From Iceland — Guided Art Tour On The Wheel

Guided Art Tour On The Wheel

Published June 3, 2020

Nico Borbely
Photo by
Alisa Kalyanova

Today is International Bike Day, and to celebrate the occasion, Cycling Iceland, the Reykjavík Art Museum, and the Icelandic Cyclists’ Federation have joined hands to organize and announce a guided bike tour, Fréttablaðið reports.

The plan will be to bike around the Vesturbær neighborhood in Reykjavík and the adjacent municipality of Seltjarnarnes, with the tour led by art expert and exhibition and communications manager at the Reykjavík Art Museum Markús Þór Andrésson. The tour will start tomorrow at the Hafnarhús section of the Art Museum near the harbor, heading west into town from there and onto Ægissíða.

“There are many works of art along the way, such as the pillars on Hagatorg and the statue of Ásmundur rescued from the sea. From there we go around Seltjarnarnes, which boasts a number of beautiful works of art, and then we will end the tour with refreshments at the Gulf Club,” says Magnús.

The first tour featuring these three stops was held on December 1, 2018, Iceland’s Sovereignty Day. “It was the hundred-year anniversary of Icelandic sovereignty. Cycling Iceland and the Icelandic Cyclists’ Federation have cooperated well for a long time, but at that time we broached the topic of offering a tour together. It went even better than had been hoped for, despite the fact that there was a lot of frost and wind. It was an awfully cold day, but great fun all the same,” says Sesselja Traustadóttir, director of Cycling Iceland.

The Sun Voyager Is A Good Rest Stop
When asked if they have a favorite outdoor work of art that residents can enjoy during the summer, Magnús said, “I look forward to paying Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir’s lumpfish, the work called Flood, and the beach by the footpath on Ægissíða a visit, which is a work of art that many residents walk or cycle near, but rarely stop to look at it since it’s so low-profile.”

“Most cyclists’ favorite art pieces are those they see on their own routes, but mine is Kvika by Ólöf Norðdal. It is always possible to come across new art pieces while cycling, so one can notice them more and appreciate them better,” says Árni, chairman of the Icelandic Cyclists’ Federation. “For me it’s always the most fun to stop at the Sun Voyager. It’s a great place to rest and take a break. I find it so nice that while cycling these major paths, you don’t cycle past just any shops, you just cycle past works of art.”

Shame On The Parking Lot
Markús admits that cycling may not be a big part of his life. “But I take great pleasure in cycling around, and it’s a great way to look at all the art pieces in town. Last year in the museum we had a special focus on art in public spaces, and created the app Útilist í Reykjavík (Outdoor Art in Reykjavík). It includes an audio guide and guides to art pieces along various walking and cycling paths in different neighborhoods in town,” says Markús.

Árni has long been interested in all related cycling. “I’ve been cycling since I was a child, of course. I then started to cycle in earnest as a form of transportation when I was twenty, and it’s been one of the main ways I get from place to place since. I became active in cyclist spaces and issues around 2008.”

It has been about a decade since Sesselja began working at Cycling Iceland, and her interest in cycling has increased greatly since then.

“When I bought my house fourteen years ago, the first thought I had was ‘how many parking spaces can I set up around my house?’ Today I’m ashamed of the single parking space that still remains. I used to be like a classic Icelander in this regard, but then I saw the light,” says Sesselja laughing.

The bike tour starts by the Reykjavík Art Museum today at 18:00.

Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!