I started my “big bicycle journey” 16 days ago. At the moment, the speedometer of my bike is 988 km. Not a world-wide number, but nothing. In Hafnarfjordur, I decided to take my journey towards the rarely populated ancient western fjords (which is Iceland’s oldest region).
On the first day, I wrapped up with a Belgian guy named Jens, whom I found out at the campsite. Immediately we went through the baptism of fire in the strong winds of Iceland. When we were cycling in the first fjord, we had a full-fledged side wind. From there, “trying to twist warfare”, I got there “trying to get into the wind with my full weight to keep myself and the bike straight”. There was no single point in the faded countryside where a tent could normally be beaten.
At the third house where we asked for our tent, the lady called us to sleep indoors, in the cozy little summer residence’s attic. He offered us a piece of lasagna and salad and a slice of divine banana. He showed pictures of his children, we discussed the route, the whale hunting and the fun with the kid, and the chances that the roads leading in the country will be accessible.
First and the last
This was my first and my last real personal meeting with Icelanders.My first bike days were very hard. Suddenly, I realized that the body I came home in May 2015 after a year’s turn is not the same as the one I started this tour. I have to start all over again. Building and shaping muscles, coping with the first sun allergy, back pain, and saddle strings. This year’s tours in the Netherlands gave this a very lean foundation.
The best cycling around the world route – It was difficult. My whole body was aching and uncomfortable and desperate to transport his bike. Halfway through the second day, seeing the big speed difference between me and Jens, I decided to continue alone.
Journey experience essay
I immediately felt at my own pace – what I was looking for years, but only now, on my last bicycle journey. I am always pedaling at a constant pace and changing speed up and down depending on wind and rising / slope. I’m not rushing; I don’t have to arrive anywhere. You got up the mountain at a snail’s pace, and you hit it down fast. If I want to keep a rest, I rest. If I want to read a book for an hour or two, I do. In the afternoon I set up my tent at 2 pm if I feel that it was enough for today, or I’ll hit the saddle again after a long break at 5 o’clock and late at night.
In terms of camping, Iceland is paradise itself! You can throw your tent anywhere and drink drinking and cooking water directly from the waterfalls and streams. Nobody will ever mind disturbing your camp.
Iceland, which I knew about the images, was hiding from me in the first days. But on the third day, in the western fjords, a bad, steep gravel road led to a fabulous landscape overlooking the fjords, the waterfalls, the snowy countryside, and the green moss and other undergrowth. While I was occasionally pulled by a car with tourists, I didn’t know where to look and every few minutes I stopped to enjoy the view. If at that time a leprechaun or a goblin would have appeared behind a rock, I would have felt more confirmation than surprise.
After a rest day in Isafjordur, I switched to real fjord mode. I haven’t finished with one of the fjords yet, but the next one is invited. At the “peak” of one of the fjords, I was tenting overnight in the distance over the water, up to the northernmost, snow-covered mountains of Iceland. When I pissed out of the tent in the middle of the night (0:55), the sky was light orange. I turned my head and saw a wonderful sunset. For a short moment, the sun fell behind the horizon and covered the landscape for a full hour at dusk.
When I sat on the saddle that morning, I looked right and saw the next “fjord tip”. 38 km, according to the map. I wish it was a goblet built here; it would only be 1.5km. 38 km! If the wind is blowing into the fjords, it will go out of the way, and vice versa. In the fjords, if you look around, you can see what awaits you. The fjords are beautiful and frustrating at the same time.
I left the western fjords after 7 (longer and shorter) fjords. Yesterday was my first bike day on the ring road (number 1). To avoid morning traffic and strong winds, I set my alarm on for 4 hours. At 4:15, I ate my oatmeal (oatmeal, honey, dates, seeds and maybe banana), then wrapped up in my warmest clothes at 5:15 am on my quiet ring road. Completed! To the south, I dropped to 80 km and arrived at the campsite before the wind rose and the biggest traffic started.
I met other cyclists here and there, who are going to Iceland for 2-3 weeks on a cycling holiday. The only exception was the Australian hiker Luke, who had been cycling for 6 months and didn’t want to change it in the near future. After spending a few years in the office and (in his own words) “waiting for his life to begin”, he decided to quit his job and discover the world. First only as a backpacker and now on two wheels bicycle journey. I sat there with him at the top of the pass at least one hour at the shelter where we met. “You are like me!” He said several times. And, really, both of us had a good time to meet someone who made a similar decision and left behind family life to go through the world until he found what he’d rather do.
And how are you? They ask me regularly
‘Well!’ That’s all I can say. In the first week, I was thinking a lot about the home. Things that I will not do or experience for a while and people I will not see for a long time have constantly jumped in. My parents, brothers, and sisters, my own house, urban coupling with a friend, my place of residence, my usual environment. While I enjoyed scrolling and tanning, I sat in a sort of mourning, and yet… I really don’t need to get to know ‘new’ people, except for some ‘long-term travelers’.
An American couple had already called on their ships next year at the beginning of their world sailing. Right now, I really enjoy loneliness, and I feel that the wonderful and fascinating things that have happened to me in recent months have moved from my head to my heart. As if they were making room for the adventures that I had before and for which I had long wanted.
The another day
Makes sense! I have a sense.
I was a little worried that I would feel this again, but my concerns were unfounded.
Many great moments, cycling or camping – I feel like I was born!
And I do not seem to be alone with this feeling of opportunities: a new sponsor or my first “freelance” job. Write to welovecycling.com!
Tomorrow, I’ll be a saddle back to Akureyri, to this university in North Iceland, and I can only hope that they will soon open the way to the country.
I am thinking of the gravel road, the volcanoes, glaciers, geysers and beautiful camping sites!