I thought I would finish this blog post with a few final thoughts and tips from my trip. Hopefully this has inspired people to travel in Iceland, and maybe to even have a crack at it on two wheels! Here we go…
As mentioned earlier, Iceland is expensive. If I hadn’t camped and cooked my own meals I would have easily doubled, maybe trebled my outlay. Campsites are abundant in Iceland and much cheaper than hotels on the island. Plus its a much more adventurous way to travel!
Eating out was wayyy out of my budget so I bought my own food and cooked myself. I use the term ‘cooked’ loosely. I basically had instant noodles, beans and eggs. People with a bit more culinary nous than myself could easily make a tasty meal without breaking the bank. Most campsites have a communal kitchen.
The Bonus chain of supermarkets are the best for ‘cheap’ supplies. Whenever I saw one I crammed my panniers. They even had cheap chocolate! I emptied the shelf when I saw these.
A banana dipped in a jar of honey is the greatest snack known to man. It will keep your clock ticking all day!
If you do attempt to cycle the Island then I would suggest you will need at least 3 weeks to complete the ring road, however, ideally you should take a month so you can check out the western fjords and the wild interior. This will also allow some time for when the weather gets the best of you, and you wish to just stay in your tent all day!
A lovely and convenient surprise when arriving in Keflavik was the bike assembly container in the airport car park. Inside this container all the tools you could possibly need to reassemble your bike after your flight. I wish other airports followed suit. Pumping up your tyres in the middle of the terminal is not ideal.
Make sure you take lots of layers. And waterproofs! I stupidly didn’t have waterproof footwear and ended up wearing plastic bags for socks.
Cycling through the wilds of Iceland really made me appreciate the little things. My tent became the cosiest place on earth. Getting out of the cold in to a snug sleeping bag, sipping a cup of tea whilst my dinner bubbles away in the camp stove was the best thing in the world, and something to look forward to after a hard days riding. When I used to finish work I would come home and put the TV on or play on the PS4. In Iceland there was nothing more entertaining than reading a book in the evening. It was truly back to basics stuff. I worked so hard mentally and physically that these little things became huge treats.
Cycling is a truly wonderful way of seeing the world. You see and feel the atmosphere of a place more so than by just looking out of a train window. It is demanding and rewarding in equal measure and I cannot wait for my next cycling adventure.
In terms of riding solo, I feel that warrants a blog post unto itself, so keep an eye on the Backpacks and Bicycles page for that.
As for Iceland as a destination. Wow. A truly incredible place. An island of wonders that has so many tricks up its sleeve. The people are descendants of Vikings but they couldn’t be more welcoming and friendly. Reykjavik is a gorgeous and compact capital. The whole country is safe, secure and clean. But the main attractions are the alien landscapes. The bubbling pools, the luminous green mountains, the vast lava fields, the rampaging waterfalls, the huge waves crashing on to the jet black sand. A photo does not suffice.
I told you that my trip to Iceland was type 2 fun. The kind of thing you think is tough at the time but looking back it was an incredible experience. I definitely put myself through the ringer on this one, and looking back I wouldn’t have had it any other way.