There’s nothing like seeing regular updates from a range of motorcycle travelers in magazines or on social media to whet your appetite for adventure – but what if you don’t have the funds or the time to take on something a little more adventurous than your usual European summer tour?
Well, in this month’s Motorcycle Sport & Leisure magazine our good friends at GlobeBusters have a fantastic suggestion – head for Iceland!
The land of fire and ice has created a volatile playground, offering a unique riding experience right here in Europe. With glaciers, lava, volcanoes, hot springs and fjords it can feel like you’re on a different planet, but it’s just a few hours away by plane.
GlobeBusters are running two tours to Iceland in 2016, one wholly on the roads and one on a mixture of roads and gravel trails.
Hugging the coastline route you can see everything that Iceland has the follow over the course of about 1,800 miles, which GlobeBusters say will take around two weeks, allowing a days travel to and from the country at either end if you fly.
Kevin & Julia have given several handy tips for those looking at riding in Iceland:
- Travel – you can ship your own bike to Iceland and take the plane using a specialist motorcycle courier, or ride up to Denmark and take the ferry, which will involve 3 nights at sea in each direction.
- Bike Rental – With a population roughly the size of Leicester choice is limited, but there are still various options available.
- Bike Choice – It’s all down to your route. If you stick to the roads, you can use pretty much anything, although with a 55mph speed limit on rural tarmac roads it’s not necessary to take the latest sportsbike! Gravel tracks will see you needing a reliable adventure sport bike, but check about where you can and cannot ride in advance, as some areas are prohibited if you’re thinking of taking a full blown enduro.
- Weather – Refreshing summers and relatively mild winters, with July and August the best months for motorcycle touring. It’s cooler than our average summer, but generally with less rainfall.
- Experience Levels – Iceland is pretty straight forward apart from riding on the right. GlobeBusters report that roads are well cared for, with little traffic and a high standard of driving. There’s plenty of off-road challenges including river crossings if you fancy it, but it’s up to you!
- Paperwork & Currency – EU citizens don’t need a visa for stays of less than 3 months. It’s also worth noting that most Icelanders don’t carry cash (the Krona) and that plastic is king!
- Language – With English taught as the official second language in schools, most Icelanders speak good English so it’s relatively easy to get what you want.
There are plenty of sights to see, almost too many to list, but GlobeBusters recommend several that are well worth a visit during your trip. These include the Road to Hell which takes you to the Askja volcanic crater and lava field. The Vatnajokull glacier is the largest in Europe outside of Norway, and the Westfjords promise many isolated and twisty roads hugging the coastline. After a quick visit to the Icelandic Penis Museum in Reykjavik, you can sample some unique cuisine including fermented shark and smoked puffin. Of course, the geothermal pools are also a huge draw and a great way to relax after a long day in the saddle.
If you’re planning on hitting the gravel tracks as well as the roads, it’s ideal territory for the Continental TKC 70 – which delivers strong mileage and genuine off-road performance to give you the best of both worlds.