Video: Exploring The Lush & Green Icelandic Expanse by Bike

Oct 31, 2018
by MarinBikes  
Views: 9,453    Faves: 49    Comments: 3


When Chris from Big Mountain Adventures gave me the opportunity to explore Iceland on their Tectonic Treasures tour, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. This strange, otherworldly land has fascinated me for a long time. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how awesome it was going to be experiencing these landscapes by bike.

Mark Matthews Fimmvorouhals Iceland.

Mark Matthews Fimmvorouhals Iceland.

Three months prior to the trip, Mummi from the Iceland Bike Farm invited me out to his property since I was coming to Iceland. Only a couple weeks later, he followed up to let me know he needed someone to build for him. What did this mean? That I could visit Iceland twice in one summer! I flew in for the first ten days of July to work at the farm and help cut some singletrack out of old sheep trails. We also built Iceland’s first dirt pump track! What I didn’t realize prior to visiting is that there are no official bike trails in most of Iceland; the Bike Farm is one of the only spots. They offer a unique setup where you can shuttle up to the top of the property at multiple starting points.

Mark Matthews Fimmvorouhals Iceland.

I couldn’t get over the endless green rolling hills, massive canyons, and waterfalls that just seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. If there’s a cliff, there’s a waterfall. It seems the whole country is just one giant spring, and it’s a photographer’s dream. Going twice in one summer gave me the opportunity to experience the riding prior to filming, I would also get to shoot the trails I had worked on. This was a rare and exciting opportunity as this never usually happens on big trips overseas. And to me, riding and documenting something you’ve built is one of the most rewarding feelings.

Mark Matthews Fimmvorouhals Iceland.
Mark Matthews Fimmvorouhals Iceland.
Riding through a fairy-tale land

My second visit at the end of August started off back at the Bike Farm. Calvin Huth and I spent a few days out here reaping the benefits my hard work from the first trip. From there, we joined the Big Mountain Adventures crew and went on a weeklong hut-to-hut adventure through the Highlands.

Day 1 in the Highlands, we jumped right into the Hrafntinnusker region. The flowing singletrack and dramatic views were incredible:


Mark Matthews Fimmvorouhals Iceland.
We bypassed a handful of lakes along the way

Iceland’s landscapes and trails are so diverse. It’s crazy to think I have only seen a small part of this country so far, even after two visits. I’ll definitely be back next year to visit the farm and explore more of the country.

Mark Matthews Fimmvorouhals Iceland.

A special thanks to everyone who made this adventure come to life: Bike Mountain Adventures, Iceland Bike Farm & Marin Bikes.
Photography by Ryan Creary, Mark Matthews, and Calvin Huth


60 Comments

  • + 25
 Iceland is a stunning, beautiful, and truly amazing place for an adventure. That being said, @MarinBikes probably should have done some research before allowing and filming a rider tearing up the terrain. That moss (actually a lichen) is very old and takes a long time to recover from damage. A 2 minute 26 second edit for years worth of damage... www.iceland.is/arts-culture/news/dont-step-on-the-moss/11945
  • + 31
 Thanks for sharing this! It’s very important. On our case, the only parts the ground torn up were on private property where future trail was built. But this issue makes mtb access in Iceland very difficult so you must be very careful about where you go. I recommend hiring a private guide and/or visiting places like the Iceland Bike farm if you visit to ride.
  • + 11
 @mmatthews: Thank you for your response and clarification. It's good to know that the land is being thoughtfully maintained and carefully stewarded.
  • + 5
 @mmatthews: Problem is, viewers won't know that, and might think it's acceptable, and follow suit.
  • + 7
 @mmatthews: I did a ride with Ice Bike Adventures this summer there and asked the guide about the moss. She said it can be 50 years till the moss recovers. I would go back to ride there anytime! Stunning landscapes everywhere.
  • + 10
 I rode a mountain bike with a private guide in Iceland last year. We had a designated trail to avoid riding through those beautiful moss. Our guide explained that those moss takes 200 years to recover!!! I only watched a few seconds of the video and turned it off after seeing the tires carving through the moss like a knife....sad.
  • + 26
 0:46 !!!!
We do NOT tolerate behavior like this in Iceland.
  • + 9
 Always sad when someone lets it look like its ok to tear up vegetation. Private land or not...... this is a very wrong message to readers all over. From now on.....stay in your own garden, please. Iceland is far too beautiful for this kind of treatment. The same goes for anywhere else.
As we say in Iceland.... ekki vera fáviti! Wink
Peace
  • + 9
 I love an Icelandic video, I skip straight to the comments !!
  • + 5
 I find this debate interesting I have gone on tourism for Iceland and there are many site promoting biking tours, trails. When biking first became big in BC...a lot of debate was raised about bikers damaging our delicate forests. Biking has now becomeone of the biggest sports in BC. I feel if it is done properly and with respect for the environment it can be a win for everyone.
  • + 5
 Saving the environment is very important, chewing Mark out for tearing up private land is a waste of time. Examine the oversized house most of us live in, check that big flat screen on your wall, step carefully over that asphalt highway you drive to work on, read a recent article on the 60% loss of wildlife since the 70's. Look closely at the oil you use every day for EVERYTHING you do and eat. Then come back here to and see how important it is for us to over analyse this video for displacing some moss on a hill that was to be displaced soon anyways.

All I ask is a little perspective, the flight Mark took to Iceland did years of damage to the environment, perhaps he is to blame for that too?
  • + 3
 So. Let me get this straight here.....
If my neighbour has a big house and I drive a diesel......I can come to your house and rip up your flowergarden (given you have one)? Wink
Guys it's not all about the moss. Relax. It's about the message given that "out of trail riding" is ok.....which it is not. Simple.
Respect to you guys, but .... ahh peace
  • + 1
 @gautithor: As you can see above all I asked for was a little perspective, twisting my words into a quaint analogy about a garden is just a distraction from my intended message. What I am saying is if you take any part in modern culture, if you own a house, any car, even electric (the technology does not yet exist to recycle the batteries) you have no reason to preach to a gentleman riding through a grassy landscape.

Our CULTURE has destroyed the environment, not trail riding. Of course riding off trail is not OK, but if you are willing to give up your car, house, computer, internet, grocery stores, heat, light, etc. then people will be more willing to listen to you complain about off trail riding as you are leading by example!
  • + 2
 @Bomadics: I think it has more to do with the lessons we've learned in the past about how what we've already done is either ruining or adversely affecting the environment. Take all the cumulative knowledge and angst towards that,and package it up. When we see something happening, in this case Mark shredding a pristine environment, we take our packaged "should know better" angst and dump it on him, the film makers, land owners; whoever may be directly involved. So yes you're right, but attach that wisdom to the current situation. Don't just say it's ok because of what's been done already.
  • + 2
 @cky78: First off I did NOT say it was ok to ride off the trail, did you read my post? The reason I ask is in my post I stated that riding of trail on NOT ok, so that leads me to believe you may not have read and understood what I typed above, correct me if I am wrong though!

This actually helps make my point, My statement above where not about right or wrong or what is ok to ride, my point was about perspective, which is EXACTLY what is missing in the world right now. You said, and I quote " When we see something happening, in this case Mark shredding a pristine environment, we take our packaged "should know better" angst and dump it on him, the film makers, land owners;". People react to events without perspective, they microanalyse by picking one small point in a story and hyper focusing on that as a problem because it is popular. If you understand the issue from a broader perspective this usually helps you may the best choice possible.

My main issue is the lack of broad understanding that most people seem to have. To spend time attacking someone for doing nothing wrong because you don't understand the entire issue IS the problem, not setting a bad example as most of you seem to think Mark has done. The broader issue that you all bring up is environmental damage, so let's address that. For all the people to live in Iceland currently, how many of them needed to disturb the environment to live there. I think we would all agree that every single one of them contributed to some form of damage to the local environment to sustain their current lifestyle.

So you tell me, which person is the cut off point, who do we stop from doing damage that we have already done ourselves. Who doesn't get a piece of the pie because EVERYONE (Me, you, the guys beside you, if your breathing you are on this list) grabbed their piece first, and who makes that decision. If everyone currently on the planet lived the way we do, those whom have time to comment on silly bike forums, civilisation would have already collapsed. So we got our big ass slice of the pie at the expense of others alive who didn't get much at all. So was that because we are all so awesome, or just dumb luck?

So my main point to reiterate is that having a broader understanding of what is going on around you is very important, it is also essential to question what you hear in popular media and try to understand all the issues pertaining to a given subject, and don't blindly comment incorrectly on a tiny piece of information out of context as you did above, read everything, this is what is wrong with popular culture today!
  • + 1
 @Bomadics:
Well the government should do something about that!
We are capable of governing our selves.
All I see is people pointing fingers at some one else that they don't agree with .
Pointing fingers at someone else's problems.
It's not my fault no.
It's that other person or group.
I commute full time by bike.
I buy local food whenever I can.
Asphalt is a spreading cancer.
Automobiles are the number one cause of atmospheric pollution.
Yet you will all blissfully ignore this obvious fact and continue to degrade the planet.
Some one chewed up some moss! Oh god no!
How many people are dying from respiratory disease?
Where I live boasting about the square footage and price of your home is all that matters.
You heat this huge dwelling?
Every room?
Is this good for the planet?
North Americans are trained to be fat lazy hyper consumers
They are doing a perfect job .
I'm part of this cess pool of extravagant life style.
I'm trying to reduce my impact on this planet.
I can't speak for any one else .
I can't make people change.
Time to ride my bike.
  • + 1
 @Sshredder: Well said, all we can change is ourselves!
  • + 1
 @Sshredder: Oh yes and the government is the CORE of the problem, they won't change anything in the current version. The only people who get elected are already corrupt, as you can't get elected into a meaningful government position without the right help. The system needs to change, look up the Seneca effect, we are all on the edge of a cliff now.
  • + 1
 @Bomadics: Personally I'm a big fan of democracy.
Is there a better political structure?
I Govern my own actions and blame no one else for my decisions.
Are politicians corrupt? Yes absolutely!
I chose the least corrupt politician that in some way aligns to my best interest.
If you know a better way of governing a country we are all dying to hear about it.
Complaining is a complete waste of time and energy.
Ever heard of petitions or writing letters to your local politicians?
Have you tried?
  • + 1
 @Sshredder: Dig deeper, you are not even on right the surface yet, follow the money and find out for yourself how the world works. You do not govern yourself in any way you imagine, you are not free. Do you pay taxes? What happens if you don't? You go to jail, how is that free, it is the actually the definition of extortion.

Do you know that your tax money goes directly to paying the interest on the debt, the deficit and the growing debt is what pays for the countries infrastructure and inner workings. The biggest question you need to answer is who owns that debt? We know the inept government is responsible for that debt. We know for a fact that the government is irresponsible because the debt is growing constantly.

Current Canadian debt to GDP ratio is 89%, anything over about 60% is considered unsustainable, and this is at historically low interest rates. So the debt cannot be paid back unless we cut way back to the point of probable riots, AND increase the GDP as well. Looking at current net energy decline figures in oil alone this cannot be done.

It has been proven in the past that small communities that self regulate are the most sustainable, the secret is to live within your local environments ability to sustain life, allow little to no regulations and no outside land ownership. Common law seem to be the simplest and most effective so far, and that law is" Do no harm, or cause loss. " Everyone lives by that simple law and we are golden.

So first we have to take down the global corporations and organisations that control the virtually all the banks, most of the global economy and virtually of the the media. The US federal reserve, which is privately (stockholders are a secret) held and not under the US governments control, needs to be abolished, as well as basically all central banks in the world that report to the International Bank of Settlements www.bis.org.

That will get us started but there is a long list of changes that will need to be made for the world not to fall off a Seneca cliff.
  • + 1
 @Bomadics: Yes what your saying is true.
Does the word economy have meaning to the 80% of the world population that makes less than ten dollars a day?
The first wold is driven by economy and consumerism.
That's first world culture.
Now I'm depressed.
  • + 1
 @Bomadics: well the part about taking down .............
No I'm a passive individual
  • + 1
 @Bomadics: FTR I didn't read your reply past "did you read my post".... All I was saying is that you give lots of reasons why we're all shitty people for the society we live in. Then I said you're right. Then I said apply those to the video and that's why people are upset. Settle down. lol
  • + 1
 @cky78: no stand up and be a man, you accused me of stating it is ok to ride off trail, which was a flat out lie. Not only do you fail to read others posts correctly, you caan't even read your own posts. Like I said, you are the problem. Step up and at least take responsibility for the things you say yourself.
  • + 1
 @Bomadics: Yawn....
  • + 1
 @cky78: an expectedly short rebuttal, amazing how many people here prove my points over and over with their own actions.
  • + 1
 @Bomadics: more yawns....
  • + 9
 This is why I come to Pinkbike. More of this please.
  • + 4
 I find this debate interesting...if you go to tourism Iceland you can find all sort of sites promoting biking and trails. When biking in BC first started to come big, there was also lots of controversy around bikers damaging our delicate forests in BC.. Biking has now become one of the biggest sport we have. I feel if done properly and with respect to the environment it can be a win for everyone.
  • + 3
 Woah exceptionally well filmed and edited

No clue whether this violated any rules or not. Hopefully no one who saw this vid and read the comments would intend to rie like that Iceland.

That said, I have biked Swedish mountain areas and its just not that fun on the moss/grassy ground, it slows you down alooot. Staying on a trail/path in beautiful scenery is really nice though, and Iceland is as beautiful as anything gets
  • + 5
 Amazing scenery, unremarkable fake biking filmed well, fake sound from Keith White = the current state of bike marketing.
  • + 6
 Dude, This is so bad to watch... too much damage!
  • + 0
 The video parts where the ground is torn up was on private property, it's explained above
  • + 1
 @RowdyRuby: no excuse.
  • - 2
 @gautithor: How so? He was given permission, it was someone's private land. He wouldn't go tearing around anywhere else. I was there so I understand the great respect for the land and I know that both Mark and Calvin have great respect for it also. I'd blame Bieber more than anything for tearing shit up though lol
  • + 4
 @gautithor: and it was also done in a place that is actually called a bike farm. It's a property being built for mountain biking
  • + 8
 @RowdyRuby: the owners of the land have commented on this on their behalf (on a facebook site. You wouldn't understand the language Wink ). They are not very happy about the message given in your otherwise great video. No matter how you twist this.....it's wrong.....sorry. But I hope you learn by this that even when someone lets you do wrong/stupid things.....don't do it!
Peace out
  • + 1
 @RowdyRuby: I agree on Bieber though Wink
  • - 3
 B.C. is just as beautiful and lush and they beat that place up. What gives? No trees so don't trash the lichen ?
  • + 2
 Guys! Lets get one thing straight here! consequences consequences!! Are you out of you mind?

Iceland as many other great biking destination is blooming in tourism at the moment! The locals are dealing with big problems because of that! and trying they’re best to control it!
There are local mtb people and mtb companies working hard on keeping the trails open for bikers and building up MTBing culture in the country with hard owned permission from land owners and the government to make new trails etc!

Videos like this will take them back to point zero and getting mtbikes banned from more locations for sure because people that cares see the future of mountain biking in your bad attitude ! who is going to be answering for this? you ? your travel agent ?
No ! I guess It will be the local riders. The same people that are working hard on opening nice stuff for us visitors! they will have to clean up your narrow minded selfish mess and tell people "not all riders do ride like you and don’t mind the consequences !

So sad you sound like you don't get the point of this whole thing!
Step it up and say "Im sorry” in stead of making excuses like a baby! its not just about the Fxxxx moss! its about you hurting the future of mountain biking in Iceland!

Every biker has got the power to shape the future of the sport incl. you!
The way we ride today shapes mtb access in the future. step up your game kid!! consequences! are here! knock knock!
  • + 2
 Shredding up fragile moss for fun is OK because it's private land? I don't think so. It might make you feel better but it's the same damage.
  • + 2
 That moss grows over lava rocks that would be unridable and not good for a bike trail.
  • + 4
 Sad
  • + 0
 I went there last summer, and we did the Fimm trail for Skpgafoss to Thorsmork you see in most mtb videos. This is a 1000% better hike than ride, don't waste your time or money on a Ice bike tour.
  • + 2
 Awesome video....love to watch Mark's adventures !!!!
  • + 3
 Beautiful!
  • - 2
 Awesome!!!! You guys did an amazing job! Hopefully people read Marks comment that explains that the only parts that were torn up were on private property and that you had permission
  • + 1
 was that the film or a trailer.....?
  • + 1
 nice........BF................
  • + 2
 1:17
'No Bad Days'
  • + 0
 Im thinking another Iceland video. Well i guess ill watch it. Im glad I did . Wonderful photography and cinemetography!
  • + 1
 I thought the first photo was one of those illustrated ski-hill maps!
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