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Snow Birding With Bikes

Old 11-28-21, 10:59 AM
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_ForceD_
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“Snow Birding” With Bikes

I’m posting this in the 50+ forum because there are probably some in here already doing this. I’m looking for reminders and suggestions for “snow birding” (with bikes). The wife has dictated that as empty nesters, she and I are going to spend January and February in Fort Lauderdale. Of course I’ve been to south Florida numerous times for much shorter visits. But, we live in coastal Rhode Island. I don’t really want to go, not for two months. I generally ride throughout the winters here, and I actually enjoy riding in the cold. I find it challenging…they way many of us find riding up hills challenging. And of course I know there won’t be any hills in south Florida. It’s not that I don’t want to go…just not for that long. I don’t want to be away from ‘my stuff’ for that long. So we’re renting an Airbnb, and we’re going to pull a trailer down there with all the stuff we’ll want for that extended stay. Included will be at least a couple of my bikes. I’m strictly a road rider. But beyond the bike(s)…I’m inquiring about what I should take to support them/riding. Obviously some tools, probably work stand, etc. My bikes (at least the ones I’ll be taking) are all older steel and aluminum frames (80s and 90s). Also wondering about clothing for that time of year in south FL. Any other ideas?

Dan

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Old 11-28-21, 11:10 AM
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Light weight Wind Breaker, if possible with zippers in the arm pits. Some places down here in the South are flat, flat, flat... But a head wind can certainly humble you as much as any hill...

Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
...My bikes (at least the ones I’ll be taking) are all older steel...
Hey... I resemble that remark...
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Old 11-28-21, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
But beyond the bike(s)…I’m inquiring about what I should take to support them/riding. Obviously some tools, probably work stand, etc. My bikes (at least the ones I’ll be taking) are all older steel and aluminum frames (80s and 90s).
We typically travel with steel bikes, and there's nothing about the material that has unique needs for a short-term (<12 months?) trip. I.e., it's not like you'll need to bring a can of FrameSaver along if you'll only be gone for a couple months. In addition to the stuff that's always on my bike in the saddlebag -- spare tubes, tire levers, and a multitool -- for trips of more than a week or two I'll also bring:

- chain lube
- cleat lube
- a fullsized floor pump
- more spare tubes
- spare batteries for any lights or odometers that require them
- charging cables/power bricks for any lights or odometers that require them
- maybe a couple spare tires if I'm traveling someplace remote that won't have access to a local bike shop

Plus helmet, gloves, shoes, and kit.
Sorry, can't help you with What To Wear in South FL during Jan/Feb, I only ever did that once and it was unseasonably cold. I was anticipating 65-70°F days and it rarely got above 55° the entire time we were there! But all the locals insisted "oh, it's usually not like this."
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Old 11-29-21, 07:25 AM
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Hah, memories of the COVID onset. A friend asked my wife and me to house and dog sit for them in The Villages, FL, during their 3.5 month world cruise, in the winter of 2020. They got stuck for two months in Australia when the cruise cancelled so our stay there got extended. Luckily, we brought our bikes, and with literally nothing else to do, we started cycling 250+ miles/week, well into the start of hurricane season in June.

Bike maintenance was a bit of challenge with that many miles being ridden but we were able to handle it. Luckily bike shops were considered essential and stayed open. It was sure good to get back to Colorado for the summer.

We've been snowbirding with our bikes, usually to AZ, for the last dozen years and love it. Our car, an old Vibe, is just large enough to handle our clothing, two bikes, a cooler, and a small dog for the trip. My bike repair tool kit is easy to pack, along with a small box of parts and spares. Last year we bought a house in Tucson, mainly for the excellent cycling. Lots of good hills here.
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Old 11-29-21, 07:32 AM
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sounds like fun to me! I love summer-like riding! I'm sure you'll figure out what to bring, it shouldn't be too much & I'll bet they have bike shops down there in case you forget something
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Old 11-29-21, 07:44 AM
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Yeah…I realize there are bike shops that I can use. But, I’m trying pack things that I won’t have to duplicate. I’d rather not go buy something I need that is hanging at my workbench back home…which I know is probably going to happen anyway.

Dan
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Old 11-29-21, 10:44 AM
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It's only two months. Make sure your bikes are in good shape and tuned up. All you should need is spares for a typical long ride and a pump.

I have no idea what the weather will be like in Ft. Lauderdale in January. It is the 'cold' season there and you may see a bit of rain.
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Old 11-29-21, 11:40 AM
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The idea of riding a bike in Florida scares me. There are a lot of terrible drivers down there, and then there is the half blind elderly...

Pick your roads carefully. Maybe contact a club, or a shop, to see if there's any place good to ride.
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Old 11-29-21, 11:57 AM
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We’ve only been snowbirding for a couple of years and so far we tend to move around rather than stay in one spot. We haul our tandem on the back of our travel trailer and ride it when we can. I’ve also started taking along a bike that I’m upgrading or building up so I can work on when I have some down time. So I take a work stand, a tub of tools and maintenance parts/supplies, and whatever parts I’ll need for the project bike. It’s fun to figure out the prep I need to do at home, like painting a frame, and then acquiring the parts I’ll need to to take along. I enjoy working on bikes as much as riding them, and I’m finding I can mostly take that on the road. At some point if I don’t already have a project bike to take along, I’m thinking I’ll acquire one along the way and then begin acquiring parts I need at co-ops and bike shops I come across. Should be fun.
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Old 11-29-21, 03:29 PM
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As Daywood has, we've traveled Florida a few times with travel trailer in tow. For me, used to roads with little traffic , road riding was hit or miss, but for those used to riding with some traffic it's fine. Florida does have great off road riding. I'm no mountain biker, more a casual gravel type, but have been impressed by the trails there. If one of your bikes could fit 32's or larger then I'd recommend bringing it along for a chance to see the wilds and to get off the roads. Some of the Fla state parks offer great off road riding ,Jonathan Dickerson SP in Jupiter for one.
As an aside, those dude's down there are fast. I do a lot of hills and maybe relax a bit too much on the flats to conserve. They ride flats only and tear it up. For some on the coast, it's 20 miles up/down A1A and 20 miles back at a good pace and a decent wind to help or hurt. For me it was humbling.
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Old 11-29-21, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Tusk View Post
It's only two months. Make sure your bikes are in good shape and tuned up. All you should need is spares for a typical long ride and a pump.

I have no idea what the weather will be like in Ft. Lauderdale in January. It is the 'cold' season there and you may see a bit of rain.

This is pretty much what I’m hoping for. I did actually live in north Florida (Jacksonville) for several years during my Navy career. Like others pointed out about finding on A1A…I also did a good amount of riding on A1A up there. Otherwise…good suggestions all. Thanks.

Dan
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Old 12-06-21, 07:42 AM
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We've been wintering in Florida for 3 years now. We're leaving this Friday. My wife went by herself the first time for 5 weeks in the fall to work on the condo we bought the previous spring. She took our mountain bikes with her in the back of the SUV. Her bike is still there. We went back down the following January and I rode the MTB for 3 months, but brought it back home with me. Last year, I took a Trek hybrid with me to ride and I left it there. This year, I'm taking my old road bike with me and plan to sell the hybrid when I get to Florida. I'm not leaving my Klein there though. It will get ridden occasionally next summer when I'm not riding my new Trek Emonda.

Each bike I've hauled down there will fit upright in my small Hyundai Tucson. I just need to remove the front wheel and seatpost. I drive from Erie, PA to Lorton, VA and we take the Autotrain from there to Sanford, FL. The train ride is overnight, so it eliminates about 10 plus hours of driving time. It's about 6 hours from Erie to the VA train station, and about 2.5 hours from the FL station to our condo.

As far as the weather, I usually ride in the morning to beat the heat. Some mornings, it's in the low 60s when I start, but usually in the mid 70s by the time I finish. I'm a couple of hours northwest of Lauderdale, so it might be a few degrees warmer down there. It almost never rains in Florida during the winter where we are. If it does rain, it's usually a quick shower or storm and an hour later, the roads are dry.

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Old 12-07-21, 10:18 PM
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I grew up down that way and the number of days you need a jacket can be counted on 2 fingers. You might catch a cold front blowing through here and there, but the cool weather last about 1 or 2 days at max, generally highs in mid 70's to mid 80's, lots of wind, night's in 60's, generally much lower humidity.

I live in Jacksonville now, which is 325 miles north and when I would take trips to see my mom, it might be in the 40's at my house and by the time I got to hers, it was in the 80's.
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Old 12-08-21, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by jaxgtr View Post
I grew up down that way and the number of days you need a jacket can be counted on 2 fingers.
Back around 1980 I lived in Boston MA and my girlfriend moved to Miami FL to attend law school. I went to Miami in February to visit her after she'd been there for two months and she'd already become such a Floridian that when the nighttime temps went down to 65°F she pulled out her old down parka that she'd worn in all those Boston winters! There I am running around in shorts and a t-shirt, and she's bundled up in a fur-lined snorkle hood like Nanook Of The North!
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Old 12-08-21, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
Back around 1980 I lived in Boston MA and my girlfriend moved to Miami FL to attend law school. I went to Miami in February to visit her after she'd been there for two months and she'd already become such a Floridian that when the nighttime temps went down to 65°F she pulled out her old down parka that she'd worn in all those Boston winters! There I am running around in shorts and a t-shirt, and she's bundled up in a fur-lined snorkle hood like Nanook Of The North!

LOL... yep. I remember people doing that all the time. I surfed and the cold\cool did not bother me until the air temp went below the water temp, then I had to break out some version of wetsuit. I remember back in 77 or 78, I woke up to flurries in Lake Worth, right next to West Palm Beach, and as I was walking to school it was 28 F and high winds, I was freezing. I only had wind breaker type jackets, so I had 2 of those on with a long sleeve shirt, and short sleeve shirt. I was about 1/2 mile from school I came up on one of my friends come toward me and she told me that school was closed as there was no heat and some pipes burst. So I went home, put on my full body wetsuit, booties, gloves and went surfing. Waves at the pier in Lake Worth were about 10 to 15 ft and were gloriously glassy, with an off shore wind. The current was well offshore, so that was nice and the water was really blue and clear. The flurries stopped after 4 or 5 hours an then the sun came out. I went in for a few mins to get a hot chocolate and a buddy of mine told me he was going to Reef Road\pump house as he was told it was up to 20 ft. Reef Road is on the southside of the Palm Beach inlet and is the best break on the east coast when the waves get big. Very clean and you can use the inlet jetty to get beyond the break and then paddle into the line up. The best part, there were only 5 of us there that day and we were there all day, finally came in once the sun went behind the trees and the temps were around 40 by that point. One of the best surfing days I ever had around my local beaches.
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Old 12-08-21, 06:26 PM
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That's too funny as I was there. I'm from the northeast coast and surfed a lot. Was on some surf trip to Mexico and , with my last $75, flew into Fla to mooch of of an old HS buddy that was living in West Palm. Low and behold it snowed and schools were closed etc. I walked over the bridge to the beach and there were 10-12 ft waves breaking about 50 yds off shore, west wind. Water was way warmer then the air, so it was the element to be in, no wetsuit and so long as I layed low on the board I was warm enough. Really fast wave and took me a bit to figure it out but when I did it was too much fun, all lefts and I'm goofy so it was great. Only a few other guys out. Wish I knew about the inlet break, but I was just walking. I tell this story to people about it snowing in Palm Beach on occasion, but don't get the feeling that they appreciate how rare it was.
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Old 12-08-21, 11:52 PM
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ha, very cool.,
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