A few months back, I wrote about some things that might be good to know before bike touring around Iceland. Stuff like what weather to expect, where to camp, and how much to budget (oh, and how to get there and which way to travel). Those tips, I hope, captured the logistics of traveling Iceland by bike, but they didn't necessarily capture the experience of doing so. Iceland offers plenty of ups and downs along the way—things that make biking there a pleasure, and things that make it really, really difficult at times. Here are a few of them to consider.
Before starting this site, I wrote on and off elsewhere about my various travels. Most of it's pretty useless and doesn't really belong here, but my bike trip through Morocco in February 2016 felt pretty relevant, so here it is in it's unabridged entirety: a rambling travelogue of a month spent solo cycling in northern Africa.
Being in Iceland with a bicycle is an excellent recipe for adventure. But actually getting there with said bicycle can be a little more challenging. Disassembling, flying with, putting back together, and escaping the airport with a bicycle is rarely fun, so here are a few tips to make that part of the journey a little less painful.
Kilometer for kilometer, Iceland may just be one of the most diverse, unique, and beautiful places on earth. From lush green farmland to spiky alien lava fields to a mind-boggling abundance of waterfalls, the little island packs a lot in. As such, it's a popular cyclist destination, and it isn't difficult to find lots and lots of really great and really comprehensive bike-specific information before setting out. Here's our take, based on a month of exploration in July of 2016.
In April 2016, I rode from the Pittsburgh Airport back home to Washington, DC via the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal Towpath. The overwhelming majority of this route—spanning 300+ miles—is set on lovely, car-free paths and rail trails through the forest, snaking along a series of slow-moving rivers. It's a very easy (albeit sluggish) journey, and a great introduction to bike touring. Here are a few things worth knowing.
In February 2016, I headed to Morocco for my very first cycling trip. Starting in Marrakesh and heading south over the Atlas Mountains via the Tizi n'Test pass, I traveled to Tafrout and onwards to the southern Moroccan coast—requiring two climbs over the Anti-Atlas range—before reaching Sidi Ifni, turning north to Essaouria, and returning to Marrakesh at the end of the month. It was a challenging, rewarding, amazing journey; here are a few things I learned en route.
If you're planning to circumnavigate Iceland—or cover any distance on the island, really—you'll first need to decide which way to travel. The internet seems to lean in favor of cycling clockwise, from Reykjavik to Akuryri and continuing on, citing prevailing winds. Thankfully, we ignored this advice during our ride, for a few good reasons.