Owen and Jon arrived in Reykjavik a few hours before we had and took to the streets of the town like zombies to entertain themselves before we arrived. Heidi and I were well into our happy place after the Scotland trip but the anticipation of meeting two great friends for another bike adventure was pushing our excitement to new levels. It had been a long time since we'd ridden with any of the Colorado members of the Goonface Bike Gang, we looked forward to enjoying every minute here in Iceland with the boys.
Trying to keep a positive mental attitude during one of Iceland's wettest summers in decades was already becoming a challenge for the crew. Grey skies and rain along with 18+ hours of light seemed to slow down the days before we could actually get outdoors and get drenched. With plenty of catching up to do and plenty of time, we did our best to keep cash in our accounts, find our missing bikes and prep ourselves for a wet 5 days on a bike.
The evening before our trip was to start the folks at IceBike Adventures called us with a change in schedule. There was going to be a window of favorable weather earlier in the morning and if we wanted to get the party started right we'd have to be ready to rally first thing the next day. No big deal. By morning we'd all been chomping on the bit and couldn't' wait to get into a helicopter for a flight to the top of a volcano. Feeling like we had cleared our first big hurdle with weather and finally being on bikes our attitudes quickly changed. We pedaled off the top of the volcano and immediately found ourselves on another planet.
For the next four days, we rode through the most incredible landscapes I've seen. The vibrant, almost neon, mosses that covered the mountainsides were shocking at first sight. In such a barren landscape, I didn't expect it to feel so alive with bright vegetation. From the lava formations frozen in time across giant braided rivers to glaciers resting on volcanos, Iceland's dramatic terrain is awestriking and unique. Our week in the highlands was just an eye-opener to what this island has to offer in natural beauty and outdoor adventure.
Somehow, someway, the weather cooperated throughout the duration of our trip and made it possible for the group to explore (and see) the best of Iceland's mountain biking. With plenty of singletrack and multi-use trails to explore on the island, you would never exhaust the limits to the distances or wilds you could reach. It's truly a "choose your own adventure" style of riding. If you're willing to ride, push or carry your bike to ride terrain, with or without a trail, there is nothing stopping you from finding what you yearn for. Without a local guide and someone to help with the logistics of moving people, bikes, and gear trying to piece a journey like this together on our own would have been a real brainbuster. Thanks to Runar and the folks at IceBike Adventures we were amazed by Iceland on a daily basis.
As the Iceland adventure progressed through the week I think the focus of the trip had shifted away from the ideas of being on a guided tour and more on the idea of spending quality time on a bike with good friends. On these trips, we can start to focus on getting in the best riding over the short time we have and let the stresses that come with those choices sway us from enjoying our time outdoors with the people we love. I worried more about missing our friends when the trip ended than I was about any other aspect of the trip. That's a good thing.
Iceland is unique enough that I don't think many places on earth resemble it. Especially places you can ride a bike. I would suggest to anyone wanting to visit Iceland to make it happen. It's absolutely beautiful and you'll undoubtedly see something you've never seen before. This trip could have been my one chance to see the island and I'll relive only great memories of this strange planet named Iceland.
For more outstanding pictures from Jon's collection click here