A couple years back I ended up on a magnificent train from Nice, France to San Remo, Italy. At numerous points, as a French skinhead with a mischievous grin billed up some proper squidgy hash next to me, and at the Italian border when every single non-white person got their passport checked, I stared out the window in awe, dissociating myself from the surroundings. The train precariously rides the edge of the cliff with the intimacy of a honeymooned couple, hundreds of feet in the air, while water, washing in from the mediterranean sea, crashes into the base below. It’s otherworldly, slightly scary, and entirely ineffable.
Remi Clermont, founder of Cafe du Cycliste, thinks the same of Iceland: “We have a cycling love story with Iceland where our eyes find a polar alternative to the French Riviera’s beauty.” Ágústa Edda Björnsdóttir and Eyjólfur Guðgeirsson, two of Iceland’s most successful cyclists, set off across the black lava gravel of Landmannalaugar, up and down Fjallabak Nature Reserve, not on a train, as I was, but on their bikes, far more open to the otherworld, decidedly less scared, and far more free. A train is exciting, but a bike, cycling over volcanic soil with subtly saturating rain droplets gracing the surroundings, is a testament to human versatility.
In such an arduous climate, proper equipment is essential. That’s why 66°North and Cafe du Cycliste have collaborated for a range of jackets designed to fight the harshest conditions while ensuring maximum capacity for soaking in the ineffable. This, in Matthew Woolsey, Global President of 66°North’s words, was the challenge: “Dramatic trails and striking nature make Iceland a cyclist’s paradise. But then there’s the weather.”
Both brands love the notion that good design can solve any problem, yet neither had envisioned the problem of cycling through a North Sea winter. The AW21 capsule is the partners’ first project together. Highlights include a packable GORE-TEX anorak, aerodynamic fleece jacket, and lightweight insulated layer, all built for exceptional resilience. There are, after all, no problems – only solutions.
See numerous images from their immensely scenic shoot below, and browse the dynamic range at 66°North’s site.