What to expect when biking in Iceland? - Icebike Adventures

Ride near Reykjavík or head to the untouched highlands of Iceland

What to expect
when riding in Iceland

Useful information for riding in Reykjavík or in the Highlands of Iceland.
Iceland is a unique mountain bike destination. Biking near Reykjavík or heading to the highlands will make two very different riding experiences. Near and in Reykjavík are moonscapes and beautiful trails, but also the luxury of hotels and restaurants.

The highlands:

Expect rough landscapes, untouched wild vistas, ever changing natural trails in raw nature and raw basic facilities. More about highland facilities here. There are no shops or restaurants in the highlands. Untouched nature and very few riders are typical for highland riding. Trails in Iceland are most often unmarked and not easy to find. In the highlands there is very limited service. There are few people around and weather can change from great to terrible in a very short time. We recommend using local guides for all Iceland highland journeys. 
 
Riding in Iceland can be challenging.  The terrain, the views, the trails are ever changing and so is the weather.  To fully enjoy the raw landscapes we recommend: Embrace nature, give yourself time to enjoy the views. Our trips are not about racing. We make sure to take a moment to enjoy the landscapes as well as riding those great singletracks. Riding dirt or gravel roads, whatever your choice is. Iceland is a young country but as a bike destination it is even younger. A magic mix of the new and raw and constantly developing ways reach further. Iceland is truly unique destination for biking. 
 

Language:  

Icelandic is the official language of Iceland. All Icebike guides and almost all Icelanders are fluent in English.
 

Currency:  

Iceland has it’s own currency the “krona”.  Daily exhange rates can here: Central Bank of Iceland Major credit cards accepted at all shops, restaurants and hotels.  Mastercard & Visa accepted at all shops, restaurants and hotels. AMEX and Dinersclub at some but not as widespread.
 

Transport:  

Iceland has no trains. The public transport available is limited to buses.  Schedules here: straeto.is. Iceland does not have Uber. Book a local taxi via phone, 354 5885522 online or find them at selected taxi spots in the city center.   
 

Local tips and tricks about Iceland.

The recipe for an average Sunday for an Icelandic person is also the perfect schedule for post-ride with Icebike. Hit the local swimming pools, swimming.is, post swim or soak: have a hot dog. For desert head to valdis.is in the city center for a taste of the best icecream in Iceland. Wander the streets in center of Reykjavík and pick a café for a nice cup of coffee. Icelanders love a good cup of coffee, (and expect to pay some $ for a decent cup). Post coffee: Microbreweries to sample some local brews, then head to a seafood restaurant in the center for some well deserved fish. (We usually go for catch of the day.)
 

Important:

Tap water is perfectly safe anywhere in Iceland.  There is no reason to buy bottled water in Iceland.
 

Weather: 

 “In Iceland, the weather is the biggest character you deal with every day. There’s nothing more relevant in your life than what kind of weather it is.”      (Baltasar Kormákur, film director,Everest)
 A popular Icelandic saying is “There is no such thing as bad weather only bad gear”.  It is important to understand that Iceland can show you sun and rain in the same 15 minutes.
 Appropriate clothing will make your trip more enjoyable. It is also important for your safety when travelling to the highlands or biking in the winter.
 

Tips on what to wear here.

 To fully enjoy Iceland biking you need to be happy riding in all kinds of weather. Ride through wind, rain and sun and embrace the elements with an adventurous heart. take a look at our what to wear page.
 

Local weather forecast here:  

Reykjavík Weather. Reykjavík in summer time:  Average temperatures range from  8°C (46F) to 18°C (65F). The highlands where our multiday trips take place are further up in the mountains. Average at 4°C (39F) to 14° (57F)C.  Warmest months: Mid June through August. Best time to ride: Mid July through August.  Reykjavík in winter time: -5°C (23F) to 8°C (46F)
 

Icelandic summer has one great perk:

Bright nights.  From May until late July you can expect bright nights, bright evenings. Summer solstice in Reykjavík is around June 21st.  Sunset is at midnight and sunrise at 3AM. 21 Daylight hours. The opposite happens at winter solstice around December 21st. With only 4 hours of daylight each day.

WHEN IN ICELANDRespect Nature Stay on the trail!

The way we ride today shapes mtb access in the future.

Random facts about Iceland:

 
  • There is no McDonalds or Starbucks in Iceland.
  • There is no Uber in Iceland.
  • Mosquitos to not exist in Iceland.  (But we do have “Mý = Midges)
  • Roughly 85 percent of Iceland’s energy is from renewable resources. Well over half of that is geothermal alone. Iceland has over 150 public swimming pools, most of them outside and heated thanks to the all-natural volcanic heat.
  • There is volcanic eruption every 4 years on average.  Some eruptions happen beneath glaciers. These can create massive and destructive glacial floods.
  • Icelanders love eating ice cream even though temperatures are well below zero
  • Icelanders usually don’t have a family name. The surname is constructed out of the first name of the father and son (son) or dóttir (daughter) added.    
  • Iceland was the first country in the world to have a democratically elected female president. Also the first to democratically elect an openly gay Prime Minister.
  • The Population of Iceland is 340.000 which is comparable to an average sized city in Europe. 2/3 of the entire nation live in Reykjavík and surrounding towns.
  • Keeping Icelandic nature unspoiled is important for locals.   The Environment Agency of Iceland promotes the protection as well as sustainable use of Iceland’s natural resources.
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What to expect when biking in Iceland?