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Winter touring suggestions?

Old 09-23-10, 08:35 PM
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Winter touring suggestions?

I've got a bunch of time off this fall/winter/spring- basically until I find a real job, which is turning out to be harder than I'd expected.

I'm planning to do a bunch of touring, and I'm looking for suggestions on where to go.

What I have tentatively planned is to start out from Pittsburgh, head on the GAP/C&O Canal to harpers ferry, wv, hop on skyline drive/blue ridge parkway to north carolina. From there head to nashville, TN, and take the Natchez trace parkway all the way to its end and make my way to new orleans.

So roughly pittsburgh to new orleans.

But! I am flexible and open to suggestions- got any other fall/early winter touring suggestions?

I've toyed with the idea of heading west from new orleans along the southern tier route.
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Old 09-24-10, 03:51 AM
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If you want a warm tour during the Northern Hemisphere winter, head south! Come down to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America.

Here in the southern part of Australia right now, it is starting to warm up and show signs of spring. Everything is as green as can be, the flowers are blooming, the winter rains are letting up, and the temperature is increasing. Today was just gorgeous here ... it reached a warm and toasty 15C!! It is only early spring here, so it will warm up quite a bit in the coming months.
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Old 09-24-10, 07:44 AM
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Start in San Francisco (or Portland if you can go right now), ride the Coast to San Diego, hang a left and ride the Southern Tier until the days get so short it isn't fun any more.

Try Craigslist for a ride share or car delivery. Look at both the start and end cities, as well as nearby major cities.
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Old 09-24-10, 08:09 AM
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Have you toured in winter before? The reason I ask is because the first time I tried it I had forgotten about the shorter days and lack of daylight savings. It got dark around dinnertime and was dark a LONG time. I was cold and unhappy waiting for the sun to come up and warm me. I'd do it again, but be better prepared.
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Old 09-24-10, 08:11 AM
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There are several tunnels on the GAP trail that are closed during the winter. Not sure when they close for the season, but they open again in early April. When I went they were open, I'm not sure if you can bypass them if they're closed.

If you can go when everything is open the GAP trail is great.

Chris
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Old 09-24-10, 11:33 AM
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I did a tour from New England down to New Orleans last fall. 2 months, 3k miles, mid Sept-mid Nov. I started waking up to frosts in West Virginia and even a few times in Mississippi on the Natchez Trace. Daytime temps were still pleasant. The shorter days were an issue, I certainly would have preferred having less darkness. I had a great time and would happily do the same tour again.

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/5943
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Old 09-26-10, 06:46 AM
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It's like reading my own post. This is exactly my hit list. When are you leaving? Want some company?

My problem is I may have to wait until post thanksgiving. At which time I might be in danger of getting snowed in on the Allegheny or parkway.

My big question for others is how passable is the Allegheny passage and parkway in late Nov early December?

BTW would love to talk winter touring gear. I've done a lot of snow riding on 38mm schwalbe studded tires but I'm debating conti travel contacts because of their lighter weight, reduced rolling resistance and versatility. I'll almost certainly encounter snow, but it is the ice that concerns me. Ideally am looking for a really light DIY tire chain kit. Anyone seen any designs?

FYI, Besides the obvious scenic and historical value it is the challenges and diversity of weather and geography that appeals to me.

Last edited by mmeiser; 09-27-10 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 09-26-10, 09:37 AM
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My favourite winter touring spot is Baja...warm, light traffic, friendly people, great food, free camping and they like cyclists!
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Old 09-28-10, 12:15 PM
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Andalucia Spain in mid to late-March through the end of May. Temperate in most places, vibrant cities, vacant countryside, great food, terrific scenery, friendly people and all the hills you can swallow.
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Old 09-28-10, 04:58 PM
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Yup, got the whole southern Hemisphere .. when In Scotland I met an Argentine , that was what he was doing too, in reverse..

His summer job was in Ushuaia.. on the large island of Tierra Del Fuego
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Old 09-29-10, 05:35 AM
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The last couple days it has been cool in southern Australia ... areas right around where I live had snow today ... but overall, it is starting to warm up, and this weekend is supposed to be quite nice. They are predicting 18C for the high.

It will continue to get warmer here ... January and February can be quite hot (40C).

Also, there's more and more daylight every day. December 20th or so is our longest day of the year ... most daylight. As of Sunday, when the time changes, the last rays of sunlight will disappear from the sky about 7:45 pm (as opposed to the 6:45 pm it gets dark now), and the evenings will continue to get longer and longer until the end of December. Next week's cycling should be great!! Evening rides in daylight!!

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Old 09-29-10, 11:06 AM
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Not sure if money is a big issue, but I've been in Baja in January, and I like it. I might start in California and just head south down the coast, perhaps busing it through the Tijuana madness to quieter roads and heading south. Lots of exploring just waiting out there.
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Old 09-29-10, 12:05 PM
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Thanks all for the suggestions!

One thing I neglected to mention in my original post was that I'm looking for continental usa destinations/routes only.

I don't currently have a passport, nor do I I have any way to leave the country at the moment. Also, the cost of a round-trip airline ticket from where I am to europe or the southern hemisphere is about my entire budget for a fall and winter's worth of touring.
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Old 09-29-10, 12:51 PM
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For those interested in determining sunrise/sunset times for length of day/cycling purposes, you can try this site:
https://www.gaisma.com
It has worldwide almanac-like data as well as some interesting charts/graphs.
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Old 09-30-10, 07:29 AM
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Or try this site:
https://www.timeanddate.com/

Type in the name of the city you want information about
Scroll down to the section called Sun
Click Find Sunrise and Sunset Times For Other Dates

i.e. Melbourne: https://www.timeanddate.com/worldcloc...omy.html?n=152

And you can pick the month and year you want to look at.

The Time and Date site also gives a lot of other information which might be useful while travelling such as:
- International Dialing Codes
- Distance Calculator
- Time Zone information
- Information about holidays in places all over the world
- Daylight savings time info (i.e. There's a DST change on October 3rd here in this part of the world)

I've been using this site for all sorts of information for years.

Last edited by Machka; 09-30-10 at 07:37 AM.
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