Iceland by bicycle: having a blast

Surly Troll touring on route 550 north of PingvellirI developed a new skill while cycle touring Iceland. I had no choice.

Cycling while leaning 10 degrees or so from vertical into a crosswind. It’s a curious sensation. Your senses are screaming that things are all wrong, that you should fall and your shoulder slam into the tarmac.

But correct the sensory anomaly and adopt the regular, perpendicular stance, and you will hit the deck as the relentless wind pushes you onto a shoulder of gravel at the side of the road.

Iceland’s winds… I’d been warned, but nothing prepares you that blast of air of the North Atlantic. It can slow your pace to a crawl (or a walk), bludgeon you and, on a good day, push you along the road and see you reaching for an elusive higher gear. The wind can destroy Iceland’s roads, tearing up loose macadam (where the roads are sealed, of course).

It’s a stern test, particularly for the solo tourist, but my word is it worth it.

Iceland is all I’d hoped it would be: Dramatic coastline, mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, geothermal incongruities, the barren interior… not to mention its charming, if diminutive, capital city.

I’ve done a rough cut of the photos and will be posting shortly. As ever, it’s not great to be back.


10 thoughts on “Iceland by bicycle: having a blast

    1. I took cash but would not do in future. The country is very well served for payment by credit card and most towns have ATMs. I took £600 in kronur and spent a hefty chunk of it on an Icelandic sweater as I had so much left!

    1. There’s so much I didn’t see given that I only had two weeks. That said, I think I did ok 🙂

  1. Any reflections on food provisions en route? What staples did you carry? What gear would you take/not take next time? Looking forward to your photos too!

  2. Hi Simon, Will do a gear round up soon. I had some minor failures. As far as staples are concerned, I carried pasta -and lots of it – along with dehydrated soups and sauces. This was supplemented by the usual bananas and choccy bars – Corny Big peanut being a particular favourite! The major towns have supermarkets, which are well-stocked and decent value. However, I would be cautious relying on ‘roadhouses’… essentially petrol stations. These have variable stock and I got caught out on one occasion. They’re fine if you want hotdogs, which seem to be an Icelandic staple!

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