Iceland means “Land of Ice” and the name alone provides insight into many things. People love Iceland for a variety of reasons. The first that comes to mind is the Aurora Borealis. Anyone who tries to describe it struggles to find the right words and ultimately ends their efforts with the inevitable “it’s hard to explain, you have to see it with your own eyes to understand”. The attraction may also derive from the fact that Iceland is a country that makes people creative, because every now and then a new mountain is formed or the earth cracks to create a new crater, so it becomes necessary to come up with names for these natural novelties.
So, the physical geography is suddenly populated with names that did not exist five years earlier: Heidarspordar, Kolbeinsey, Kerlinagarfjoll.
Another reason to love it is that it is the paradise of cetaceans and therefore one of the best places in the world for whale watching. All three of these abnormal reasons–Aurora Borealis, craters and whales–illustrate better than any other example why Iceland is such an extreme land. It’s no accident that NASA used it to acclimate astronauts of the Apollo missions that landed on the moon so many years ago.
On the other hand, it is also known that every extreme land calls characters suitable for it, and Omar Di Felice is precisely this, a passionate ultracycler of lands of ice who faces them when nature makes them especially bitter: during the subpolar winter.
His most recent feat took him from Keflavik, home of an international airport, to Thingeyri, along the north-western fjords, where the most complete solitude is broken by the not-too-distant profile of Greenland.
Omar ride with his Jena more than a thousand kilometers in nine days along tracks and roads buffeted by the wind at fifteen degrees below zero, that are travelled by very few living beings and never by people tackling the land of the ice astride a Jena.
“You can ride for hours and hours in the the wind that makes the great difficulties caused by the cold even worse. You’re fully exposed to the elements and a breakdown is the worst thing that can happen. Knowing that your bike was designed to minimise the risk of a similar event makes you feel more confident. That’s a state of mind that’s fundamental to the success of such an extreme undertaking.”
That’s why even there, where in winter daylight hours are inseparable from the Aurora Borealis, the ancient bond between man and the bicycle is perpetuated, impervious to any temperature and any difficulty, so that Omar and his Jena come to understand their extreme limit that, even after so many adventures together, they have not yet managed to reach.
THE BIKE OF THIS ARTICLE
Jena: Free to choose
Jena is a new carbon gravel bike, designed to give you more freedom of choice when you go out for a ride. Jena was designed to satisfy any of your needs, whether it is performance on dirt roads and single track, or adventure, exploration, and bikepacking.
Jena is a light, reactive, and easy-to-handle bike with racing-comfort geometries, and able to adapt to the multiple uses required of a gravel bike.