Author Topic: Bike touring Colorado in April. Bad idea??  (Read 2279 times)

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Offline jehsohn

Bike touring Colorado in April. Bad idea??
« on: February 25, 2019, 04:03:50 pm »
Howdy,

 I have free time in April and was planning on taking the Amtrak out to Colorado to ride around and camp out for a couple/few weeks. From the limited information I can find it sounds like the weather might make it miserable. Just wondering if anyone has suggestions/advice for me. I would love to hit up some dirt but pavement is fine too.

Thanks

Offline aggie

Re: Bike touring Colorado in April. Bad idea??
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2019, 05:30:39 pm »
Take a look at Tucson.  You can get there on Amtrak and there are lots of good low traffic roads.  Not sure about dirt but a local bike shop should be able to help.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Bike touring Colorado in April. Bad idea??
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2019, 05:42:37 pm »
If you are looking to camp up in the mountains, the vast majority will be closed due to snow.  As Aggie suggested, AZ (or NM) would be much better.  You don't say where you live but southern Louisiana & Texas (Austin and the Hill Country would be nice) might be OK also weather-wise but camping is a little bit tougher. Tailwinds, John

Offline jamawani

Re: Bike touring Colorado in April. Bad idea??
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2019, 08:38:41 pm »
Yes.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Bike touring Colorado in April. Bad idea??
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2019, 11:57:56 am »
April cycling in Colorado is wonderful. Just stay out of the mountains. And check possible camping places for opening dates. April is the third snowiest month in Colorado. It can be very heavy and wet, so make sure you have a strong tent. The snow usually doesn't stick around long, but it can make a muddy mess, so stick to the roads when it is.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Bike touring Colorado in April. Bad idea??
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2019, 01:05:02 pm »
I'll bite.  If April is the third snowiest month, what are the top two?

Offline John Nelson

Re: Bike touring Colorado in April. Bad idea??
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2019, 02:03:31 pm »
1. March
2. November
3. April
4. December
5. January
6. February

Offline bbarrettx

Re: Bike touring Colorado in April. Bad idea??
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2019, 05:04:38 pm »
Good news and bad news. CO mountains not suitable for bike touring until late May/early June. Even if you get lucky with weather, the shoulders will be full of debris from snow mitigation. The good news is that you just stay on that train to Green River UT and you can do a spectacular tour through southern UT. You've got Moab, Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Capitol Reef NP, and Zion NP as well as Brian Head. It's probably too early to get down to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon but worth researching. This is beautiful bike touring country and you should have moderately warm days and cool nights. Just make sure to avoid Moab on the weekends as it'll be packed with Coloradans digging out from mud season. Vegas might even have a train route and that could open up opportunities to go Green River to Moab and then back up to Green River and down to Vegas. There's some interstate riding (legal) on I-15 south of St George but big wide shoulders when I did it many years ago. Well worth exploring.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Bike touring Colorado in April. Bad idea??
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2019, 10:56:53 am »
1. March
2. November
3. April
4. December
5. January
6. February

Good think I asked, I was guessing January and February ahead of November.  Thanks for the info!

Offline aggie

Re: Bike touring Colorado in April. Bad idea??
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2019, 11:18:23 am »
Green River does not have a manned station and there is no baggage service.  Not sure if you can get a bike off at this station.  I've found that each train route is a little different when carrying a bike.  You need to check with Amtrak to see if bikes are carried in the baggage car or do they have another car with bike mounts.  On the schedule for this route I didn't see any mention of bikes so my guess is the bike may need to be boxed.  If so you can only get it at a station that offers baggage.  Closest station with baggage is Grand Junction, CO.  Also, currently this is no train service into Las Vegas.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Bike touring Colorado in April. Bad idea??
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2019, 12:05:42 pm »
Good think I asked, I was guessing January and February ahead of November.  Thanks for the info!
It's less likely to snow when it's bitterly cold.

Offline jamawani

Re: Bike touring Colorado in April. Bad idea??
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2019, 04:43:38 pm »
No, it is not less likely to snow when it's bitterly cold.
I can assure you that it can and does snow - sometimes heavily - at 20 below.
It's just that in the Lower 48, when it's bitterly cold the front has passed thru.
So the air behind the front is cold, but dry.

Granted, warmer air holds more water vapor than colder air.
But the majority of that difference occurs above freezing.
For ex. 80F air hold 3.5x the moisture of 32F air.

Also, Denver is in a Great Plains climate zone.
The lowest precipitation is in Dec/Jan the highest in May/June.
This contrasts with the Pacific Coast with the highest in Dec/Jan and lowest in Jul/Aug.
Check out the winter temperatures and snowfall at Crater Lake N.P.
https://wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?or1946

Offline John Nelson

Re: Bike touring Colorado in April. Bad idea??
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2019, 04:53:42 pm »
Of course it's possible to snow when it's cold. It's just less likely. It still does snow in Colorado from December through February, just not as much as in November and March and April.

Here's a quote from accuweather.com:

The phrase "it’s too cold to snow" probably originated as a misapplication of the relationship between temperature and the maximum amount of water vapor that can be in the air. When temperature decreases, the maximum capacity of water vapor that can be in the air decreases. Therefore, the colder it gets the less water vapor there will be in the air.

Most heavy snowfalls happen with relatively warm air temperatures near the ground -- usually at 15 degrees F or above. When the temperature drops into the single digits, or below zero, heavy snow is unlikely. That’s not because it’s too cold, but because its too dry. When temperatures are that low, the air’s capacity for water vapor becomes very small.

Offline bbarrettx

Re: Bike touring Colorado in April. Bad idea??
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2019, 04:12:13 pm »
Good info re Amtrak, Aggie. I guess in a worst case scenario he'd have to ship his bike to a shop in Green River. Or could he have his bike in the passenger area after Grand Junction? Bummer that they discontinued train service out of Vegas but there are no lack of flights that would serve his purpose.