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Advice re wintering in Europe

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WS Member imaginea utilizatorului D and B
Advice re wintering in Europe

We are planning to tour the UK and Europe, from April 2011 for an indefinite period. Any advice on wintering in this area would be great as we are not used to the cold. We live in Queensland Australia with winter temperatures averaging 9 to 21 degrees Celsius (48 to 69 degrees Fahrenheit)so it will be a big change for us. Any suggestions, hints and tips would be most welcome.

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului Aispugz
Wintering in Europe

Hello,

Well, all I can say is that you will find it a bit of a shock, weather wise. I am Northern Irish and it is the wet, damp weather that I find harder than the cold.

When my husband and I cycled in Europe we brought two sets of thermals and two fleeces each, with us. I used them regularly, for sleeping and general wear! I brought two so I always had dry clothes (not necessarily clean!) Buy a good quality rain coat and waterproof trousers. We cycled in NZ and Europe with these. I fell in love with them. I know that many others will laugh but we also took a flask. In NZ we often stopped for a cup of tea and in Europe our drinking water was far too cold to drink so we mixed it with hot water from the flask. Believe I also fell in love with that flask! Don't worry though I didn't leave my husband for either of them!
We also put our clothes etc, in plastic bags to help double protect them.

My husband and I camped. In Europe, we found that many campsites closed for the season from September/October. We then used hostels and wild camped a little.

Cycling in snow is not too bad, but your visibility is greatly reduced and other drivers may not see you. Cycling in rain is rubbish!
If you want any more help, just ask!
Good Luck

Aisling P

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului D and B
Wintering in Europe

Thanks Aisling for the advice... Although not too sure about cycling in the snow. (brrrr) I have only seen snow a couple of times!!
I think we might try to head towards the south for the winter and hopefully find some places with a little milder climate. Its definately going to be a culture shock but we are really looking forward to it.

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului Aispugz
RE: Europe cycle

Hello D and B,

I didn't mean to dampen(!) your spirits. I hope you have a great ride. If you do head south make sure you get over the Pyrenees or Alps before September, as the snow might come by then

More experienced cyclists might have more advice!

Safe travels!

Aisling P

Unregistered imaginea utilizatorului anon_user
Winters can be severe throughout Europe

Last winter was extremely severe, with snow in Spain, for instance. In Finland there was 60 cm of snow and the cycle paths were very poorly maintained, good if riding with cars was possible.
Even though such winter is unlikely to occur again, most parts of Europe will be colder than you are used to. As far as I know, Balkans and the east in general are colder than the more maritime climate in the west.
I coummute by bicycle throughout the year in Finland and it is not easy. However, it can be managed, with a lot of clothing. I think the toughest here was twenty two below zero centigrades and I still spared my woollen shirt for colder temperatures.

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului D and B
wintering in Europe

Thanks for your comment on our post. It sure sounds like we would be better to try and see Finland in the Summer!!! We are starting to think that Spain and Italy might the better option for us.

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
try the Algarve in south

try the Algarve in south Portugal, cheap campsites , maybe cheap monthly apt rentals. Olhoa campsite has cabins for about 15 euro a night for 2 people. Try Lagos, lovely beaches, 6 euro a night camping for 2 people. Maybe apt rent per month 150 - 300 euro. temps can be 23c in dec and jan, but also 10c and rain. Also try Andalucia province in Spain, Almeria is meant to be warmest place in europ.
Even bettr get the boat from Algeciras, Spain to Morocco in an hour or 2 and head 2000km south. 5 yrs ago you cud get a double room for between 3 and 10 euors a night depending where. ryanair fly ther now too. train from tangiers to marrakesh was comfortable and took about 9 hours. sure u cud put bike on train ( for a fee i suspect ! )
great scenery in morocco, great food, many wonderful peole plus a few who will make u kiss the ground when u get back to Spain ! we were in marrakesh in dec and was 25c, but it can also be cold. Agadir on coast has winter temps i beiev of 25 - 30c still.
good luck and get a good sleeping bag, and dont go to finland in winter, my wife is from there so please believ me. Lovely in summer though. Last winter i cycled every day in finland with winter tyres, but some of those days were minus 30c witht he wind chill. u take ur pick !
best wishes, jim and terhi fullwood. u can also find us on facebook if i can help more.
even better go back to FNQ for winter Innisfail is really nice

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului D and B
Wintering in Europe

Hi Terhi and Jim, We are starting to get the message that we should really head south during the winter over there. The idea of maybe getting an apartment actually is quite appealing. We think by then we might be happy to stay in one place for just a little while. You are right FNQ is really nice in the Winter but once we take off we are not really planning to return until we have seen as much as we can. WE've decided to start in the UK and then head across the channel and see where the spirit leads us from there.
Maybe we might even be able to say hello in person!!!

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
south is the way

good luck . maybe get the ferry to santander in spain asap. even then u will still need to head south quickly. but north spain can still be lovely inlate oct so dont worry too much. we are now in north bulgaria and its a bit wetter and cooler than normal but still almost 30c on sunny days.
send text if u like. i think u have my number listed on my page.
best wishes,
jim and terhi fullwood

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
morocco

you could hop over to morocco.
I don't think you need a visa for up to 90 days.

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
Snow is not the worst

When it is really cold cycling is not bad. You just don't sweat anymore and you can always cool down by putting off the hand shoes.

But I really hate the range between 15 and 5°C for longer rides. Too cold for just a T-Shirt or a pullover but still not cold enough for a serious jacket. You easily start sweating and than it gets really cold on the skin.

-5°C and light snow in southern Sweden is better than +8°C with frequent rain in Spain or Greece at that time.

What about northern Africa for the winter? There are some ferries: Spain/Maroc, Italy/Tunesia and probably some starting from Greece.

Or the middle east? Greece-Turkey-Syria and back by plane?

Michael

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului D and B
Advice re wintering in Europe

Thank you all for your great advice!! Its really opening up a lot of ideas to investigate and is making us even more eager to get going - there are quite a few ends to tie up here as well as accumulating as much travelling money as possible by March / April 2011.
The oversize maps on our living room walls are getting covered with possible routes and places we hope to visit ( I am beginning to think that one year will definately not be long enough!!!!!!)
Bez & Dave

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului Rolling Tales
wintering ideas

Hi D and B

Just saw your post so sorry about the late response, hope it is still of some help. We started at a similar time last year and managed a few weeks of coldish weather (usually 10 degrees Celsius plus) in Spain before it started warming up properly in May. We have paused our cycling for winter in Istanbul a couple of weeks ago and will carry on next April through Russia, Mongolia and China.

Found renting a place pretty cheap in Istanbul, but Bosnia or Serbia would be even cheaper.

Emma and Justin

Unregistered imaginea utilizatorului anon_user
Borrow mountain bike from London (Dec 20-Jan13)

G'day!

I'm looking for a bicycle to push around the UK for 3 weeks (starting on Dec 20).
It'd be great to find one in London as that's were I get in.

If you have a mountain bike or know of someone please contact me.
It'd be a bonus to get maintenance gear (tools, spares, etc) to if poss.

I am happy to pay a deposit and pay for any necessary maintenance.

I appreciate any assistance in this matter.

Thanks a bundle!