Iceland is the perfect country to visit by bicycle. In summer 2011 an Italian bicycle racing team circumvented the country along the ring road (1.381 km) in four days for practice. They loved it. Most independent bicyclists bring their own touring bike and spend anywhere between 2 and 6 weeks in the country. Renting a bike for shorter periods is a great option as is joining one of the many and varied types of bicycle tours on offer.
Reykjavik City Tours
Reykjavik Bike Tours and bicycle rental is a family business down by Reykjavik’s Old Harbour. Their Classic Reykjavik 2.5 hour /7 km city tour is available all year. Participants meet a local person who is friendly, entertaining and competent and get to learn about the city from a locals’ perspective. Topics typically covered include daily life in Reykjavik, history, architecture, legends about the hidden people, current events such as parades and musical events, tips for good places to eat and all sorts of valuable information for visitors.
For those who like more cycling and less interpretation there is an alternative. Reykjavik Bike Tours offers a 2.5 hour/18 km coastal ride in summer along the city’s beautiful coastline. Participants get to see a part of Reykjavik generally not visited by tourists. Flush residential areas, back yards and trails, Reykjavik‘s geothermal beach, sculpture of the Great Auk (now extinct species), Grotta lighthouse, shed for drying rotten shark and much more.
Reykjavik & Surroundings
Bicyclists can choose from a variety of day tours from Iceland’s capital city. Reykjavik Bike Tours offers mini-bus and bicycle combination to some of the most famous attractions in the south west of the country. Places such as Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir geothermal area, National park Thingvellir, Westman Isles and the renowned Blue lagoon. Scheduled tours are designed for the average person who knows how to ride a bicycle. Those wanting a greater bicycle challenge can ask for a private tour from the company, or join one of Iceland Activity’s scheduled mountain bike tours (see South Iceland).
West Tours operate hike & bike tours from Isafjord, the largest town in the West fjords. The area has been dubbed as Europe’s last frontier because of its pristine wilderness. A bicycle and hiking combination is recommended but they’ll custom make each itinerary to suit the needs of participants.
Go West tours is a family run company which offers custom made eco-friendly bicycle tours in the western part of Iceland, mainly around the bay of Breidafjordur.
Hike & Bike is a family business in the north of Iceland next to the famous Lake Myvatn. The area is within the active volcanic belt of Iceland which is a treasure trove for anyone interested in volcanology. The most recent lava field dates back to 1984. Hike & Bike offers daily bike tours suitable for everyone who knows how to ride a bike as well as more difficult mountain bike tours lasting four days
Hlynur Oddsson offers kayak and bicycle tours in Seydisfjordur as well as bicycle rental. Seydisfjordur (pop. 700) is most suitable to ride a bike. However, the town is surrounded by high mountains which are very demanding for bicyclists. Seydisfjordur is the only place in Iceland with a ferry service to Europe.
Iceland Activity is a family business specializing in mountain bike tours and bicycle rental. The company is based in Hveragerdi (pop. 2,000) less than one hour’s drive from Reykjavik. In 2011 the mayor of the town honoured Iceland Activity with an environmental award which was presented by the President of Iceland, Mr. Olafur Ragnar Grimsson.
Ice Bike Adventures offers challenging and exciting mountain bike tours in Iceland’s countryside in summer. Proposed tours are mostly in the mountain region in the south west of Iceland about 4 hour’s drive from Reykjavik. This area happens to be one of the most beautiful places in Iceland from geological point of view. Their trails are amazing but not for the faint hearted and only for those with an all mountain experience and plenty of stamina.
By Stefan Helgi Valsson
Stefan is one of two founders of Reykjavik Bike Tours