Battling Ego and Weather While Bikepacking Iceland’s Westfjords

When I planned to go bikepacking around Iceland’s Westfjords with people I barely knew, I had no idea just how much of an adventure I would get myself into. But there we were, three colleagues and a friend of a friend who dreamed of an epic adventure and somehow agreed it was a good idea to plan big days in the saddle even though we knew the Icelandic conditions would be harsh. But hey, it would barely get dark at night, so we would have plenty of hours to ride…

Our crew consisted of Remi, who lives in his van in the French Alps and loves to push his body and mind to its limits for fun. Joh, who owns too many very nice bikes and uploads long rides around Berlin every weekend. Then Cleo from Ireland, who we knew from video calls only, and who had done a 500 km (310 mi) solo bikepacking race recently. And finally me, adventurer by heart, but happy if I can actually squeeze one weekly 50 km (31 mi) gravel ride in between work and family life in the German north.

It was probably going to rain a bit and be windy here and there, and there wouldn‘t be many options to restock on food. So we packed warm clothes, rain gear, and lots of snacks. Fully prepared.

We’d all been on a few multi-day rides and thought we had experienced it all. The tourist office in Iceland recommends half the distance we were planning for each day. But we were no tourists. How bad could a headwind possibly get? (Spoiler: Very, very bad.)