Day 8: Reykjahlio to Moorudalur

The beginning of the hardcore cycling. Had planned to travel for two days and meet Dave in Egilsstadir.We have been going through the highlands so you are at altitude and it feels really really cold. We have been battling with more fierce headwinds.Every morning we look to the flags to check the winds and every morning they are blowing madly. There was NOTHING en route at all, not village, no shelter – nothing, just very big open plains at elevated level with non-stop winds pinning you back.

Cycled our hearts out for 45 kms and then stopped. It would normally take 3 hours to go that distance but it took 5 hours.  It was unbelievable.  Eventually we flagged down some locals to ask when the next town was. They said it was 35kms otherwise they suggested that  I should cycle back in the direction I had come from. There was no way I was going to do that. In the end did we did 78km. Stopped in Moorudalur. It was 8km off of a   main road on a dumpy gravel road. It was a tiny little camping ground but massively windy so we set about finding a sheltered place on a hillock, a challenge in itself! The camp had a nice little bar with wifi but no mobile connection. A lovely sanctuary after a very hard day.

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Day 6: Kinnafjall to Akureyri

Woke up to another beautiful day, Julien treated himself to a bit of a lie in. It was still cold but bright always helps.  Broke the tent down.   Set off and headed 55km down the hill towards Angelique’s location.  The head winds were at it again and even though the cycling was downhill it was only possible to reach 8mph, cycling into the winds is heartbreaking and always a challenge .  It was an unrelenting 4 hours. When we met up with Angelique she deduced that Julien needed to lose some kit to make the head winds easier so we had a bit of a turn out and Angelique will be taking 10 kilo’s of stuff and leaving it at the airport on her way out tomorrow.

Currently Julien’s leg muscles look like I imagine Popeye’s would.  Now having a nice meal and preparing to wave Angelique off in the morning. Dave is on his way and is flying out tomorrow although Julien will be heading to Akureyri in the middle of nowhere so it will take a few days to meet up.

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Day 5: Blonduos to Kinnafjall

This morning was a beautiful one to wake up to. Sunny and bright, not words we would have associated with Iceland so far.  The road out of Blonduos was calm and tranquil and we covered about 35-40kms without seeing any traffic. However, this was clearly too good to be true. As we turned a corner we could see a rising valley ahead of us.  Shit! came to mind. It is difficult to put this into words but we could see tiny cars up ahead of us climbing very very slowly. This did not bode well for us lowly cyclists.

We climbed 500 metres higher and higher up the hill. It was grueling and exceptionally tough. As we reached a plateau at the top of the mountain it was still fairly sunny and warm and the scenery was awesome.

As we began to head down towards Varmahlio (a small town housing 120 residents) we could see the massive drop ahead of us and it was a long long long  ride down. The weather was  beautiful and  really warm. We safely reached the bottom and after an amazing lunch  thought ‘life is great’.

Over lunch we looked at the map and saw that we could get 45 km towards our next destination.  Unfortunately our luck was out and the stand on Julien’s bike broke. No stand on a touring bike fully loaded is frankly a pain in the arse as you can’t just stop for a drink. You have to find something to lean it on. This put Julien in a grumpy mood. Then the weather clouded over and it got cold. Our non-stop uphill climbing of only  15km took us a whole  4 hours! We were so high up that we got to the point where there was snow all around us. We were yet again battling strong head winds  and we were freezing cold. Finally we reached the path at the top. We had drunk a lot of water and were very thirsty. The wind chill made it below zero. Julien had full weather gear but Angelique’s full weather kit had one missing in transit so we hailed her a lift down the mountain. Julien camped alone at the top of the mountain and experienced -2 degrees in the tent.  That said it was a beautiful evening with clear skies and the now familiar light nights.

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Day 4: Stykkisholmur to Blonduos

We awoke on Saturday morning having slept well in Stykkisholmur.  After breakfast we had a good review of the map and thought “bloody hell it is gong to be a long way from here to get anywhere useful” so reluctantly we cycled back to Borgarnes. It was another hard ride back and a bit of a detour but was definitely the right decision. The ‘return’ journey seemed harder partly  due to  Julien’s very heavily laden bike and the fact that Angelique’s make-shift  panniers shifted with every notch on the road resulting in us having to stop to re-adjust them after each minor bang. We covered almost 100k back to Borgarnes.

Although this may upset the more adventurous of our followers we elected to take the local bus to Blonduos which is a small seaside town in the northwestern part of Iceland.  Our leg muscles were bulging and the logistics of our kit were getting us down. Approximately 1000 people live in the town and the distance from Reykjavik is about 245 km. The word that sums up our first view of the town was ‘weird’ but we mean that in an eerily endearing way. There is an unusual building that looks a little bit like a pudding bowl with the top lopped off.  There were few people around and the only thing missing from this ‘Omen’ style scene was the tumbleweed. We found a little camp area and stuck the tent up.

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Day 3: Budir to Stykkisholmur

Tonight we blog from Stykkisholmur after a tough but rewarding day.

We have made it around the end of the island having cycled through a massive volcanic region. The weather has frankly been miserable for most of the day but the sun broke though late afternoon and actually turned out to be absolutely gorgeous.  We have been cycling mostly along the coast which is a tough terrain to deal with but very rewarding.

Fish is on the menu again tonight as we are now sitting in the beautiful fishing town  of Stykkisholmur  awaiting our supper. More detail to follow tomorrow!

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Day 2: Borgarnes to Budir

At 4am we were woken up by the unmistakable  sound of torrential rain pelting down on the canvas. Because of Iceland’s location, so close to the North Pole, you will have heard that the daylight hardly ever subsides so eye-guards are vital. Waking up to the sound of the battering rain wearing eye-guards is quite disorienting and we had no idea of the time. Tentatively we pulled up our masks hoping that it was not 9am and were relieved to learn that it was only 4 in the morning. So, eye masks back down and we were able to snooze away until 7am.

When we awoke for the second time this morning we got up and dried out the tents before heading out to look for breakfast. This is where we happened upon a unique Icelandic character who is a puppeteer by trade and now also runs a great cafe with his wife.  We had a fantastic breakfast and reviewed our maps taking on local advice from the puppeteer.

We cycled North West to the Snaefellsnes peninsula which had also been highly recommended by our first host. To get there took us 4 hours and battling the continuing headwinds meant we covered just 40km. In the afternoon Angelique had to pull up as she was concerned that she had injured her leg. We flagged down a passing truck and she managed to blag a lift to our destination for the day. I waved her off and cycled on, completing another 75km alone.

Tonight we reside in Budir close to Snaefellsjokull. Our prettiest location so far. We are in a small hotel which Angelique managed to get a great deal at and have a view of the glacier we had been heading for. Angelique is fine and should be back on the road first thing. Off to relax now!

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Events Team
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020 7841 8955
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Day 1: Reykjavik to Borgarnes

We awoke to a beautiful day and set off north around the harbour towards Borgarnes which provided us with our first real experience of cycling in Iceland and along a 69km stretch. We had heard the Iceland was renound for it’s head-winds. The rumours were not wrong. The temperature was a very pleasant 25 degrees but the wind was incredible. The last part of the days trip had us heading along a dead straight road where we could see the last 10 miles ahead of us. Cycling in a straight line into the winds was almost debilitating so we were relieved to reach our destination.

We found a campsite and having set up our tents, headed off in to the local town to search for dinner. The food in Iceland can be challenging, fish is ‘popular’ but by now we were craving the green stuff. We were thrilled to find an awesome restaurant which served up the most fulfilling salads. Not something we thought we would ever appreciate quite so much but we went to bed full of fresh vegetables and utterly exhausted.

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Events Team
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Bit of a mad dash

Not a great deal to report on the cycling front. We suffered a bit of a set back when Angelique’s luggage did not turn up. The airline were fairly helpful and able to give us a budget to replace the vital cycling kit.

We thought that this would be a simple task but luck was not with us as shopping for cycling gear in Iceland is a bit of a struggle. After dashing around Reykjavik Angelique was happy to settle for some waterproof bags which we were ingeniously able to fashion in to panniers for her bike. That evening was spent putting the bikes together and consulting the maps with our kind host lady Bára ( www.270mos) who advised us to head north towards a spectacular glacier. We got our heads down for the night desperate to get cycling tomorrow.

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Events Team
Kids First Trust

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The adventure begins…

Well, what a start. Dave has been delayed as he is unwell at the moment and unable to fly for the next few days. Its been an interesting first day, Iceland Air had no records of me on the flight as I had to change it but rather strangely, my bike was booked on! After a protracted “discussion” with the Iceland Air staff I finally made it onto the flight.

It gets better.

Angelique, our cyclist from San Fransisco did not encounter any such problems arriving safely with her bike, only to discover that her bags have been lost with all her gear. We can’t go anywhere without Angelique’s bag so we have to stay put for tonight and plan to head back to the airport – some 40km away – tomorrow morning.

All is not lost though. An incredibly kind lady called Bára, has offered to let us stay in her apartment tonight for free and is going to help us sort things out tomorrow. You can find out more about Bára´s lovely apartment her: www.270mos.is Angelique and I have been studying the map and we are dying to get out on the road so fingers crossed the bag will arrive.

Here’s to the kindness of strangers and high adventure!

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