A few years ago, I finished a really fun fatbike trip in Mexico with a couple friends and it left me wanting more. I wanted to take these fat tire clown bike everywhere. I poured over maps and scoured the internet for remote places to ride, making a list of all the different places in the world I wanted to see. One of the first “bad ideas” that jumped off the map at me, was trying to ride across Iceland. The more I looked into it, the more it seemed possible to do the entire ride on dirt. I mentioned the idea to a few friends and they all seemed interested, but we were never able to coordinate a time. Fast forward a couple years to this spring. Scandinavian Jesus and I were sitting at the bar discussing our summer plans. Jokingly, I asked him if he would want to go to Iceland for a bikepack. Without hesitation he said “Sure. When?”
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Just like that, the plan was in motion. Tickets were bought and the route was set.
The only problem was, SJ doesn’t own a fatbike. Our friends at Borealis heard about our trip through the grapevine and offered to loan us a couple of their brand new Echo demo bikes. This was a pretty amazing gesture and we couldn’t be more proud to roll on their badass machines. The bikes showed up at our local bike shop about 6 weeks ago and mine was built for all of about 36 hours before I had it out on an overnight bikepack to see how it handled.
The first thing I noticed was that having legitimate front suspension on a fatbike is pretty awesome. My wrists are way happier and you can really take advantage of the big tires and extra traction a lot more on descents.
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The initial ride was fun as hell but more of a party cruise than a legit bikepack. So I sought out something a little more challenging test both bike and body. It didn’t disappoint. The cinder hills north of Flagstaff, AZ seemed like the perfect answer. I wandered around there for a couple days. Slogging through the soft dirt, pedaling away on mindless dirt roads and I even made some snow-like turns on some cinder covered descents.
The shakedown rides went really well and all the planning was going great. That is, until we heard the news of a volcano erupting in Iceland. This instantly shut down the first half of our planned route and we had to scramble to come up with an alternative. It looks like we are still going to have a great ride, and we should get plenty of singletrack along the way. But in all of my years of bike trips, I never once have had to deal with a volcanic eruption. I guess I can check that off the list now…
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Needless to say, I have learned quite a bit about volcanoes lately.
Maybe I was just born to love volcanoes?
There will also be a third person on this trip. We will be meeting up with our friend Charlie the Bikemonger who is flying in from England. I couldn’t think of two better people to be on such a difficult ride with. I have a feeling I might be in more pain from laughing with these guys then from pedaling. The three of us are going to hit the ground running (pedaling) tomorrow. Volcanoes be damned!
As for right now, I’m off to the airport. If you want to keep up with my trip in real time, check out my Instagram. I’ll update it whenever I can.
See y’all in a couple of weeks! keep it dirty…by