The Rough-Stuff Fellowship: The Oldest Off-Road Club In The World

December 11, 2018

Established in a pub near the Welsh/English border in 1955, The Rough Stuff Fellowship is the oldest off-road club in the world. For those cyclists who "enjoy byways and tracks" the club is made up of men and women, young and old. Their adventures across the UK and the world, slogging through snow in the Lake District, the Cairngorms or Brecon Beacons to further afield in Switzerland and Italy in the 1960's, talented photographers have documented their journeys. 

 

The club recently appointed an archivist, and the photos, hand-drawn maps and memories poured in – an unexpected treasure trove of incredible value and beauty. The club recently started sharing the photos that document a bygone age of adventuring by bike across the globe from the past 60+ years on an Instagram page. 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. 

 

"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."