My Favorite Ride
My favorite ride is an
I know it sounds incredible... but this road is hardly ever travelled in summer! No cars! One has the road totally to oneself... and this road isn't just any old road... Its kept in great shape, even though its hardly ever travelled (at all) in summer! Not only that, it also goes through some of the most breathtaking natural scenery, whatever your bag is: Mountains! Its got those. Plains! Its got those... Valleys, volcanic lava formations, moss, the occasional summer cottage (rare), wide open country secenes, blue sky, cloud formations, tarmac, loose surface road... It's all there... and... no-one to disturb you at all.
Can such a place exist? Let me explain...
Its the long and winding road to the Blue Mountain Skiing area just outside of Reykjavik, Iceland. The thing is, no-one hardly ever goes up there in summer and its an amazingly scenic ride!
You start from the busy bustle of Reykjavik, where every other person has a car. Making your way east, as if to Hveragerdi (the place with the hot springs), but when you are just out of the city limits, you take an unexpected right, past a glider airfield, on the left, as you turn... and you're on the road...
|(Watch out for the cops along the way! - Nahhh... They normally hang around the main road, just before you turn off the the Blue Mountains... and just wanted to know what kind of bike it was. Cops are just people, too, you know! When I passed them the first time, they thought it was a brand new Harley... Then, they just wanted to be sure... I was proud to tell them it was a 1500 Suzuki Intruder.|
The road up to the Blue Mountains is kept very well, in fact they have to, for it to be accessible during the winter peak skiiing season. There are yellow marking sticks along the way, so the ploughs know where the road is!!! They can't see it for the snow in winter!
You sometimes get the feeling you are travelling along the bottom of an empty fish tank, as this place is so deserted in summer and the moss on either side of the road gives it a 'barren' if not 'futuristic' look (post nuke type). Basically, its like travelling through an alien landscape... and if you're not from the island, you would be!
|Tampering with the moss, or any plant life in general, here, is illegal. If you think about it, we're glad to have any vegetation up here at all, given the hostile environment the poor things have to put up with.|
If you're anything like me, who can't resist the temptation to stop and take in the scenery, then you'll have a long trip ahead. I'm not one for whizzing past stuff and thereby missing half the ride! I stop regularly, if not to take in the countryside, then to check out how good my bike looks with it in the background! My 1500 Suzuki '98, green and black Intruder is my pride and joy...
The road is amazing. It twists and turns, and around every bend is something new. It's probably the truest example of that "long and winding road" that one imagines when hearing the term... and you never quite know what lies around the next bend either, the land seems to be quite hard at work cooking up variations of itself for your viewing pleasure... providing that you are patient and observant enough stop to appreciate it.
Much the same as most people who know the joys of riding, I cannot fully put into words the sheer thrill of a smooth road beneath a metal monster, like the 1500 Intruder... Its like eating warm chocolate. It fills the spirit to a fine excess. This trip always does that to me... but then again, I'm one of these 'dry day' riders... I mean, the weather up here dictates that everyone own a car, and that's what I use on rainy days.
When I lived in Africa, I rode in all kinds of weather. Its a thrill, after a sizzling hot day, to grab the bike and have the huge warm African raindrops cool you down. In Iceland if you did that you'd spend most of your time recovering from hyperthermia! (This paragraph is mainly for the benefit of those who will wag the finger at those who don't ride in rain. Sometimes its just not appropriate to take the bike!)
Anyway, back to our ride to the Blue Mountains... The destination, however is always the same. The Blue Mountain Lodge. The place is like the heart of the green valley, with the empty ski lifts going from it in all directions, like veins and arteries.
One gets the feeling one is at a closed down fairground, with the rides waiting for the current to be switched on... and if you are at all psychic, or listen really hard, you might even hear a late echo of the cry of a skier who broke his leg on the slope sometime last winter... or maybe it's the echo of someone still waiting to be rescued! (hehe)
If you roll up to the lodge and the caretaker is there, you will be invited inside for a cup of hot something. He's a pleasant fellow, and he also rides a 1500 Intruder too!! ... In fact, when my old Honda Shadow VT-1100 was parked downtown Reykjavik last year, it was HIM who rode in on his big black 1500 Suzuki and parked it next to mine, dwarfing it! I knew then, I had to have one!
To conclude: In summer, in Iceland, there is no better ride than this lonely road. Its a journey every man must make one day... and its best made alone, as, then, you can decide when you want to stop to take in nature's many splendid treasures.
My second most favorite ride is a long road I found by chance when aimlessly riding about trying to find adventure. It's straight because it runs paralell to the main hot water pipe that provides reykjavik with its hot water.
Hot spring water and ground water heated up by volcanic activity is used to heat up homes, here, in Iceland.
Along the hot water pipe is an amazingly smooth, long, straight, road. The type of road every biker dreams about finding... I can't really put into words the awesome feeling I got when I realised I had found one... Riding along this road you also get a feeling like you are in one of these road movies... but the only audience you have the sheep, who like to live dangerously, grazing beside the road...
Unfortunately I have witnessed inconsiderate people driving like maniacs along this road, especially since it is so straight... and have even felt the urge to twist the throttle a bit myself... but I have realized a consequence of this, that many speed freaks don't seem to understand... speed only makes the ride last shorter... and given the bovine activity along the edges, I owe it to the lesser creatures, sharing our earth, to respect their right to co-exist without threat from me.
The "long road" seems to go on forever... but ends by snaking it's way into the mountains... This is by no means the end of the ride... There are places to see in and beyond the mountains... You just have to ride around a bit more to find them!
Before I roll home, I sometimes check out the beach near Grotta Lighthouse, in the hope that something may have been left when the tide went out... Nothing yet. I'll keep you posted!