Iceland. Wild. Awesome. Impressive. Wind.
Ringroad. Cars. Tarmac. Gravel. Sheep. Dead Birds. 1423km.
Last december i saw a film of two guys cycling around Iceland, 12 days and for some parts they used the bus. I wanted to ride the ring road and sourround Iceland. I asked some people to join that journey, Oli was in!
Soon were the flights booked and reading informations about Iceland and thinking about a possible route. We decided to ride the ringroad with a short cut over the Öxi pass.
We started the 18th of July to Friedrichhafen to get the plane. 35° hot. We landed save on Iceland around midnight, it wasn’t dark and light rain with 10°. Summer time! We took the bus to the hostel and went to sleep.
First day: Reykjavic – Borgarnes (128k)
The morning, breakfast and then build and pack the bikes. In Reykjavic wo took some bike lanes to get out of the city. It was definitely not the best way. Getting to the ring road and follow it for the next 1400k. We didn’t know that a bit after the town is a tunnel which can only be used by motorized vehicles. We had to take a fjord which was 60k’s, the tunnel was 5,5k…
Shortly before we left the fjord we did a stop for coffee at a gas station and learned that you get refill for coffee at most places in Iceland. During this time ‘night’ is only for about an hour around midnight, so you loose your feeling for day and night. We arrived after a gas station stop where we figured out that you can buy light beer shortly before 22h. We drank our first Lettöl (Light beer) and build the tent, had aventure food and enjoyed the scenery. The first day was amazing!
Second day: Borgarnes – Borðeyri (99k)
We slept quite long in our warm sleeping bags. The weather was light rain and cloudy. After coffee we went to the supermarket to get some food. Cookies, bananas, bread, cheese and some kind of sausage. The day we had ups and downs to cycle. Then came a spot where you had a nice overview of the area. Around noon we took the chance of a gas station to get coffee. Some party chicks sourrounded us during our stay there. We met a guy who was doing the WOW-race around Iceland last year with his team. Interesting. In 48h around the island. Not bad!
Then came an uphill about 7k’s. It got colder and more cloudy. We had to pass a highland part and it started to rain. It got colder… 8°. We had our rain clothes and also the gloves to wear! Then came a gas station and we first got us hot coffee. There we asked for a campsite and this was eight k’s away. But it already stopped to rain. The last kilometers were easy and enjoyable. All beside a fjord which ended/started near the gas station. The location of the campsite was a real nice one, direct beside the fjord.
We had lunch, a light beer and felt soon asleep.
Third day: Borðeyri – Blönduós (90km)
I woke up because it was hot in the tent. SUN! I get up and made coffee. Our neighbours were also awake. Two older german guys, on with a titanium bike, the other one with a lada niva jeep. The cycling guy gave us the advice to get the Iceland cycling map of 2017 in which are all neccessary informations for cyclists. Altitude, steepness, campsites, shops.
We tried to dry our clothes at the fence behind the tent. We had to go back eight k’s, stopped at the gas station to refill our food and then started to the next location. The ride this day was very lovely. We had lunch beside the road at a creek, somewhen the temperature started to raise from 14° to over 20° within half an hour. Get off the clothes and enjoy the sun. We passed a gas station and took a coffee there. We met a russian cyclist and talked a bit with coffee and sun. We had mostly tailwind until we reached the top of an uphill, then followed headwind.
Also there was a road construction with a guy sitting in the middle of the street with a stop/go-shield. He looked a bit bored When we could go we had 3 k’s of fresh gravel road. Soon we arrived at the campsite in Blönduós. This camping had also (hot) showers included and we got the cycling map in icelandic language. The campsite got crowded late.Bääääääm!
Fourth day: Blönduós – Akureyri (150km)
After waking up i had coffee with french motorcyclist of Paris, later he had a call with his girl and got the happy news that is getting father Nice! He rode all the way from Paris with the bike. Took the ferry (for two days) and is now cruising around Iceland. We started the first 20 k’s with tailwind beside a creek. The weather was not sure if it should rain or be just cloudy. Or maybe sun? That’s Iceland.
That we had to get up to the Öxnadalsheiði, which is a 19k long highland street. Beautiful!
For the downhill we had again headwind. The coffee bar listed in the map was closed. Too bad for us. We were sitting in front and had some bread, with sun. Coffee would have been better The next 50k were felt very slow and took a lot of time…
When we arrived in Akureyri (already saw it) pedaling went easy again. Destination this night was a campsite with a lot of icelandic people. Icelandic people enjoy their summer time to travel, mostly with camping sites. We built the tent, had dinner and some light beer. Then sleeping in the cosy sleeping bags
Fifth day: Akureyri – Skútustaðir (105km)
I woke up early again because the sun was out and heating the tent. Our neighbour was a frenchman again. But a hiking one this time We put the clothes on the ‘fence’ to dry. Coffee with short and t-shirt. Fine! After we packed the stuff we headed to a supermarket and it was my first time in an icelandic supermarket, interesting. Mostly imported stuff. Somestimes with german language. Like haribo. Hehe. After supermarket we had breakfast at the fjord, watching the airport there. Today we wanted to reach the Mývatn lake, like out french neighbour.
We we started to ride we had a uphill fist. There we met the frenchman at the road, hitchhiking, -> hing-five! During the uphill we saw a whale in the fjord. Anothers item on the todo-list done, to see a whale. On top of the hill we met Nikolaus We had a coffee and soon we passed Goðafoss waterfall. This nice thingy was directly followed by an uphill. A serious one. Passing some highland with a big lake we had another scenery when we went down in the next valley. It looked like a wonder land. Creeks and green. You could also see a vulcano which is sometimes active behind the lake. Awesome view! Aweome headwind
We arrived at the campsite and found a funny teletubbie-land. Build the tent and had dinner and some of our secret schnapps before going to sleep. The sun down was stunning, also it took like 2 hours. We went late to bed and it was still bright at 1:30 a.m.
Sixth day: Skútustaðir – Modhrudalur (73km)
Waking up early because it got hot inside the tent. SUN! I went outside to make coffee. Many people were preparing for their day, coffee, shower, morning stuff. After packing our stuff we went to the supermarket to refill the stock of food. Also we had directly breakfast beside the supermarket in the shadow. The sun was warm. When we left to village we saw a sandy looking hill and a sign that the next gas station will arrive in 112k… My thought was that we not enter a proper desert! Back to the supermarket to get more water. Soon we passed a steamy, crazy blue lake. On one side was steam coming out. Stunning! Then we had to climb the sandy hill (on the road ).
When we reached the top and could see what’s behind it was funny. The different scenery was just until shortly behind the downhill and then came normal green vegetation again. First we had to look to the muddy holes and steamy holes. We get lovely headwind with 30m/s… This really fucks us up today. Uphill would be a pleasure if the headwind would go away.
Out desired spot for today was campsite 7k away of the ringroad. We took a look at the map at a break, we thought it would be 10k more till the crossing to leave the road. Happely we were directly at this crossing It was 7k of finest gravel. Arriving at some houses with the campsite was impressive. All looked so sweet. Cosy! Houses with grass on top. When we arrived we had first a proper beer on the terrace in the sun. With a perfect view to the ‘queen of Iceland’ Herdubreið. Here located is also the highest cultivated farm in Iceland on altitude of 469m. The campsite had it’s own goat which tried to eat our clothes :D. Oli got a good friend with it. We had an asia-quick-soupe and went inside the guesthouse to get a proper icelandic lamb soup. Delicious!
Seventh day: Modhrudalur – Skjöldólfsstadir (58km)
Sun and wind. Fresh morning. Coffee in front of the cave. An icelandic couple joined the table for breakfast. Then some english motorcyclists. A nice conversions is going on. Oli got some advice where to buy a real icelandic pullover in Reykjavik, the moto guys where to get a hot shower beside a hotpot for free. After packing i bought some bread in the guesthouse which the bake themself. It was windy and cold. Our plan B will be just 50k this day.
The last downhill for today was 15km/h fast with hard pedaling… Not funny. We arrived at the campsite beside a guesthouse. Nice spot! First of all we took coffee inside. The room was like gym. With reindeers heads and fur at the walls. Getting warm. Included in the camp fee is also the yacuzzi and showers. Perfect! We bought a beer, built the tent and went for the yacuzzi to get warm. First a hot shower for cleaning, then the hot pot. There we met a couple of Switzerland, a danish guy and his slovakian wife with two kids. We had a nice conversation hanging in the hot water. Warm again we went in the guesthouse for dinner. Oli had some reindeets chopballs and i had fish of a lake beside. Damn, delicious food! Some beers too. Luxury dinner Then hopp in the tent for sleeping.
Eight day: Skjöldólfsstadir – Egilsstaðir (53km)
Waking up, cold and grey sky. The clouds pass not too far above our heads. Today i’m gonna put on the winter bib and gloves for cycling. We had directly strong headwind. The road goes up and down.
When it goes down you have to pedal hard to get a speed of 15km/h. Rough stuff. Rain comes. The temperature goes down on 6.5°! We were hiding under a bridge for a cigarette beside sheep poo. The only spot to hide of the rain. You have nothing to hide before the rain in Iceland. Except one of the very few bridges The rain gets less and also the wind changes to tailwind. Finally we arrive in Egilsstaðir at the campsite. First a warm shower, then go shopping. A package of tobacco for 20 Eur. In fact of the bad weather we hang around at the ‘lobby’ of the campsite, like many others campers (mostly hikers). We see on a screen in the lobby that there is a warning in this area for camping cars in fact of very strong wind (30m/s)… Oh, we cycled that. Some Lettöl and we went in the tent for sleep with a strong wind outside.
Ninth day: Egilsstaðir – Djúpivogur (85 km)
Morning. Rain and strong wind. The wind pressed the rain through a small vent at the entrance into the tent. Everything was moist. Coffee under the roof at the place for cleaning the dishes. We think about our possibilites… A swiss lady comes to clean some dishes, sees us poor cyclist and gives us some swiss chocolate to feel better Many people try to get their clothes dry inside the building. We started to pack our stuff and to go on. To the next spot. First we stopped at the supermarket to get food and a chocolate croissant.
Mh…. The rain stopped we got tailwind. Wow! The scenery got amazing. Some kind of small forests. At the horizont was some blue sky. Just a small stripe. Hope We had today the Öxipass as higlight. Gravelroad, strong wind of the side and descent of 17%…. When we reached the top we could see the next fjord. Wow. More wow was when we arrived at the bottom and took a look back. The hill was like half of a circle and the clouds were sourrounding it. It looked as aliens would arrive soon.
It’s getting colder, we have 20k’s more. When we arrived in Djúpivogur we looked first for a hostel, after some coffee we took the campsite Beside two swiss guys with an ex-fire-lorry. We had a warm shower and dinner with a great view!
Tenth day: Djúpivogur – Höfn (104 km)
Waking up with strong wind and light rain. In our tent it smells like dried sweat. Mhh… Pack, coffee. This campsite had a room/kitchen for the campers, we tried to dry our clothes inside. It smelled quite bad there We had coffee, breakfast and packed our stuff.
Today we had the coastline in the south as our way. It was cold and some wet in the air. Not really rain. We had a good cycling day with lovely sceneries. Sometimes you see small creeks they look rusty. The stones, the water, the flowers. We crossed a large beach where swans are located. Thousans of them! A bit after we saw a reindeer laying easy beside a lake and chilling. Before Höfn we had a tunnel.
At the campsite we decided to take a cottage for a night because everything was wet. So we could dry our stuff in the cottage and had a proper bed for a night. We could park the bikes on our own terrace. Luxury!
Eleventh day: Höfn – Gerði (70 km)
We slept long in that cosy cottage coffee on the terrace, pack. We got some grease of a german cyclist. We met him and his girlfriend later. We went to the supermarket to get food and had breakfast before it. Then we had to take a photo at the coastline a few meters away… With a view to the glacier, then go!
First we had headwind, then switching to tailwind. We wanted coffee… The first guesthouse had none, but they had foodstations for horses in front of their entry. First time seen A bit later we could get a coffee at a hostel. We took some of them. Shortly before we left came the couple (the grease guy and his girlfriend) on the search for coffee When we arrived at Gerði we had to search for the campsite.
There was no sign for it… But it was on the cycling map. The first guesthouse told us to ask the second one. It was not looking like they have a campsite. But happely there was a space behind the guesthouse for tents. Coffee was included in the camping fee. First thing was to have a coffee and watch the scenery in front. We built the tent and Oli went for a shower. Them came the sun out. Amazing view! The couple arrived. We went inside for dinner. Lamb and (real) beer. Delicious! Later we spent some time with the couple in front of the tent. It was Maik’s birthday at 22 o’clock -> midnight in Germany
Twelfth day: Gerði – Skaftafell (74 km)
This morning i didn’t had to cook coffee, just walk inside the guesthouse and fill my cup Easy morning! Sun, coffee and a stunning view! We packed and started to the Jökulsárlón, the glacier lagoon. Many people, you can book a tour with a boat or an amphibian vehicle. We switched the side and no people anymore. Silence and this impressive view. Time for lunch!
On the way we ‘met’ the glacier for a few more times. Such a huge monument of frozen water. I think it was like four days visible for us from different angles. Then i got a bit boring Cold. We arrived at Skftafell glacier campsite. A huge campsite, many people, mostly hikers. You could see the end of the glacier directly from our tent. About 80 meter about sealevel. We had a shower, dinner and wanted to go sleeping. Then arrived the couple we know. Some lettöl later we could go sleep It seems that mostly where you find grass it is only turf. We also passed a turf manufactur on the way. Below is just lava stones. You recognize this when you try to put your tent pegs in the ground
Thirteenth day: Skaftafell – Kirkjubæjarklaustur (70 km)
We started with clouds. The couple stayed to take a bus later, they had to go soon to the airport. After some pedaling we had to put on the rain stuff. After 20 k’s the weather got better and the scenery got amazing! Lava with woll moose on top. A green which changed with some sun. Lava hill with grass and waterfalls. The sheeps came back.
When we arrived in Kirkjubæjarklaustur first thing was having coffee at the gas station. Then refill food and lettöl at the supermarket. Now campsite and relax. We used the possibility of a washing some of our clothing because it smelled horrible And we could place most of it in a warm room that it would be dry the next day. Fresh clothing for cyling! Yeah! The campsite had also a room with kitchen for the campers, we made pasta with pesto. As dessert we ate some delicious skyr! I really love the one with créme brulée! Then we went sleep in our cosy tent. The sleeping bags are the more cody thing
Fourteenth day: Kirkjubæjarklaustur – Skógafoss (106 km)
Coffee at picknick table. The cycling clothes are mostly dry and smelling fine! Mhhh! A nice feeling after 13 days to wear fresh clothes
The first 70 k’s was nothing. Just pedaling. Then we arrived in Vik and could get a coffee at the gas station. Vik is a nice place direct at the coast. In Vik started a serious uphill. After uphill followes downhill And a stunning view! Today we had 30 k’s more to go.
Island on the horizont, not visible on the pictures. Back they were there! The last k’s were easy. Nice landscape, weather ok! The campsite for tonight had the worst revies on google. Like loud, dirty and lousy. Hell yeah! We arrived and first we went in the restaurant for dinner. Burger and (real) beer time! We deserved it! Then we went to the campsite beside to place the tent, when it was done we went to the huge waterfall a few meters away. Also at night an impressive view!
Fifthteenth day: Skógafoss – Sellfoss (98 km)
Coffee with a view! This campsite was not that bad. At 9 a.m. it started with busses full of tourist to see the waterfall. It’s funny if tourist walk about the campsite and think you’re a part of ‘their’ journey.
Direct beside our tent were cows. The tourist kids was amazed about that. They didn’t care about the waterfall. So we had to pack inside kids feeding the cows. It started to rain again. Now routine to put the rain stuff on. Heading nearer to Reykjavik made it easier to have villages with supermarkets and infrastructure. In Hlíðarendi we stopped at the supermarket and got us some sandwiches, then we went to the gas station on the other side of the street for coffee. Oli went after that to the Vínbúðin (alcohol store) to get two beers for the arrival tonight as reward. The pedaling today was hard.
Finally we arrived at Sellfoss and went first in the supermarket. The campsite was top, showers included We had a 4 course menu. Before our journey i got told in the outdoor shop where i bought the travel food to buy a ‘mouse au chocolate’ for a real bad day in the evening. Because we ate it the last day before being back in Reykjavik our time was not that hard. Or we had other rewards. Maybe.
Sixteenth day: Sellfoss – Reykjavic (58km)
The last of cycling… We slept long. Coffee with sun, we started to pack also the rain started.
Rainpant on. Off. We had a long uphill. You could still see Sellfoss on top of the uphill, Sellfoss is 23k away. Around here you can see steam coming out of the earth. When the downhill started was a nice little place beside the road where we stopped to see the crazy nature.
After that we had to pedal to get to a lovely coffee spot with more than delicious snacks. The last 30k to Reykjavik was just a finish Pedal, pedal, pedal. Back at the hostel we had a real reward beer. We got a shower and dressed and started to walk for fish and chips downtown. Perfect!
Eighteenth day:Reykjavic (walk around)
We went downtown to see the city and buy some presents to take home. Interesting walk, see the building of Reykjavik. Oli got some icelandic pullovers and i got candies Then heading back to the hostel to pack the bikes and stuff. We have been too quick. Then airport. It was an awesome experience. Thank you Iceland, thank you Oli!
k’s: 1423 | duration: 74h cycling | meters of climbing: 11945