A bike tour around Iceland.

6. LINKS

The most useful site you’ll find for tonnes of info on cylcling in Iceland:

http://members.ziggo.nl/erens/iceland.htm

Extensive archive of touring links with loads about Iceland:

http://www.trentobike.org/

For all information on the weather including wind, rain, temperature and even seismic activity:

http://en.vedur.is/

Website of an Austrian cyclist I met out there, including an Iceland tour diary:

http://www.peter-zangerle.com

Best place to buy Icelandic jumpers:

http://grapevine.is/Shopping/ReadArticle/Thorvaldsens-Bazar

A really good hand-drawn map of Iceland:

http://icelandillustrated.com

An idea of food prices:

http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_countries.jsp

Where to camp if you’re tired and can’t be bothered trying to find free camping:

http://www.nat.is/camping/camping_sites.htm

4 responses

  1. Nicholas

    Bloody marvelous I am starting to make plans for a 2013 trip (life long dream) thinking about bike choice etc. I am a bit of a speed freak so I am thinking of using a cycle-cross and going minimal. and doing 100 mile days (your thoughts?) I will probably have questions as I make my preparations, but once again great video.
    Nicholas

    August 27, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    • Very jealous of your 2013 trip, I’d love to be going back myself, I guarantee it will live up to any expectations you have. Also, happy to give more advice if you need it as you plan.

      I’d definitely say go minimal as much as possible. Iceland was my first big trip and I took too many bits and pieces that I didn’t need, including some items I never used that just got in the way. Best advice though is don’t compromise or go minimal on your waterproof clothing. Persistent rain is a given in Iceland and even the sea mists can give you an unwelcome soaking.

      As for the bike… The main route 1 is good quality tarmac road apart from some sections of the northeast and east. If you want to visit the most interesting places though, you’ll usually be cycling on gravel/dirt roads. At best these are potholed, but no problem as long as you keep your eye out for the best line. At worst, they’re corrugated, you’ll struggle to top 7 mph for hours on end, your wheels will sink into patches of sand unexpectedly and you might have to push your bike on foot for short sections. In general for the road conditions you’ll want a balance between a wide enough tyre with enough tread and one that won’t feel like it’s slowing you down too much on the tarmac roads. I’d also recommend lockable front suspension for the dirt tracks, having front suspension on the bumpy tracks really made a difference and I reckon it allowed me to cycle a few mph quicker.

      In terms of distance, I’m an average cyclist at best and I planned 50 – 65 mile days. From studying the maps when I was planning the trip, that kind of distance was the most logical when you consider the locations of towns and campsites. I met a few other cyclists along the way and they were all planning for these sort of daily distances. My quickest was 50 miles in 3hrs 8min wind assisted on the tarmac. The most gruelling day was 50 miles in over 8 hrs on a rocky, sandy, corrgated, hilly, dirt road with headwind and rain at times and I couldn’t have cycled any further. If you’re a cyclist who’s used to distances of 100 miles or over and you do that regularly for fun, then that might be something to aim for in Iceland.

      Cycling in Iceland is tougher than most places though. I met an Austrian cyclist out there who was surprised that I’d picked Iceland for my first big tour. He said it was the toughest one he’d experienced so far. What Iceland lacks in long alpine style climbs, it makes up for with it’s harsh and unpredictable weather and road condtions. The wind is always there, it slowed me right down on most days and can have quite a demoralising effect. Apparently it’s best to cycle clockwise to maximise the prevailing wind directions, however I found that the wind didn’t seem to follow any kind of rule other than the fact that it was always there. From memory I think I was cycling with uncomfortable levels of headwind for about 70% of my trip, and that was travelling in all directions. The rain should also be a factor to consider in planning your trips. There were times that the rain came in and I decided to power through, but it took a lot out of me and trying to dry my clothes in a tiny damp tent wasn’t nice. I also had a few days of persistent rain where I decided it would just be a bad idea to attempt a long bike ride.

      I think my general advice is that the conditions are unpredictable and can/will make things surprisingly tough at times. When you plan your 100 mile trips, make sure you have a plan B each day and that you know in advance of other camping spots along your routes where you can call it a day if the conditions mean you have to.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:05 am

  2. Dhruba RC

    Hi Michael,
    I saw your video in Vimeo and it was impressive. I can see through this wonderful wordpress powered blog you have managed to assemble an array of helpful guides for the like minded out there. Though I may not enjoy the privilege of an Icelandic trip (at least for some time), I am creating a compilation of interesting stuff from all over the web and beyond and would like to feature this experience of yours.

    Please let me know of your opinion so that I can fill you in the details. Again thanks for sharing such memorable moments with us in “city pent”.

    September 5, 2012 at 9:44 am

    • Not sure what you’re planning to do, but sounds intriguing, just let me know what it is that you have in mind.

      September 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm

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