His name is Bryan but he is better known as BLKMRKT.
Somewhere on the outskirts of Paris, he creates content for the digital world, mainly in video, about travels and motorcycles.
When he is not working on projects, Bryan spends most of his time preparing and plotting motorcycle rides around the world.
“I’m just an eternal kid who plays with these gadgets and with his friends. The videos are memories of what I do, not to forget how life can be beautiful and not as serious as they want us to believe. We do not need much to travel, to have fun and discover the most beautiful thing we have at our disposal: the planet earth.”
There are travels with which he has dreamed for years. Iceland is one such case. It is here where he finds his daily balance, because even if he is not always on the road, his mind is.
In the company of Clément & Alexis, two of his faithful travel friends they depart from Paris to northern Denmark: 36 hours without sleep and 1430 kilometers after it is time to embark. It’s official – they’re on their way to Iceland!
Seyðisfjörður, the starting point of the adventure!
“The fog rises, we are on the deck to admire the first fjords of the east of the island. Right from this first moment, we realize that it is a sacred place. We head towards the boat garage. We put on the gear and mount on the bikes. It is with an outrageous enthusiasm that we wait for the doors to open. In a few seconds, the adventure begins!”
Askja and the first Icelandic rails!
After the first 60 km of asphalt on Ring Road, appear the first absolutely beautiful landscapes that this place offers, they line up, ready to attack the dirt!
“Suddenly, the landscape changes from green lands to a majestic lunar landscape. It’s simply amazing; there are no more colors around us. Only gray dominates … the surface quickly reminds us to stay focused. Alexis loses his back and falls what has worth him, a little pain in his left hand… I hope it’s not serious.”
The land is made mostly of lava sand, so it is necessary to pay attention to certain sections where it accumulates … sometimes hiding really large rocks.
The first failures!
A few hours later, they find an SUV of a couple, buried. They readily lend them a helping hand. But when they return to their bikes, Bryan’s Africa Twin does not start. They are 200 km from the nearest paved road and civilization. Enough to say they are on their own.
After a quick cleaning, they begin to disassemble the motorcycle … A problem is diagnosed in the fuel pump.
A camping stove, a screwdriver, and a small tin will be enough to invent a soldering iron efficient enough to fix the pump.
During the summer, the night never falls in Iceland. You lose all sense of time. They had barely repaired Bryan’s bike when they realized that the fuel-pump problem had replicated in Clément’s Africa Twin. It’s 3 o’clock in the morning, and they decide to sleep there. They mount the tents and go to bed. The goal of the day has not been clearly achieved but will try to catch up the next day.
A new day begins, and they finally arrive at Askja and its volcanic massif.
A walk in the boilers, a dip in the Viti crater, then prepare themselves to attack the 90 kilometers of the F88, all in off-road, pure fun!
On the way, they cross different fords, where the levels of depth can vary a lot, depending on the snow melting. You should always take time to probe them before deciding the cross.
After two days off the road, they are back on Ring Road – a route that should only have taken a day. Despite the delay, they are satisfied.
Iceland and its meteoric whims
The days go on and the sky does not stop “falling” in their heads.
They take time to relax a bit in the blue lagoon Myvatn, which consists of hot springs with water up to 41 ° C in some areas!
In addition, an unexpected encounter with curious horses brings a bit of sweetness to the trip. A very good moment, engraved in their memory.
They now arrive to the east of the island, where is Snaefellsjokull, an extinct volcano, under an incredible sunset.
F338, or the impression of leaving planet earth.
After refueling at one of the most beautiful service stations in the world, it’s time to get back on the road.
Tip: follow the F338 to get to the town of Geysir, where you can admire the famous geysers.
The F338 is certainly one of the most beautiful tracks in which one can have the opportunity to ride, a pure pleasure! Between crossings of small pebbles, the mountainous terrain, or the different jumps and slippery surfaces, everything feels surreal – an apocalyptic landscape.
“When I said that we had the impression of having left the planet earth, this is clearly the case. It’s like being on Mars. Once the bike is turned off, it is a deadly silence that reigns in the immensity. The space in which we evolve is difficult to quantify, we see the end of nowhere. Paradoxically, we have the sensation of suffocating in this immensity. In the distance, we can view a sea of ice. I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
It is 1 a.m. and they should absolutely leave this area as it is not possible to camp there. They reach another ford, which they will have to cross.
“In a hurry, and without really being certain, I am convinced that we are on the right track. Unfortunately, I hit the bike in the middle of the ford. The engine starts choking. I resort to the little strength I have left to try to keep the bike with the least contact of water, while I hope the rapid aid of my companions. It’s 3 o’clock in the morning, now, it’s been over 16 hours that we have been riding in a roll and it’s official: my engine drowned! It’s time to get the tool kit…”
A few hours later and 3 liters of water out of the engine block, with the help from their friend Jérôme from Outback Motors Coignères, the bike finally starts on!
“It’s good to hear it work again! I confess I was pessimistic. We continued a further 9 hours of riding. However, the many sleepless hours and continuous riding would overcome us. We surrendered and we returned to the side of Geysir, to mount the tents!”
Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland and Landmannalaugar!
After a good night’s rest and a hundred kilometers further, they arrive in the capital of Iceland: Reykjavik! This is the first time they have found civilization since their departure. Stopping at a restaurant is mandatory! They spend the last days without eating a good meal what has already began to create them difficulties.
They head to Landmannalaugar and the rain is back.
It will have moistened the earth, just enough to limit the projection of dust, always unpleasant to those who roll behind. Another excellent off-road section comes in. What a way to have fun, these tracks!
Then, with a dozen more fords to cross, everything seems unreal, once again, in an indescribable scenario!
One of these fords would make them lose about 3 hours to cross it. After much probing, they would come to the conclusion that it was too deep to cross on a motorcycle. Clément would however find an alternative: a pebble along the river. Nothing easy to cross! Even though much more reasonable than the ford.
The sun is back! The light is so strong that it feels good. They seize the opportunity and try to warm up a little. Alexis and Bryan do not feel particularly well. They no longer feel their legs and feet. This is due to the fact that they have passed the pebble and part of the ford on foot. The ice water has covered them to the hips and the temperature does not exceed the 5 degrees. You can imagine the feeling. So, they take advantage of this little sun before returning to the motorcycles and leave Landmannalaugar in the direction of Vik.
The following days would be difficult, due to the heavy rains, waiting for a good weather window, to attack new territory.
The fact that it is never dark in Iceland in the summer is a big advantage. This allows you to deal with time as you wish, minimizing the risk of riding at night due to lack of visibility.
Tip: head to Solheimasandur beach to see the carcass of the plane, which crashed onto the beach.
No one knows for sure why the plane crashed, and there are several theories about this. Regardless, it matters little as no one was injured!
They had barely begun to cross the Laki area, and Bryan had to stop. He has no brakes on the rear wheel. They are obliged to reduce the pace a little, for safety, in order to anticipate the possible traps on the track.
They reach the top of one of the volcanoes that make up Laki. Despite the strong wind, they take to opportunity to admire the amazing panoramic view, which leaves anyone speechless.
“I prepared this trip for months, so I knew what to expect. But despite this, the surprise is total. We enjoy these rails, the unreal color palette, then comes a new ford. The lack of luminosity deceives us as we do not distinguish the background. In order to avoid any problem similar to the previous drowning of my Africa Twin, I decided to approach this ford without pants! I do not want to get soaked again.”
This will be the last off-road section, so they make the most of it!
They cross with some wild sheep and right after, two more fords. Another break: to enjoy the silence lost and get lost in this immensity.
However, the joy would be short, remember the previous problem? Where Bryan thought he had a problem with the rear wheel brakes … in fact, the concern was not just the brake, but the rear wheel bearing. It was finished! The shaft striking the hub … you can imagine the damage and the noise while riding!
With only a day to go before the Ferry back home and still 500 kilometers ahead to Seyðisfjörður, they had to find a solution. They realized then that when rolling at 100 km / h, the bike vibrated less and the wheel remained straight. Alexis changes the line and follows after Bryan, so he would check regularly if things did not get worse.
After a visit to the Jökulsárlón glacial lake, the night falls. They noticed only because the weather is more cloudy than usual.
They then make the decision not to stop at Seydisfordur, because of the rear wheel problem.
They would spend the night rolling. The cold, the rain, the fog … nothing was playing in favor which would bring a new alternative to the equation: a last off-road section that would allow gaining about 100 kilometers on the route. However, without much information about its composition; only what they could observe through satellite applications. Finally they decide not to go through the section. More 100 kilometers, bad news.
They cross Hornafjordur, where they would witness one of the most sumptuous sunrises by the sea.
While some parts of the road touch the coast, fatigue has long risen to their heads. In a fit of madness, even unconsciousness, they decide to accelerate the pace, despite the problem of the rear wheel.
“I get so carried away that I have the pleasant feeling of being a passenger on my own motorcycle.”
The hours pass, and they end up arriving at Seyðisfjörður, where everything began.
Relieved, happy and sad at the same time, they come to the end of this incredible adventure. Iceland has not spared them, but the friendship that unites the three, the complicity and determination have made it possible to overcome it.
In fact, there was a new incident after they took the ferry back … something unthinkable; too many problems!
But to find out, we invite you to watch the entire series “Iceland 66° Nord” composed by 13 episodes, where you can live this adventure and discover the end in more details!
Pictures & Video credits: Black Market, Motorcycle Adventures Film Maker
YouTube: Black Market