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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
Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps – the original guide to adventuring by bike in the Alps, reprinted with stunning vintage photography –––––––––––– STILL TAKING PRE-ORDERS AT ISOLAPRESS.COM
Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps – the original guide to adventuring by bike in the Alps, reprinted with stunning vintage photography –––––––––––– STILL TAKING PRE-ORDERS AT ISOLAPRESS.COM
645 backers pledged £22,278 to help bring this project to life.

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Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps guide book

£22,278

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** 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. 

Fred's bike at the Fenêtre de Ferret, on his adventures in the late '80s.
Fred's bike at the Fenêtre de Ferret, on his adventures in the late '80s.

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.

Fred's original book
Fred's original book

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.

Original design and layout and maps
Original design and layout and maps

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. 

Fred Wright at the top of the Arlscharte Pass, Austria, in 1992
Fred Wright at the top of the Arlscharte Pass, Austria, in 1992

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.

Above the Passo dello Stelvio, 1990
Above the Passo dello Stelvio, 1990

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!

The new cover – initial concept
The new cover – initial concept

 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 

Every book sold on Kickstarter will include a £1 donation to the Rough Stuff Fellowship, and £1 split between Fred's chosen charity, the Salvation Army, and Smart Shelter Foundation

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. 

 

 

A mock-up of the new text design and layout
A mock-up of the new text design and layout

 

Some initial layouts and tests for the new edition
Some initial layouts and tests for the new edition

 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. 

Bunker Research
Bunker Research

 

The Men of Paris-Roubaix
The Men of Paris-Roubaix

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. 

Me! (photo: Antton Miettinen)
Me! (photo: Antton Miettinen)

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.

DELIVERY

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.

REWARD DETAILS

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.

Some of the postcards we might send you
Some of the postcards we might send you

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. 

Vintage postcards – someone has to buy them :-)
Vintage postcards – someone has to buy them :-)

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. 

Proposed cap design
Proposed cap design

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.

Café du Cycliste Merino neck warmer
Café du Cycliste Merino neck warmer

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. 

Bunker Research and The Men of Paris-Roubaix
Bunker Research and The Men of Paris-Roubaix

 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 Outdoor Coffee Kit
The Outdoor Coffee Kit

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!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.34

    STOCKISTS

    Are you a bike shop, a bike cafe, a cycling club, even a group of friends? Choose this option and I'll email you to talk about wholesale pre-orders. And if you decide it's not for you, I promise to refund you the £1 :-)

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    Pledge £5 or more About $7

    POSTCARDS

    No book at this level, but some nicely printed postcards featuring a selection of five images from the book, some depicting Fred, his friends, and other pioneers of rough stuff cycling in the Alps.
    Receive all our backers-only updates on the project.

    Includes:
    • 5 x postcards
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    Pledge £23 or more About $31

    EARLYBIRD BOOK

    Give our campaign an invaluable early boost and receive a copy of the book at an earlybird price. Limited availability!

    One copy of Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps, the original guide to adventure cycling in the Alps. Reprinted, reformatted and newly laid out. Featuring beautiful new maps, and amazing vintage colour photos taken by Fred Wright and other pioneers of rough stuff cycling in the Alps.

    Includes:
    • Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps guide book, new edition
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    Pledge £23 or more About $31

    TORINO-NICE/ROUGH STUFF SPECIAL

    We're offering all members of the Rough Stuff Fellowship and Torino-Nice Rally riders the earlybird price for the duration of the whole campaign.

    Please only choose this if you have ridden the Torino-Nice Rally or are a member of the Rough Stuff Fellowship – we will be checking.

    Includes:
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $33

    THE BOOK

    One copy of Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps, the original guide to adventure cycling in the Alps. Reprinted, reformatted and newly laid out.

    Featuring beautiful new maps, and amazing vintage colour photos taken by Fred Wright and other pioneers of rough stuff cycling in the Alps.

    Includes:
    • Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps guide book, new edition
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £28 or more About $37

    THE BOOK + POSTCARDS

    Like it says :-)

    Includes:
    • 5 x postcards
    • Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps guide book, new edition
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    Pledge £40 or more About $53

    THE BOOK + SPECIAL VINTAGE THANKS

    THE BOOK, the POSTCARDS and your name in the 'Thank You' section at the back of the book.

    Plus an invitation to the launch party – likely to be in Sheffield or London in June.

    Plus I'll include an original vintage postcard of the Alps that I've collected (for an idea of the selection, see below), with a handwritten thank you from Andy and I.

    Includes:
    • 5 x postcards
    • Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps guide book, new edition
    • 1 x vintage Alps postcard
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    Pledge £45 or more About $60

    THE EARLYBIRD FRONT PANNIER

    THE BOOK and a very limited edition Rough Stuff Alps CYCLING CAP, designed by us and offered in association with Pannier.cc.

    Limited earlybird availability at £5 off the usual combined price.

    See the 'REWARDS' section below for pictures of the cap.

    Plus your name in the 'Thank you' section at the back of the book and an invitation to the launch party.

    Includes:
    • Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps guide book, new edition
    • RS Alps x Pannier.cc cycling cap
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £48 or more About $64

    THE FRONT PANNIER

    THE BOOK and a very limited edition Rough Stuff Alps CYCLING CAP, designed by us and offered in association with Pannier.cc.

    See the 'REWARDS' section below for pictures of the cap.

    Plus your name in the 'Thank you' section and an invitation to the launch party.

    Includes:
    • Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps guide book, new edition
    • RS Alps x Pannier.cc cycling cap
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    Pledge £48 or more About $64

    2 x THE BOOK

    Two copies of THE BOOK – get together and pledge with a friend!

    Choose this reward and pledge an additional £10 to receive two sets of POSTCARDS, two names in the 'Thank You' section and two invites to the launch.

    Includes:
    • Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps guide book, new edition
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    Pledge £55 or more About $73

    THE COSY RIDER

    Neck warmers are great for touring in the mountains – for mornings, evenings, descents and cold moments.

    Get a stripy Cafe du Cycliste NECK WARMER with your copy of THE BOOK to accompany you on your adventures, for cheaper than their combined RRP.

    You also get your name in the 'Thank you' section of the book, and an invite to the launch.

    Neck warmers are one-size-fits-all by the way and colours may vary.

    Includes:
    • Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps guide book, new edition
    • Cafe du Cycliste neck warmer
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    Pledge £60 or more About $80

    THE ISOLA PRESS SPECIAL

    All the books Isola Press has ever published: the award-winning Bunker Research, the beautiful The Men of Paris-Roubaix, and of course THE BOOK.

    For much less than the combined RRP! More about the other books in the REWARDS section below.

    You'll also get your name in the 'Thank you' section of the book, and an invite to the launch.

    Includes:
    • Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps guide book, new edition
    • Bunker Research
    • The Men of Paris-Roubaix
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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge £70 or more About $93

    3 x THE BOOK

    Three copies of THE BOOK for you to do with as you please.

    Choose this reward and pledge an additional £15 to receive three sets of POSTCARDS, three names in the 'Thank You' section and three invites to the party.

    Includes:
    • Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps guide book, new edition
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    Pledge £70 or more About $93

    THE FULL PANNIERS

    THE BOOK, of course.

    Plus the limited edition Rough Stuff Alps x Pannier.cc CYCLING CAP.

    Plus a Pannier.cc COFFEE KIT, including 100g of Ember coffee, a spork and a special co-branded Rough Stuff Alps x Pannier.cc DRY BAG to keep it in.

    For pics and more info see the REWARDS section below.

    You'll also get your name in the 'Thank you' section of the book, and an invite to the launch.

    Includes:
    • Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps guide book, new edition
    • RS Alps x Pannier.cc cycling cap
    • Pannier.cc coffee kit
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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge £85 or more About $113

    THE FULL KIT EXPLORER

    Everything here you might want to wear on an Alpine cycling trip. THE BOOK, of course…

    Plus the RS Alps x Pannier.cc limited edition CYCLING CAP

    Plus the Cafe du Cycliste NECK WARMER.

    Plus the exclusive RS Alps x Pannier DRY BAG.

    You'll also get your name in the 'Thank you' section of the book, and an invite to the launch.

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  16. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About $133

    THE PRINT SPECIAL

    THE BOOK plus and a limited-edition A3 PRINT of a map of the Alps, on acid-free, gallery-grade art paper, as illustrated by Stefan Amato of Pannier.cc, based on his Alps map for the book.

    Stefan's work in progress can be seen below.

    You'll also get some POSTCARDS, your name in the 'Thank you' section of the book, and an invite to the launch.

    Includes:
    • Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps guide book, new edition
    • 5 x postcards
    • Limited edition A3 print of the Alps
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  17. Select this reward

    Pledge £220 or more About $293

    I WANT EVERYTHING

    The book and one of everything else we've offered.

    Includes:
    • Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps guide book, new edition
    • 5 x postcards
    • 1 x vintage Alps postcard
    • Bunker Research
    • The Men of Paris-Roubaix
    • Limited edition A3 print of the Alps
    • Pannier.cc coffee kit
    • Cafe du Cycliste neck warmer
    • RS Alps x Pannier.cc cycling cap
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Funding period

- (30 days)