The Springisandur is the other big highland route in Iceland, connecting 'nowhere' in the north to 'nowhere' in the south. Not many Icelanders drive here and only the hardiest cyclists or hikers attempt to cross it.
"I hate the Sprengisandur, I can't understand, why you want to go there, its corrugated roads throughout, sand, boring landscape and rivers which are chest deep..." this is, what the driver of a huge Unimog 4*4 Camper van told us.
Sounds like a nice trip for the family! But then, I never trust a car driver to tell me, what I can do with a bicycle and then he drove the Sprengisandur in the year before. Most of the time rivers are not as deep and the corrugated bits are easily avoidable with the narrow wheels of a bicycle. Preparation though is crucial. We calculated to need about 7-8 days to reach the next store. So we bought food for 12....
You never know, with the Icelandic weather... And already on the first day, we were stuck for half a day because of heavy rain. The day before, we had noticed, that Shoam's rain trousers were not waterproof, so we patched it with the nylon of some kites, which we got a advertising in a Gas station. Shoam had from now on large ESSO signs on her knees...
We took the F26 from the Godafoss, direction Landmannalaugar!
Just a few miles further we visited the Aldeyarfoss
The road from here went steep (15 - 20%) up and down, you had to find the hard surfaces on the road, as otherwise the rear wheel had not enough traction to get the heavy bikes up. It was cold, still we were cycling in a T-shirt and sweating. The first 2 days were hard work!
Suddenly you know again, why you are doing this trip. A rainbow in the evening, a nice campsite, good food (pasta)
The landscape on the Sprengisandur has in it's monotony of sand and pebbles its own beauty. You loose yourself in your own thoughts and smile about the childrens songs just behind you.
At the midway point, just before Nyidalur, we reached the 'chest deep' river:
Having thought, that we had managed the biggest hurdle, we stayed a night in Nyidalur and expected an easy ride south from here.
The next day we were fighting against a massive storm. The rain was falling horizontally, it was ice cold, the wind straight from the front. After fighting for over one hour to get 6km further, I was quietly starting to look out for a site to camp, when Sam suddenly turned her bike around and declared: "I go back!". I just responded "Go!", turned my bike as well and half an hour later we reached, fully soaked the small Hostel in Nyidalur, where we stayed the rest of the day drying our clothes...
Now it was decision time. Going on by bike meant, we wouldn't have time to visit Landmannalaugar or Geysir. I wanted to show both to my wife, but equally I would have liked to cycle the southern part of the Sprengisandur. We finally decided to take the bus to Landmannalaugar. It was leaving here at the next day. Fortunately there were only 5 passengers in the bus, so there was plenty of space for the bicycles and I felt a bit like a magician to be able to fit my bike, which was longer than the width of the bus inside the luggage compartment....
The route to Landmannalaugar was spectacular and we promised ourselves, to come back here one day and cycle it.