We made it!
It’s a whole different season here. We’ve skipped fall and gone straight into early winter. It’s colder than I expected, and that’s a little alarming, to think how wild the weather might get over the next two months. Icelanders so far have only winced and made dire comments about cycling at this time of year. But the Northern Lights should be good. They’ve already shown.
Day one: after a predictably sleepless, and crowded, flight over, the usually drab ride from Keflavík to Reykjavík was beautiful in the dawn, with the mist rising from the dry grass and the column of steam over Bláa Lónið. We wandered around the city, getting groceries, overdosing on sugar at the first bakari we saw, and finding the best value ever on sim cards and the most pleasing cell phone service ever (from Tal), so we are all mobile-ly connected.
Totally demoralized vis-a-vis Icelandic. So much for enhanced eavesdropping; I can catch scant words per conversation.
After a long nap (I slept through HW reassembling his bike) and on a late search for something to eat we saw our first Northern Lights- a band of green that circled the whole sky, but faded quickly. We found ourselves gravitating to the things we did first on our last trip, and ended up at Gamla Smiðjan again for exceptional thin crust wood-fired pizza. Their menu is full of interesting topping choices like cream cheese, peanuts, and bananas.
Sunrise is about 7am and sunset 12 hours later. Temp +4C. Not so bad, but coming from uncomfortably hot weather, it´s a contrast. The locals are still eating plenty of ice cream, and there are still many cute cats out and about.
Day two: another familiar spot for breakfast (premium waffles at Perlan), another beautifully sunny day. We took our bikes out unloaded for some sightseeing (the harbour, Hallgrímskirkja, and Einar Jónsonn museum), then discovered that the water slide at Laugardalslaug is for grownups. In fact, it’s sort of scary, with parts of it blacked out completely and disco lights in other parts. At 500 kr. admission, Laugardalslaug is officially the best value in town, after the free walking tour of course. Unfortunately, Toby doesn’t do those free walks after Sep 14.
Finished with the exceptional soup and salad buffet at Kryddlegin Hjörtu, my favorite meal maybe anywhere in Iceland, I think. Awww, stuffed with good food.
Finally sinking in that we are actually here. Against all odds, including a few daily odds thrown at us in the last week of traveling.
Simplest of transactions conducted in Icelandic: two. Conversation by necessity in Icelandic: one. Times chickened out of attempting Icelandic even though I thought I knew what to say: countless. Humbled by communicative expertise of barely verbal toddler: once.
After trying to learn their language, I’m just in awe of how well they (nearly all) speak English, which is supposedly not so easy to learn either. Clearly it will take more than a dedicated year to speak Icelandic half as well as the average Icelander speaks English. That’s just depressing.
Well hello, and welcome back to “The adventures of the bicycle life”. I am pleased to report that my love for the human powered machine has continued to grow. This past week I have heard from people of all walks of life from every corner of the globe expressing their love of and/or connection to bicycle culture. It reminds me of how the bicycle is like a universal language, a language of personal freedom, of connection with the self and nature, and a language of living life to the fullest. A language that we all innately understand and is expressed in one way or another in our own unique lives.
I find that bicycles are such versatile machines. In this post I intend to expand upon the human powered machine’s capabilities in our daily lives as a more than just a “bike”, and to take the musing to the next level. What non-recreational activities have you engaged in with your human power machines as a tool en-route?
The possibilities are endless, to say the least. I have seen some awe-inspiring bicycles engaged in all works of life in many parts of the world. This past spring the “sustainability bike tour” that I have guided for since 2007 decided (with a little help from me) we would go totally car free as a company. We would no longer be using use a “support” vehicle that was combustion propelled (a van). We would be facilitating support vehicle duties from our staff Guide bikes. This is a week long educational camping bike tour of about 25 people, so there is a pile of gear and food that needs to move from one bivouac site to the next every other day over the week-long expedition. Group tents, stoves, pot/pans, cutlery, and of course food. We were going to need some trailers for the staff to pull that had capacity and versatility. Continue reading Bicycle trailers. Pushing/pulling the limit..
Hello my name is H.W. (Hugh Willoughby) and recently I married the beautiful love of my life, Selka. We recently pedaled our bicycles from Central Washington down to Central Oregon and back. It was an incredible expedition, filled with mountain passes, river crossing, exquisite camping, deluxe trail mix, and hot romance the whole way.
We rode two steel machines that I built up over the last 2 years, Selka pedaled a “Marin – Larkspur” with 26” Mavic wheels and I pedaled a “Surly – Long haul trucker” with 700c Mavics. Two quality and even elegant modern machines.
I have ridden that route half a dozen times over the past few years to and from my Bicycle Expeditionary Guide gig, but this time was special.
This time I got the chance to see the route through a different lens. You see over the years I have kind of created a daily schedule for where I should stop and eat and where I should stop and camp and so forth. But this time we stopped and even camped at some different places and experienced the trip differently than I have in the past. So it was a breath of fresh air for what was becoming to me to be a worn out route.
Not to mention the fact that we stopped half way through the expedition in Portland and got married. So it is officially the best ride of my life. Since then we have have done some sweet rides here in British Columbia I intend to make frequent posts on Selka’s blog about our cycling lives and adventures. So stay tuned for “The Adventures of the Bicycle Life”.
I love bicycle culture. I love thinking about bikes, looking at bikes, touching bikes, smelling bikes, tasting bikes (a mild flavor of salty sweat with a hint of sweet Tri-low) and of course riding bikes. My heart swells every time I see a fellow cyclist float by on two wheels. Continue reading Bicycles, get some!…