Ryekjavik to Akureyri

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Matt25
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Joined: 9 Aug 2012, 2:06pm

Ryekjavik to Akureyri

Postby Matt25 » 17 Jan 2018, 12:32pm

Hi,

A friend and I are planning to ride from Ryekjavik to Akureyri this summer, taking about a week. Anyone able to recommend a route? There seems to be two main options through the centre of Iceland - the F26 or F35. Any tips which is better? Any other alternatives/shortcuts that I haven't considered?

We'll be riding rigid mountain bikes (actually mine is a Surly LHT with flat bars). I was planning on using off-road tyres (2.4" Continental X-King) which are apparently fast rolling for an off-road tyre and I'm hoping the width and high volume will make up for lack of suspension on unsealed roads. I also have Schwalbe Marathon 1.5" which I use for commuting available though. Have I made the right choice or would I be better on the marathons?

We're planning on getting the bus back to Reyk from Akureyri with the bikes. Is this easy enough?

Thanks,

Matt

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Cunobelin
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Re: Ryekjavik to Akureyri

Postby Cunobelin » 17 Jan 2018, 6:18pm

If you don’t like the weather .... wait 15 minutes

Vorpal
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Re: Ryekjavik to Akureyri

Postby Vorpal » 17 Jan 2018, 7:01pm

There are some smaller roads & bike paths, as well, but there are a few spots, where there's basically only one route through, between mountains.

http://www.vegagerdin.is/media/upplysin ... ng-map.pdf has information for cyclists but does not include road quality.

There is more information about roads and conditions on the main site http://www.road.is/ but limited information specifically for cyclists.
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eileithyia
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Re: Ryekjavik to Akureyri

Postby eileithyia » 17 Jan 2018, 9:10pm

Long time since I was in Iceland... at the time more and more roads were being tarmacced.. and a quick look at the link indicates quite a few between your towns are surfaced. Gravel roads were less easy to negotiate even with a mountain bike and we saw MTBers walking sections just as we were with our traditional touring bikes.
Winds can be a problem... and well remember being reduced to walking by a wind that sprung up out of nowhere...
Buses were not a problem to use, I presume it is no different today as it was then, though it was a bit daunting seeing your bike loaded on to a front bike rack.....
Check availbility of shops along your chosen routes, we had to carry 4 days of food during one part of our trip.
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pal
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Re: Ryekjavik to Akureyri

Postby pal » 22 Jan 2018, 11:12am

The F35 (Kjolur) route is less challenging (esp. because it doesn't involve any river crossings), but -- as a consequence -- busier with motor traffic (potentially much busier, if it's the height of summer). The F26 (Sprengisandur) gets less traffic (though still a reasonable amount), is longer, and more adventurous (though a bus does come down the road once a day, so you're never far from a bail-out option). The final decision might have to be based on the weather -- the Sprengisandur is exposed enough that if the wind's against you it can be pretty much impossible to make any progress; there are a couple of deep river crossings on the Sprengisandur too (near the hut at Nyidalur) -- certainly not impossible, but you might need to wait if there's been a lot of rain/a hot spell (or cadge a lift in a passing truck -- traffic has its uses!). As Eileithyia notes, you'll need to be able to carry supplies for multiple days (at least four, if you take the F26).

I've cycled the F26 on a Surly Straggler (i.e. without suspension), on 40mm tyres -- that was mostly fine, though getting the right tyre pressure (soft enough to get traction on the sandy stretches; not so soft so as to get millions of punctures on the sharp rocks..) was a trick I never mastered. I'd recommend taking plenty of spare inner-tubes!

You've probably already found the Cycling Iceland map -- but if not, it's a very useful resource (you can usually pick up a hard copy in tourist offices in Iceland): http://cyclingiceland.is/ The touring notes on this page are very useful too (though it's worth being aware that traffic in Iceland has increased significantly since these notes were written): http://www.masterlyinactivity.com/ivan/iceland.html

Matt25
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Joined: 9 Aug 2012, 2:06pm

Re: Ryekjavik to Akureyri

Postby Matt25 » 8 Jul 2018, 4:54pm

pal wrote:The F35 (Kjolur) route is less challenging (esp. because it doesn't involve any river crossings), but -- as a consequence -- busier with motor traffic (potentially much busier, if it's the height of summer). The F26 (Sprengisandur) gets less traffic (though still a reasonable amount), is longer, and more adventurous (though a bus does come down the road once a day, so you're never far from a bail-out option). The final decision might have to be based on the weather -- the Sprengisandur is exposed enough that if the wind's against you it can be pretty much impossible to make any progress; there are a couple of deep river crossings on the Sprengisandur too (near the hut at Nyidalur) -- certainly not impossible, but you might need to wait if there's been a lot of rain/a hot spell (or cadge a lift in a passing truck -- traffic has its uses!). As Eileithyia notes, you'll need to be able to carry supplies for multiple days (at least four, if you take the F26).

I've cycled the F26 on a Surly Straggler (i.e. without suspension), on 40mm tyres -- that was mostly fine, though getting the right tyre pressure (soft enough to get traction on the sandy stretches; not so soft so as to get millions of punctures on the sharp rocks..) was a trick I never mastered. I'd recommend taking plenty of spare inner-tubes!

You've probably already found the Cycling Iceland map -- but if not, it's a very useful resource (you can usually pick up a hard copy in tourist offices in Iceland): http://cyclingiceland.is/ The touring notes on this page are very useful too (though it's worth being aware that traffic in Iceland has increased significantly since these notes were written): http://www.masterlyinactivity.com/ivan/iceland.html


Many thanks for the above! I must have missed this earlier in the year when I first posted the question - just came back for a quick look! Very useful information, thanks! Great map.

We are off at the end of August - cannot wait!

Matt