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Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps

the original guide to adventuring by bike in the Alps, reprinted with stunning vintage photography

I am excited about a new cycling book. More precisely, I am excited about a Kickstarter project to finance the republishing of Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps - a guidebook of 300 unpaved alpine cycling routes.

For years, I have been disappointed with people that first visit the Alps with the goal of cycling Alpe d’Huez. Don’t they understand there are so many much more interesting roads? More recently, I have had a similar feeling with Alps visitors when they tell me they only road bike. Don’t they understand there are so many beautiful, unpaved alpine roads/trails? High, beautiful, challenging, deserted, car-free.

I hope this book will motivate some of you to consider exploring this unpaved Alps. Personally, I expect to be in route-planning Nirvana.

From the Kickstarter program:

Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps guidebook was compiled by Fred Wright and self-published in 2002.

It preserved the collective wisdom of generations of riders who pioneered riding the ‘rough stuff’ – riders who headed into the high peaks armed only with touring bikes and canvas rucksacks, sandals and floppy hats, crossing mountain ranges and joining up towns and famous cols on little-known gravel tracks, dirt trails and even icy climbs(!).

This was gravel biking before gravel bikes – mountain biking before mountain bikes, in some cases.

Only 100 copies of the original were published and are now impossible to find. The Kickstarter plan is to produce a limited number of improved versions of the book including maps and photographs.

The book will be republished by British author Max Leonard (I wrote a positive review of his 2017 book Higher Calling - see here) and redesigned by Andy Edwards (the two have previously worked together on the Rapha City Cycling Europe guides).

The project has already received enough funding to guarantee the project will occur. More funding will lead to more old photos being included. To participate and reserve a copy here is the link to the official Kickstarter page. Currently, there is no plan to produce a significant quantity beyond the initial orders. If you don’t participate now, you might have trouble finding the book down the road.

Below I’ll just include an official info sheet and a few photos.

Info Sheet:

Fred Wright


In recent years, most of my favourite rides have been on high, unpaved, alpine roads - quiet, challenging, deserted, beautiful, car-free. If you enjoy cycling in the Alps, I encourage you to consider funding this Kickstarter project for some route planning inspiration.