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Old 09-03-08, 08:42 PM   #1
smoline
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Is the Southern Tier rideable in winter?

Many people are viewing my previous thread on this topic, but no one is answering. Let me try again.
I'm considering an east-to-west Southern Tier trip beginning in the late November or early January timeframe. Is the Southern Tier rideable all year long, or do I need to wait until Spring?
Thanks,
Steve
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Old 09-03-08, 08:53 PM   #2
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I have no idea, but if you call up or email the Adventure Cycling folks they'll probably be able to tell you when people are riding that route and what conditions they are encountering.
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Old 09-03-08, 09:07 PM   #3
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Has the capability of being cold during those months.... or the chance of it being really nice weather during those months, a coin flip.... Even in mid-march, I was in Southern Mississippi and the night temps dropped below freezing. A good source would be to choose cities along the route, go to weather.com to view the history, and examine the RECORD LOWS along with the average hi/lo .... You should be prepared for the worse weather possible. The Florida panhandle quite often will drop below freezing in the winter months at night.

I would think the biggest threat would be cold rain during that time of year, which can even happen in Florida. Real easy to get hypothermia during a cold rain, even if it is in the 50's.

Good luck.
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Old 09-03-08, 09:20 PM   #4
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In West Texas, you can expect nights in the 30's, low 30's at higher elevations (yes, Texas has high elevations). November is usually pleasant in most of the state, days in the 60-80 range, nights in the 50-60 range, with some in the 40's. We sometimes have colder days and nights and, November can be a wet month, especially east of I-35.

December tends to be cooler, January and February the coldest months. Its good riding weather if not raining.
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Old 09-03-08, 09:45 PM   #5
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It's definitely do able, but there are several things to be aware of.

1) You'll be facing mostly headwinds the whole time.
2) Temperatures in the high desert areas of the southwest can get down into the 0s and even minuses at night.
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Old 09-04-08, 10:53 AM   #6
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The mountains east of San Diego do get snow in the winter, it all depends on your timing and luck.
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Old 09-04-08, 11:25 AM   #7
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Frankly, the best times for any outdoor activities from Texas to the Atlantic coast along the southern tier are March to mid-May and late September to mid-November, sometimes later. Summers are hot, humid, and can be miserable. Winters are always a crap shoot, with the chance for cold rains.
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Old 09-04-08, 12:29 PM   #8
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Texas that time of year can range from the 90s to below freezing some times in one day. But it's ridable as long as it doesn't ice. Tends to get big wind alot during thoes months too, but it's mainly from the north.
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Old 09-05-08, 12:12 PM   #9
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Good info. Thanks to all who responded! Much appreciated.
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Old 09-05-08, 02:38 PM   #10
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Don't forget to factor in the short days - a hotel-based tour would be a lot nicer, too much sitting-in-your-cold-dark-tent time otherwise. Just my $0.02.
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Old 09-09-08, 11:42 AM   #11
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I live right at the continental divide. My advice.

I live east of Lordsburg, NM. During the time you mentioned the weather can swing wildly but is usually mild. At my location, 4360 feet elevation, the usual night time temps are near 20 F. The winds are prevalently west to east and calm at nights but breezes start up around 10-11 a.m. You would not expect much moisture, but here again, storms can come through and be a problem. Usually, by 11:00 a.m., it is shirt-sleeve weather and remains so until evening, which would give you 6 hours of good riding time most days. Going west from here you drop down to Arizona and less than 3000 feet elevation in an easy days ride. From there on it will usually be pleasant riding, dropping down to low desert in the Phoenix area. Back to the east of me you will be in Texas for most of the distance. It is only a 2 to 3 day ride across New Mexico. Las Cruces, NM, is more mild than Deming and Lordsburg, which are both at about 4250' elevation, but level straight wide roads, (Interstate 10 with wide shoulders on which bicycles are allowed) to Lordsburg mostly from out of Las Cruces to Lordsburg, then U.S. 70, a very nice bicycling road on into the AZ state line. (Easy riding) You stay on 70 to the Phoenix area. If you need more detailed info on accommodations or routes and distances drop me a PM.

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Old 09-09-08, 01:22 PM   #12
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the winds are not to be taken lightly. winds ended my last east west tour last october.

east to west in the winter? I'd not do it regardless of weather, but then I suck at riding a loaded tour bike at 3 MPH for ten hours just to get less than 30 miles in for the day. hard to plan where you are going to land at night, once the winds kick in.

Check the minimum low night temps for the areas your are going thru. The lowest low of a night is usually EARLY, like around sunrise. You may find yourself wanting to ride REAL early.

I was starting at 4:00 AM every morning just to get some miles in before the 25+ MPH headwinds would start in again.... mile after mile, day after day.... well you get the picture.
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