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Gallery: Riding the Alt Ring Iceland

Countless gorgeous waterfalls, near-black-out sandstorms, hellish winds, and strange shelters.

When his plans to race Ireland’s 2,500-kilometer-long TransAtlantic Way bikepacking race were foiled by Covid travel restrictions, former VeloNews managing editor and Fast Talk Labs cofounder Chris Case hatched a plan: Circumnavigate Iceland on a mix of gravel tracks and dirt and paved backroads, avoiding the famed Ring Road as much as possible.

He built a route he dubbed “Alt Ring Iceland,” which stretched approximately 2,200 kilometers around the perimeter of the island. The intent was to take in as many alternative roads as he could find, which involved scouring several maps, reading and researching online, and looking for telltale signs of interesting terrain (i.e. switchbacks, close contour lines, and steep grades). 

He then found someone crazy and fit enough to join him — experienced long-distance cyclist Matt Roy. Roy has raced Paris-Brest-Paris, TransAtlantic Way, and countless brevets and other ultra-cycling events. He was once a pro mechanic most famous for wrenching for his wife, Mo Bruno Roy.

Once the pair arrived in Iceland, they built their bikes in “The Pit,” a small, purpose-built facility for building bikes on site. They set off from Keflavik airport on a route they estimated would take 13 days.

Follow along on their journey below.