Iceland ring road bike tour-Guides

The Travel Guide – Published by Lonely Planet Publications ISBN 9781741045376 A very useful guide to all things in Iceland.

The Globetrotter Travel guide – Published by New Holland Publishers ISBN 1-84537-012-0 A compact little guide with info on the main points of interest in the various areas of Iceland with a small map useful for initial planning.

Shops

All the major towns have supermarkets and shops but the further you get away from Reykjavik and the south and west the less shops there are in the smaller villages, some of the petrol stations especially in rural areas have a small grocery section. If your route doesn’t take in many towns then you will need to stock up on food when you can and be prepared to carry food for a few days. There are definitely no shops in the interior apart from a small shop and cafe at the campsite at Landmannalaugar. please see the note below. Our Friends Brian and Karen of Wheelbudies have a google map showing the locations of the shops in Iceland here.

Buses & Ferries

Icelandic buss. There are no trains in Iceland, but there are plenty of buses that connect the main towns and villages. In the main tourist season there are also numerous excursion buses that link the main tourist areas and sites. All of the bus scheduled services and excursion buses that we used were geared up to taking bikes on their vehicles. Remember it is still at the discretion of the driver as to whether they think there is space available to take your bikes, so a bit of politeness doesn’t go a miss. In peak times in the summer there can be a fair few fellow tourers trying to get on the buses, especially if the weather is bad. At þorlákshöfn ferry terminal we saw 8 bikes being loaded onto a mini coach, we were amazed that they all fitted in!

Loading bikes on to a bus. You will find it easier to get your bikes on to the buses if you board at recognised stopping places rather than flagging them down en-route. There is a charge for the carriage of bikes and this can be between 1000kr to 2000kr per bike depending on the distance travelled.

When we travelled on the coaches our bikes were stored in the luggage compartments underneath the coach. However some opperators use small minibuses some of these minibuses had their rear seats removed to accomodate bikes or a trailer had been added to take luggage and the bikes. On a couple of occasions with small minibuses the bikes were carried on a bike rack attached to the trailer hitch on the back of the minibus. The bus drivers usually like to optimise the space they have available and will expect you to remove all your panniers and make the bikes as small as possible especially if there are several bikes. Have your tools handy, as you will almost certainly be asked to remove the front wheel, rotate the handle bars and lower or remove the seat post. It is a good idea to phone the bus operator in advance before you travel and tell them that you have bikes, particularly those less popular routes that use minibuses as they can then know to add a trailer for your bikes.

After talking to a couple of French girls we met who were touring on a tandem one year said that they had had no problems at all in getting their tandem on to an Icelandic bus. I didn’t gather which route they travelled on, but they even reckoned that it had gone in the luggage compartment underneath and that they weren’t asked to disassemble it to get it in. Mind you that might have been down to their cute smiles and  French accents!

Listed below are the main bus companies that operate scheduled and excursions services in Iceland.

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