(Image by Paul van Roekel: http://www.paulvanroekel.nl/)
It has been a long time since I last wrote an entry. In fact, it has been almost a year.
This year will be slightly different to 2009. I will be joined by potentially two other cyclists. Dave, depending on whether he makes it back from New Zealand, is a cert to join me for the whole trip. In addition, Angelique, a new work colleague at Blast Radius, has shown interest in joining me for part of the journey as well. However, she is based in San Francisco, which means that this trip posses some interesting logistical issues for my cycle partners.
The route for this year’s journey will be a full lap of Iceland. In addition, if we have sufficient time and weather permitting, I hope to cross the uninhabited centre of the country. Here we will get to see first-hand the island’s interior, the Highlands of Iceland, which are meant to be a cold and uninhabitable combination of sand, mountains and glaciers.
Iceland is the world’s 18th largest island and Europe’s second largest island after Great Britain. To put this into context, it is about the same size as Cuba (the main island) and 25% larger than Ireland. Reykjavík, the capital city, is home to two-thirds of the national population, which means that a lot of the ride will be very remote. We will be cycling close to the Arctic Circle, which Iceland is situated just south of, which means inclement and potentially cold weather but hopefully almost uninterrupted daylight.
Iceland was made famous in 2008 for the economic meltdown of its financial and banking sector. Being an island with few if any agricultural output, almost all of the daily necessities have to be imported, making it a punishingly expensive place to visit. This year (2010), on 21st March, the volcano Eyjafjallajökull in the south of Iceland erupted, forcing 600 people to flee their homes. Our route will takes us within close proximity of the volcano, so hopefully, I should be able to take some great shots.
Iceland has 2,869 miles of paved roads. Route 1, or the Ring Road (Icelandic: Þjóðvegur 1 or Hringvegur), completed in 1974, is Iceland’s main road and circumnavigates the island, connecting the majority of inhabited parts of the island. This paved road is 831 miles long, which is well below the anticipated 1500 miles I hope to cover in this outing. Alas, we will not be able to complete the full lap on this road, as bicycles are not allowed through the Hvalfjörður Tunnel. Instead, we will need to follow a 62 mile detour.
The main question to me at this stage is whether to cycle the island clockwise or anticlockwise. I am aware of strong prevailing winds along a large part of the southern route and many other blogs I have read about their cycling endeavours in Iceland would tend to suggest the smart money would be on a clockwise approach. The benefit of this is that the most impressive scenery is along the south coast.
Here are some links to other Iceland cyclist´s blogs. If you know of any other good blogs, please post URLs and comments: