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  1. #1
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    Summer in Iceland (Sept 2011) - What to expect from...

    I'm going over to Iceland with some friends this summer (end of August into September). The route in it's early stages of planning is attached below. We won't be doing the entire island because of time restraints. We have about ~10-14 days to clear that much road.

    WIND

    One of my friends wants to stay at hotels at the end of every day. So we've planned one possible ride ranging between 25-60 miles a day. My concern with this plan is that he's not factoring in the headwind delays, and we'll be needing to complete x-miles every day to reach our hotel. He says the wind is in the highlands, I say we should expect the everyday.

    We've done only one tour prior to this, along the pacific coast from San Francisco through Big Sur to San Diego. He's claiming the wind will similar, but I'm not so sure about that (I didn't even find it that bad).

    I've read on previous posts and blogs about Iceland, where people were claiming only 30km (20mi) in a whole day due to wind delays, but it's hard to put that in context without how many hours they rode.

    We'll be in good physical shape and trained up, but does anyone have any experience to share? Should we bring a tent as an absolute fail safe (I wasn't even thinking about bringing one until I just wrote this, lol)? Any other advice regarding possible delays to expect between destinations?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by lolroflmaoafk; 01-30-11 at 11:06 PM.

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    It won't be impossible to ride 60 miles every day. However comparing avg wind speeds along your route with bad headwind days I can remember, some of those 60 mile days are likely to be miserable.

    Then again, tenting in that wind might not be preferable to braving the ride until you reach a solid structure anyway.

  3. #3
    nun
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    I'm planning to ride NR1 in July staying at hotels most of the time. I'm taking 3 weeks to do it averaging around 50 miles a day with a few rest days. I'm also concerned about the wind, but the figure that the long days will give me enough daylight to get to my destination each day.

    My touring style is to start out early, usually around 6:30 and get most of my riding done before noon. My longest day will be 80 miles and I figure that even averaging 8 mph I can get that done in good time

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    Your friend is incorrect about the wind only being in the highlands. The wind is strong and it's unpredictable, although a trend we noticed was when you're on the coast it comes from the sea and when you're more inland it comes from the interior.

    I'd also definitely encourage you to consider camping. The campgrounds are cheap and they often have a communal kitchen. Hotels are ridiculously expensive. Consider staying at farms if your friend won't camp.

    Iceland is an amzing country. I can't wait to tour there again someday.

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    nun
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    Here's my daily mileage to ride NR1. I've visited the waterfalls and geysers before so it's really just about riding the ring road for me. I'm staying at a combo of hostels, hotels and camp sites. I'm a bit scared of the wind, but hope the long days will give me plenty of time to reach my destination and I can always jump on the bus if it gets too horrible.

    I splurged on nice hotels in Reykjavik and Egilssta­ir. If you book early the 4 star Icelandair hotel in Rejkjavik is $95 a night. The hostels I've booked range form $20 to $60 a night depending if its a dorm or a private room.

    Town Miles
    Reykjavik 0
    Fljotsdalur 76.25
    Vik 48.4375
    Hvoll 63.125
    Vagnsstadir 68.75
    Stafafell 48.125
    Berunes 66.875
    Egilssta­ir 66.875
    Egilssta­ir 0
    Modhrulalur 62.5
    Lake Myvatn 46.875
    Akueryri 63.125
    Varmahlid 58.125
    Blonduos 31.25
    Saeberg 46.875
    Borganes 60.625
    Reykjavik 70
    Last edited by nun; 02-03-11 at 01:19 PM.

  6. #6
    nun
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    Anyone have any info on Stafafell and Modhrulalur campsites/hostels. I emailed them last week and haven't got a reply yet

  7. #7
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by lolroflmaoafk View Post

    We'll be in good physical shape and trained up, but does anyone have any experience to share? Should we bring a tent as an absolute fail safe (I wasn't even thinking about bringing one until I just wrote this, lol)? Any other advice regarding possible delays to expect between destinations?
    I see you're planning on using the Oxi pass short cut between Djupivogur and Egilsstadir. I was thinking of that, do you know anything about how steep or rough it is?

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    Senior Member Kurious Oranj's Avatar
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    As others have said, prepare for some strong winds. I grew up in Iceland and I have spent lots of time traveling there but never on a bike. I usually drove where I wanted to go, camped, and hiked from there. The weather in late August and early September can be treacherous and you can expect temps between 40 and 60 F with night time temps dropping down to the low 30s. The fall really starts in late August over there but having said that, some of the most beautiful days are in late August through September. Expect rain and be prepared with good raingear.

    I usually camp but as I said, I have all my stuff in the trunk of my 4WD. The camp grounds are great and usually well kept with amenities like running water, toilets etc and modestly priced. You can of course do some stealth camping as well. The roads are narrow and Icelanders may not always be the most considerate drivers but I honestly can't remember any serious accidents involving cyclotourists there. Get ready for some serious but usually rather short climbs.

    If you are not into the camping thing, you can consider staying at farms (bed and breakfast or just bed) which is often reasonably priced. You may already be aware of Icelandic Farm Holidays but they have a list of farms offering accommodation. Stay away from most hotels as they are very expensive and cheaper accommodation can usually be found at farms and smaller guesthouses.

    I think Íxi, the shortcut from Dj˙pivogur til Egilssta­ir is a decent road but it is gravel and probably steep at times. I found a few pics taken this summer from a cycling event where cyclists rode Íxi and the road does not appear too bad. I would also like you to know that the coastal route, albeit longer, is very scenic and the roads are less traveled there. There is now a tunnel between Fßskr˙­sfj÷r­ur and Rey­arfj÷r­ur but I don't know if one is allowed to bike through it.

    You are in for a lot of fun and a similar trip is certainly on my 5 year plan.

  9. #9
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurious Oranj View Post
    As others have said, prepare for some strong winds. I grew up in Iceland and I have spent lots of time traveling there but never on a bike. I usually drove where I wanted to go, camped, and hiked from there. The weather in late August and early September can be treacherous and you can expect temps between 40 and 60 F with night time temps dropping down to the low 30s. The fall really starts in late August over there but having said that, some of the most beautiful days are in late August through September. Expect rain and be prepared with good raingear.

    I usually camp but as I said, I have all my stuff in the trunk of my 4WD. The camp grounds are great and usually well kept with amenities like running water, toilets etc and modestly priced. You can of course do some stealth camping as well. The roads are narrow and Icelanders may not always be the most considerate drivers but I honestly can't remember any serious accidents involving cyclotourists there. Get ready for some serious but usually rather short climbs.

    If you are not into the camping thing, you can consider staying at farms (bed and breakfast or just bed) which is often reasonably priced. You may already be aware of Icelandic Farm Holidays but they have a list of farms offering accommodation. Stay away from most hotels as they are very expensive and cheaper accommodation can usually be found at farms and smaller guesthouses.

    I think Íxi, the shortcut from Dj˙pivogur til Egilssta­ir is a decent road but it is gravel and probably steep at times. I found a few pics taken this summer from a cycling event where cyclists rode Íxi and the road does not appear too bad. I would also like you to know that the coastal route, albeit longer, is very scenic and the roads are less traveled there. There is now a tunnel between Fßskr˙­sfj÷r­ur and Rey­arfj÷r­ur but I don't know if one is allowed to bike through it.

    You are in for a lot of fun and a similar trip is certainly on my 5 year plan.
    Thanks.
    I decided to give Oxi a miss and stay on Rt 1 as I have the time and wanted to stay a night at the Berunes Hostel. I'm dividing my stays between pricey hotels in the cities and farms/camping and hostels. I find that after a few days of "roughing" it I really enjoy some luxury. The worst as far as prices is Lake Myvatn, it's EUR 55 just for sleeping bag in a dorm.

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    Senior Member Kurious Oranj's Avatar
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    Good choice. The area around Berunes is beautiful, especially the view across the fjord. I see that you will be passing through the Skaftafell National Park on your way. It is truly a magical place and if the weather is good, consider hiking in the park for a few hours. There are some spectacular sights there including a beautiful waterfall (Svartifoss).

    I don't have many digital pics from the area around Dj˙pivogur (I still use 35 mm slides and I am currently grieving the disappearance of Kodachrome 64) but below you see a couple from my small backup digital camera. One from the harbor at Dj˙pivogur and another one from the old and dilapidated French hospital in Fßskr˙­sfj÷r­ur (it will be renovated and turned into a museum).




  11. #11
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    What you have to be prepared for when traveling in Iceland is wind and rain - or both at the same time. You can expect temperatures from around 5 C to around 20 C. The Ring Road - Highway 1 - is all tarmac by now, as far as I know and shouldn't be that hard to bike. The road over the Íxi pass is quite steep and can be quite rough, depending on how much maintenance has been done that summer. But it is a very scenic route to take but you miss some nice fjords in return.

    If you need more information, just ask away...

    Magnus Thor
    Iceland

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    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    I was in Iceland on a stop-over last year in early September. I didn't ride, but took a bus tour of a Golden Circle. It was cold, rainy and very windy. There's no trees to protect you, so I can imagine that riding through the open areas must be quite difficult. Absolutely beautiful place though, you'll love the scenery.

  13. #13
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magnus Thor View Post
    What you have to be prepared for when traveling in Iceland is wind and rain - or both at the same time. You can expect temperatures from around 5 C to around 20 C. The Ring Road - Highway 1 - is all tarmac by now, as far as I know and shouldn't be that hard to bike. The road over the Íxi pass is quite steep and can be quite rough, depending on how much maintenance has been done that summer. But it is a very scenic route to take but you miss some nice fjords in return.

    If you need more information, just ask away...

    Magnus Thor
    Iceland
    Thanks, I'm coming prepared with rain gear and layers that will take me from freezing to warm. I've arranged it so that I will be staying in hotels and hostels most nights. I'm bringing a sleeping bag for the hostels and camping gear for the couple of nights I might have to camp and also just to be safe. If I don't get to my destination one night at least I can shelter in the tent. My average daily ride will be 94kms, not too much usually, but that wind and rain has me a bit worried. Let's hopw it's behind me most of the time.

  14. #14
    nun
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    I have a trip to Iceland planed for July. I'll be riding the ring road, but right now it's closed because of the ash fall from the latest volcano. The ash looks to be quite a few inches deep and is blocking the sun. Is there anyone in Iceland now that has any idea if it will be passable in a month. Does the ash get ploughed away and washed away by rain?

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    I have no info but I am jealous...I wanna go too.

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    Wind and rain - and then more wind and rain. Temperatures could range from 0 C to 20 C. And more wind and rain. I would camp, but then again I'm planing a ride over the interior highlands in early August, camping out for two weeks or so. Since I don't know the fitness levels of your group I can't guess at your daily mileage, but when I rode the ring road, 7 years ago I managed from 80 to 150 km per day, and I was not in good shape. At least bring a tent in case you get caught by really bad weather away from your intended hotel/hostel.
    Feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

    Magnus Thor
    Iceland (currently under a cloud of ash...)

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    Hope the Airport is not closed due to one of their Volcanoes going off, that week.

    The International Airport generally upwind of them?

  18. #18
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magnus Thor View Post
    Wind and rain - and then more wind and rain. Temperatures could range from 0 C to 20 C. And more wind and rain. I would camp, but then again I'm planing a ride over the interior highlands in early August, camping out for two weeks or so. Since I don't know the fitness levels of your group I can't guess at your daily mileage, but when I rode the ring road, 7 years ago I managed from 80 to 150 km per day, and I was not in good shape. At least bring a tent in case you get caught by really bad weather away from your intended hotel/hostel.
    Feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

    Magnus Thor
    Iceland (currently under a cloud of ash...)
    I'm ready for the rain.....don't know about the wind. My fitness level is ok and I plan to average 90km a day. I'll be bringing a tent, sleeping bag etc, but I have hotels/hostels booked for every night. My real question is how quickly you can get out form under that ash cloud. Right now it would be impossible to ride on Route 1. But in a month will all the ash be gone from the road and the air. How quickly does it get cleaned up?

  19. #19
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    I guess the ash will be mostly gone on two weeks or so, except for the glacier itself and, perhaps, some parts of the nearby highlands. That is perhaps the only good thing about the wind and rain fetish prevalent in Iceland that the ash will get blown out to sea or rained down into the soil pretty quickly. This particular eruption is also quite far away from inhabited areas, so it shouldn't be a problem.

    http://www.mbl.is/frimg/5/64/564767.jpg
    http://img.visir.is/apps/pbcsi.dll/b...ef=AR&NoBorder
    http://www.visir.is/section/MEDIA99&...A-575DED815DD1

    These should show you what the situation has been like for the last couple of days. But it's getting better...

    Magnus Thor
    Iceland

  20. #20
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magnus Thor View Post
    I guess the ash will be mostly gone on two weeks or so, except for the glacier itself and, perhaps, some parts of the nearby highlands. That is perhaps the only good thing about the wind and rain fetish prevalent in Iceland that the ash will get blown out to sea or rained down into the soil pretty quickly. This particular eruption is also quite far away from inhabited areas, so it shouldn't be a problem.

    http://www.mbl.is/frimg/5/64/564767.jpg
    http://img.visir.is/apps/pbcsi.dll/b...ef=AR&NoBorder
    http://www.visir.is/section/MEDIA99&...A-575DED815DD1

    These should show you what the situation has been like for the last couple of days. But it's getting better...

    Magnus Thor
    Iceland
    Thanks! I'm going to bring dust masks and glasses to protect my face. Route 1 East of Vik is now open and if there are any issues in a month's time I can always take the bus from Vik to Hofn and continue the ride from there.

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    Anyone done the ring road in June - July for a max of 4 weeks? Still rain and wind and rain ... or am I missing something? How about availability of campsites/hostels/farm (sleeping bag) accommodation in June - July? Effect of school holidays? What about overseas traveller numbers as compared to Sept having an impact on accomodation/hostels??? TIA for any info or even a "heads up". Yes, I know there will be long daylight hours - how about bugs?

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