Iceland trip

August 10, 2015

Recently I managed to get away for a few days and fly to Iceland for a few days with my bike and camping gear. It’s a place I’ve wanted to visit for years but until now have
not got round it.

Getting there was easy and uneventful with bike in a box from Edinburgh with Easyjet.

Having done some research the plan was to get the Flybus from the airport direct to the campsite in Reykjavik and stay there for the first night and unpack the bike. You can store the box at the campsite for the return journey for about £15.

iceland2Next day dawned cold, bright and sunny, which was to be the weather theme for the time I was there, one day it rained, though there was low cloud/mist on a couple of days too and the further North I went the colder it got with lying snow down to sea level up in the North Western fijords. I was glad of the down jacket and sleeping bag rated to -10C that I had with me, although it warm when cycling, nights were cold and whenever I stopped putting on warm clothes was essential. I took shorts with me but only wore them twice!

One of the most difficult things to get used to was the almost 24 hours of daylight, which was great and sometimes I rode until 1am, but it really throws out your body clock and makes sleeping difficult.

I had a rough route planned in my head, and set off North East to Pingvellir and the plan was to continue North from there then eventually swing West. The snow conditions gradually worsened after being forced to push through knee deep snow for several hours (serves me right for ignoring a sign saying road impassable!) and having to camp on a glacier on the second night I changed my plan and headed North West – towards the coast and Borgarnes. A tour around the Snaefellsnes peninsula and then the ferry from Stykkisholmur to Brjanslaekur, followed by a clockwise
circuit of the North Western fjords and then back to Reykjavik, a bit over 1000miles all in.

iceland9The largely dirt roads, sometimes steep gradients and somewhat relentless wind made for tough riding. The scenery was jaw dropping at times, and some of the places I visited were amongst the most remote in Europe. There is a real feeling of isolation and remoteness which may not be for everybody but I loved it. Wildlife, especially birds are in abundance and some of the Worlds largest populations of some species, for example Puffins are found there.

As usual photos don’t do justice to the scenery. One day I rode 70 miles up a dirt road to a dead end and met only one or two cars the whole way, no houses, hotels, just a campsite and a hot spring at the end.
There was another long stretch of road, 200km with no shops or facilities of any kind so you have to be self sufficient and carry everything you need.

Oh, and I saw a whale! Not sure what kind.

iceland12The campsites varied a lot but there are lots of them, some have hot springs and a pool heated by geothermal energy, others had nothing but a toilet and cold water.

Amongst the characters I met Erin from Canada who was hiking the length of Iceland and eating only dried fish and butter!

I had a fantastic trip and can’t wait to go again, only next time I would go for longer, take more warm clothes and a little later in the year so that the roads in the interior I would like to ride are open.

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