Edelweiss does the legwork for you
For would-be world travellers deterred by the daunting task of trip organization, Edelweiss Bike Travel may be the answer. The company – based in Austria and in operation since before I was born – looks after logistics so you can concentrate on the ride.
For Edelweiss’s 11-day (nine of which are riding days) “Iceland – Fire and Ice” tour, that ride will be on either a kitted-for-touring Triumph Tiger 800 XCx or Triumph Tiger Explorer. (Edelweiss offers many other tours in many other countries on many makes and models – BMW, Ducati, Harley, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Vespa, even Royal Enfield – but the Triumphs are the only options for Iceland.) If you’re riding solo it’ll cost (all prices U.S.) $8,600 for the XCx and another $370 for the Explorer. Riding two-up will cost either $6,870 or $7,060 (per person) depending on machine.
Unlimited mileage is included in the rental, as is basic insurance (purchasing additional coverage, offered by Edelweiss, is recommended). You’re responsible for booking and paying for flights to and from Iceland, as well as refueling your ride throughout the trip, but Edelweiss simplifies things by having your rental waiting at the hotel upon arrival. After a briefing and some paperwork, bike handover is a breeze — equally so at the end of the trip. Simply park the bike at the final hotel, return the keys and head home. (Assuming you haven’t mangled your motorcycle, but that’s what the additional insurance is for.)
Included in the cost are all accommodations, all breakfasts, nine dinners (you can go out of pocket for additional meals, or go hungry), a comprehensive tour information package, a meticulously planned route, a pair of knowledgeable guides and a support vehicle — in this case a 4×4 Ford. The truck transports luggage between hotels (one piece per person), and, as its bed is open to the elements, it’s recommended that luggage be waterproof. Staff has waterproof duffel bags on hand in case you forget yours, or neglect to read the brochure (it happens).
You’ll travel between seven and nine hours each day, covering roughly 2,000 km total (longest day 350 km, shortest 150 km) in a loop around the island beginning and ending in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital. That may not sound like much mileage, but there are many attractions (mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, geysers, museums, visitor centres, oceanic excursions and more) that quickly fill up each day. You can follow the tour guide, or, if you prefer, you can make your own way (the guides can offer routing advice if necessary). Edelweiss grades the route as “tough” on its website, mostly on account of some lengthy gravel sections and water crossings. (Seasoned adventurers will scoff at the designation, but be warned that this isn’t a Sicilian jaunt on a scooter.)
Bookings for Edelweiss’s Icelandic tour are currently being taken through 2017. The window of acceptable weather for comfortable — a relative term — motorcycle touring on the island is short, which is why the tour only runs three times a year, primarily in August. Space is limited and demand is high; if you’re interested, look into it soon.
And even if Iceland doesn’t interest you, Edelweiss likely has a destination that does. With a wide range of tours in Europe, North and South America, Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and even a world tour, this company has you covered. The only limiting factor — and it could be a big one — is your budget. These tours are expensive, but you get what you pay for: good food and accommodation, properly maintained motorcycles, wonderful riding, and a hassle-free experience. Visit www.edelweissbike.com for further information.