Clothing recommendation for touring in the Alps (South Tyrol) in May

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2016 11:39 am

by sgergole

wingguy wrote:
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...


I was writing under the assumption that in conditions of snow or heavy rain, you just don't go "touring". That was going against the concept of touring, at least in my mind. What is in the picture is from a pro race. That was on the edge of being cancelled, so in my answer I wasn't even thinking that an amateur would go up in conditions like that... :noidea: :beerchug:

If the idea instead is to go and do every day the planned course in any condition, then I completely agree with you. Take anything ranging from thermal long bibs to the short jersey.

I live in Italy, and went in the alps regions in may 2015 and 2016. What I wrote is based on what me and other friends used in those occasions and in that time of the year.... :beerchug:

by Weenie

Posts: 670
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:05 am
Location: Geneva, Switzerland

by basilic

2 separate issues: 1) is the road open, ie, drilled out through 2-3 m of snow at the top, which is a big job , and 2) the weather on the day you decide to ride it. When the Giro is scheduled 1) is taken care of, but otherwise it's hard to predict. Local tourist offices often know when a road opens, the info isn't alwys on the internet.

nemeseri: How about Liguria, the mountains N of Sanremo (and Côte d'Azur/Provence). Olive groves, flowers, old villages, the riviera.
At the end of May the high passes Fauniera and Sampeyre may be open, and possibly Agnello, just N of Liguria in the Piemonte.
Fauniera is a gem, small road, fantastic scenery.

User avatar
Posts: 2623
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 6:55 pm
Location: Vienna, AUT

by Stolichnaya

I would also recommend Garda. A group of friends and I used to go to Alta Badia in late May, early June in preparation for the Maratona in July. Most of the passos were snowed out two years in a row in early June so we shifted the riding to the North Garda area and go there every year since. The weather is much more stable there and the roads are clear in late May / June. You can still plan out some epic routes in that area. But if you risk the Alta Badia area in May, bring everything you need for warmth, rain and wind. Enjoy. Italy is awesome.

Posts: 105
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 4:10 pm
Location: Gien, France

by lewolive

nemeseri wrote:Thank you all for the comments. I knew that the high alps is a different beast than the sierra, but if the passes are usually closed in May, it will require much more research and preparation. Which is fine! It's going to be great!

If there is a time when weather is changing, May is terrible.
If there is a location where weather is changing, The Alps in general are terrible.

So, you need to bring all your stuff with you. In summer it would be different, one kit for cold is enough, but in May...

I also advise your to prepare rides in the valleys, where temperatures will be soft, just in case. May is the month when most of legendary HC climbs open in the Alps, but they can remain closed.

Posts: 3944
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:43 pm

by wingguy

Stolichnaya wrote:The weather is much more stable there and the roads are clear in late May / June. You can still plan out some epic routes in that area.

That's a great idea. there are still 1000m + climbs up from the lake, but they top out at 1100 or 1200m AMSL instead of 2700! And an hour to the west there are roads up to 1700 AMSL.

Then if you're prepared to be flexible and the weather forecast is amazing for a couple of days, it's only a few hours driving up the Adige valley (world's most beautiful motorway? :P ) to the Dolomites.

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Last post