Iceland 2021

Where did we Cycle ?

Fusce adipiscing
The gallery has a page for each day. Press the down arrow to the right of Sort Gallery (in blue) to pick a day
Sort Gallery

Route Descriptions, places to stay and eat and GPX links for each day

Keflavik to Reykjavic

GPX File Keflavik to Reykjavic

Accommodation

We used Hotel Fron If you ask nicely and are careful, your bike can go into your room

Food

Stock up in Keflavic, nothing till the outskirts of Reykjavic

Short Description

This route was the best I could find from the internet in advance.
There are a couple of issues with it but also a few pluses
1) You have to take a section of the main road from the airport to Reykjavic. This is marked on the route. There is a shoulder but it's busy
2) There are 3 sections of good cycle paths, through Keflavic, after Voger and into Reykjavic
3) The tracks are OK. The bumpiest of the whole trip in Iceland


Rekjavik to Bjarteyjarsandur

GPX File Rekjavik to Bjarteyjarsandur

Accommodation

There is a paddock that you can camp in. There is an indoor place to stay and 4 cottages to hire . See https://www.facebook.com/Bjarteyjarsandur-119791818044640/ or Trip Advisor

There is also an indoor area where you can cok and sit for a period of time during the evening

Food

Very good cafe and shops in Mosfellsbær and two supermarkets. Nothing after that. We didn't do the road that might have a cafe after the big climb (pretty sure it's there, but need to take a parallel road)

Long Description

There are great cyclepaths in the centre of the city so I latched onto one that took us nicely for a few km as we exited east. The plan was to follow the road as close as possible but it proved difficult. At one point we ended up at a broken bridge.
By chance really I crossed a bridge, went right through an industrial estate and spotted a beautiful cyclepath all the way to Mosfellsbær marked by yellow signs. Well tarmacced it followed the road (route 1, ring road) and was an absolute delight.
Into Mosfellsbær we fell into a cafe with an amazing selection of cakes. As the rain fell it provided an ideal respite as we popped to the supermarket next door.
The cyclepath continued along the main road an even for a few miles after we had turned off onto the Easterly road. Back onto tarmac for a long climb that was well graded to a high point where we headed left and north with the added bonus of downhill. The valley road was glorious but the low cloud hid most of the waterfalls and it was a mars bar lunch by a gatepost to fuel us on.
To a TJ and a brief look left to another waterfall, after which we climbed over the hill to reach a sublime area. The seawater on the left was full of birds and a basking seal. On the right were hills that fell steeply down, beautiful. You could see a long way as the cloud had lifted as we circumnavigated the inlet to arrive at the farm campsite.



Bjarteyjarsandur to Borganes

GPX File Bjarteyjarsandur to Borganes


Accommodation

You have 2 choices.

There is a campsite by the Fjord in Borganes. The reviews aren't great and there are no showers

There are two good fixed places. The B59 Hostel is a mix of hotel and hostel. There are large bunk rooms that are comfortable. There is also a YHA in town

Food

There may be a cafe at the War and Peace museum, but that's very close to the start. After that nothing till Borganes where there are two supermarkets. There is an excellent all you can eat vegetarian buffet by the Settlement Museum


Long Description

Out the campsite to rain. I had to chase down the owner to pay the 10200 kroner for the campsite, whereupon she chased us down to offer a cottage for our return at 15000.
There was rain in the air as we cycled the tarmac with views over the water to the left.
The War and Peace museum was shut, shame as looked good a collection of memorabilia from the WW2 time when the Americans and UK used the area for the arctic convoys. paint adorned the walls of flowers in guns and a Banksy balloon
Heading inland was a steep uphill along a gravel trap that was very firm under the wheels. The rain puddles picked out the potholes as we ascended in the drizzle. A fast downhill to a large lake, which we cycled along to the right. Large farmsteads and a few houses littered the landscape and 2 cars gave us the thumbs up as we climbed out of the valley again.
Descending again we stopped at a waterfall, and you could see the others high up on the mountain side. The track was flat now as we rode the length of the lake on the right, before turning along tarmac for more flat riding with glorious views of volcanic hills to the left. Whooper swans in groups of 2 to 5 grouped the landscape before the final short climb and descent to join the small shoulder of route 1 as it entered Borganes, marked by a pretty church on the hill.
Heading inland we found a glorious cafe that offered a buffet lunch for 1500kr (£15) where we tucked into vegetables, something that remain pricey in these parts
Early into the hotel/hostel. What a place for £20 each for 10 bunk beds against 3 walls and plenty of space to dry everything out
Joined an Austrian lawyer who seemed to enjoy the chat so much her 5 days driving round the island lost a few hours as she waited for us to leave in the morning

Borganes to Langeholt

GPX File Borganes to Langeholt


Accommodation

The campsite at Langeholt was closed in 2021. However the Langaholt Hotel is open, but it's an expensive place for an evening meal (though cooked very well, personally, avoid the mussels)

Food

Excellent cafe in the hotel just after the junction, about 2/3 of the way on the right. Great coffee and cake. Pricey but delicious. The hotel serves a great breakfast, evening meal is pricey.


Long Description

Out the hotel, where we ate cereal in the room. The bus station opposite sold coffee and things, so we sat drinking coffee waiting for the rain to appear which of course it did. Admired the new cycling work station, which even had a working track pump.
The first part through town was very wet and busy as we were back on route 1, but got quieter as we headed left at the roundabout for the western peninsular. The cycling was steady, ups and downs nothing dramatic as it picked its way through. Distant mountains were shrouded in cloud as we plodded our way along
Then it happened; At the bottom of a short sharp hill,  Mike's gear cable snapped. Wheeling into a houses drive, so started 2 hours of fun as we tried to figure out how to replace it. Via a youtube video tutorial, we stated to figure it out and rebuilt it only to discover the fractured end had blocked the mechanism, so started again. We were almost lost, as the cable had to be threaded through the frame but by this time a pick up truck had arrived. In perfect English they explained that they were at work and could take us 4km to our friends. Turned out Lorna, Steve and Rachel had taken cover in a JCB and these guys had come to tell them off. Result was they had driven back to help, unlike the lady of the house who had opened the door, conversed briefly, then left us to it in the rain.
Finally fixed we were in 2 groups now as Sharon myself and Mike went at 8 mph into the wind
I thought there were no cafes but one appeared on the right. Deliberating going in, it was good job we didn't, as we drank coffee and a divine chocolate cake at 990kr (about £6) it did seem mean to refuse but as our visit warned up so did our host. I told him it had rained since our arrival, scrolling through the pictures on the camera. He assured us it was sunny today and that the Northern lights had come out to play. Humour ping ponged about as like most he understand perfect English. We left with a smile on our faces made even better by him running out and gifting 3 chocolate truffles for later.
The visit had really chirped us up as we increased our speed and I tried to get the perfect picture of a red roofed church under the mountains.
Close to the coast now, it was a relieved Lorna whom greeted us at the hotel on the golf course.
An endless corridor decorated with Framed National Geographical maps. We each had a triple and awaited dinner at 2000.
It was supposed to be a treat and an expensive one at that. For me a bowel of Famous fish soup with 3 small chunks of fish and a boiled down liquid was a prequel to food poisoning that lasted a week by tasteless mussels at £1/shell. I tried to finish the salty liquid but failed.

Langeholt to Olafsvik

GPX File Langeholt to Olafsvik

Accommodation

The camping is at the Municipal campground at the end of the town. There is an indoor kitchen with pots and pans, showers and toilets

There is a hotel in town and a supermarket, but care as this closes at 1800

Food

One town on the way round the peninsular. About 1/3 of the way around. Two cafes, no shop.

Long Description
Sunshine greeted us, though several curtain tweaking looks hadn't revealed the Northern Lights.
Breakfast was a good buffet. toast, meats, cereal, fish and fruit. It was though apparent that the mussels hadn't agreed. Checked out asking the reception if there was anywhere to eat on the cycle ride...nope
We started west in good sunshine, farms on the right sea to the left. Farmsteads are pretty common and quite close together. Pasture looks good, and rather than having flocks of sheep they seem pretty feral as they wander about in groups of 3 or so.
You could hear the waterfalls before you could see them as they fell great heights with car parks below for folks to take in the views. Lots of Kia cars about and Dacias, seem to be the car of choice.
We took the coast road with a climb over the ridge for a lovely descent into an enclosed valley full of farms. A notice board half way down told of a 16th century serial killer who invited guests in, then axed them to death for their belongings.
Another climb out of the valley and we could just see the glacier on the mountain at the far end as yes the cloud was drawing in.
Lava fields aplenty full of sharp black rocky masses which would become a feature now along with long extinct volcano’s.
Halfway and yes there was a village by the coast that sold food. Sharon had discovered the refillable coffee. At 400kr (£2.50) you could have refills, but most had lattes and Americanos with sandwiches and chips. The coast was close with basalt pillars.
Out again and the cloud was low but the wind was swinging behind us as we changed direction. Into the National park where we all visited an overlook of a lighthouse and the lava coast to get our picture taken by one of the many Americans touring the place,
The wind was too our backs now 11mph uphill through a lava landscape. A volcano beckoned on the left. Who were we to refuse as we climbed the metal steps to the top to check out the crater.
Fast downhill to civilisation and a cyclepath that took us all the way to our destination
The campsite was on the outskirts of this small town by the harbour with big fishing boats. Complete with a fully equipped kitchen, I managed to rush everyone to the sole supermarket after which we fried red peppers 300kr apiece, added chick peas and sweet corn. Trying to cook pasta for 6 on 2 hobs with small pans was a challenge but 1200 grams of pasta for 6 did the trick

Olafsvik to Raudsdaler

GPX File Olafsvik to Raudsdaler

Accommodation

There is both a campng and onsite place to stay at Raudsdalur . The campsite is right by the beach in the left hand side, 200 metres after the ntrance to the farm. Folks will come down in the evening to collect your money. There is a toilet but no shower

Food

Supermarket in Olafsvik and another in Grundarfjördu. There is nothing after the ferry which sells snacks deep down in the hull of the boat

Long Description
The ferry left at 1500. As we were 40 miles away, we thought it best to make an early start so at 0630. Steve as the designated early riser went round the tents. He didn't have to do a lot as Rachel was so nervous of missing the time that she hardly slept and I woke at 0620, which caused great amusement to Steve as he's used to me getting up late.
Breakfast in the clean kitchen. The version of supermarket sweep last night, where we had 10 minutes to collect all our food and deal with a different language had taken its toll where rice pudding equalled yoghurt, not so good on muesli.
The sun had decided to hang about for the morning and what a scenically splendid morning we had. Out of town to dip past a beach, a climb over the headland and another drop to a beach. Just before the drop, if you looked back the glacier had finally decided to show its face. There was also a proud sign telling you that this was the first Earth Sphere, which was the highest environmental accreditation.
The superlative views continued passing a massive U shaped valley, a waterfall and a drop along a road twixt beach and mountain.
We entered Grundarfjördur where a fast coffee was had by most,  though I chose to check out the harbour where industrial fish processing attested to the local economy. 
The final climb brought another change, in the distance under a headland you could see our destination but now we were back in the lava fields, where mis shapen and twisted pieces of black rock lay strewn all around. There was one last long gradual climb after which we were on the road to our destination arriving at 1300 at an average of 8mph. The bakery provided soup, coffee and buns after which we whiled the final 90 minutes shopping for food and waiting at the port.
The ferry took about 40 cars and was the sixth in line with the same name from 1905. The first had sunk with the captain, hopefully not today. The crossing was fine as we popped in on Flately, a tiny island with a scattering of multicoloured houses. A new muck spreader delivered and we were on our way.
The final 6km were in glorious sunshine passing beaches with surf, birdlife and freezing cold water. Our campsite was right by the beach, a glorious sunset with the waves rocking us to sleep only 10 metres away.

Raudsdaler to Patreksfjörður

GPX File Raudsdaler to Patreksfjörður

Accommodation

Information is a bit sparce but there is an excellent municipal Campsite in town. As you enter on your right is a petrol station that's also a diner. They sell the camping permits and the site is above the garage

Food

Nothing until the end. Watch ot as the supermarket closes at 1800. Also in Iceland they open late at 1000 in most cases.

Long Description

Intermittent showers through the night we awoke to low cloud and squally showers.
Mike and Sharon were hiding against the wall of the toilet block whilst Lorna was hiding in her tent. Rachel fully dressed and everything packed was crouching in her tent wandering if everyone had died overnight.
Everything packed we set of along the seashore as the rain fell. The lovely views of the day before had gone but as the minutes passed things started to lift. The cycling was grand as it ran along the seashore.
To the right a small church appeared so Sharon and I decided to have a look. Painted white on the edge of a farmyard, I pulled the bolt on the front to reveal a second blue door. We entered, unlike the poor mouse dead in a trap to our left, to be greeted by a set of curved wooden pews centred on a small focal area with a framed habit and a picture of Jesus. It was really quaint and gold stars on the ceiling completed a lovely scene.
Back on the road we carried on down the coast road, more waterfalls.
What I hadn't seen but was becoming the stuff of legion is that Lorna was being followed by a dog. As folks changed places the dog took it in turns to follow them. Eventually it got so far away that Rachel flagged a car down, spoke some garbled English to 2 very confused Icelandic men, threw the dog in on top of their belongings and asked them to drop it back. Where the dog is now is anyone’s guess.
Turning right we were into the climb. Disappointingly it climbed then dropped, after which a sign announced a 410m climb with an 8% gradient. The wind blew and it was easier to walk it
The final run into the town as along the edge of the fjord. The view of the mountains falling into the water on the other side was sublime. In the water 14 hoops and 2 boats marked the first fish farm, I’d seen

Patreksfjörður to Bíldudalur

GPX File Patreksfjörður to Bíldudalur

Accommodation

The Campsite is on the right about 2/3 of the way into this small community.

There is also an excellent Guesthouse at Harbour Lights a little further along on the right next to the cafe/shop/restaurant

Food

There may be a cae in the town in the middle of the two climbs
Bildudalur has a great shop/cafe/restaurant near the harbour

Long Description

It rained all day for us on this ride. There are 2 big climbs of about 400 metres apiece that take about 90 minutes from top to bottom. I can't say anything about the views because there weren't any. In sun, I expect it was delightful

Bíldudalur to Stykkisholmer

GPX File Bíldudalur to Stykkisholmer

Accommodation

There is a basic campsite in town. It's on the way in on the right and is signed. There are however plenty of hostels and hotels in town

Food

The Flokulunder Hotel serves soup, pizzas etc but is very close to the end of the ride. Nothing before then

Long Description


The wind blew and the rain fell as we awoke ready for the traditional ferry dash. 30 miles and all day to do it, just there was an unknown climb of over 400metres and the road would be some version of gravel.
Breakfast was the usual fare, toast, cold ham and cheese, cereals, milk and drinking yoghurt washed down with endless coffee.
Down to the garage to pack the bikes to leave the guest house with a cheery 'good luck' from one of the two ladies who had looked after us the past 2 days.
Out of the town and into a monstrous Southerly headwind, the sea had white horses whipped up from the wind and all the flags were stretched out taught.
We followed the edge of the bay on a tarmac road that would end at the tiny airport with a landing strip carved in, right by the sea. As we twisted and turned on the road the howling wind hit us from the front or from the right. With a loaded bike it was very difficult to hold it straight and once you were going you were gone. The best way to control it was lean into the wind and cycle slowly. Cars ran by at about 10 an hour and were very polite, giving us a wide berth.
The rain continued to squall as we fought our way along. I was getting cold figuring that in this shorts and a coat would be good so that I could add layers later. Rounding a corner there was the ideal opportunity, several semi naked bodies trying out a hot spring with a covered changing area. Thrusting my hands in the water warmed them up nicely and I felt even better after donning a jacket, trousers and gloves.
We were interrupted by a very excited Dutch lady. 'Are you the 6 cyclists?' Yes we replied. It turned out that Onk was the lady that Lorna had attended to the previous day when she had collapsed in the sauna. 'Can we transport your bags to the ferry?' Well that was a tempting offer.....in the end she gave Sharon 6 Snicker bars.
Back out into the rain that wasn't quite constant now in the company of Sharon where we climbed to admire the numerous rainbows that were appearing over the bay, appearing with vivid colour as halves or wholes with ends resting in the sea below.
 You could see the climb from a few km away as it snaked up the hill and as we started the wind blew harder, forcing us to walk a section as it blew head on forcing us to walk. Then a joyous moment, it turned into a tail wind helping us up the hill as the clouds skidded across the sky. Sharon and I were behind on our own now, and 2km from the top an incredible sight. On the right parked up were Onk and her husband Philip in their 4 tonne truck. Just leaving were Lorna, Rachel and Steve, because here was an impromptu tea stop.
'Welcome' as the door was lowered to reveal small wooden steps into a purpose built heavy duty truck built in Italy and ferried over from Denmark. Inside tucked in a corner was Mike, clearly enjoying the hospitality as a hot cup of tea and half a bar of Milka chocolate were thrust in my direction. It was a happy 20-minute respite from the weather as we learnt that they had arrived 6 weeks ago, walked 43 of 52 routes in a book and enjoyed hiking. They were into cycling, their son having honeymooned on a bike in Japan.
Back on the road, the last 2km led us to the top and a road junction. In driving rain surrounded by diggers a truck lowered it's window. In perfect English we were asked to wait 10 minutes as there was to be an explosion down the road. Another truck drew up and a booming voice called out 'are you enjoying Iceland?' Yes it was turning into that kind of day.
Descending now, a new road was appearing, wider to replace the track with tarmac. The sea was in sight now and finally tarmac where we found the others warming in the Flokulundur hotel. Mushroom soup at £10 seemed a deal, so whilst others munched pizzas, Sharon and I took the refillable option.
It was obvious that this hotel was merely a staging post as folks were waiting for the 6km drive to the ferry, you never know how long things will take sometimes and we all hate erry dashes, so we left the warmth into a raging head wind arriving at the terminal 45 minutes early. No problem really as here was another act of random kindness. The chap who had asked us 'how's Norway' reappeared pointing to a shed on the ferry port. 'It's warm in there, but don't touch the buttons' and so we holed up in operation central for the ferry.

No-one really explored the ferry as it was a choppy crossing. The boat rocked from side to side on the 2.5 hour crossing. We arrived in the dark, donned lights and went in search of the accommodation. The clue we had was 'you can buy breakfast next door at 'Bonus'
The apartments were 3 rooms and it was clear from the labels an blu tack everywhere that this was an owner not to be messed with. Directions for 'put T bags here' and recycle this were mixed with a sign to put your dirty dishes here (nice touch as they would be dealt with) the boys were in the embroidery room, a chapel to winter nights of sewing, the girls in another 3 bedded room. The sitting area was adorned with glued Lord of the Rings puzzles and tiger puzzles, a testament to long Icelandic nights. A door opened and Monika appeared. Yes the owner lived next door and we would be watched.


Stykkisholmer to Sauðafell

GPX File Stykkisholmer to Sauðafell

Accommodation

If you head north at the junction there is a campsite in Búðardalur. However if you are going to stay inside for a night the Saudafell Guesthouse is the place to stay

Food

Nothing all day. The guesthouse has cooking facilities but no shop close, so you'll need to carry food

Long Description


We'd had a bit of a lecture the previous night from Monika at the guesthouse about things not being safe, was it aimed at us?
Morning came with a glowering sky. The supplied breakfast of cereal topped up in Nescafé jars was duly consumed and we set off to the bakery to pick up supplies for the day. An assortment of tasty buns, award winning donut things and cheese sandwiches stowed away before setting of past the thermometer registering a balmy 11 degrees.
The first part was tarmac to exit Stykkisholmur, heading south into drizzle. Heading left it was onto route 54 that ran along the south of Hvammsjördur. We stopped briefly at the interpretive signs where Sharon gave a masterclass to all weather girls before tackling the road that has yet to see tarmac. Of the ones we have done this was the poorest. Plenty of potholes and some loose stones, however the terrain was pretty placid and we made good time heading east. The one huge dogleg inland was overcome, but all of us were finding that the cars and trucks were coming pretty fast in our direction and oddly ladies were frequently at the wheel. A couple of lorries passed which was a cheerful moment as it meant that what was to come would be OK.
Opposite Brokey island the views really opened out to the left. With Stykkishólmur in the distance there was an abandoned fishing vessel and what seemed like hundreds of islands, a glorious site. Everyone had stopped to have a look so I raced to a viewpoint to get a good picture whereupon a full rainbow appeared completing a glorious vista.
We'd passed a red roofed church, but the next one was closer to the road, so Sharon and I went to have a look. Unusual without a red roof, it looked simple inside, but was unfortunately locked. Beneath the escarpment its graveyard had a picture of an Icelandic couple which I also thought was a nice touch on a headstone.
Returning to the road things started to get harder. There was a grating noise to the front wheel and to my horror looking down it was clear that the gap between tyre and mudguard was filled with a brown gloop from the road. 10 minutes with the spork cleared it, but it returned quickly needing an allen key to really scrape the area clean.
This had left me far behind and it was a relief to find the rest sheltering just past the junction of the 55 as this headed south (along with a brief section of tarmac) Sharon was afflicted too and then it dawned on me. The previous night the other guest in Stykkishólmur had talked of road works. Further on it was confirmed. Two enormous machines were working in tandem. Both had huge blades underneath for these were road graders. The first took of the top few cm of the road to eliminate the potholes. The second flattened it. What was left was a soft surface that cars, lorries, but not bicycles could compress. In our case it clagged up everything from wheels to chains. It took about 8 miles but finally we got past them to speed along the un molested road.
The scenery was flatter now. The high peaks such as Ljósufjöll at 1063 were behind us to be replaced by a softer landscape and the sheep started to reappear, again in threes, mother and grown up twins eying us suspiciously from the verges.
At 8 km from the end the tarmac returned, pristine as if to say 'going west soon' which was a relief to both tyres, mudguards and arms. Down it fell then rose again to the junction of route 60.
A busier road heading south we picked up good speed until the farm containing Saudafell guesthouse appeared on the left. This grey building at the far end of the farm was a fantastic base. Wooden construction and decked out in antique furniture with 6 bedrooms and a good kitchen. The first thing we did was spray down the bikes in thermal hot water, which later filled the hot tub. After that it was cups of tea and I cooked pasta and pesto with bacon and onion followed by 3 huge pots of Skyr yoghurt that I had toted in my panniers in an attempt to look after everyone intestinal biome.

Sauðafell to Borganes

GPX File Sauðafell to Borganes

Note that this GPX goes to Varmaland. The reason was that the campsite was closed when we visited, so we went to Borganes again

Accommodation

On our trip we returned to Borganes. There is a campsite at Varmaland but there is very little information on it. There is no website and getting hold of the owner is hard. There are no showers but a pool is close. Reviews are mixed and the same family own the Borganes site which also has mixed reviews. We came through mid September and it was shut. I would suggest checking when you get there or go to Borganes.

Food

You can buy ice cream and cheese at the creamery. After that nothing until the ring road where there are stores in gas stations every 15km or so.

Long Description

The antique farmhouse was quite some stay though lying next to a radiator pipe meant that it was hot,hot,hot. Our host was really helpful as she dished out the traditional breakfast of bread, cereal and meat/cheese, though why I didn't eat the apples that are so expensive I don't know. Turns out they had 600 hectares on the farm and 1000 over the mountain on which they ran sheep. They came in in September to be sheared and scanned after which they gave birth, and all released in April to May to wander the hills. Surprisingly fertile bunch as well, most produced twins. She went on to talk about Icelandic life. Most had now gone to Reykjavik, and even though they had three children in their 20's was unsure if any would take on the farm. It was also clear that those in the capital had lost all connection to the countryside. Once someone moved they knew others left behind. Now it wasn't to be. 'Even the person driving to replace a hire car here last night had never been up this valley' she lamented.
The other issue was that our campsite at Varmaland had shut for the season. This was a particular issue now, especially as they were impossible to contact and there was nothing on any website. Our host did manage to contact someone 'Ah yes' he crooned in perfect English ' but we do have another in Borganes' Now everything fell into place Borganes has dreadful reviews as did Varmaland, there's the connection
A pow wow with the troops signaled. A return to Borganes so that's what we did under a leaden sky though good visibility. The valley out of the farm was wide with mountains either side, farmers were ferrying silage bags about so it seemed appropriate to visit our only attraction all day, fully 2 km down the road. Home to 69 cows and a single robotic milker they made various products and this was their last open day. The signature product was Skyre yoghurt, far thicker than you would normally fine, it was like putty with a bovine aroma. To it you added flavourings and we chose Dandelion. 'You can also add berries from the hillside' smiled our host. 'Are any poisonous?' No was the reply.
So loaded with 3 containers into my tardis panniers we carried on having said hello to the cows.  The road veered right and we were into the climb of the day. Waterfalls again highlighted the climb and Rachel was the third fastest (out of 6) up it according to Strava, so that's another virtual cup.
The ascent had split us in two as usual. Steve, Lorna and Rachel out front leaving Mile, Sharon and myself to enjoy a long descent that ended up to turn right along route 1 and along the valley. After 4 miles we found them sitting in a very lonely place eating crisps, heating up Panini’s and drinking coffee. The place was deserted and I'm sure they had doubled the takings.
Now route 1 is supposed to be the route to take all around Iceland. What I had read was a little different and yup it was confirmed, it was a horror show. Loads if cars, a few close passes and none to a little shoulder within which I hid as I hoped it would end soon, but we had 30km of this. The only consolation was that it was reasonably flat.
Borganes finally arrived and the B59 hotel. Checked in we settled in and then thought about dinner. Supermarket or restaurant, however this was food roulette! The supermarket closed at 1900 and we got out at 1835 with a 15 minute walk to the restaurant. Hallelujah the restaurant is empty, but oh no a coach party has arrived filling half, but look at all those free tables.......with reserved all over them. 'Ah yes', the waitress said 'we can manage 2 but 5??
Turned out that was a lucky break on the roulette wheel as the supermarket was a 5 minute sprint away, but wait didn't I see a beachside place last time?
I entered the door 'table for 5?' 'Ah said the waiter, only place for groups if 6. Turns out we had a comedian on our hands. Shown to our table, he'd already ascertained we were English having already asked if we were American, but would not reveal his nationality. So started the guessing game. President who only appears for Easter and Christmas, close to Russia... I went through Armenia, Georgia, then was convinced it was Belarus, nope...
Menus arrived. Having had 4 lots if fish and chips in multiple locations, dockside, cafe and restaurant, it was time for a change and what a choice, lamb shank with vegetables, yes real vegetables, mashed potato, carrots and a parsnip in a deep meaty gravy, fantastic. Even better Sharon and I had our first strong beer in 2 weeks. At 5.6% it was delicious, but we got a little merry. After a few jokes, Rachel was desperate for us to leave trying to convince us there were people waiting. 'But there are free tables' we pointed out. So after the 3rd joke we headed out and back to the hotel. Oh and by the way the waiter was Lithuanian and we left a tip, unheard of in Iceland, by the looks we had from the staff clearing the table, what a meal

Borganes to Bjarteyjarsandur

GPX File Borganes to Bjarteyjarsandur

Ths GPX starts in Varmaland. On our tour we started from Borganes

Accommodation

There is a paddock that you can camp in. There is an indoor place to stay and 4 cottages to hire . See https://www.facebook.com/Bjarteyjarsandur-119791818044640/ or Trip Advisor

There is also an indoor area where you can cok and sit for a period of time during the evening

Food

Nothing on this route. The campsite does have a cafe but was shut throughout 2021


Long Description

Well the supermarket didn't open until 1000, so it was a relaxed start. The B59 hotel was a good start with its 10 beds spaced about the room, though how the teenage couple thought about sharing their night with 6 cyclists smelling vaguely damp is anyone’s guess. Rachel kindly did put her shoes outside the door, but no-one else did.
Breakfast was courtesy of the bus station. Quite a posh affair similar to a service station with coffee, sweets and Icelandic priced souvenirs. Why anyone would want a Mickey Mouse Buff at £35 is anyone’s guess. Coffee and pastries fuelled us to the Total supermarket where we perused the isles seeking inspiration. I can up with vegetable Korma and Steve inspirationally suggested 2 bags of frozen veg. Add in a Swiss roll for dessert and we were sorted.
The last job was to pump the tyres at the communal bike stand by the garage, which we all did, what a wonderful thing.
The mountains had a dusting of snow as we tackled the causeway on route1. Left and we were retracing our steps from 2 weeks ago. A gentle climb up and over with the Icelandic ponies running about in front of distant mountains made for a splendid view.
Mike's bike had developed a third squeak aside the pedal and somewhere else, he was also struggling. At the top of the tarmac climb that turned into dirt he announced that he was going back to Borganes to stay the night and catch the bus to Reykjavik the next day. Lorna offered to escort him back which she did, so suddenly we were 4. The snow sprinkled range to the right towered over us as we passed a few farms with their red rooved buildings after which we turned right, but not before creating an arrow out of rocks with Lorna so that she knew the way. We were going to put 'there be Vikings, but that would have needed a lot of rocks.
The lake section was a bit dull. Many small wooden houses in the undergrowth presumably bolt holes for Reykjavik W/E escapes, and a gravel road, which then swung right and up for the first climb of the day. Past a waterfall and a need to push after which it was a steady climb.  At this point the cloudy skies turned wet and the rain started to fall, however the wind veered to a tail wind. All of this was little consolation to Steve, whose brake blocks had been totally worn by the Iceland experience so he was taking it really carefully.
Sharon was flagging down car drivers so we were getting reports if Lorna who was catching us steadily
The final short climb in 3 stages over, it was downhill to the tarmac but the wind was getting stronger. Heading left for the last few miles with the Fjord on our left was pretty ferocious. The wind hammered driving rain into the left sides of our faces and for the 3rd time on this trip I was glad of my hood, something I haven't used in years.
To our left numerous people were driving the sheep in for the winter in similar conditions. We arrived at the camping place hoping for a roof over our heads but it turned out that all the sheep drovers had booked the 4 cottages and other rooms, so we broke out the camping gear.
We sheltered in the kitchen area whilst the drovers at a late dinner but were informed at 1800 that we had to be out in 15 minutes. We’ve never cooked so fast in our lives, ending up eating dinner in the shelter in the camping field
The sun set as I type this to music on the ipad, all very lovely.

Bjarteyjarsandur to Rekjavic

GPX File Bjarteyjarsandur to Rekjavic

This is the outgoing one, just reverse it

Food

As the outward journey. It's longer gong back with no food so stock up


Long Description


The Northern lights had failed to show during the night despite a 0200 alarm, cloudy.
At 0730 the campsite stated to rise, well as there were only 5 of us brave enough to face the elements, there wasn't a lot if stirring. Rachel had already packed her tent away and was sitting in the wooden shelter with its 4 seats and my chair on it's second outing.
Breakfast was started to be spread out as each of us produced stuff from our panniers. I'd hauled 2 litres of milk in the tardis. Rachel had a bag of cereal strapped to the top of her bike packing kit so her bottom was cushioned. Lorna produced a bag of oats to bulk things out and I recalled the last tub of Skyr yoghurt bought 2 days ago that had survived the journey. I re acquired the washed bowls from the bathroom, Sharon desperately tried to burn off all the gas she had carried and Steve plunged the Starbucks coffee in his jet boil cafetière, so we weren't going to starve,
The farm as well was stirring for today the sheep would be brought down at 1000 but some members seem to have forgotten they were in the hospitality business and that we'd paid 1700 kr each for the privilege of a goose and sheep faecally covered patch if grass. There was movement in the kitchen area but when someone approached the door was locked. Worst if all was Sharon, she was the bubbly one, always ready to engage, with questions about the place and always thankful. Looking through the pile of knitwear for sale she'd selected a plain pair of woollen gloves. On trying to pay to the daughter in law of the owner she was abruptly told that she couldn't have them as the card machine wasn't working (no-one it seems takes cash any more) and just turned her back and walked away. Damp and a bit shocked, she left.
We packed the tents, watching as more folks in Icelandic jumpers arrived and left.
It turned out though that something must have got through to 'mother' she had retired to the cottage next door and it was her that had advised us 2 weeks ago that a cottage was available. For she had intervened, given the gloves to Sharon, telling her that she had knitted them. Her son had also come out and wished us well. I guess it was the stress of bringing 7000 sheep in that day, and we all felt a little better about the experience.
We headed left from the site, no rain and the neighbouring mountains were dappled in sun. As we went round the Fjord the surrounding hills lit up in turn and it was a beautiful site. Heading west now, the road undulated adjacent to the Fjord, mountains on the left and the intense blues of the water to our right, full of seabirds enjoying the low tide. .
The fjord had been used in WW2 as a base for shipping protecting the Atlantic fleet from the Russians. Over 250 buildings had been there including a cinema, but most dramatic was the rotting pier pushing itself into the cold water. An explanatory board explained where we regrouped for a few pictures and the inevitable snickers bar.
The road was to head inland and south passing the wooden houses on the edge of the fjord, presumably bolt houses for richer Icelanders from the capital. It descended to the river and another meeting point where we discussed the next step, as here was a choice. Iceland doesn't have much of a road selection; A to B is pretty set. However here we could retrace along a beautiful tarmac road or take a chance, but would that one cafe be shut? Would there be gravel? Would it be hilly? In the end a long day and a wanting to get there with a climb ahead made the decision leading us up the wide valley we had used 2 weeks before. This was a fertile place; there were dairy cows, sheep, horses and fields of white bailed grass twinkling in the sun ready for collection.
Finally the road started to climb. It's always a sign you are going somewhere severe if a gate is there warning you that if closed you enter at your own risk and if you are rescued it would be very expensive. The first half was beautiful, starting with farms on the left tucked under the mountains it rose to reveal 2 full waterfalls on the left, the second marked by a dozen tourist cars there for the view. After that it turned into something else. It looked benign but we were climbing onto a plateau and the featureless landscape seemed to take an age to conquer. The top was at a junction, all downhill then as we had risen over 500 metres, not a bit of it as we were on the plateau where the road climbed and dipped. Add in the traffic made it a dull experience. The descent eventually came followed by the cycle path appearing on the right.
To me, Iceland had disappeared; the ruggedness had gone to be replaced by lowlands, horse farms and traffic, 3 lanes of it as we rode the path next to route 1.
Finding the way back to the glorious cafe, we met up with Steve and Lorna who were munching cakes and quaffing coffee. I had an enormous speciality; custard and pink iced tart at 970kr, (£5) and shared it out between us.
We followed the yellow cycle path that wove its way back into Reykjavik. Tarmacced it passed through parks and along the waterfront, but as with many paths it only takes one sign to lose it and for me it was over a bridge where I went left instead of right? Climbing a pavement, we found the tumbledown bridge that we had passed on the way out and then found the green route. Feeling unsure again as the rain had now set in, we checked with a local cyclist whom I flagged down. In perfect English 'just follow this all the way heading right at the airport'
Rachel led the final bit, admitting that she was a bit of a control freak and she had loaded the route on Kamoot, so it seemed easier to let her just do that. However it was made easier by the enormous cathedral and we headed for that for one final picture.

Iceland, what a place....