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Thinking about cycling during the winter months might seem, at first, a bit odd. But if you are able to stick to your bike commute, weekend bike rides and maybe plan to go on a bike tour during this season, you'll be reaping the rewards, just to list a few:
- The peace and solitude of a winter early morning ride, enjoying the crisp air and pale morning light during the months of December and January;
- Keeping your fitness levels up and compensating for the traditional extra calorie intake typical of the festive season;
- Less cars on the road and less people visiting the touristic hot spots make up for a more insightful experience, as you'll have more access and availability everywhere;
- Fleeing from a chillier destination to a sunnier one, will allow you to fill your tank with a few more sunshine hours and add more kilometers to your legs, keeping your happiness levels up - Cycling in Portugal is a great solution for just that.
- Weather predictions for the winter of 2016 in Portugal
Facing the North Atlantic Ocean, Portugal is home to a maritime climate, with average annual temperature of 16ºC and sunny weather all year long, making it perfect for cycling. It's warmer than all northern European countries and is a sought out destination for winter holidays for cyclists from the UK, Ireland, Benelux, Germany and Nordic countries.
Predictions for January, February and March in the Algarve, Portugal
Average temperatures in the Algarve, in the south of Portugal, are usually around 17ºC, and the weather is always sunny or partially sunny, as it is rare to rain in the southern regions, even during the winter.
- Best regions to ride during the winter
The south is always a better option for riding during the winter. Whereas in Porto, the Douro, Trás-os-Montes and other northern Portuguese regions can be chilly and a bit rainier, you'll find the Alentejo and the Algarve to be sunnier.
So, it's better to plan a tour or a cycling camp in the Algarve, Alentejo or the Vicentina Coast instead of a ride in the Douro or Porto.
- Appropriate gear and tips to ride during the winter
You will need, of course, the appropriate clothing and fuel to keep you warmer and energized during these rides, despite the sun. Your bicycle should also be properly outfitted and maintained to reduce the risk of hazards during the ride and you need to be aware of the potential hazards that require slightly different skills than the ones needed during warmer months. We suggest:
- Base layer and cycling jacket or long sleeve jersey - two layers to keep you warm are just enough;
- Bib pants or cycling tights - bib shorts might be enough for most situations, but you should also bring pants for those cooler days;
- Outerwear - mainly for those dry, cold mornings, a soft shell jacket should suffice;
- Head cover - a mid-season cap is enough;
- Gloves – full finger gloves, doesn’t need to be insulated;
- Footwear - insulated socks and waterproof/windproof booties;
Bike tours and events during winter in Portugal
You can plan a custom bike tour in Portugal in these sunnier regions by contacting us. Or you can join one of the following events that will occur during the months of January to March of 2016:
Volta ao Algarve Cycling Camp:
See the Volta ao Algarve climbing or time trial stages and get the inside look from the World Tour’s caravan. Be a part of the mythical “Alto do Malhão” climb and cheer for your favorite team and enjoy the sunny Algarve beaches and car-free roads in the countryside, with daily-guided bike tours;
Join a group tour to discover the Blue and Silver coasts, riding by the Atlantic Ocean, starting in Óbidos and finishing further south in the Alentejo beaches
Ride along the Algarve coastline, discovering the most amazing beaches of Portugal, as well as this region’s history and culture.
Cycling holidays in the Alentejo; an opportunity to discover the millennial history, culture and traditions of one of the world’s best wine countries.