Charlie says: Before mountain biking was a word, or a thing, Englishmen (and women) would take touring bikes off-road and head out for adventure. This is a lovely insight into what was at the time considered a very niche corner of cycling. Now it looks like gravel riding with a bobble hat. Starting in 1955, they can count amongst their members a Lord and Lady somethingorother, plus Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly (who sort of invented “mountain biking”). the pages are heavy with quality, the pictures are very charming, and the characters pictured are remarkable.
Don’t just take my word for it. Chipps loved it too, and reviewed it here.
Adventures with the world’s oldest off-road cycling club
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.
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.
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 – they all followed in the tyre tracks of the RSF.
This book celebrates their style and their spirit. It is a document not only of the history of cycling off the beaten track, but of British outdoor culture.