The Further Away The Better

The first-ever unsupported ride to cross Iceland’s Sprengisandu

Feature type Video

Read time 20 min read

Published Mar 03, 2021

Base editorial team
BASE editorial team BASE writers and editors who live and breathe adventure every day. We love adventure storytelling as much as we love adventure itself.

In the centre of Iceland sits the Sprengisandur. A highland plateau between the Hofsjökull and Vatnajökull glaciers. Considering its position, it’s everything you might expect it to be. Harsh and remote and unforgiving. Perhaps not the first place you’d be expecting to ride bikes designed for the road.

More than 60 years ago, Ron Bartle joined Dick Phillips, Bernard Heath and their guide Raymond Bottomley set out to complete the first-ever unsupported ride to cross the Sprengisandur. They spent ten days in the wilderness, crossing rivers in inflatable dinghies and pushing their bikes for miles over boulder fields until they finally reached the first farmstead in the north. Now in his mid-eighties and still an avid cyclist, Ron recounts the story of his unexpected Icelandic adventure.

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