The UK’s Rough-Stuff Fellowship claims to be the world’s oldest running off-road cycling club, founded in a pub on the Welsh/English border back in 1955. An amateur group of riders dedicated to adventure riding off the beaten path for more than sixty years, their archivist recently dug up a wealth of classic riding photos, journal notes & maps and is putting them together in a book that could double as a memoir or a guide for your next excursion.
The Rough-Stuff Fellowship Archives
A lot of cyclists can lay a claim to being gravel riders or adventure tourists before those terms were coined, but the RSF has the historical proof to back up their tales. And from seeing the photos that have come across my feed from the Scottish Highlands to the Italian Alps over the past few weeks, I’m looking forward to seeing more.
Rough-Stuff has put together a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund their archive into reality as a book of photography, and they’ve blown past their target. That means that the book will grow in length and each backer will get a RSF patch too.
“The photos are full of the joy of riding your bike, and evocative of a bygone style – of a time when you might set off on a club ride wearing a shirt and tie, a deerstalker or a bobble hat, and no ride was complete without a stop to brew up some tea and smoke a pipe… In their own quiet, very British way, these men and women were pioneers, pedalling and carrying their bikes and pitching their tents where angels feared to tread.”
The book itself will be more than 200 pages long, a full-color hardback that, while the photos are the centerpiece, also includes classic RSF journals, post ride reports & maps from their catalog. Backing the Kickstarter for just £30 will get you a copy of the book (and now a patch), but there are other special editions on offer including a limited edition print, a couple of t-shirt options, and more.
Even a re-issued classic set of Carradice top tube panniers are being made just for Rough Stuff.
RSF’s archivist Mark Hudson is working with cycling author Max Leonard of prize-winning Isola Press who will be doing the design & publishing, so you can expect quality. And delivery of the completed book is anticipated for May 2019.
But act fast as the crowdfunding only runs for four more days until Feb 10, and remember to follow this mantra: I never go for a walk without my bike!