Oliver Jorgensen, Jalen Sekhon & Kieran Evans
Iceland By Bike
On the edge of the Arctic Circle, at 66.5 degrees North, we stood on a rusty shipwreck at the true north summit of Iceland. From here we would set off south. Our goal, to complete a North-to-South mountain bikepacking traverse of the Island Nation. Our route was set to take us through the most remote areas of the Island. From thawing tundra plains to the high peaks of Iceland’s most active Volcano, we set of pedaling with heavy bikes and much anticipation. Ahead of us, a winding journey on ancient goat track, gravel roads, mountain passes.
Our trip took place in June of 2019. We set off, the three of us, on what we intended to be our summer vacation. Escaping our millennial lives, we packed our bikes with food and gear to spend 20 days on our bikes. Originally, we intended this to be a relaxed tour of the Island. However, it quickly became a quest for adventure, testing not only our ability but also our spirits.
In traversing the Island, we quickly became subject to life on a bike. We based distance in calories and charted our course south, with a few detours to remote gas stations along the way. As we crossed the country, we found ourselves immersed within the landscapes and humbled by Iceland’s rugged topography.
Our trip started at an abandoned outpost on the Northern Tip, Rifstangi. From here we travelled inland, towards the continental Ice sheets that shape the unique landscape. Subject to the weather, we pedaled, pushed, and hauled our bikes further South. We completed the traverse on the southernmost point of the Island, Reynisdrangar. For us, this trip represented the possibilities of human power adventure. Riding our bikes gave us an innate appreciation for the landscape. The freedom of two wheels allowed us to experience the Island, as we linked long sections of remote trail – only accessible by bike.
As part of their presentation, the group is making a short film to tell their story – A Vacation Gone South.
This trip was supported by the 2019 MEC Adventure Grant.
Chasing His Icelandic ancestry, the trip across Iceland was a longtime dream for Oliver. Residing in Vancouver, BC, Oliver is an avid bikepacker and highly mediocre photographer. As a way of escaping the stresses of modern life, Oliver regularly fastens camping gear, skis, climbing gear and running shoes to his bike – seeking adventure.
Prior to this trip, Jalen lacked experience on his bike and in the outdoors. This trip presented new challenges as he quickly gained experience in both. Jalen, a Vancouver native, immersed himself in mountain biking and backpacking in preparation for the trip. Since completing the traverse, He has been inspired to keep pushing his comfort zone and to explore more parts of the world on two wheels.
No stranger to human powered adventure, Kieran came on the trip to experience life on two wheels. With an array of outdoor experiences behind him, he found comfort in the slow pace and blissful nature of bikepacking. His only downfall along the trip was a last minute decision to leave the chamois at home.