In late februari-beginning of march 2012 i started my cycling adventure around Iceland. Besides, i also undertook some short hikes on my snowshoes. Somehow, after hiking i am always happy to be back on the bike again. But when hiking out, it seems to me like there is nothing like it. Which means, dragging along the whole lot on the bike. Just in case.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Basically i just sit here in Ghent with some friends, having coffee while they work, and beer when they sleep. Getting motivated by some who think i should and getting focussed by others who think i shouldn't.  Getting depressed by those who don't really bother. Drill holes in my Surly Front Rack to fit the oversized eyelets of my monstrous bike. Just recently stopped doubting whether taking the plane to Iceland from Brussels, or cycle to Kopenhagen first because suddenly it seemed to me i should wait the worse out of the winter. So, eventually i decided to go to Iceland straight away, and while booking the flight the weather turned and it seems like slushy sleety snow and rain for the near past and future. Yep, time is closing in! I really should pack my bags but somehow that's always to be done late at night, just before leaving. Better have another beer in the mean time.
All part of the mental preparation.
Three hours before leaving


Wow! I had that silly ticklish feeling in my stomach on the air plane, and really don't remember when i had that for the last time when leaving on a trip. After a while on develops his habits, and just takes it like whatever, talks about it like others talking about going to the club,  -what doesn't mean travelling lost its sex appeal, but anyway, who cares about sweet sixteens. And travelling being one of my main occupations, i guess i developed that apathetic attitude of not smiling automatically at whatever you don't find at home. But now, it seems like anything can happen. It could be really against my balls, great, too hard, ecstatic,boring, lonely, perfect. It is like falling in love again!
So Iceland, it is definitely the lousiest weather i have seen in my life. The slushiest sleetiest of all weathers. Just around 0 degrees, it snows a bit, or rains or drizzles a bit. A lot of wind. And if it looks good for five minutes, somehow people show up from i-don't-know-where telling me it will be over soon. Yesterday the sun came out for almost two hours, and the people laughed at it, like saying her not to bother showing up if only to disappear directly like she always does. And she did. And yet! I caught a glimpse of the surroundings, and they are like nothing i saw before in my real life. Smooth, rolling, vast. Smooooth! So smooth, and at the same time they look totally unreachable -only in a way, of course. They better be reachable. I told someone about the hills, and he told me i would get used to it all to quickly, and little time would pass before i got bored by it. He might be right, but now, i really feel like i will love this for the rest of my life.
And tomorrow Monday i finally skip the cappuccino, jump on the bike and get mooooovin'!!!

My First Days on the Bike

So it has begun. After struggling to get the fuck out of Reykjavik with his bicycle lanes sending you three times to the right over and under the highway instead of one time left, i managed and went my way to Þingvellir -, remnants of the gathering place a great and intriguing People -Vikings!- and wondered if soon, Chinese would come visit Brussels like that, marveling about that People that kept ranting philosophy until their noses were under water. And not only was it a kind of parliament, it´s also the place where the North-american and Eurasian continental plates drift away from each other.

Rupture of the continental plates!
For me though, it was pretty much white all the way through. What glory to start the journey on a bike with a light wind in the back, being on a good road surrounded by white after only two hours of cycling! The next day to Geysir which is the crux-of-the-bizz platonic archtype of all geysers i had fifty times changing weather. Nice, too hot, rainy, rain jacket gloves, gloves and pants on, snow, nothing, everything off again, snow, waiting, rain, everything on, and finally all that with a headwind, so hot and cold at the same time, no matter what the clothing, although on the long haul better with the rain stuff.

The roads were good the first day, but day two i had to put on my spiky tires. The sound it makes!! Cycling through all white, even the street, with the sound of rice crispies or kroepoek on the tongue, like driving over a street covered in bubble wrap? This just has to be soothing for the spirit, i know it for sure.

Blue sky, vast land, rolling hills, all white -give me some floating golden egyptian symbols and i am back in my Ayahuasca vision- and then a black cloud before me, somehow i stop to eat a snickers -cup of hot tea, because after all this is vacation- and decide to put on the rainstuff, and five minutes later heavy snowy hail with a strong wind right in my face to finish off the day. Before leaving, i thought it might have been a bit too much to take those mean ice spikers, but it might turn out that my normal tires could be the overkill ones.

Clouds up to no good

And as i drove out of the city, somehow the city drove out of me. Finally.

Ear in, ear out.

All Hope is in The Islandic Pony!

Moebius is dead! Oh no!! Now who will do all the dreaming for us...!!

 Ah, the least we can do is try. Bye Moebius, see you in your dreams.

For me, on the other hand, things still get mooooving around here. If it´s anything that it does, it is moving! So much happened here lately, and in such amazing intensity, i don´t really know how to tell this all to you without turning it into chaotic nonsense, but -what to do?- i give it a go anyway. You can also just have a look at the pictures.
I cycled around Snæfellsness peninsula with at its furthest point the infamous volcano Snæfellsjökull -you know: Jules Verne, the-entrance-to-a-passage-leading-to-the-center-of-the-earth and all that riddim. I tried to climb it on my birthday and it turned out in a half disaster with me walking in circles somewhere up there in crazy winds on snowfields, so what to do but to go down again and to hell with it. The day after, whole day of cycling in wet snow, which means: it falls on you to just turn into water + significant headwind = coldest day of my life. What more to say: it was total crap. And although weather seems to change here every ten minutes, that day it stayed like that the whole day. But what is one day anyway. And take a look at that pony! The Icelandic pony is the amazing enlightened Buddha come into being. I never saw even one that didn´t have its ears straight up, they are ALWAYS in a good mood, in no matter what conditions. Bow down...for the Icelandic pony.
I hope my Pony
Knows the way back home
But as a matter of fact, i don´t have a pony

So i´ll take the long way home

 So the storms of Iceland. They are totally insane and absurd. Imagine getting into the wrong bar with the wrong attitude, and BLAM-BLAM-BLADABAM! One on your nose, one from the left, one from the right, uppercut, and a kick in your back. Whattaaa...! And you look up, totally surprised, -BLAMM!- and so on. The wind, it´s a well-trained and furious kick boxer and he doesn´t mind beating the shit out of you. Tomasz from Reykjavik, who´s voluntary duty as a Search an Rescuer it is to warn people about the madness they get themselves into, told me about this Brazilian cyclist who got caught by the wind and lifted 20 meters high with a sad ending, and i wearily absorbed that, stacked in the memory in a dusty corner.
But some days ago, it was the only thing i could think of, when cycling at 45 degrees lateral toward the street. Braking like hell, trying all kinds of new "special technique"-cycling positions to keep the bike somewhat rolling on the road, all came down to the same conclusion: a half second of lesser concentration, and i am on the opposite side of the street. One second, and i could kiss the streets goodbye, and instead start kissing the stoney fields. When the street took a 30 degree to the left, though, oh-boy how mad! And the noise! A howling beast! How good! On flat parts i got pushed quickly to 50km/h, and braked when i got there out of fear for those fierce sidekicks. Even uphill, from standing still, i got pushed uphill around 25 km/h, with peak of 29,7 km/h. Without pushing! And whattayaknow, next day is calmish.
Making some tea, always a good idea.
So the magic of Iceland. You can ride 25km/h uphill without pedalling. And "You...can never hold back spring?" Did i see that song pass on facebook lately? "You can be sure, i will never stop believing..." Etc,.. Tralala,... Well, i just stopped believing. You can actually hold back spring without any effort; just like it was never there, just like it will never be there. All possible... here, today, in Iceland!And also, Iceland is the only NATO member which maintains no standing army. How magic, in today´s world.
So the pizza of Iceland. This has nothing to do with Iceland, but anyway. There it was. I decided not to take the ferry to the Western Fjords, too much snow it seemed, and instead stayed a day longer in Stykkisholmur.Good decision, and not only (but even more so) for the pizza! Thanks! And the two days after Stykkisholmur were really Days of days.
In Iceland, pizza time means that it is time for pizza.
So the capriciousness of Iceland. I decided to take the gravel road out of Snæfel. IT WAS AMAZING!!! Everything snow. And the sky is open, and now and then only one cloud comes, bringing strong wind and hail, and before you know madness is gone again. And then it snows. All the roads white, landscape white, i even had to push for an hour through too-deep-snow, calculating how long it would take me to the next town,...i got to 36 hours or so. But fortunately it wasn´t always that bad. At times when it was heavily snowing, me dressed like Darth Vader with a yellow fluo jacket so they see him, the interiorising sound of being totally wrapped up in all kinds of windstopper, listening to your own breath, i was like snowboarding in deepsnow, plowing the road out of nothing. No view, just plain white everywhere. Eye saturated of so much white looses ability of depth, so here i am, slipped into another dimension. And those yellow sticks on the side of the road...My ayahuasca vision! If the shaman would have told me " You will float in white infinite with egyptian golden symbols showing you the way", i would have nodded and say, yeah, whatever man. As long as i pay you, right?
So you know: there is a road.
Google can have his street view! I have my own.
If it were coffee brewing up there, it would have been damn good coffee.
So far the bicycle-fotoshoot.

So the hot springs of Iceland. The Rough Guide says (beside their depressing comments about anything there is to see in Iceland): "From the hot spring you can marvel at the 20 km long here and there snowy mountainside of Tindastöll (989m), and on the other side the ocean. A typical icelandic experience." They also have this totally unacceptable habit of copy-pasting (juli-aug) behind everything they write, and they don´t say nor even suggest you should go up the mountain first in order to have that top of the notch icelandic experience. 
A big heart for my big love
Grettir swam from the isle to the shore where the hot spring is, but just before he got in, two girls had a look at his weenie and had a good laugh with it. Therefore, according to the Saga, its name: Grettirslaug.
"Coffee Time" means it is time for coffee.
And only this: in the beginning, i was a bit timid about my purpose. People asking me: "Why", "Winter", etc,... and me always saying, well i have to work in the summer, but what a lie! I mean, i do work in the summer, but that has nothing to do with it! It is just so incredibly fantastic! I love it so much! It is...GREAT! Would i say to people visiting Belgium, don´t drink beer in the winter because it is cold? Of course not! Beer is good, even in the winter. If from today, it would start to rain untill the end of the trip, i would still be happy, because of how it was untill now! So from now on, i will really have to bite my tongue not to scream:

"Why?? What do you mean why!!"

When Favourable wind gets less Favourable

Falling Down

A friend told me, when moments get bad, that´s when you need to record. If you want to get famous, that´s what the people want to see: trouble. Basically anything that prevents them from coming out of their sofa is exactly what they want to see from that same sofa. Stormy weather, failing gear, robbery, fights, political instability, fatigue, incomprehensible languages, or just: a good oll´ nice and plain bad day. That´s exactly when you have to put the camera on rolling, say some stupid lines with your stupid face about the stupid things that are happening to you, Mr. Stupid. I skipped the camera, but hey! i can just tell you about it and –voila! I bumped my second smallest toe pretty hard against the bed made of “palletten”, and it turned all blue. 
I managed to loose my swiss knife, which means that if i am in big trouble i will have to chew my arm off to make an escape. I know exactly when and where: it was such a bloody cold day somewhere near Siglufjordur, windy and icy and hilly, and long. I didn´t advance so well, and was tired and hungry because in Iceland there is never really a place beside the road where you can stop and chill for a while, have a snack and move on. It always seems like if you stop there, you will not make it wherever you go. So after waiting too long, i did stop, undid all my millions of gloves and shawls and helmet and cape and other cape and balaclava and whatelse, to open myself to this arctic wind keeps blowing with tiny hail!!! and fingers freezing the moment you get them in open air, so i quickly cut off an approx. 250g piece of cheese, sandwiched it between two rye bread slices and shoved it into my throat together with a snickers and a banana, to let it do its job down there, burnt my lips on a cup of tea because i always tend to forget that a thermos -even after having been hung for five hours in cold wind and hail- is a little mysterious world of magic. I rapidly dressed again and got mooooovin´. While accelerating, i heard a sound of stony metal on the street, and thought: “ah well, stone against chain” and that was that.
 My fancy pancy Event 1000x better than gore-tex mega performance jacket is falling apart. Not just as a figure of speech, but literally. The glue has decided to give it a break. And its legendary waterproofness has gone skiing. I also lost my right over-glove super mitt. Pretty bad, because it was this super fancy high tech shit with lots of names and properties, and it was so good! So now i have to do with either too warm and waterproof, of too cold and not waterproof. Couple of days ago, cycled the whole day in the rain without gloves, because it seemed to me (sometimes you have that totally absurd beliefs) that i might need them “for later”. What a joke. But let me tell you an Icelandic one. One of the only two existing Icelandic jokes: If you don´t like the weather, wait for ten minutes. Well it rained the whole day. But since i crashed most spectacularly with my bike two days before, hand all swollen and bloody painful like twenty Santa Cruz Screaming Hands together, i thought: “let´s make something out of this!”. So i didn´t cycle with gloves and after a day of keeping the hand at +2 degrees, nice and wet with a little chilly breeze on it (sounds like a burrito commercial), it kind of got better! 
I know mine are not those of a pianist, nevertheless this seems a little out of proportion
Not the knee though, and as a matter of fact, i am already five days put on stable like an old crippled horse in a hostal on the Laganes peninsula in the North East with a vast and ever changing panoramic view. Staring through the window, having coffee, compulsively eating like i were still cycling, putting ice on the knee, more coffee, impatiently reading anything i find on the shelf as long as it´s not Dan Brown, John Grisham, or that Milennium guy, what´s his name, Stieg Bookrackfillingson. So after Jekyll and Hyde, some Grunberg, and a Harry Mulisch, i finally started the Edda, you know... Thor? Odin? Loads of booze, loads of Walkure chicks, loads of violence and tough talk? Talking-about-my-mother-I-fucking-beat-the-fucking-shit-out-of-you? You want to know more about the roots of our culture? Indeed, that´s the famous Sagas.
A very rare shot of an Icelandic wind bag. I was really lucky to find it hanging just like this. It didn´t even move when i got the camera out. 
“The Corpse-Swallower is his name, sitting there at the end of the sky
a Giant in the appearance of an eagle
from his wings comes the wind, so they say,
who blows over all men”
Here you have it. Straight from the Saga. If i run into this Corpse-Swallower, i throw my Mjöllnir at his cliff with the hairs. I drive my mighty forewheel right into his giant nuts. See how he whistles then. It was a day where i got to seventy, then turned 180 degrees, and then had to battle the wind from the front, going sometimes only 3,5 km per hour. I didn´t even know that was possible. So suddenly street going down towards at the left the sea, and to the right a water field.

This the fucking left side, where i dug a hole. How peaceful it looks
The road in the middle, a couple of meters higher. I knew it: bad vibes; it was all over the place, you could see solitary wind gusts howling over the water surface, bashing over the road, disappearing in the sea. I am telling you: i was so prepared for it. So i go down, take the turn, let me roll very slowly, and see one coming. It just beats me, pure madness. But here i stand! So i continue and see another one. And as i see it approaching, totally prepared, i get this handful of gravel thrown right in my face. Remember another day i told about this wind, one second of slack concentration and you are wherever? Unfortunately i was so right, as i somehow turned 90 degrees, racing towards the other side of the street, thinking: “,!!!”
And as i lay there, feeling all stupid although there was no one to laugh at me or look worried or angry because this is not the time of the year and didn´t they tell me about the wind? As i lay there thinking it was foul play, some bad bloodsport movie where the bad guy throws sand in the good guy´s eyes, and while he is trying to keep standing and reorientate, the bad guy finishes him off in slow motion, low screaming bass voice as treacherous knee hits humble cheek with sweat drops drift slowly through the air away from the cheek of our already knocked-out hero, eternally falling down. But no spectators here, so what else to do than getting up. Looking around. And that bloody, shameless wind, ripping the map protector off my Ortlieb handlebar bag, so i run after it like Quasimodo freaking out. Flat tyre, and somehow the tyre was already smashed off the wheel, all ready to get the inner tube out. How lucky! Now i don´t even have to do that at least!
What else. The most amazing hot spring in the world, “hidden” one, in a ten metres deep and kilometres long crack in the ground, make your way down, and there it is: Perfection. Once in, you look up to the outside world through a deep crack, feeble broken sunlight (Yes it was sunny that day! What the hell was i doing in a cave!), and down under, the three meter deep water of forty degrees. 

What else. People i met that make you want to hang around there for a while, just to reassure yourself of their existence. Why? Just because it is a good thing to know. And yes, they do exist. Like Jimmu and Christine kind of people, where suddenly you find yourself in their company and you think: that is just amazing, and actually i don´t even know them. Sometimes i think they are, together with some friends, my last argument pleading for humanity.

This actually an avalanche, couple of hundred metres big
What else. The Polar Fox. I saw him! I love him. He is definitely the whitest fox in the whole world. If they would tell me i see him but then i would have to fall off my bike just like i did, i would. 
What else. It seems like i am not following the plan. I thought i would follow ring route 1, but as it turns out, until now i only rode 200 of the 1300 km on it. 
What else. Apparently it is the hardest winter in more than fifty years, and at the same time, the warmest winter in more than fifty years. How about that! In the beginning i thought the people told me that to prevent me from doing it (like that guy, my infamous Icelandic enemy, who advised me to go skiing and do myself and the Search and Rescue a favour. But i don´t know how to ski!), and then, since i was advancing pretty well and having such a good time, to say that actually it isn´t really winter after all. But as it turns out, both are true. 
It´s just that meteorologically speaking, the West and the East don´t have much to do one with another. And yes, while this doomy image of the terrible Northeast played in my head already from before getting here, all i saw was sunshine on the weather forecast there, and last week, i had up to thirteen degrees! Now it dropped again to below zero though, but still... i had my taste of spring. Last days have been splendid,...Wait and see, the weather will turn violent again as my knee turns good. 

What else. did i mention the polar lights? Did i?

Pray for the knee! Or whatever: pay for it! You can just subscribe some money to my bank account for a fysiotherapist or some whiskey and some morphine. I will have some more coffee in the mean time. Thank you very much.