This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sun, February 10 2019 9:00 PM UTC +00:00.
The Rough Stuff Fellowship archive is a treasure trove of stunning photos, journals and maps that document a bygone age of adventuring by bike.
This book will showcase the best of the archive for the first time.
THE CLUB AND THE ARCHIVE
The Rough-Stuff Fellowship was established in a pub near the Welsh/English border in 1955, making it the oldest off-road cycling club in the world.
The club welcomed men and women, young and old. And their adventures across the UK and the world were documented by many talented photographers.
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.
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.
Not only is the archive full of beautiful pictures, it is also of historical significance. Among many foreign trips, RSF members completed the first known traverse by bicycle of Iceland’s mountainous interior, in 1958.
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.
Mountain bikes, gravel bikes, bikepacking – everything followed in the tyre tracks of the RSF. This book celebrates their style and their spirit.
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.
From the advert placed in The Bicycle magazine in 1954 calling for founding members, to 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, to beautifully designed old Journals – it’ll all be in there.
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.
In the design and layout we will be going for something modern, minimal and fresh, to complement the archival nature of the project.
There will also be a very limited special edition, cloth-bound and presented in a slipcase, with an exclusive print included (see below for more images).
Both editions will be printed by the same art book specialist in Belgium. They will be beautiful objects, designed and produced with attention to detail and to the highest standards.
Please scroll down for more about the different pledges!
WHO WE ARE
Mark is organising, scanning and sorting through the archive materials. He’ll also write an introduction that outlines the history of the club and tells the stories of the photographers.
Isola Press will be looking after all the design, layout and production. This is our fourth book. We won a prize for our first book, Bunker Research. The last Isola Press project, Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps, was also funded on Kickstarter and was a great success (thank you everyone!).
We’re both mad about riding both on and off the beaten track and are excited to bring this project to life.
WHERE YOUR MONEY GOES
Our target basically covers:
- Print costs for our minimum print run
- Scanning the thousands of photos, negatives and slides and other materials
- Licensing photos from some photographers
- Paying for any new photography (for example, of documents, boxes, badges and Journals)
- Kickstarter fees
Every book from the entire print run (not just those sold on Kickstarter) will include a £1 donation to the Rough-Stuff Fellowship in the asking price.
If we achieve our target, and I hope we will, we will set some exciting stretch targets.
For small publishers, Kickstarter is a great way of funding projects. Please help us spread the word and support us now, when your money will be of maximum help in bringing unique book to life.
Here's some more details about the different rewards offered.
Postcards: we took some of the best images from the archive and made postcards of them to send or display. Choose the STYLE reward to get a special selection of RSF fashion – plus fours, gaiters, shirts and bobble hats – through the ages.
The NEW MEMBER reward: this includes a year's membership of the Rough-Stuff Fellowship. They’ll send you six RSF Journals, and you’ll have access to the members’ events, forum and GPXes.
All the £12 membership fee (or higher for Europe and worldwide) will go directly to the RSF.
Vintage postcards: I've built up a collection of old postcards of the mountains of the UK and Europe, many of which feature cyclists and rough-stuff tracks. Some of them are unused, and if you choose the SPECIAL VINTAGE THANK YOU reward, Mark and I will send one to you with a note of our appreciation.
The ALPS reward: choose this and you'll get a copy of Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps by Fred Wright. This new edition of the original guide to adventuring by bike in the Alps was published by Isola Press last year. It features more than 300 routes from the French Alps to the Dolomites, as well as stunning vintage photography.
Everything you need for rough-stuff inspiration and exploration in a discounted bundle!
The STYLE reward: this includes an exclusive one-off T-shirt design, with a graphic taken from the pages of a vintage Rough-Stuff Fellowship journal. It will be available in grey in sizes XS to XXL. There's also a set of special postcards showcasing the amazing styles of RSF members over the years – deerstalkers, bobble hats, plus-fours and more!
The LIMITED EDITION PRINT – SMALL: select this reward and you'll receive a 8" x 10" print of one of two photos from the archive. Make your choice from the designs below after the Kickstarter has finished. (NB: the images here are scanned directly from the slides and negatives, and will be professionally cleaned and prepared before printing)
The LIMITED EDITION PRINT – BIG: select this reward and you'll receive a 12" x 16" print of one of two photos from the archive. Make your choice from the designs below after the Kickstarter has finished. (NB: the images here are scanned directly from the slides and negatives, and will be professionally cleaned and prepared before printing)
The FIRST 90 SPECIAL EDITION: after the inaugural meeting of the RSF at the Black Swan in Leominster on 29 May 1955, a membership list of 90 founder members – 'the first 90' – was announced. The FIRST 90 SPECIAL EDITION is a clothbound special book, individually hand numbered and named after one of the first 90.
It is presented with an exclusive 8" x 10" print and for each copy sold there will be an increased donation to the RSF.
The CARRADICE REVIVAL
Seen throughout the archive photos is a small, practical pair of top tube panniers made by Carradice, in their signature Cotton Duck waxed fabric.
They work on both 'solo' bicycles and tandems, and Carradice has agreed to resurrect this classic design exclusively for us. We have even sourced a vintage pair because the factory no longer had the patterns.
These will be working prototypes exclusive to the Rough Stuff Archive book campaign. They may go into production afterwards, but this is not guaranteed.
Limited to 100 examples, they will come with an exclusive ‘Carradice Rough Stuff’ label affixed – so if you want one, please buy one now, in the knowledge that you’re also supporting the book.
Risks and challenges
As far as we see it, the risks in this project are small.
The work of scanning and digitising the archive is already under way, and we know we have more than enough material to make a beautiful book.
Isola Press has a strong track record of writing, designing and producing intelligent, award-winning books about cycling and adventure. We will be using the same printer as with 'Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps' – they are reliable, good to deal with and very good at their job!
Thanks to the success of the last Isola Press book, we are setting our sights higher and aiming to print more books. We need to, as this book will be bigger, glossier and with more expensive finishing than our previous books. But if we achieve our target we will definitely be able to make this happen.
We are already working on the photo selection, the copy and the layout, and the printers are lined up and ready. Please join us on this exciting journey!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- All gone!