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  Topic Name: Iceland: Myvatn to Vik via F-roads and some singletrack, anyone familiar? on: October 26, 2018, 10:30:51 AM

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« on: October 26, 2018, 10:30:51 AM »

Looking at putting together a trip for the summer of 2020. I've been to Iceland once and took the rental SUV on numerous F-road but have never biked there.

This is my dream itinerary. Is there anyone out there familiar with this area enough to say whether or not this is do-able? A little about me: I ride around 9,000 miles a year and do a number of races that are 200+ miles that take 14-18 hours to complete. Mainly I'm curious about the river crossings. Are there any on this route that would be deep and/or dangerous?

NORTH TO SOUTH ULTIMATE F-ROAD EXPERIENCE! Ice Caves to explore, amazing aqua colored remote lake, glacier views, world class Laugavegur singletrack (likely a lot of hike-a-bike on singletrack portion).  Extremely remote. Zero bail out points. Could skip singletrack at the end and take alternative way out of F-roads highlands. No resupply options until near end, then limited. Must carry everything and know how to fix bike problems.

DAY 1: fly in, lodging near airport, assemble bikes, store boxes, get camp stove fuel.

DAY 2: Bus to Myvatn (6 hours), head into backcountry

                    locations                      roads approx. distance

DAY 3-8: Myvatn to Viti intersection             F88        100 km

To Kverkfjoll                                              F902          40 km

Back out to intersection                              F902          40 km

To Viti                                                       F910          30 km

Back out                                                    F910          15 km

To Tungnafellsjokell                                    F910        100 km

To Hrauneyjafoss                                        F26         100 km

To Skogafoss         F208 + Laugavegur singletrack      100 km

To Vik (paved)                                       Ring Road      35 km

TOTAL riding:                approx. 560 km (approx. 350 miles)
[average under 60 miles a day]

DAY 9: Bus to airport (2.5 hours), lodging near airport, pack up

DAY 10: Same lodging. Built in extra emergency day for slow travel/bad weather. Rent car?, tour capital?

DAY 11: Airport, fly home.

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  Topic Name: Iceland: Myvatn to Vik via F-roads and some singletrack, anyone familiar? Reply #1 on: October 29, 2018, 11:15:27 AM

Location: San Diego
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2018, 11:15:27 AM »

I rode part of the Laugavegur route last year around Landmannalagar, from Lake Alftavatn to Thorsmark and then an out and back south of there.  Lots of it was nice riding but there were some steep hike a bikes thrown in.  We were on a guided trip so logistics were part of the reason for skipping the sections we did.  The last segment to Skogafoss requires a few hours of steep hike a bike and then steep descending down the far side.  We wanted to ride that part, the guides were having none of it.  Doesn't sound like it would be great for bikepacking.  Thorsmark wouldn't be a terrible place to exit the singletrack.  TONS of hikers/backpackers on this route.  I mean, hundreds.... 

We did a fair bit of driving in the high country and you will definitely cross lots of rivers.  We were there during an unusual dry spell and none of the crossings were terrible but I can imagine some could get gnarly with rains.  Crossings were very rocky so bring wading shoes.  Personally I'd build in more down time for weather.  You might get stuck at an uncrossable river waiting for high flow to subside or the weather could suck for days on end which could slow your progress significantly.  Local guides could give more specific input on your route.  We used Icebike. 

Once back in town it is easy to get around and see the sights.  We got a rental car and toured the golden circle.  You can see lots of stuff in a day.  It's also easy to walk around the old part of Reykjavik.     

  Topic Name: Iceland: Myvatn to Vik via F-roads and some singletrack, anyone familiar? Reply #2 on: November 11, 2018, 02:01:30 PM

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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2018, 02:01:30 PM »

Ill be doing part of this route in September 2019. Ill let you know how it goes. Ive hiked a bit of the Laugavegur Route between Thorsmork and Skogar. Its burly trail with a lot of hike a bike. Technical skills would come in handy for the singletrack portion for sure. I know you can catch a bus in Skogar if you didnt want to ride all the way to Vik, but you would miss some cool stuff if you skipped that paved section along the coast. Also, I agree with evdog about building in days for weather. When I was there last september we 2 days out of 10 due to high wind and rain. I would have been impossible to ride either of these days. The earlier in summer you go the higher the river crossings are likely to be.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2018, 02:06:32 PM by seanwggns » Logged

  Topic Name: Iceland: Myvatn to Vik via F-roads and some singletrack, anyone familiar? Reply #3 on: December 26, 2018, 02:43:10 PM

Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
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« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2018, 02:43:10 PM »

I've had a couple of bike trips through the highlands that cover a reasonable amount of the F-roads you describe- your trip is all doable, just allow plenty of time for weather holdups and for slow travel on some of the rougher roads- the Icelandic wind in particular is a force to be experienced!

Sept 2016 my wife and I biked from the south via the F261/Reykjadalir/F225 to Landmannalaugar then north through the Sprengisandur on the F26. Sept 2017 we came back mainly to ride the Gaesavatn Route in the north (but also managed a bit more)- we rode the F88 to Askja/Dreki then on the F910/Gaesavatn to Nyidalur and back out to Akureyri via Laugafell. This took us 11 days including a rest day in the pool at Laugafell- distance per day was never a focus for us as it was more about safe travel- each day is a bit of a dice roll with the weather. The Gaesavatn south of the F910 is also pretty rough, very remote and hard travel so you don't really want anything to break!

In 2016 we has a bit of trouble with flooded rivers south of Landmannalaugar but I don't think these would be a problem in fine weather. There are some glacial rivers to watch out for on the F910 and north of Nyiladur on the F26- in 2017 we were lucky and found these easy to cross (probably something to do with subzero temps and snow at the time!) but they can be difficult to cross depending on the snow/ice melt. Crossing the Dyngjusandur desert and the Vatnajokull glacial outwash plain south of Dreki can also slow you up/stop you in the wrong conditions.

We found this online guide gave a good rundown of the various highland routes (written 2005 before the Iceland tourist boom but not a lot has changed as far as the highland roads go):

If you are interested I wrote a summary of our trips on the Ground Effect website:

  Topic Name: Iceland: Myvatn to Vik via F-roads and some singletrack, anyone familiar? Reply #4 on: December 27, 2018, 05:24:16 PM

Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2018, 05:24:16 PM »

Also, don't underestimate the time required to cover a particular distance- there are many sections that are unrideable sand, loose rock etc. Weather aside, the slowest going would be the section between the mountain huts at Askja and Nyidalur (Tungnafellsjokell on your route description) on the F910. This took us 2-1/2 days to cover the 125km- although we went via the more southern (and rougher) Gaesavatn route nearer the Vatnajokull ice. This deviates from the F910 at the Holuhraun craters and picks it up again about 30km from the F26 intersection so does add a little distance and time getting to Nyidalur. The Dyngjusandur desert and the worst glacial river are on the F910 sections- these 'challenges' could hold you up for a while in the wrong conditions (also the river north of Nyidalur on the F26).   

We were pinned down (literally) on the F26 by the wind for half a day so maybe factor a day or two in weather delays too.

Photos are from the F910-Gaesavatn.

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