Book Review: Rough-Stuff Fellowship Archive

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Chipps has got himself a copy of the Rough-Stuff Fellowship Archive, and thinks you need one too.

I’m going to annoy loads of people first off by mentioning the ‘C’ word. Yes, I know it’s months until Christmas, but you know that Aunty Nora is going to be asking your mum what you want for Christmas this year, what with you being hard to buy for because you don’t seem to like jumpers or ties… but now you’re going be able to tell her that you want the Rough-Stuff Fellowship Archive.

rough-stuff fellowship
Mmm… weighty. Smells so good.

Put together from original slides and hand-drawn maps and typewritten stories, this is a coffee table book for the modern adventurer, full of inspiration, humour and a perfect snapshot of times gone by (and times still going on…)

If you’re not familiar with the Rough-Stuff Fellowship it was formed officially in the mid-1950s as an organisation for riders who liked to ride bicycles on off road adventures, which arguably makes it the oldest off-road bike club in the world. Still 600 members strong today, its members have pioneered rugged off road routes across Iceland and made the first unsupported ride to Everest base camp. Luckily, many members were photography enthusiasts and took numerous photos, presumably to delight audiences at church halls and W.I.s around the country on their return.

Inside The Book

The rest of this review is only available to subscribers.

Review Info

Brand:The Rough-Stuff
Product:The Rough-Stuff Fellowship Archive
Tested:by Chipps for


Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

Comments (6)

    Just logged on to have a quick browse before tea , ended up buying something I’ve never heard of funny what you end up doing .

    i was one of the original kickstarters and it was a very proud moment reading my name on the list of backers in the book
    buy one it really is excellent

    Brilliant book – beautifully printed, and full of inspirational stuff in jumpers and long socks.

    Even better why not join the RSF for £12 and then buy the book with a couple of quid discount!

    Wonderful book, buy one before they run out!

    My copy of this book has just been delivered.
    When I joined Bolton Clarion in 1994, Albert Winstanley was a senior member we were in awe of, and it is wonderful to see in this book a photo of Albert with his wife Kathleen, and their daughter. In 1996 I took part in a cycle tour of the West Fjords, North West Iceland. It was organized and led by Dick Phillips, and he drove the support vehicle which was a dubious east European military jobby. Alas Albert, Kathleen and Dick are no longer with us.
    This book is wonderful, buy it, go ride in wild places.

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