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Biking in Reykjavík During Winter

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Biking in Reykjavík During Winter

Snow in Reykjavík.

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Q: Hello Iceland Review! I'm moving to Reykjavik in October for an internship, and I'll be staying there until March. I've found a room near my bureau (Google maps says that it's a 6 km ride), so my question is this: Is it possible to bike in the winter, when it is in Reykjavik 101? It would be in the 104 - 101 area, and I can't find any information on the internet.

A: Hi Emma, and thank you for contacting us.

It is possible to bike during the winter in Reykjavík, although it won‘t always be easy.

Due to the unforgiving weather and uneven streets not originally built for biking, Icelanders usually only bike during the warmest months of the year. It’s also only in the last few years that biking has gained popularity as a way to commute for adults, so the traffic is still working on accommodating bikers on the streets.

The streets have, however, gradually improved over the years, making it easier to bike alongside streets built primarily for car traffic. During the winter, however, when the temperatures drop below zero and ice forms on the sidewalks, making studded tires a necessity.

The colder climate also makes it all the more important to wear warm clothes. We recommend mittens, a scarf and a warm jacket. If it‘s not snowing, then it might just as well be windy and rainy, so make sure you dress accordingly. It can be draining for any person to bike a few kilometers in such conditions.

The snowy streets are the most difficult to bike through, and studded tires are a must for those. One staff member here happened to fall down and hurt himself quite badly the one time he chose not to have such tires.

So biking will be a challenge during snowy days, but not impossible as long as you‘re prepared.