≡ Menu
Vagabond Journey

Proposed Route of Bicycle Travel for Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland- The bicycle is just about all set up — gear racks have been made, my equipment has been assembled, I am all ready to pack up camp and roll out of Reykjavik. Going north first, as I was told that the wind blows through Iceland predominately from the east. “Are you going clockwise [...]

Reykjavik, Iceland- The bicycle is just about all set up — gear racks have been made, my equipment has been assembled, I am all ready to pack up camp and roll out of Reykjavik. Going north first, as I was told that the wind blows through Iceland predominately from the east.

“Are you going clockwise or anti-clockwise,” a German traveler named Octokan asked me once he found out that I was planning to circumambulate Iceland on a bicycle. I had not really thought about this too much, planning for travel is something that I tend to not waste much mental bandwidth on. I answered counter-clockwise, as I felt it would be a good to stay as far south as possible when first setting out. But at this Octokan’s eyes bulged.

“But the wind, I think the wind would not be good. Five out of seven days, the wind blows from the east,” he lectured. “I met one bicycler who went anti-clockwise and he said that it was very difficult. He told me that he was going into the wind and that he only made half the number of kilometers per day than he usually does and that he was very tired at the end of the day.”

I thought about this for a moment, “OK, then clockwise it is.”

And so it shall be.

Proposed route of bicycle travel for Iceland

Ultimately, I plan on using Ring Road, highway 1 that encircles most of Iceland as my guide as I embark on this journey. One planned diversion from Ring Road will be to travel along the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland. The reasons for this will become obvious once I begin publishing entries from that region. In all, Ring Road is roughly 1,300 km all the way around, but, with excursions off of it, I am realistically probably looking at nearly 1,800 km of bicycle travel. This means that I need to make at least 66 kilometers per day to circumabulate the country and get back to Reykjavik in time for my proposed flight back to Maine and then to Colombia with Chaya and Petra.

As far as travelogue publication goes, I have no idea where my internet access will come from once leaving Reykjavik, and, especially as I will be camping most every night, I am unsure how ofter I will be able to publish new entries. But, don’t despair, there will be two special guests partially taking over the blogging duties. When I return to good internet, probably after this journey is completed I will publish entries here in sequential order. Also, the complete, full story will be published in a book called Biketramping Iceland, which should be completed this autumn.

The biggest problems that I foresee in this journey are  1) The bicycle holding up, and 2) I am using a Hennessy Hammock tent in a country that is virtually devoid of trees, and I am therefore unsure if I will always have a place to hang it. But an obstacle here and there is precisely what makes a trip into a journey.

Filed under: Bicycle Travel, Europe, Iceland, Western Europe

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 88 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3411 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

Support Wade Shepard’s writing on this blog (please help):

Wade Shepard is currently in: Rochester, New York

9 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

  • Terri June 23, 2011, 8:36 am

    Good luck, Wade! I’ll be thinking of you on your trip, hoping for safe travels and a great learning experience!

    Ride slow!

    t.

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard June 25, 2011, 4:07 pm

      Thanks T, much appreciated!

      Link Reply
  • david June 23, 2011, 9:24 am

    Awe man! Isn’t that a bit rushed? What about staying over a couple of days in interesting places??

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard June 25, 2011, 4:07 pm

      Just met a guy today bicycling the Ring Road in under two weeks haha.

      Link Reply
  • craig | travelvice.com June 23, 2011, 10:43 am

    I’d suggest taking your time to do a fraction of that, and figuring out how to get a ride back for your return flight (which should already be part of Plan-B JIC the bike completely fails).

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard June 25, 2011, 4:06 pm

      Good call, man. I will get to this soon, but I took one look at Ring Road and said no way. Just been on back roads for the past few days — dusty and bumpy but far better than riding on a road with no shoulder and lots of traffic. Yes, the return to Reykjavik plan will need to be worked out. Either I need to prep for biking it about a week in advance or work out the transport, as buses often only run once or twice a week. Man, the wife would be so pissed if I missed that flight.

      Link Reply
      • the candy trail ... | Michael Robert Powell June 25, 2011, 9:25 pm

        Yeah, agree with Craig. Also: why not break up the journey with a mix of bike-tramping and hitching (with bike on top of a truck, on car roof rack or whatever). Giving you more time to chill – suck in the vista with a beer, rest, less rush for that flight … But whatever happens – this looks like one very exciting ride. Good luck with everything … ENJOY

        Link Reply
  • Pierre July 4, 2011, 6:26 pm

    That was a good plan … if you had 6 months ! : )

    ( i am hanging out at the airport since 1, and there isn t any free coffee refill… worst day ever.)

    Have fun for the rest !

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard July 5, 2011, 6:56 am

      Great man! Good to hear that you made it back alright. Yes, those free coffee refills in Iceland are good! Yeah, it probably would have taken either of us six months to get around the country to this extent haha. We are slow travelers, hanging out on the road side haha.

      Link Reply