stories • happenings • adventures

Bekka Mongeau
August 29, 2023

Stephen Shelesky Cycles Westfjords Way

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Written by Stephen Shelesky

Unapologetically harsh but forgivingly beautiful, Iceland is having a well deserved renaissance in bike touring. One of its most remote regions, the Westfjords is home to the folks pioneering the change.

While bike touring in Iceland isn’t exactly a new idea, it’s becoming more accessible than ever with groups like Cycling Westfjords consolidating the minds of passionate riders to provide comprehensive resources and welcome bikepackers to the region.

Initially Cycling Westfjords is what drew me in all together, when I competed in my first ultra-endurance bike race, and their marquee event, the Westfjords Way Challenge (WFWC) in 2022.

This past spring I took things a step further and spent just over two months in Ísafjörður, Iceland with a goal of riding my bike as much as possible. Looking ahead with a plan to ride the Silk Road Mountain Race in August, Iceland provided the perfect training ground for getting comfortable with less than ideal weather. My trip started in April and ended after the second annual WFWC, and another ride on the nearly 600 mile route that circumnavigates the Westfjords.

Even with the frequently challenging weather, the Westfjords proved to be hardly an acquired taste, a network of tarmac and gravel connect the plentiful hot pots and cafes that feel quintessential to touring in Iceland. Further complimented by friendly locals and unbelievable scenery, there is no doubt riding in the Westfjords should be on every cyclists list.

My experience proved memorable, I learned to love the out-and-back, and savored the tailwind that was sure to compliment any brutal headwind (eventually). Most of my rides would terminate at a beach, hot pot, or waffle house, and frequent sheep sightings would dot the landscape once en route.

Maybe you’ve heard this before, but the Westfjords should be on every bikepackers list. Whether you head there to tour or race I’m certain the experience will be unforgettable and I promise that every low will be countered with an even higher high. When you roll through Ísafjörður be sure to say hi to Dóra, Tyler, and Lynnee at Cycling Westfjords, I know they too will be ecstatic to share a piece of their home with you.