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Iceland is a rewarding but also demanding locale for a long-distance bike trip. The major hazards are volatile weather, harsh winds, sandstorms, rough roads, and stones flung by passing vehicles. Any bike brought to Iceland should be very high-quality. Bring along a repair kit and be prepared for several flats since supplies are difficult to find outside Reykjavík. Make sure you are easily visible to motorists, and always wear a helmet -- legally required for all children under 15. To protect Iceland's vegetation, all off-road driving -- of bikes as well as cars -- is absolutely forbidden.

Bicyclists along the Ring Road can use the bus as a backup in bad weather. Bikes are stored in the luggage compartment, so you might bring padding to prevent damage.

The Icelandic Mountainbike Club, Brekkustígur 2, Reykjavík (tel. 562-0099; www.mmedia.is/~ifhk/tourist.htm), does not arrange trips or rentals for tourists but the website has suggested itineraries, a packing checklist, a message board, and tips on where to store your bike box.

Tour Operators

On Friday evenings from June 10 through August, Arctic Adventures, Laugavegur 11 (tel. 562-7000; www.adventures.is), leads 4-hour bike tours of Reykjavík for 4,590kr ($73/£37), with only a two-person minimum. The Icelandic Mountainbike Club organizes informal weekend trips for its members, and visitors are often welcome to tag along.

Blue Biking, Stekkjarhvammi 60, Hafnarfjörður (tel. 565-2089; www.simnet.is/bluebiking), offers a few cycling trips in southwest Iceland, from a day-long Reykjavík tour to a 5-day excursion through Tþjórsárdalur and Landmannalaugar, with luggage transport. Trips are scheduled by arrangement and usually have a four- or five-person minimum.

West Tours, Aðalstræti 7, Ísafjörður (tel. 456-5111; www.westtours.is), rents mountain bikes and can help with basic logistical support, such as plotting out wonderful routes in that region; though they do not lead guided tours.

Freewheeling Adventures (from North America tel. 800/672-0775; outside North America tel. 902/857-3600; www.freewheeling.ca), based in Nova Scotia, Canada, schedules two guided 8-day trips each year, both with fantastic itineraries. The 305,937kr ($4,895/£2,448) rate includes luggage transport. Self-guided versions of the same tours cost 31,250kr ($500/£250) less and leave anytime.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.