Geoff Harper had a unique goal: cycle the South Coast of Iceland the hard way — by beach, using roads only as a last resort. The trip turned out to be just a bit under 500 miles over three weeks through severe wind, rain and conditions that, as he put it, “would render a conventional bike useless.”
The British-born Denver resident chose a fat bike for the adventure, jumping on a 9:Zero:7 Tusken fat bike outfitted with a Gates Carbon Drive belt system and NuVinci N360 continuously variable transmission.
He chose to use the belt drive to better cope with the harsh saltwater and sand environment along the coast and said that the system worked well.
“This bulletproof setup allowed me to focus my attention on the difficult ride and resting whenever necessary vs worrying about chain maintenance,” he reported.
Harper began pedaling on August 8 and arrived in Reykjavík three weeks later.
“The expedition was tougher than I had fully realized though subconsciously I had suspected it would be,” he reported. “Moments of glassy-eyed elation followed moments of gut-wrenching hardship, again I knew these were in the past. What I overlooked however was the degree of self-knowledge brought about by the intensity of a solo trip such as this. Self-reliance was my only option with no choice but to trust my instinct where the will to keep moving, to stay warm, to find shelter and to eat were all I could think about for days on end and then conversely the absolute need to reconnect with people, those days spent alone in harsh conditions have forever changed my appreciation of a casual conversation and a smile shared with a stranger.”
His trip looks like a great, albeit tough, way to visit a remote and beautiful part of the world. —Sean McCoy