The good and bad of cycling Iceland

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.

A bike ride around Iceland

There's this lovely little island in the far north that Lauren and I biked around last summer, that we enjoyed tremendously, and that I was too preoccupied to actually write about while traveling. Nearly six months have elapsed since we returned, and I've sensed those memories beginning to erode. I want to capture what's left of them before they wash out to sea like the bits and pieces of an Icelandic glacier—seemingly frozen, yet shrinking slowly if you know just where to look. Much is already gone, so instead of a full report, consider this a series of disconnected, illustrated vignettes from our time on the road.

What to know about cycling Iceland

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.

Why cycling Iceland counter-clockwise is a really good idea

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.