For many of us, the days are getting shorter and cooler, and thoughts are turning to things other than bicycle touring. Why not make this the year to try something different and go on an off-season bike trip?
Yes, the days will be shorter and the weather will be tougher. The flip side is the tourists are gone and a bike trip can feel like a real exploration rather than a race from place to place. There’s lots of great clothing available to keep you warm and dry. And an off-season trip is the perfect time to treat yourself. Stay in a nice B&B where a warm fire at night will chase away the day’s chills.
If gutting it out in the cold or wet isn’t your thing, consider going somewhere warm. Many southern states are pleasantly cool during the winter. Some tour companies offer winter trips in the southern states, or for the ultimate trip, try Chile or Australia during the winter.
Staying in shape for a tour in the dead of winter can be a challenge. If you rode a lot during the summer you may still be ready to tour even if you taper off in the fall. Look for good weather days to get out on the bike, or simply accept the fact of riding in bad weather. Use indoor training if it’s available to you. But whatever works for you, think about ways to extend your season and the fun of riding by going off season!
-Joyce Casey, Adventure Cycling Tour Leader
We recently bicycle- toured Switzerland in September. Lots of rain, but with our great raingeat and German Schwalbe tires, it was fun!