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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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Old 9 Nov 2009
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Alps in May

I've been scouring around for info on riding the passes in the Alps during May. I plan on spending a month riding across as many Alpine passes as I can fit in from Andorra to Austria. The smaller, more gravelly and less travelled, the better. I was last over there in 1974 but that was June and a few high passes were just barely open at that time. Now with climate change, I am wondering if most will be passable. I will be camping for the majority of time. Anyone game to join me for some portions? I'll be heading out from Rotterdam on an 1150GS. Any suggestions for "not to be missed passes" are greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance...
Bill Hooykaas
Toronto
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Old 9 Nov 2009
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May isn't my favorite month in the Alps. It's a transition time between winter and summer with everything looking miserable after six months under snow. Most of the ski resorts don't close until the end of April and there's usually plenty of snow around during May. Where we are, south of Grenoble in France, most of the cols that are not designated as essential routes won't be passable in May. The "gravelly and less travelled" ones will be blocked until well into June. You might be lucky with 2010 being a year when everything melts early but who can tell this far in advance.

If you haven't found it already have a look through "www.AlpineRoads.com - The Best Biking Roads In The Alps" It's pretty much the definitive site for what you're planning
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Old 9 Nov 2009
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may maybe not june

Hello,

The last week of May 2009 and the first week of June we spent doing as many mountain passes as possible. All of the routes we did were sealed but on the edges of the roads there was still very deep snow on the tops of the passes and often anywhere above 2200.. As the time progressed the snow was reduced significantly..

One thing to note is that it varies year to year based on how cold or warm the winter is. Some years you will have clear mountain passes mid May others it won't be until late may early june. Although the sealed roads are often cleared from set dates which can sometimes be found in european road atlases.
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Old 9 Nov 2009
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June is looking better

Thanks guys, obviously very good info--especially the AlpineRoads site. Guess I should seriously look nto postponing it a month. In 1974, I did some high ones in mid-June and there were still 8' high walls along the edges of the road near the summits. I was hoping to combine a visit to the tulip fields in Holland in April with the family with some quality time with the bike following that. Either have to convince them to head over in May, or forget about the passes. Hmmmm, what to do.

It's all about those twisties though!
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Old 27 Nov 2009
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Hello stubdetoe, I confirm what they already told you: if you want to ride on the best passes, you must wait june.

My favourites are:

- the well known Passo dello Stelvio (Stilfserjoch), better in the Trafoi-Bormio direction. You can follow the snow situation thanks to this webcam WebCam - Banca Popolare di Sondrio (not online this period).

- the also well known Passo Gavia, between Bormio and Ponte di Legno, where snow can fall also in june

- the less known Passo del Rombo (Timmelsjoch) between San Leonardo in Passiria and Sölden (Austria). It's wonderfoul, but it's open only 3 months every year and during daylight

Enjoy!
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Old 27 Nov 2009
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hmmmmmmmm

bike and alps first leave missus and kids with the tulips lol. I put bike first. kids second then wife. this is cos kids are bikers and I'm getting divorce as wife made me choose. so now planning rtw.
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