7: Kit and paperwork | Iceland on a BMW R1200GS

Nathan Millward
By Nathan Millward
NateThePostman Round the world adventurer Nathan Millward rode home to the East Midlands from Australia on a 105cc Australian postal bike (he didn’t like flying). He’s since ridden across America to Alaska, writing two brilliant books about the experience. www.nathanmillward.com

 

After just over four weeks and 5500 miles, Nathan Millward’s trip to Iceland has come to an end: “In the past I’ve ridden around the world on a 105cc Australian postal bike,” says Nathan, “and spent a fair amount of time riding Europe and America. But Iceland clearly offers something very different.

“Given its geographical location, it isn’t the easiest place to get to, but for anyone looking to plan a two week holiday (or longer) it could be a great place to consider next.

“Here’s part seven of my guide to getting the best out of Iceland – the kit and paperwork you need…”

 

Travelling in June, I packed for winter riding and was glad I did. Temperatures often hovered around eleven degrees and sometimes dipped down to seven. Mix that with fairly frequent rain showers and sometimes strong wind and I needed most of the layers I took. I rode in T-shirt, jumper, Rev’IT! three layer jacket – though without the thermal layer – plus an army-surplus waterproof overcoat. This set up proved versatile for all the conditions I faced in those three weeks. A face scarf is a must for the wind, as are warm gloves and preferably waterproof boots. Waterproof over-trousers were worn over hefty Kevlar jeans, which were enough for the lower half. Off the bike on some evenings the weather was pleasantly mild, so T-shirt and shorts weather if you packed them, though for the most part you’ll want a jumper and trousers. 

I packed light, with five T-shirts, the same amount of underwear, then trousers and trainers for when off the bike. Unless you’re staying in hotels and eating out there wasn’t much occasion for getting dressed up, so riding gear that was comfortable off the bike was of benefit for walking around the attractions and when setting up camp and cooking in the evening.

 

Do I need travel insurance for a trip like this?

Just like any holiday, a trip on a motorcycle – be it in the UK, Europe or beyond – can be ruined by delays, lost documents, illness and more. There are plenty of travel insurance options, but you need to make sure you get a policy that includes riding motorcycles, and if it does, that it's for bikes of the engine size you'll be riding (many only cover up to 250cc). At its most basic, you should look for insurance that provides cover for the following: 

  • Medical expenses
  • Loss or theft of personal possessions
  • Lost or delayed luggage
  • Loss of your passport and other documents
  • Travel delays and disruptions
  • Having to cut your holiday short

In addition though, if you’re taking a motorcycle (or you're renting one while you’re away) be sure that your insurer will cover you for any medical expenses, should you have an accident. You must also think about where you’re riding – some policies won’t cover you if you’re trail or enduro riding, or if you’re on a race track. Remember – this isn’t about your bike being covered, it’s about your medical expenses, should the worst happen.

If you're only going away once, a single-trip policy will likely be all you need, but also consider an annual policy, which could extend to cover your family holidays too (a good insurer should also be able to offer cover for your whole family). 

BikeSocial’s parent company, Bennetts, has a motorcycle-specific travel insurance policy – find out if it suits your needs by clicking here.

Icelandic road surfaces

 

Paperwork

For this trip I just needed a passport and documents for the bike, though the latter were never checked; I’d still always carry them. Travel insurance is essential as the old E111 (now EHIC card) doesn’t cover repatriation or any private medical costs such as mountain rescue services.

For the brief ride through France it’s advisable to carry a hi-vis vest and spare bulbs, though I didn’t bother. In terms of breakdown cover, my BMW policy was active for mainland Europe, but – like most breakdown providers – excludes Iceland. Biking Viking in Reykjavik does offer a bike collection service for those stranded, but obviously that’ll be at an indeterminate cost. Iceland does not require an International Drivers Licence.

 

Get more of Nathan’s essential Iceland travel advice by clicking here

 

BikeSocial in Iceland
Nathan Millward shows you the stunning scenery and routes of Iceland
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