this November.
    Stoker has ridden it 15 times with me on tandem.
    Planning to be riding it this year as Bike Patrol again on the 42 mile route on my single. At age 80 no longer do centuries.
    There are many other nice areas to ride/stay in southern AZ, including Green Valley.

  3. #3
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    For the last few January through March's we have been going to the Phoenix/Scottsadale/Mesa area for two or three weeks and them on to Tucson for three or four more weeks. The opportunities for road cycling, MTB riding and hiking in those areas along with some great motorhome camping, is just fantastic.
    We have also done the long drive to Florida for like activities for a month or two. Enjoyed that too particularly Jacksonville and the rural areas of the more northern/central portion of the state..but that is a very long drive for us and we just prefer the mountains and deserts of the west....a lot .
    All of the Arizona cities mentioned have plenty of riding info available on the internet. We find Tucson particularly bike friendly and their numerous surrounding mountain ranges to be spectacular.
    If we were forced to choose just one winter riding location, it would be Tucson.
    Bill J.
    Last edited by specbill; 10-12-12 at 08:51 AM. Reason: typo

  4. #4
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    ....another thought, if you are in the Phoenix area in late January or early February and looking for a great century ride then consider an easy 4 hour drive over to Palm Springs for the February 8th Tour of Palm Springs ride. It is a fast fun ride with a few thousand other riders on a fairly flat course. The weather is usually fantastic (unless the winds are crazy like last year).
    Bill J

  5. #5
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Tucson is a great spot for snowbirds/tandemers.
    Lived in the area since 1978.
    Winters are usually great compared to northern climes.
    Summers are less than great with 74 days of 100+ degree temps this summer.
    El Tour will celebrate it's 30th anniversary this November.
    Stoker has ridden it 15 times with me on tandem.
    Planning to be riding it this year as Bike Patrol again on the 42 mile route on my single. At age 80 no longer do centuries.
    There are many other nice areas to ride/stay in southern AZ, including Green Valley.
    Not to digress this thread into a TdT discussion, but here is a chuckle for those with a sense of humor, from: www.riccitello.com
    Last edited by twocicle; 10-12-12 at 05:38 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Know both Jimmy and Gord.
    Both made a living bicycle racing. Gord raced extensively and Jimmy was one of the world's top triatheletes.
    Jimmy and Gord are both very aggressive riders; no, they would not make a good tandem duo!
    Pedal on!
    Rudy/zonatandem

  7. #7
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Know both Jimmy and Gord.
    Both made a living bicycle racing. Gord raced extensively and Jimmy was one of the world's top triatheletes.
    Jimmy and Gord are both very aggressive riders; no, they would not make a good tandem duo!
    Pedal on!
    Rudy/zonatandem

    Coming from a racing background against guys of this caliber (not me) and era, I can empathize with Gord on the perception of what is and what isn't accepted by many as space around other cyclists. I've also had thoughts of carrying wire cutters to aleviate tri0letes from using their dang brakes too much. haha. That Gord and Jim were out to hammer till their eye bled and win the race explains why there was little time to look at the scenery. Sometimes I have to remind my stoker to pause the head-down groove and enjoy the scenery too
    Last edited by twocicle; 10-13-12 at 10:51 AM.

  8. #8
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    Fredericksburg, TX is one of my favorites. There are literally hundreds of miles of paved country roads in Gillespie and Kerr counties with very, very low traffic and tons of climbing if you want it. It's not called the Hill Country for no reason.

    http://www.cycletexas.com/

    http://www.fbgtx.org/

    http://www.visitfredericksburgtx.com/

  9. #9
    PMK
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    Finally, Snowbirds going somewhere else than Florida. OK just kidding as tandems are welcomed here. Snowbirds in cars not respecting cyclists, well...not so welcome here.

    Winter (actually Thanksgiving to Easter) is a great time to ride off-road in Florida, for many reasons. Most of or winter road rides avoid snowbird locations like Boca Raton. Also, we avoid riding close to home and prefer to ride North of Boca along the ocean.

    Have an enjoyable season wherever it may be.

    PK
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    And most important, someone special that enjoys them with me (except the KTM's)

  10. #10
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    The California coast is great for cycling in the Fall/Winter. If you stay North of Malibu and South of Monterey it is easy to find roads with very little traffic. It still amazes me (easily done) that while I live 40 miles north of millions of people I can regularly ride to an overlook with a view of a huge metropolitan area but I have only been passed by 6 or 8 cars in the last hour. If I ride 10 min further there is a view of the Pacific, and you can't see a more than a few very exclusive homes.

    There is a large cycling culture here, most cities have clubs with good information on good routes. In the winter it is common to see/meet people from other counties riding our area. Pros regularly visit our area. Year round we see fully loaded touring bikes passing through while we are on our club rides.

    Most of our riding is includes some climbing but flat routes can be found. If you want to climb and love technical descents there is a lot of that.

    Most importantly we have failed to lose one club member to an earthquake in over a month.

  11. #11
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ambient View Post
    The California coast is great for cycling in the Fall/Winter. If you stay North of Malibu and South of Monterey it is easy to find roads with very little traffic. It still amazes me (easily done) that while I live 40 miles north of millions of people I can regularly ride to an overlook with a view of a huge metropolitan area but I have only been passed by 6 or 8 cars in the last hour. If I ride 10 min further there is a view of the Pacific, and you can't see a more than a few very exclusive homes.

    There is a large cycling culture here, most cities have clubs with good information on good routes. In the winter it is common to see/meet people from other counties riding our area. Pros regularly visit our area. Year round we see fully loaded touring bikes passing through while we are on our club rides.

    Most of our riding is includes some climbing but flat routes can be found. If you want to climb and love technical descents there is a lot of that.

    Most importantly we have failed to lose one club member to an earthquake in over a month.
    Thanks for the post. We could swing sideways (pun) to Solvang... my stoker has bugged me to go there too.

    Regarding your comments, can you drop a couple club names, route map links, etc? which club(s) do you ride with and single or tandem?

  12. #12
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    twocicle

    cibike.org has links and routes on there website. There is a link on their site for PCH randos. where you can find permanents and such. Solvang is beautiful and our club does two rides a year based out of there with emphasis on wine tasting. (at night of coarse). There is a little gap south of Solvang with few route options that some people feel are somewhat unsafe to travel to Santa Barbara, although linda and I have done it several times. (Linda is riding that section as part of a 600k this weekend) but many people would rather ride North from Solvang and South from Santa Barbara because there are many more routes available.

    I ride with Channel Island Bike Club and with PCH randos. While many in the club own tandems we seldom get them out together so usually I am on my single. When my wife is not out doing major miles we will take our tandem out with the club. Trek Bikes of Ventura usually get a couple of tandems out on their Sunday ride.

    There are a lot of century's and double century's up north and those routes are very nice. I will look into some clubs up there and get you some more info

  13. #13
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    ^^^ Thanks. Your Linda has me beat on mileage... by a lot! When I was doing single rides and brevets with the RMCC club in Colorado, I found a didn't mind a 200k blitz afterwhich I prefer to get off the bike and eat a stack of pancakes +300k requires serious dedication to self abuse.

    My Linda hasn't been able to ride over 55mi this year as she is still on her come back from injury. Right now, 30-50 is the sweat spot for our tandem rides.

  14. #14
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    Hopefully her recovery is swift and complete.

    A 50 to 60 mi day is my normal ride, while my linda just loves to spend all day (a day being 24hrs) riding her bike. Those distance riders are out there in more ways than one.

    I must apologize for not being as savvy as I should be to post links I will ask for a tutorial from my son.
    Try slobc.org. San luis Bicycle club puts on the Wild Flower Century their site has some info
    also try tailwindsofsantamariabc.org The Santa Maria based club puts on the Light House Century.
    I haven't ridden with either club but I have done both of their century's. The area is beautiful.
    I don't believe there is an active cycling club in Solvang. Most of there large organized rides are put on by people from outside the area. but you could take the routes of say the Solvang Prelude, or modify routes of the Solvang Century or Double Century to get the distance that is comfortable.
    best wishes to your Linda get well soon.

  15. #15
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    All this talk of snowbirding is getting me down a bit. Not that we have to snowbird since we live 50 miles south of San Jose, California, but in my next life I wouldn't mind facing a retirement where we go get away for weeks at a time. Not to be as our equine companions are not so conveniently or reliably left in the care of others. We do have nearby friends with whom we exchange horse sitting duties for 3-4 days at a time so getting down to Borrego Springs or Palm Springs for a winter organized rides is on the calendar. We did trek down to El Tour de Tuscon a few years ago and I can really appreciate riding there in the winter: bit far to go for one organized ride!

    Snowbirds live north and go south I believe. Don't quite know what to call Rudy and Kay, but they are definitely Southwestern cyclists with a good plan.
    Rick T
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    daVinci Joint Venture

  16. #16
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    In our area we suffer reverse snowbirding, maybe call it sunbirding... a lot of Cal ppl bought places here for the awesome summertime and a basic skiing fix. Unlike the Denver area, here in N. Idaho the winters are pretty much unridable outdoors from Nov-Apr.

    We are not retired yet, but our jobs allow us to work from anywhere with good internet connectivity, so going mobile (hoteling or any of our corp offices) is one thing we are considering for this winter.

    50 miles south of San Jose would probably work for us as a ridable area too
    Last edited by twocicle; 10-14-12 at 06:58 PM.

  17. #17
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    twocicle....you do live in a summer/autumn riding paradise....'sunbirding' indeed. We had the good fortune to spend a couple weeks camping/riding in your neighborhood last Sept. In addition to The Trail of CdA, Ride of the H, we found the Selkirk Loop with all its many options into BC just outstanding....so much so we didn't even breakout the MTB's which was a bit sacrilegious.
    With a little more good fortune we hope add to your temporary bird influx again in '13 or '14.

    Bill J

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    Scottsdale is a great winter spot (summer too) Plenty of bike lanes and close enough to specatular rides around the McDowell Mountains.

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