Dan's Singaroundiceland cycle tour – finished but not over!

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Hello all! Yes, I'm back.. and yes, I finished! 3000km, 3000 photos and £3000 raised (and counting..) but the story isn't over yet. Collecting money is the Devil's own job, hence my silence on this page since my return! To keep you amused, here's an article I wrote for the Reykjavik Grapevine (published online two weeks ago, thank you!) I hope to have more time to write a fuller account on here once the fundraising's done, but in the meantime, here's a preview of the tour as a whole. Take care, thanks for reading, cheers for your support, and I promise to continue to entertain, inform and amuse again soon! Dan :-)

Finished! 3000km in seven weeks!

Singing around Iceland – a cyclist's guide to the friendliest parts of Iceland

How to beat those Saturday Morning blues – become your own one-man travelling circus

Ever get those days where you find it difficult to get going, to start something you know you'll enjoy once you've just taken that first step? Ever found you've lost sight of what you enjoy in life and you can't remember how to go about finding it again? I know, Welcome to my world... I'm sure we've all been there. So what do you do about it? Phone a friend? Ignore it, carry on as before and hope it'll sort itself out? Bite the bullet and go to therapy? Start drinking? How about setting yourself a challenge that you have to rise to fulfil, kickstart your higher synapses again? How about cycling round Iceland for two months for charity?

Down to Olafsvik from the south

Down to Olafsvík from the south of Snæfellsnes

There's nothing like making someone a promise to get me going. So when I said I'd be taking a career break for three months, cycling over 1500km (it ended up as 3000km) round Iceland for two charities in August / September and trying to cadge food and bed by singing for my supper each night, most thought I was nuts. Some knew me a bit better and knew damn well I was nuts, but secretly thought I'd manage it anyway. I'd come here last year on a choir exchange with Kvennakór Kópavogs (Ladies choir of Kópavogur) for a wonderful mad weekend of singing, sightseeing, drinking and laughter, but I'd known since I was very young that sometime I was going to explore this strange, remote, exotic world for myself. Coming back also gave me the chance to do something for the people that had helped me – I found out many of Kvennakór had been helped by Ljósið Endurhæfing, one of the charities I was supporting, so I'd be giving something back too. But this was just as much a trip for myself – to see a world I'd spent hours reading, dreaming of; to be cycling, unsupported, for seven weeks through mindblowing, challenging scenery – and to drive myself to reawaken something asleep within me and give me the boost I needed.

Stapafell, a mere 400m pimple below Snaefellsjokull

Stapafell, a mere 500m pimple below Snæfellsjökull

Two months is a long time, and regardless of currency fluctuations this would be an expensive trip. I was going to take a tent, but not only does the wind blow and the rain fall in Iceland, it can snow in September – I'd need other places to stay, I'd need equipment, spares, food, LOTS of food.. I'd be spending a lot of money at a time when I wasn't actually getting paid for anything. And I thought again about the Kvennakór. Maybe if I was riding for charity, and an Icelandic one at that, people might put me up for the night. What could I give them in return? Bringing fifty expensive, heavy presents wasn't an option. How about singing for them? Giving a solo concert in return for bed and board.. could it work? Would the Kvennakór know enough people around Iceland to get me round? Maybe not, but their friends might.. and hey, if I needed a catchy hook to get the media interested (and potential hosts), then singaroundiceland.com was it!

Dusk, heading for Vididal, northwest Iceland

Dusk, heading for Viðidal, northwest Iceland

Carry on to find out more about my ride around Iceland... (next page)

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6 comments on “Dan's Singaroundiceland cycle tour – finished but not over!”

  1. Mary wrote:

    What an inspirational fantastic blog Dan. I must admit I shed a tear at the end of this, you have gotten so much out of it. What a man! A real trip of a lifetime. All those people you met, tHe scenary what a magical experience. Loved all your pictures and I have looked forward to everyone of your posts, sort of 'hanging on' for the next installment. :)

    When I have toured alone (I have never gone as far as you, or as far away either), and returned from a self organised, unsupported tour, I get the 'post tour blues', so do look after yourself and keep busy, although Im sure rounding up all the money will take AGES and give you no peace for some time. For me, the worst part of a charity do, is money collection afterwards.

    I am sure others reading your experience Dan will be thinking of lugging out their bikes and seeing the world from a different angle, and a different speed. I know I am.

    :)

    OH.... and well Bloomin Done Sir! :) :)

  2. Hilary wrote:

    I think Mary has said it all.

    Wonderful stuff Dan!

  3. Patrick wrote:

    I agree. Great trip, great Post. It doesn't seem long since we cycled together in Yorkshire with you on that same bike. Now you are probably a changed man – I'd imagine a grand tour on a bicycle has that broadening effect and you are thinking of the next one.

    Iceland and its people come over as equally wonderful. As Mary says, I hope your reports will inspire other cyclists to go there realising it is not as glacial a place as one might think. Good luck with 'coming down to earth' again, with the fundraising, and I hope your mother is well. Does she like your haircut? It looks shorter LOL

  4. Kern wrote:

    Congratulations on a tremendous accomplishment, both personally and charitably.

    Cycling is really a solo sport, says Mary, even when riding with someone else. It promotes self-reflection and freedom of thought without limitations or boundaries, reinforced by the knowledge of immediate, physical self-accomplishment. Our few long-distance tours all brought an increasing sense of inner peace that grew with each day on the road.

    However, "this too shall pass," as they say. The inevitable decompression following a trip seems to hit us hardest about three weeks after the return to the daily grind. Hopefully this doesn't hit you too hard after such a great trip.

    The photos are fantastic, by the way. What a great country.

  5. Chris wrote:

    Congratulations to Iceland's new official photographer. Super views. On a much smaller scale I know what you mean about coming down to earth, as it were, after a special bike ride. Actually, I feel a bit like that after a Sunday club run. Well done, Dan.

  6. Dan wrote:

    Cheers for all comments! Hair is now a little longer and yes, I may be a little wiser too as a result (aren't you supposed to LOSE hair when that happens?) I'm getting closer to the figure of £3750 which would be 75% of the total I was aiming for.. a figure plucked from mid-air but a good target.. which will mean around 350,000ISK going to Ljósið before the year is out! That will be one hell of an achievement.

    This is also far from the last post, so to speak.. though I've been happy with the narrative style of my blogs, I'd like to actually have a go at the conventional 'ride diary'-type blog so people have more of an idea of what cycling in Iceland is like, and what I actually did each day. It may be harder to keep it as interesting, but there's nothing like a challenge! However with the musician's and retailer's December comes less free time.. so as ever, watch this space! Cheers for all the support! Dan 😀

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