Here in Europe there is a trend of organizing winter motorcycles rallies in wich the participants go camping in the snow, wearing furs and cooking on camp fires. The first and most important is the Elefantentreffen in Germany, but there are dozens of similar events, and several are still coming to light: as an example, Pinguinos in Spain, Agnellotreffen in Italy and so on. People comes from log distance, often driving for thousands of kilometers in the cold. Part of the thrill is the difficulty of riding in the cold and snow and the necessity of creating strange patchworks on the motorbikes to keep the rider warm or to create motorcycle tyre chains for better grip on the ice. The motorcycle preparation before the event often goes on for months experimenting strange solutions and testing it on the icy roads.

A photo I took during Agnellotreffen 2016

I am a motorcycle and bicycle enthusiast and very often ride in winter. I can say that driving a bicycle in the winter is not only safer, but at least as comfortable as a motorbike, because:

  • You can use studded tyres, as there aren't tyre regulation for bicycles (while motorbikes have law-enforced tyre sizes and ofter there aren't winter tyres available for that size)
  • There isn't, at least in Italy, any bicycle ban in winter, while there are for motorbikes on icy roads or during snowfalls (ministerial directive RU\1580 of 16 Jan 2013)
  • You warm up yourself pedaling without having to rely on heated grips, heated jackets and so on
  • You can use bicycles designed expecially for snow (fat bikes)

While bicycles camping events are pretty common (an example is BAM, Bicycles Adventure Meeting here in Italy), I'm not aware of one of them that takes place in winter and in snowy places. I think it is pretty strange, as I know several persons that would try something similar.

So, why isn't this format of events available to cyclists while it is for motorbike riders?

  • 3
    Generally speaking, people who ride bicycles are saner than people who ride motorcycles. Mar 8, 2020 at 13:40
  • @DanielRHicks I've found quite the opposite to be true haha.
    – Poquontchn
    Mar 11, 2020 at 3:18

2 Answers 2


I haven't been in an organization that would have considered arranging such event and then decided not to, so this is pure speculation. I have a guess with two reasons: weight and competing activities.

First, winter camping requires much more equipment than summer: heavy sleeping bags, warm clothing, fuel, and taken to extreme a tent with stove. These are not fun to carry on a bike, especially when dealing with snow at the same time. Powered motorcycle lets you put all the effort to maintaining balance and helps with cutting through snow.

Second, if you are camping and traveling under your own power in snow, skis or snow shoes combined with toboggan for carrying your stuff are a better choice. Instead difficult adapting to snow, they have evolved just for snow and allow you go literally off the beaten path. A bicycle would be just trouble.

Third, not directly related to winter, there aren't many cycling events like motorcycle rallies in summer either. Mass events for cycling (or skiing for that matter) tend to be more or less race-like. With motor vehicles these would be very illegal.


To develop the "not fun to carry" point - riding a bike, in winter with a load of kit and possibly snow, is physically taxing. I for one require a hot shower at the end of a cold winter ride.

There's a non-zero chance that someone will overdo it and suffer cold-related issues like hypothermia. Not so much when riding, but when they stop and have to camp. Without good facilities, you're at the mercy of the weather, and the weather cares not for you.

A motorcyclist is putting in far less physical effort to get down the road, so will arrive at the destination at a comfortable temperature if bundled up. A cyclist will arrive hot and sweatty and get dropped into the cold. So the event planners have a "duty of care" to make sure participants are okay.
This could also raise the spectre of liability in case something bad happens.

Additionally, many motorbikes have internal combustion engines, which produce a lot of waste heat and that can help keep the riders warm. Cyclists are internally heated, hence the cold-weather issues.

  • 1
    Yup, the winter riding I used to do always ended up with peeling off just as much sticky wet stuff as summer riding. Hypothermia, due to camping in the cold and not having access to instant heat (read: nice hot shower), is a... detriment to such activities.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 20, 2023 at 18:25

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