I am excited about a new cycling book. More precisely, I am excited about a Kickstarter project to finance the publishing of Rough Stuff Cycling Archives - “a treasure trove of stunning photos, journals and maps that document a bygone age of adventuring by bike.”
Adventure cycling is all the rage these days. Even hard core roadies crave a new gravel bike, and crazy long distance mountainous events like the Transcontinental, the Grand-Raid-BCV, the Torino-Nice Rally, etc. continue to grow in popularity. Cycling geeks (like me) comb the internet for crazy unpaved ride ideas.
But decades ago, long before Strava, social media, online maps, etc. there was the Rough Stuff Fellowship - the world’s oldest off-road cycling club (still very active).
“On Whit Sunday 29th May 1955 about ‘Forty members who, in pursuit of their pastime, traverse the rougher and less beaten ways’ attended the inaugural meeting of the Rough-Stuff Fellowship held at the ‘Black Swan.
Last year, I wrote a positive review of a related book: Rough Stuff - Cycling in the Alps - the republishing/updating of an old collection of 300 unpaved alpine cycling routes. Some of the routes in that book were from notes compiled and privately shared over the years by a Rough Stuff Fellowship member. The book was the result of a Kickstarter project by Max Leonard, cycling author and publisher of Isola Press.
Now Max is back with this new Kickstarter book project (in collaboration with Mark Hudson, the Rough-Stuff Fellowship Archivist):
“The Rough-Stuff Fellowship Archives”
From the Kickstarter program:
“The Rough-Stuff Fellowship Archives: adventures with the world’s oldest off-road cycling club” – to give it its full title – will be hardback, full colour and around 200 pages long.
Recently, the club appointed an archivist, and the photos, hand-drawn maps and memories poured in – an unexpected treasure trove of incredible value and beauty.
Our intention is to give the photos centre stage. However, they will be complemented by excerpts from old RSF Journals, ride reports, graphical material and other ephemera from the archive. Where we need to, we’ll have the artefacts professionally photographed.
So to be clear, the previous book was an Alpine guide book of sorts. This new book is more a collection of memories of the last 60 years from the Rough Stuff Fellowship cycling club.
Many of the photos are of course from the UK. But there are plenty of fun photos from further afield too.
.... the Iceland overland report, to trips to Switzerland and Italy in the 1960s, to slogs through the snow in the Lake District, the Cairngorms or Brecon, .....
As mentioned above, the books will include more than just photographs. I particularly love the hand-drawn maps. Max kindly sent me a couple of examples to share that aren’t on the kick starter page:
Personally, this is the sort of book that I enjoy, not just as a fun glance back-in-time, but also as motivation to seek out similar adventures.
How Do I Get A Copy?
See the official Kickstarter page for full details. The expected delivery date is May.
The Kickstarter project runs for another few weeks and is already fully funded. There seems virtually zero risk that the book won’t come to fruition. A comment from the previous Rough Stuff Cycling kickstarter page:
This has certainly been one of the better KS campaigns I’ve backed, good updates and shipping on time, virtually unheard of. Chapeau!
There are all sorts of funding/purchase options that range from simply purchasing a copy (regular or special edition) to various bonuses (photos, postcards, the first Rough Stuff book, etc). Go to the site for all the choices.
But, for me, the option that includes membership to the Rough Stuff Fellowship cycling club is quite exciting!