Seems like the climate data is quite vague. I guess because of the wild differences between high valleys and sunnier towns at lower elevation.
Our route includes famous passes (Stelvio, Gavia) and a lot of variation in elevation. I'm looking for first hand experiences what we should expect temperature wise. Any clothing tips are welcomed for long touring rides, given I have zero experience in packing for anything longer than 2 days.
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I have been over many of the passes in that area. Unless you can guarantee that you will not get rained on when you are up in the mountains (nearly impossible), I would never, ever go up without a good rain jacket. Most brands have those high tech breathable plastic items with a long tail. Or super high end lightweight gore tex is also good. They can be rolled up to fit in a jersey or tied to the bike. A jacket like this or similar could save your life.
Add to this arm and knee warmers, shell gloves to go over your other gloves, and if you have room, shoe covers depending on the circulation in your feet.
The bottom line is this: in July I have experienced 5 degree temps in pouring rain at altitude. You have about 10 to 15 minutes before you loose feelings in your hands on a descent in these conditions. I had the first stages of hypothermia this summer descending the Falzarego in the rain, and that is a minor pass. I was shaking by the bottom. I had a raincoat, arm warmers and should covers. My crime? I decided against knee warmers that day.
In May, I would not go above 1000 meters if there is a good chance of precipitation. I once had to ride an extra 100 km around the Tourmalet because it was closed due to snow - in July!
Go for it, but be prepared.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.
Even in June it can be an issue.
Good rain jacket and warm kit is a must... hope for the best ..expect the worse .. then you will be ok.
The weather can turn bad very quickly in the Alps, ANY time of the year.
I've done 2 Etape du Tours in absolutely freezing conditions in July.
Bring plenty of warm / protective stuff with you on the trip. If on the day it looks good and settled then you can you leave most of it behind.
This past year was snowing in Stelvio in mid-June, and next week we were at the top at 30ºC. I descended to Prato only with shorts and summer jersey. In May, it's usual to be closed, same as Gavia or Mount Crostis (this one was closed in June too).
sgergole wrote:Shorts, no need for thermo or 3/4. Arm warmers and optional knee warmers. Long windstopper for the descents and always a base layer. The main problem wi be going downhill, on the top of the mountain ask a newspaper to put between the wind stopper and the jersey. You can find snow on the top of tbe stelvio or gavia, but in the valley (bormio for example) there are 20 degrees without problems. If you go for long, medium/slow rides, then consider long sleeves
Considering the question is about a bike touring trip I think this is bad advice. The conditions on the tops of the passes in May can be far beyond just finding snow, and the valleys themselves can switch from sunny to torrential rain in the blink of an eye. Given that touring implies you will need to be out riding every day to get to the next place you need to be (not just picking the warmer days to ride), the clothing you need to bring is as much as you can carry!
This is the Stelvio in May...
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