Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Winter touring in England and France?

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Winter touring in England and France?

Old 11-11-03, 08:20 PM
  #1  
Gordon P
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)
Tagged: Thread(s)
Quoted: Post(s)
Winter touring in England and France?

I am planning on spending this wither cycling in Spain and Portugal, but I can get a very inexpensive flight to London, so I am thinking of cycling from England to Spain via Cherbourg, France. So how bad is the cycling in England and France in December/January? My plan so far is to cycle really slow through England, so I can quaff as much ale as possible and ride as fast as possable to Spain. Any info on routes, sites, places to stay, etc would be great.

Thanks,
Gordon p
 
Old 11-12-03, 02:45 AM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: England
Posts: 12,948
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
Conditions in the SE of England can vary from mild (14C)and damp, to cold and icy, and very rarely, a heavy snowfall, but we havent had that for many years.
If conditions are really bad (rare), you can alway take a train.
I usually ride right through the winter with no particular problems.
Which airport are you flying into. Heathrow is a ***** to get out of, but I have bikes it. Gatwick and Stanstead are easier, and Gatwick is much closer to the SE coast.
Most of the youth hostels are open, but some close in winter, so check.
MichaelW is offline  
Old 11-14-03, 08:43 PM
  #3  
Gordon P
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)
Tagged: Thread(s)
Quoted: Post(s)
Thanks MichaelW, I will be flying into Heathrow and then heading south towards Winchester, Salisbury then on to Portsmouth. I did a bit of research on Heathrow and it sounds like a difficult airport to exit. I had a look for a map of London today, but had no luck; do you know of a route? I may head towards Guilford via Dorking or Woking then follow A31 to Winchester. I cycled in this area in 1999 and backpacked it in 1989 so I have a basic understanding of the area. Any more information would be appreciated.
Regards,
Gordon
 
Old 11-14-03, 09:12 PM
  #4  
Veni, Vidi, Vomiti
 
SteveE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Bend, OR
Posts: 3,583

Bikes: Serotta Legend Ti, Pivot Vault, Salsa Spearfish

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Gordon,

You might consider taking a bus from Heathrow to some point south of the airport and starting your cycling adventure from that point.

SteveE
SteveE is offline  
Old 11-14-03, 09:20 PM
  #5  
Gordon P
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)
Tagged: Thread(s)
Quoted: Post(s)
A bus, Im hardcore! I plan to cycle fully loaded to the Winnipeg International Airport in negative 40 December weather.
 
Old 11-14-03, 10:47 PM
  #6  
Veni, Vidi, Vomiti
 
SteveE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Bend, OR
Posts: 3,583

Bikes: Serotta Legend Ti, Pivot Vault, Salsa Spearfish

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
And you're asking about the weather in England and France in December?
SteveE is offline  
Old 11-15-03, 02:33 AM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
cyclezealot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Fallbrook,Calif./Palau del Vidre, France
Posts: 13,230

Bikes: Klein QP, Fuji touring, Surly Cross Check, BCH City bike

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1485 Post(s)
Liked 73 Times in 64 Posts
I have vacationed in Southern France and Spain in the winter... Did not make it to southern Spain or Portugal, which I understand are quite pleasant.
Did spend time about Perpignan, France to Barcelona, Sp. in the winter.. Most days were sunny and in the 50's..Said about once in 5 years it snows in this area and it could last a couple of days at most. Nights were pretty chilly.
In France everything south of Lyon was no more than rainy conditions. I see you are from Canada so norhtern Europe might seem like an improvement.
For a southern Californian, I would drink a couple brews in a UK pub, put the bike on a train and get to at least Lyon before getting on the bike.. Train tickets are not all that expensive.....
I recall Paris was pretty overcast and cool. Traveling south we hit some pretty heavy snow about Auxere to Dijon in late December. If you have snow tires on a bike and a down goretex why not go for it. Even in Spain the daily highs were no more than the mid-50's.Compared to Calgary guess that is almost 100 degrees more.?
cyclezealot is offline  
Old 11-15-03, 06:00 AM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: England
Posts: 12,948
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
https://www.baa.co.uk/main/airports/h...ere_frame.html

Cycle to one of the railway stations, Im not too sure which one at the moment (Feltham ??) , and get to Waterloo station.
https://www.swtrains.co.uk/stations/
Waterloo is the main station for the S and SW. There are lots of other mainline stations which will not take you there. Do NOT try to ride through the outskirts of London to a station. You will get lost or killed and its a horrible route.

Take a train out of Waterloo to one of the smaller towns or villages, and you can ride straight into the countryside.

A useful online map site is

https://multimap.com/map/browse.cgi?X...multimap.y=188

Last edited by MichaelW; 11-15-03 at 09:12 AM.
MichaelW is offline  
Old 11-15-03, 07:06 PM
  #9  
Gordon P
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)
Tagged: Thread(s)
Quoted: Post(s)
And you're asking about the weather in England and France in December?
SteveE, you're on to me! I hate winter so much that I am willing to cycle across France to find the warmth of the sun! Last winter was my first in Winterpeg in about ten years and I absolutely hated it and anything below 10 centigrade is far too cold for me!

Thanks MichaelW for the excellent links and other information I will continue to do my research!

The big weather questions for me Cyclezealot would be how was the wind and how much rain should I expect. I am thinking about heading south along the Atlantic coast of France and crossing into Spain at Irun.

Thanks
Gordon
 
Old 11-15-03, 08:09 PM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
cyclezealot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Fallbrook,Calif./Palau del Vidre, France
Posts: 13,230

Bikes: Klein QP, Fuji touring, Surly Cross Check, BCH City bike

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1485 Post(s)
Liked 73 Times in 64 Posts
Atlantic coast is pretty wintery

Originally Posted by Gordon P
SteveE, you're on to me! I hate winter so much that I am willing to cycle across France to find the warmth of the sun! Last winter was my first in Winterpeg in about ten years and I absolutely hated it and anything below –10 centigrade is far too cold for me!

Thanks MichaelW for the excellent links and other information I will continue to do my research!

The big weather questions for me Cyclezealot would be how was the wind and how much rain should I expect. I am thinking about heading south along the Atlantic coast of France and crossing into Spain at Irun.

Thanks
Gordon
Gordon.. You can get strong winds on both the Atlantic and Mediterrean sides of France.. In early winter the 'Mistral's' can come down the Rhone Valley..South of Lyon I would suspect l half your days might be windy and rainy. On the Atlantic side,I would guess 2/3 of your days in December/January. My wife has spent several winters in Southern France/Spain. I just one.
On the Meditterrean side the Mitrals' can be awesome. They slow down somewhat as you head west of Marseilles. But they can be 40-60 mph.. But Atlantic gales can be equally strong.
If I were doing this, I would go down the Rhone Valley. You will get far less rain. I can tolerate the cold far better if it is dryer. Besides, I love Burgundy. The wine towns are great places to ride.
My recollection is the Meditterrean coast is 5-6 degrees warmer on average.. Also,riding down the Spanish coast will definitely be more agreeable than western Spain. The route south of Dijon is not called the 'route de sol,' for nothing.
Get south of Barcelona compared to Calgary you will think summer has arrived. Valencia south - expect to see Orange groves, etc. Not in Western Spain... The olive trees hibernate for the winter.. This is my memory, I suggest you get a good travel guide... What the song goes something like."The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain..." On the Atlantic side, do not expect to see balmy conditions until you get into Portugal...
cyclezealot is offline  
Old 11-21-03, 09:43 PM
  #11  
Gordon P
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)
Tagged: Thread(s)
Quoted: Post(s)
Thanks again for the information! I cycled around France in the spring 1999 for 8 weeks and I had the worst time with the Mistrial winds, other then that, it was one of the best trips I have taken. My plans are changing again, as the project I am working will not end. The plan now is to leave the first week of February, just after the New Music Festival and return five months latter to catch the Fringe Festival. I kind of have a plan to cycle along the Atlantic coast for much of the first part of the trip and explore the interior of Portugal and a few must see places in Spain. After that it will be back north through France to Belgium to visit family and I may take the train to the north of Germany and cycle to Denmark to hangout with a friends.
Regards,
Gordon p
 
Old 11-23-03, 05:45 AM
  #12  
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 24
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Winter in Blighty

Therse no problems with winter in England or France. Look at it this way, you set out & its raining you only have to wait a few hours before a walming Pub lunch, then out into the elements in the afternoon, stopping off for another 'walmer' mid afternoon ! You could always hang around the first Pub at Dinnertime though !

Cheap air fares can be got through booking well in advance with airlines such as:

https://www.easyjet.co.uk

Also check out Ryan Air run along similar lines.

I know that Easyjet fly to Barcalona & Madrid amongst other destinations

Have a great time

Mick
Mick is offline  
Old 12-10-03, 03:48 PM
  #13  
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You could try the sustrans website for the uk, there are now quite a few traffic free routes on their website around heathrow and heading out of London west or south west. It's all part of the national cycle network, which was probably in it's infancy when you were here last.

Website www.sustrans.org.uk

Walt
Walt is offline  
Old 12-13-03, 10:37 PM
  #14  
Gordon P
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)
Tagged: Thread(s)
Quoted: Post(s)
Thanks again and through the links posted I was able to find a way out of Heathrow! I will be arriving in London on February 4 at 6am so I have the whole day to put my bike together and find my way out of the airport and to the south. Planning a trip in such detail is something new to me; normally I would just leave home with a big wad of cash and return months or years latter. For this trip, I have even bought a return ticket and set a time limit of five months. I sure hope having a travel plan will not spoil the sense of freedom, adventure and discovery for me.
Regards,
Gordon p
 

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.