** UPDATE – we have hit both our stretch targets and are absolutely blown away. Thank you all for the support.
So we will print 32 pages of beautiful colour photos and we will double the charity donation for each book
Please continue to pledge and to share this project. And we will keep communicating in the 'Updates' tab, but if you're a first time viewer, please read on for more… **
The Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps guide book 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.
The book contained nearly 300 routes, ranging from easy unsurfaced roads at little more than 1000m to steep footpaths above 3000m, and from the southern French Alps to Switzerland, the Dolomites and the Austrian Tirol.
The entries often included detailed personal accounts of when the route was ridden, and the book also offered tips for beginners, advice on equipment and maps, and suggestions for routes not covered in the guide.
Only around 100 copies were made, and they are now impossible to find. But Fred does not want this information to be lost. With his permission we are reprinting Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps, in a very limited edition, for the first time.
More and more of us are choosing to head off the beaten track with our bikes. Adventure touring, gravel biking, bikepacking – whatever you call it, we all want to get out there. The Alps are one of cycling’s ultimate playgrounds, and this guide is an invaluable resource of practical information about cycling in some of the most remote and beautiful places in Europe.
Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps is a springboard to adventure, something to leaf through and dream over, whether you’re planning your next bikepacking trip or simply sitting at home watching the raindrops run down the windowpanes and wishing you were out riding in the sun.
We’re proud to offer a new edition of Fred’s book to the next generation of adventurers.
THE NEW EDITION
The Isola Press Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps will be a beautiful and functional object – a fitting way of preserving Fred's pioneering work.
In it, we will reprint Fred’s work in its entirety. We will also improve and updating it. Fred typed his book at the library and bound it at his local branch of Staples. We will be using an art gallery-quality printer either in the UK or Belgium (depending on final order numbers).
The new edition will be wiro-bound, and with rounded corners, for practicality, with a laminated card cover.
Fred has also given us a large quantity of beautiful original photos from his travels, and we will print as many as we can. Have a look at the images in this campaign and the video – they are amazing!
New for this edition there will be:
- 16 new hand-drawn maps, showing the areas covered and the routes described, so that readers can easily locate the main towns and road passes, and the potential unpaved tracks and paths to navigate between them
- A beautiful overall Alps map illustrated by Stefan Amato of Pannier.cc
- An extended colour photo section. Fred included just four photos of his adventures. We will have at least 16 pages of original photos taken by Fred and other pioneers of rough stuff riding in the Alps. See the pics in this campaign for a selection.
- A new introduction by Fred Wright himself, explaining the genesis of the book and recounting his riding life
- A new postscript by James Olsen (founder of the Torino-Nice Rally, who used the guide to create the TNR) on rough stuff in the 21st century. This will give advice for using the book in the age of mountain bikes and gravel bikes, bikepacking luggage, 3G and GPS
- Updated information – for example, on the availability of paper maps – and adding a few suggested routes where possible
This new edition will mainly available via pre-sales. We will not be over-ordering stock and there will not be many available after the Kickstarter has closed – once they're gone, they're gone.
Buy this book because you’re planning a trip, buy it for the incredible photos, buy it for inspiration – but please dig into your pockets and help us bring this amazing book back to life.
WHO ARE WE?
Isola Press is run by me, Max Leonard. I have written books including Higher Calling, about why cyclists like riding in the mountains, and Lanterne Rouge, about the last man in the Tour de France. They’ve been published in multiple countries by Yellow Jersey (UK), Pegasus (USA) and others. In 2016 I set up Isola Press to make ‘adventures in illustrated books’.
The first Isola Press book, Bunker Research, written by me and with Camille McMillan's photos of World War 2 bunkers in the Alps, won a prize: Best Self Published Book at the 2016 British Book Design & Production Awards. The second, The Men of Paris-Roubaix, was made in partnership with Rapha and presented beautiful archive portraits from the early years of cycling’s most beautiful one-day Classic.
Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps will be the third Isola Press book. It will be designed by Andy Edwards. He’s also a cyclist, and a map geek. We’ve worked together on things including books for major publishers, like the Rapha City Cycling Europe guides for Thames & Hudson.
We’ve been helped along the way in this reprinting project by Stefan of Pannier.cc, James of the Torino-Nice Rally and others.
But mainly Fred Wright. Thanks Fred.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?
I’m really passionate about riding my bike in the mountains. I do it to the exclusion of most normal things. I spend a lot of time, from snow melt to snow fall, on road bikes and on gravel in the Alps, mainly in France, exploring them. I love the mountains, and the people and the sights in them, and I have worked as a cycle guide with travel companies helping other people have these same experiences.
I wished I’d been able to find this book when I first read about it online – I searched and searched for it but couldn’t find one to buy – and now I’m in a position to help it live longer. That's a good thing. And Fred Wright, who made the original book, doesn’t want this knowledge to disappear as the surviving copies of the original edition disperse over time.
I also love making beautiful books. This will be a beautiful book. (On a slight side note, I also collect vintage postcards of the Alps, and I will give some away in the Kickstarter rewards, if you would like one!)
WHERE YOUR MONEY GOES
Our initial target basically covers:
- Print costs for our minimum print run (I’m setting the minimum at 100 copies)
- Money to photographers for permission to use their photos
- Money to pay Fred and James to write new essays
- Money to pay Stefan to draw the new map
- Kickstarter fees
If we achieve our target, and I hope we will, we will set a range of stretch targets, which will include:
- An extended colour picture section
- A bigger donation to charity
But more of that later as and when the time comes.
Once the Kickstarter is finished, we estimate we are a month away from finishing the design, layout, proofing and other jobs.
We will then send it to print around the start of May for an early June delivery. So we anticipate sending it to backers then, in time for high Alpine adventures this summer.
Here's some more details about the different rewards offered.
Postcards: we took some of the best of Fred's images and made postcards of them, for you to send or display.
Vintage postcards: I've built up a collection of old postcards of the Alps, which I've used in other books. Some of them are unused, and if you choose the SPECIAL VINTAGE THANKS reward, Andy and I will sign and send one to you.
Limited edition Rough Stuff Alps x Pannier.cc cap: we designed this cap in association with Pannier.cc. It will be a one-time thing, and it'll be made through Rapha Custom, so the quality will be excellent.
Café du Cycliste neck warmer: neck warmers are one of the most useful items to have on a mountain tour, and we love these stripy Merino ones from Café du Cycliste. More details here. Colours may vary.
Isola Press books: Bunker Research uncovers the hidden history of modernism in the mountains through Camille McMillan's photography; The Men of Paris-Roubaix is a postcard book of beautiful archive portraits. For more visit the Isola Press website.
The Pannier.cc Outdoor Coffee Kit comes with a titanium spork, 100g of premium Ember coffee and a limited edition Pannier.cc x Rough Stuff Alps dry bag to keep them in.
The Limited Edition A3 print is being drawn by Stefan Amato of Pannier.cc. It will be Giclée printed on archive quality paper. We will produce only 25 and they will be printed by our friends at The Handmade Cyclist. Here are some work-in-progress images from the Alps map he is designing for us, which will be the basis of the print.
Thanks for reading
Risks and challenges
As far as we see it, the risks in this project are fairly small.
We already have permission from Fred Wright, who compiled and published the original, to reprint the text and the original photos, and we have already secured the rights to more images.
We have a strong track record of writing, designing and producing beautiful, award-winning books about cycling and travel, and we will be working with a respected printer in the UK or in Belgium.
We have set a low target – only 100 books – so I hope we will achieve this. However, we would like to print many more.
As I said before, I am a small publisher and I can’t afford to over-order stock to keep sitting in my web shop (in my living room!). So please, if you want to own this unique, useful and fascinating book, support us now.
We are already working on the copy-editing and the layout, and we have printers lined up and ready. Please join us in this exciting journey!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)