RR: SIGHTS & MTB ICELAND

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by 406, Oct 19, 2017.

  1. 406

    406 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego
    Name:
    Brian
    Current Bike:
    Sultan
    RR: Sights & MTB Iceland
    August 16-27, 2017

    Day 0:
    End of last year some local riding friends started planning a mountain bike trip to Iceland. I had never done a guided mountain bike tour, but looking at costs of food, lodging, and transportation in Iceland, it seemed like an ok option. Plus we would be a private trip, so would more likely have a good group dynamic. It was a tough call picking to fly 1 stop from SAN or non stop from LAX. With bikes, option to use 1 less vacation day, and less chance of delay, picked WOW airlines nonstop from LAX. Plenty happy with WOW and would fly them again, but LAX is a huge hassle, so hopefully they start flying to SAN. Packing was the only other headache of the trip. Glad I wasn't stuck on a rental bike for all the rides, but it was a challenge getting all the weather riding gear and spare parts all packed and under weight limit. But it all worked out and it was time to get on the airplane:
    20170816_211450.jpg
     
    Faust29, PATKOUG, Rumpled and 3 others like this.
  2. 406

    406 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego
    Name:
    Brian
    Current Bike:
    Sultan
    Day 1:
    Arrived in Reykjavik, purchased beer, booze, sim card in duty free and picked up at the airport in style:
    20170817_074041.jpg

    Had a couple days before the mtb tour started, so I rented a car and couple of us started drive east after dropping most of the gear at the Airbnb rental. Had to eat at this place we noticed from the highway for dinner:
    20170817_184828.jpg

    Despite my lead foot, slow speed limit and traffic on the ring road made it seem like forever to get to the national park. But the drive was scenic:
    20170817_200417.jpg

    Nice looking farm:
    20170817_201919.jpg

    Arrived the Skaftafell after sunset and crawled in the bivy for a few hours of sleep:
    20170817_213202.jpg
     
    Tom the Bomb, bvader, Faust29 and 7 others like this.
  3. 406

    406 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego
    Name:
    Brian
    Current Bike:
    Sultan
    Day 2:
    Up early for a big hike in the National Park:
    20170818_071330.jpg

    Trail started up right away and was steep most of the way, past some waterfalls:
    20170818_074032.jpg

    Awesome views:
    20170818_084839.jpg

    Got more awesome:
    20170818_092514.jpg

    Final push to summit was something like 1000 vert ft in less than half a mile:
    20170818_100701.jpg

    But views got epic:
    20170818_102306.jpg

    Up we go:
    20170818_103228.jpg

    180 pano I took with my cell phone from the top of Kristinartindar Peak:
    Too large to place inline, link: http://umtgriz.com/forum/2017_summer/Iceland/summit.jpg

    Didn't see anyone on the way up, but it was busy on the hike out. Not sure if it was because it was a different trail or just later in the day. Slightly painful 4000 ft of hike down back to the rental car, but with views of a glacier:
    20170818_115427.jpg

    After the hike we drove further east to check out a couple glacier lagoons:
    20170818_152140.jpg

    To bad kreechan dropped his ~$100 bottle of whiskey in rental car parking lot, on the rocks with 10k year old ice would have been fun:
    20170818_152445.jpg

    Started drive back west to town. Remains of the bridge from a jökulhlaup:
    20170818_163433.jpg

    Interesting looking moss growing on basalt:
    20170818_180957.jpg


    Stopped and hiked into the Seljavallalaug Geothermal pool, but the water wasn't very warm:
    20170818_193125.jpg

    Next stop was the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall for sunset photos:
    20170818_210747.jpg
     
  4. 406

    406 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego
    Name:
    Brian
    Current Bike:
    Sultan
    Day 3:
    Golden Circle sights. Started with Þingvellir national park, sight that The Vikings established the world’s first democratic parliament, the Alþingi, in AD 930:
    20170819_093950.jpg

    Stop at Geysir to see the OG Geyser:
    20170819_115440_000.jpg

    Then Gullfoss water fall and some lamb soup for lunch:
    20170819_134904.jpg

    Stöng, for a unearthed Viking-era Long house:
    20170819_151147.jpg

    And more water falls and location for GoT scenes:
    20170819_152909.jpg

    20170819_153712.jpg

    Stopped at the geothermal park to cook an egg in a hot spring:
    20170819_173814.jpg

    Couple mile of steep hiking up to a geothermal river valley:
    20170819_200523.jpg

    Water was perfect:
    20170819_193008.jpg

    Final stop was a lava tube that the guide book said was free, but looks like they just put up a gate and started charging. So we wondered around and looked in the sky lights:
    20170819_212534.jpg
     
    Faust29, OTHRider, PATKOUG and 6 others like this.
  5. 406

    406 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego
    Name:
    Brian
    Current Bike:
    Sultan
    Day 4:
    Start of the MTB tour with a fat bike ride south of town. My first time on a fat bike. Trailhead at a geothermal area:
    20170820_100444.jpg

    Up we go:
    20170820_103628.jpg

    Small patch of green:
    20170820_104332.jpg

    Welcome to the moon:
    20170820_110153.jpg

    Chunky down:
    20170820_111850.jpg

    Up we go over the next ridge:
    20170820_121522.jpg

    The boys play on some Iceland slick rock:
    20170820_122247.jpg

    Ridge line riding always seems the best:
    20170820_130403.jpg

    Fun down to the super bus:
    20170820_131227.jpg

    Lobster soup and beers at this place:
    20170820_150428.jpg

    Swim in the blue lagoon:
    20170820_152533.jpg

    Back to town to put the red bikes together:
    20170820_184240.jpg

    Guide book claimed locals liked these hotdogs the best, but I wasn't impressed:
    20170820_200227.jpg
     
    bvader, Faust29, OTHRider and 9 others like this.
  6. 406

    406 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego
    Name:
    Brian
    Current Bike:
    Sultan
    Day 5:
    Fun ride on mostly down trail next to a young lava flow:
    20170821_111032.jpg

    Then it was time to "get to da choppa":
    20170821_134504.jpg

    Cool looking lava flows:
    20170821_135719.jpg

    They have an elevator that goes several hundred feet into the volcano, but cost $400:
    20170821_140050.jpg

    Smooth drop off and the trail was fun from the start:
    20170821_142853.jpg

    20170821_143129.jpg

    Lots of down and then across a large flat meadow to a geothermal area:
    20170821_150426_000.jpg

    20170821_154251.jpg

    Some up and then very fun down to a geothermal power plant for beers and snacks:
    20170821_155818.jpg

    Dinner was yummy fish and chips, but expensive:
    20170821_191413.jpg
     
    bvader, Faust29, OTHRider and 10 others like this.
  7. 406

    406 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego
    Name:
    Brian
    Current Bike:
    Sultan
    Day 6:
    Our meeting spot was the big church:
    20170822_094055.jpg

    The bastard is in Iceland:
    20170822_100830.jpg

    Drive to the cabins in the highlands and then to the top of a volcano with a lake in it to start the ride:
    20170822_150213.jpg

    Up to the high point on the rim:
    20170822_152144.jpg

    20170822_153958.jpg

    Fun down, then some up to some nice flowing trail:
    20170822_161447.jpg

    More up with cinder cone in the background:
    20170822_162427.jpg

    Past a very busy geothermal river and up an awesome canyon:
    20170822_171730.jpg

    Some hike a bike Euro style:
    20170822_173054.jpg

    Then down to the rigs:
    20170822_175828.jpg
     
  8. 406

    406 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego
    Name:
    Brian
    Current Bike:
    Sultan
    Day 7:
    Had nice northern lights both nights at the cabin. Others got some cool photos. The cabin:
    20170823_092317.jpg

    Evdog about to go otb into a boiling pit, j/k:
    20170823_115439.jpg

    Some up and hike a bike got to awesome colors in the hills:
    20170823_121201.jpg

    Then fun down to some loose steep that only a couple of us cleaned:
    20170823_131750.jpg

    More geothermal stuff and water falls:
    20170823_143518.jpg

    Up and over a couple hills and then perfect sheep trail next to a scenic lake:
    20170823_171742.jpg

    Around the lake:
    20170823_173625.jpg

    One more up, then down to the cabin:
    20170823_180225.jpg

    For smoked lamb, cheese, ham, and beer:
    20170823_184739.jpg
     
  9. 406

    406 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego
    Name:
    Brian
    Current Bike:
    Sultan
    Day 8:
    Scenic drive above the clouds to Alftavatn to start the ride:
    20170824_105221.jpg

    Fun first few miles:
    20170824_140410.jpg

    Some rivers had bridges:
    20170824_143207.jpg

    others did not:
    river.JPG

    A few miles of moon scape:
    20170824_144705.jpg

    And then the big glaciers started to come into view:
    20170824_160011.jpg

    20170824_163132.jpg

    More green as we get closer to Thorsmark:
    20170824_184109.jpg

    Bushes!:
    20170824_193843.jpg

    Last section of trail was down and fast and fun:
    20170824_194215.jpg
     
  10. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist MTB Addict

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    This ^^^^ sets the standard for what a new member should do to introduce their self!!!!
     
    bvader, Tom the Bomb, Faust29 and 7 others like this.
  11. 406

    406 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego
    Name:
    Brian
    Current Bike:
    Sultan
    Day 9:
    Always good to start with push a bike:
    20170825_105954.jpg

    Some riding:
    20170825_124157.jpg

    Cool canyon:
    20170825_124407.jpg

    kreechan gets his Hans Rey on for a second on the Cats backbone:
    20170825_134845_0.jpg

    Evdog rolling off an outcrop:
    20170825_151718.jpg

    Nice drive out of the Highlands and back to town. The super bus overheated, but a couple restarts and we were back on the road.
     
  12. 406

    406 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego
    Name:
    Brian
    Current Bike:
    Sultan
    Day 10:
    Weather had rolled in, I went to the National Museum soon as it opened. This was really cool:
    20170826_104959.jpg

    20170826_105650.jpg

    20170826_105538.jpg

    The only weapon invented by Icelanders:
    20170826_111829.jpg

    Walking around town. The unknown bureaucrat:
    20170826_145905.jpg

    Modern Alþingi:
    20170826_151920.jpg

    I agree:
    20170826_151945.jpg

    Then the Settlement Museum, which is a Viking era long house excavated 10 feet under current street level:
    20170826_154219.jpg

    Seems the nordic boys ventured far to find a woman:
    20170826_160745.jpg

    More around town photos:
    20170826_162834.jpg

    20170826_164232.jpg

    Cool building:
    20170826_164706.jpg

    Inside:
    20170826_165227.jpg

    Sculpture:
    20170826_171405.jpg

    You are welcome:
    20170826_173122.jpg
     
  13. 406

    406 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego
    Name:
    Brian
    Current Bike:
    Sultan
    Day 11:
    Ride to the airport was at noon and I had a few more things on my to see list. Inside the big church was boring, except the organ:


    Explains all the sheep, Irish monks:


    View from the top was nice:


    Rented a WOW bike for $3.50 for 30 min:


    Hammered up to the Perlan, but no KOM:


    Bike was more fun when I figured out how to shift, grip shits! Down to the University to return the bike at that station:


    and a bay that they pump hot water into for swimming:


    Except they had the hot water turned off...I figured I still needed to swim in the north Atlantic:


    Checked out the bike again for another $3.50 for the ride up the hill to the church:


    Parting shot of the Airbnb, we had the best street name:


    Nice flight back, but I think it took 3 hours from landing to get on the freeway...no more LAX for me:




    Tried to prune down the photos, but it was very scenic and we had perfect riding weather which sounds very uncommon. Would have liked to do some longer rides, but otherwise pretty happy with the guided part. If I were to go back, definitely wouldn't need a guide, but likely wouldn't get as lucky with weather and not very motivated to do 40 mile rides in rain & wind. Still totaling up door to door cost, but it was expensive and the USD dropping ~15% since the new year didn't help.

    Pretty awesome trip and Iceland is very cool.
     
  14. Sasquatch9billion

    Sasquatch9billion Well-Known Member

    Name:
    trinidad j. mendez
  15. 406

    406 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego
    Name:
    Brian
    Current Bike:
    Sultan
    Not sure how all those photos got added to my last post, tried to edit, but it doesn't seem to change.

    Edit: fixed.
     
  16. Derkderkall

    Derkderkall Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Covina
    Name:
    Derek Allison
    Current Bike:
    2012 Rockhopper 29
    Looks like the experience of a lifetime, Iceland has been high on my list of places to visit for a while. This makes me want to go even more!
     
  17. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors MTB Addict

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    One word: jealousy:thumbsup:

    Okay a couple more. Just, wow!!
     
  18. mike

    mike MTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    WOW indeed! Any couple days of that trip would be a trip of a lifetime. Well done; TFPU!
     
  19. MTBZen

    MTBZen Active Member

    Location:
    Corona, CA
    Name:
    Gary
    Current Bike:
    2017 Trek Pro-Caliber 9.6
    Un-freakin-believable! What a trip!...it's like another planet. Note to self: add to bucket list....
     
  20. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist MTB Addict

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    Amazing, thanks for posting! @evdog has been holding out on us!!!

    As for the pics, when you click on edit, there's an option in the edit box for 'more options...' click on that and you can delete photos.
     
  21. 406

    406 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego
    Name:
    Brian
    Current Bike:
    Sultan
    Oh, thanks, fixed...didn't realize the photos got imported from my website to this one.

    @evdog had a nice new camera and took 10x as many photos as me, I'm guessing he hasn't had time to go through all the photos. I still haven't edited any of my POV video.
     
  22. jimbowho

    jimbowho Well-Known Member

    Location:
    acton
    Name:
    james jim jimmy
    Current Bike:
    12 GT sensor 29r
    406 I was about to do my RR from Barstow. "BUT NOT NOWW" :D
     
  23. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    Beyond amazing ride report...
    What was the name of the Mountain Bike Tour Company you used? Any idea of price per person?
     
  24. hill^billy

    hill^billy MTB Addict

    Location:
    Acton
    Name:
    Doug Lake
    Current Bike:
    Yeti SB-66
    One hell of a trip! Now I see why you have an older truck @evdog, redicouliously awesome out of country trips with helicopters to boot! You don't need 4 wheel drive!
     
    Tom the Bomb, Mikie and Cyclotourist like this.
  25. herzalot

    herzalot MTB Addict

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    '15 Intense Tracer 275c DVOish
    @406 You really need to get out more... :confused:
     
    Tom the Bomb, Mikie and Cyclotourist like this.
  26. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    @evdog is still going thru his photos!
     
  27. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist MTB Addict

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    That @evdog...I tell you!
     
    Tom the Bomb and Mikie like this.
  28. 406

    406 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego
    Name:
    Brian
    Current Bike:
    Sultan
    Icebike: https://icebikeadventures.com/

    We did a private version of the Falcon trip that only had 1 heli day, so that saved $1000. The total for the tour part was $4400, which was ~15% more than I had planned because between paying the deposit and the remaining the USD tanked 15% since the new year. Flights with bike bag and checked bag was $800. Everything in Iceland is very expensive, $8 per gallon fuel, food/beer x2 cost of USA. Looks like I spent an additional ~$1000 on food, rental car, 5 nights in an airbnb, LAX parking, beer, etc...YOLO.
     
  29. konakc

    konakc Well-Known Member

    Name:
    kc
    @406 great report.. how did you even manage a trip like that? did you wake up one morning and say, Iceland?
    Thanks for such an awesome report! I have such dreams... destination PERU,, or the the whole enchilada... in time, in time....
     
    Mikie and Cyclotourist like this.
  30. Tom the Bomb

    Tom the Bomb MTB Addict

    Location:
    Alta Loma, Ca.
    Name:
    Thomas Cosgrove
    Current Bike:
    Niner rip 9
    Very cooooooool!
     
    Mikie likes this.