Tue 04 Sep - Sat 08 Sep 2018

OVERVIEW

What to expect

ITINERARY

What you will do

COSTS

Ways to pay

INFORMATION

All you need to know

Everything you need to know

This page provides you with a variety of information about the challenge that you might find useful.

Level of Difficulty

Money

Visa

Vaccinations

Flights

Insurance

Group Size

Leadership

What are the bikes like?

Climate

Terrain

Luggage allowance and valuables

Responsible Tourism

Typical day

Accommodation

Food & Drink

Clothing and equipment

Toilets

Phone and WiFi

Safety

Emergencies

Training

Level of Difficulty

The Fire and Ice bike challenge is graded as “Tough”. This challenge is suitable for participants who already enjoy cycling, but who want to get out of their comfort zone, and challenge themselves to a higher level. A good level of training is necessary to take part in this challenge.
You can tell your supporters that on your Fire and Ice bike challenge you will be:

  • Biking for approximately 6-9 hours per day
  • Covering approximately 200km across 3 days of biking
  • Tackling difficult, uneven terrain (only approximately 10km of the challenge is on a tarmac road)
  • Taking on lots of difficult hill climbs, particularly on the final day. Gradients are tough but the views are spectacular
  • Putting up your own tent each night and dismantling it in the morning. You will also be helping to wash up after each meal, and making your sandwiches in the morning, in a more interactive camping experience!

Money

Currency: The currency is the Icelandic Krona. For an up to date currency exchange, go to www.xe.com

Cash: There are ATMs available at the airport and in Reykjavik at the end of the challenge. This is the best source of obtaining currency whilst you are in Iceland.

Credit cards: Most major Credit Cards are widely accepted in Iceland, although Mastercard and Visa are most common. American Express cards are not widely accepted.

Spending money: You will not need to carry a large amount of money during this trip. We recommend that you change your pounds into Krona in England before you go, and that you carry a sufficient amount of money with you during the cycle, as the banks/exchange offices may also be closed by the time you return to Reykjavik. Credit cards are widely accepted and there are plenty of ATMs in Reykjavik.

Tipping: Tipping is personal and at your sole discretion. You should only tip if you feel that you have received good service. We recommend approx. GBP£5 / 3000 Krona per participant per trekking day and this should be given to the challenge leader at the end of the challenge who will distribute it amongst the local support team.

Visa

UK Citizens do not require a visa to visit Iceland. You will however need your passport and it must be valid for at least six months from the end of your challenge. You may also be asked for proof of return in the form of your flight ticket.

Vaccinations

Please see http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx for details of vaccinations and other health advice necessary for Iceland.

Flights

You will be flying from London Heathrow Airport to Keflavik. The flight will take approx 3 hours.  Your flight tickets will be issued to you on the day of departure at London Heathrow Airport. If you choose to book your own flights you must confirm with the Charity Challenge office before paying otherwise you may be liable for your included group flights (please contact flights@charitychallenge.com for further assistance).

Insurance

It is a condition of booking that you have a suitable travel insurance policy whilst participating on the challenge. We have a special policy which covers among other things, medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) arrangements, cancellation and curtailment of the challenge, and more specifically for the adventurous activities undertaken on this challenge. If you have your own travel insurance policy, you must ensure that it provides at least the same level of cover as our recommended policy, including protecting the charity in the event of your cancellation 56 days or less prior to departure. If you choose not to purchase our recommended policy when you book we will send you a disclaimer which you should complete and return.

For more general travel insurance questions, please refer to our main FAQs page.

Group Size

Each group is intended to be a minimum of 20 people in order to run and a maximum of approximately 30 people due to the wilderness environment in which the challenge takes place. We will be able to run this challenge for 10 to 19 people by charging a small group supplement of £75  which will be added to your final balance invoice (self funders) or charged to your charity (minimum sponsorship or flexi).

Leadership

We employ a number of first aid qualified challenge leaders, all of whom speak fluent English. They will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group.

What are the bikes like?

The bikes we use on the Iceland Challenge are state of the art 2016 Trek X-Caliber 29". The 29" is the perfect size for rolling around Iceland’s roads. Bikes come complete with kickstands and come in a variety of sizes

Climate

Thanks to the Gulf Stream, Iceland enjoys a cool temperate ocean climate: cool in summer and fairly mild in winter. However, the weather is always very changeable, be prepared for the unexpected!  The temperature may vary by 10c from day to day.  The average temperature ranges from –1c in January to 11c in July.  In July, if the skies are clear and the sun is shining you could be lucky and get temperatures of up to 23c.  Alternatively you may get gale winds and a day full of rain. In this event it is likely that your cycle route will be changed or you may be unable to complete the cycle that day. Your leader will make the final decision.

Terrain

This cycle ride is on mountain bike terrain, with rough uneven roads and ash covered trails. However, there will be no steep downhills and you do not have to have experience on this kind of terrain, although it does help.

Luggage allowance and valuables

The luggage allowance will depend on the airline we are using for your challenge, but in general it will be one piece of checked baggage at around 23kg. However, we suggest that for our Iceland bike challenge you should only need around 13-15kg. If you don't need it, don't bring it is a good rule. Carry your passport with you and make sure that you have a photocopy of your documents (travel insurance etc) in case they get lost or damaged.

Responsible Tourism

At Charity Challenge we are committed to sustainable and responsible tourism, and work closely with bodies such as the International Porter Protection Group and Climate Care to ensure that our challenges benefit the local environments and communities in which they take place. We ensure that all rubbish is disposed of responsibly, and following local guidelines on cultural and environmental protection and respect, we aim to limit our impact on the natural environment. In addition to taking these practical steps to ensure that our challenges are sustainable, we also make a contribution each year to a number of local community projects, so as to give something back directly to the communities that we visit. Since 2000 we have donated almost £200,000 to such projects, supporting a range of initiatives, including schooling for children in Africa, shelter for street children in Brazil, and Orang-utan conservation in Indonesia. We recommend that any gifts brought over for children are given to the UK challenge leader and distributed where needed by them and our local Ground Agent. If you wish to do more, you should consider buying drinks, postcards and souvenirs from the local vendors. For many, it is their sole source of income. For more information, please visit our Responsible Tourism pages, where you will be able to view a list of the projects that we currently support.

Typical day

You will wake early for breakfast and to make a packed lunch for the day ahead. Cycling will start around 9 am. The number of hours spent cycling will depend on the weather conditions (which are extremely unpredictable) and the size and ability of the group, but it will be around 6-8 hours per day. There will be plenty of refreshment stops, as well as visits to places of natural beauty and interest along the way. In the evening you will arrive at camp and will help to set up your camp (erecting tents), before having dinner.

Accommodation

During the challenge, your accommodation will be in two-man tents and on the last night in hotel accommodation in Reykjavik (twin rooms).  At camp sites you will be expected to pitch in and set up your tents as part of your challenge. If you are travelling with a friend or partner who you wish to share with, please let Charity Challenge know in advance.

Food & Drink

The food will be basic but very filling and nutritious. Breakfast will consist of porridge, fruit and tea/coffee, Dinner will be soup followed by meat and pasta/rice, and a desert. Coffee and tea will be supplied throughout and plenty of drinking water will be available to keep you hydrated. You might want to bring some extra snacks, such as tracker bars, nutrigrains, dried fruits etc. There is nowhere to buy food or alcohol at any point during the cycle, so please come prepared if you would like anything over and above the food provided! Please let Charity Challenge know prior to departure if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies.

Clothing and equipment

Good quality, durable kit could mean the difference between a fantastic challenge experience and an uncomfortable one. For your cycle challenge, padded cycling shorts and comfortable footwear are essential, and helmets are compulsory throughout. Training with your cycling shorts is definitely advised! You can bring equipment like clip-in pedals or a gel seat, if desired, in order to adapt your bike in country, and we would also recommend technical/wicking t-shirts rather than cotton shirts. A full kit list for this challenge can be found here and once you book you will have access to kit discounts with our partners The Outdoor Shop, Outdoorhire and Cotswold Outdoor.

Toilets

You will have clean toilets and good washing facilities on most campsites. In Hella we stay at a regular campsite, in Áfangagil we have more basic facilities as there are toilets and sinks but no shower. At Landmannalaugar there are toilets and coin-operated showers (ISK600 for 5 minutes), as well as the naturally occurring hot pool for swimming.  Toilet paper is provided, but you may want to bring your own supply to use during the day.

Phone and WiFi

Due to your location, mobile phone reception will be intermittent during the cycling days. There should be good internet wi-fi access in Reykjavik.

Safety

Charity Challenge considers the safety of all of its participants and staff to be a top priority, and as such we have set up one of the most advanced and thorough safety management systems in the industry. In a nutshell, Our Challenge Safe brand formalises our ethos when it comes to safety, and brings together the procedures and risk management strategies that we use to audit all aspects of our challenges, from vehicles to accommodation to the activity itself. Your welfare is paramount!

In terms of your Iceland Fire and Ice Cycle Challenge, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • You will be in a very remote area of Iceland, and emergency evacuation to a hospital may take upwards of 6 hours depending on the location
  • You will be riding on terrain with pot holes, large pieces of debris, steeps ascents and descents and other obstacles. You should ride with care throughout, without racing.
  • The volcanoes in Iceland are volatile! Volcanic activity is always a possibility, which means that, in the worst case scenario, immediate evacuation may be necessary

Emergencies

Full back-up support (by 4WD vehicles) will be close by and can be brought in should there be an emergency, or if you need to stop for any reason. The challenge is not run as a race and there is always a large discrepancy in people’s cycling abilities. There will be a staff member at the back of the group at all times to ensure that no one is left behind and can take things at your own pace

Training

Training and fitness is definitely required. It is important that you work specifically on your stamina, leg and joint strength, core and balance in order to get as much out of the challenge as possible. You will be cycling everyday on varied terrain so get out on your bike as often as you can! You need to be able to sustain around 7-8 hours of cycling for 5 continuous days, so if you can then replicating this over a weekend would be fantastic training. In your members area you will find more comprehensive Fitness Training Notes in your members’ area. You can also look to join one of our training weekends.

Training tips for the Fire and Ice Challenge

  • In the run up to the challenge, try to do at least 2 days of consecutive biking, of at least 60km per day
  • Although there is no technical mountain bike experience needed, there are a couple of steep ascents and descents, and the terrain does affect how you handle the bike. If possible, try and do some practice on dirt tracks and trails, in order to get used to the different feel of the terrain.
  • Make sure that you train with the kit that you will be taking on the challenge. This will show up any manufacturing faults.

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ATOL protected

We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 6546. Many of the flight-inclusive challenges on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. This ATOL protection only covers challenges that include flights booked by Charity Challenge and that originate in the UK. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate

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