Preparations for an Icelandic Bike Tour
Damn! I am a snappy dresser. This was a solo trip, so I had to carry everything.
I figure that my gear came to about 50 lb. The bike is what I
call a state-of-the-art expedition bike. In
other words a 1989 Bridgestone, no shock, nothing unproven ie everything half worn out. I rode on Continental "Country" tires, not a nobby, but a good dirt road tire, and I have not had a flat in 3200 km of riding in Iceland. The rims are what they sell now for dual slalom, a bit heavy, but sturdy. I use a front mountain rack, not low-riders. I've seen many broken low-rider racks in Iceland.
Synthetic Sleeping Bag
MSR multifuel stove
1 pot, bowl, cup, spoon
2 Fuel bottles
Front and Rear Ortleib Panniers
Front Blackburn MTB rack
Blackburn Expedition Rear Rack
Spare tire, tube, tools, nuts &bolts
Extra brake cable
Shorts & Knickers
Goretex jacket & knickers
2 polypro tops & a jersey
stocking cap, gloves
Sun screen, sun glasses
Freeze dried food
Icelandic Road Map
Extra 1" tie down straps
It can be 65 degrees, but it can also be down in the 30's. It
snow on you, it probably will rain on you, it can get windy as all hell, and you can get one hell of
a sunburn. The west is stormy, the south is rainy, the north and east have the best summer weather.
In most places a car will pass by in 10 minutes or less. But you can easily go places
where you might not see anyone for a few hours, and if the weather is ugly, maybe longer.
Most of the interesting roads are dirt and vary in quality from excellent to crap. This is not
the place for skinny tires and drop bars. Do that and you are only limiting your choices.
Even with a mountain bike you might end up pushing your bike for a while and you might
get to wade a few rivers. If you are really pig-headed you can find some dandy routes
where you can push your bike through sand all day.
It's pretty easy to find white gas stove fuel. Often gas stations have a container in the back room, ask.
Almost all of the villages have a campground. The fees vary from free to maybe $6.
You can camp out in the open except in National Parks and Preserves where you must
use the approved campsites.
If a village has a pool, use it. It'll often have 1 or 2 hot tubs and maybe a natural steam room. The
showers are unbelievably good. No water rationing here!
The airport is centered on the ugliest spot in Iceland. After 10 miles in any direction the
country turns unbelievably beautiful, as long as you're not looking for trees.
The campground at Keflavik has been storing bike boxes for people. I would guess they
will continue to do so. There are showers also. And it's right next to a large grocery store.
It costs about $8 to get to the campground from the airport by taxi. Buses go there also, but the
schedule might be inconvenient for you.
Lonely Planets Guide for Greenland and Iceland is by far the best general purpose
travel guide for the cyclist (I here there is a german language guide specifically for bike touring)
The Trento Bike Pages contains several trip reports on Iceland (and many more on the rest of europe).
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CopyrightŠ Scott Schuldt, 1999
Last updated; November 6, 1999