Author Topic: Snow really?  (Read 5649 times)

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Offline mikeinafrica

Snow really?
« on: June 05, 2004, 03:10:42 pm »
Oh no. I thought the southwest was hot year round, Shows what i know.  I wanted to do the southern tier in the winter, starting this December. Is it impossible or just d*mn cold?  If its not possible, could anyone recomend another route that would work for starting in the winter months? I finish my peace corps tour in november and want to do a tour before I get sucked into other commitments. Any advice?

Offline ATSFfan

Snow really?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2004, 09:09:59 pm »
I just completed the Southern Tier from east to west and ran into a number of cyclists heading west to east that had hit snow in the New Mexico Rockies in April. I've driven through central Texas in mid-Winter and hit snow, so figure the temps there would be dipping down near 32.
I suppose it's doable but I'd recommend skipping the NM mountains and ride further south on Interstate 10 from around Lordsburg to Las Cruces. I also know that the deep south and Florida region is subject to freezing temps once in a while as well - but as long as nothing ices over you should be alright.

Richard Pace

Offline tom_o_t

Snow really?
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2004, 02:56:48 pm »
Hi Mike,

Did you have any luck finding out about this? Are you still planning to do the ride?

I'm hoping to do the ride from the 17th of December to late January. I've read a few trip journals, but the earliest I've found is March, and they've had snow. I've checked the climate charts on the US National Weather Service website ( and 50 degrees F is the average temperature going through new mexico & arizona, going down to 40 degrees minimum.

I'm a bit nervous about travelling in weather this cold, even though I come from Scotland!



Offline RussellSeaton

Snow really?
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2004, 12:56:16 am »
I have some experience riding in the cold since I live in the middle of the US and its cold right now.  And we are still riding.  But the rides are short and my feet are extremely cold at the end of an hour or two.  And I am using the Lake winter shoes and insulated socks and neoprene booties.  And several long sleeve jerseys and a balaclava and tights and gloves.  Our temps are around 30 or so for the low and 50 or so for the high.  About 30-40 all morning when riding.

I'd advise finding a route you know is going to be fairly warm the entire ride.  Its more than possible to ride in the cold.  But not all day.  And not without winter gear.  Particularly for your feet.  Riding hour after hour with numb feet for a week or more does not sound like fun to me.  And crossing the Rockies in AZ/NM and northern Texas could be cold.  That is 1000 miles of possible cool to very cold.  I could not do it because my feet would be in pain.

Some years ago I wanted to take a tour in late October so I decided Australia/New Zealand or Portugal were the only warm western places to ride.  Portugal was the choice because the airfare was about $700 round trip.  The temp was cool, not cold, the whole time.  Good riding.

Offline tom_o_t

Snow really?
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2004, 08:54:42 am »
Thanks for your advice Russell.

I've managed to chat to a few people who have been in that area in winter, and they seem to think it should be OK - perhaps freezing overnight, but a little warmer during the day. And it should be a dry cold, which will be more bearable than the damp cold I'm cycling in in Edinburgh at the moment.

I managed to find one journal of a guy who'd cycled in some of this area in December/January - - and he had some freezing weather, but also some good weather.

If anyone's interested there's some more advice on the crazyguyonabike forum -

But if anyone's been in this area of the southern tier in winter please give me your thoughts!

Offline roadrunner

Snow really?
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2004, 04:36:46 am »
Here's some information on Arizona winter weather, from a resident.  The temperatures vary with elevation (lower elevations have warmer temperatures), and there is generally about a 35° difference between the daily high and low temperatures.  The average high/low temperatures in December and January for Tucson (elevation 2,400'): 65/39 and 64/38; for Phoenox (elevation 1,100')f: 67/42 and 66/41.  February is a bit warmer than January.  Of course, the actual temperatures will vary; a few days ago they were about 10° below normal.  Camping would be quite chilly, but daytime temperatures are fine for riding.

The previous advice to avoid the higher elevations in New Mexico by dropping south to I-10 at Lordsburg (and continuing on it to El Paso) is wise.  Riding on the interstate is okay when there are no alternate roads.

Offline tom_o_t

Snow really?
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2004, 08:31:59 am »
Thanks very much for that info. I've bought a good down sleeping bag & thermarest carrymat, so hopefully I'll be able to cope with the camping... And I'm very relieved to hear that the daytime temperatures should be OK for cycling.

I'm really looking forward to this ride!

Offline mzungu54

Snow really?
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2004, 10:44:20 pm »
Thanks all for the info.  Me, myself, and I will also be doing this route starting on the 14th of Dec. from Keywest to San Fancisico.  I was thinking of bring my passport and go through Mexico for something a little warm.  But it looked like things should be OK.

Maybe I'll prob. bump in to you all on the road. :-)

Thanks again,