Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What is rough-stuff cycling?

From a letter by Bill Paul, founder of the Rough Stuff Fellowship, to the Rough Stuff Journal, vol. 13 no. 6, 1968:

     Having been indulging in this form of escapade since 1921 I am ready to admit that many people will have many opinions, and to simplify the answer to a simple question my answer is - any way, road, track or path which is free from modern tar-macadam! When I first started it was known as pass-storming, for fifty years ago the Llanberis, Honister and similar road passes were all rough and loose metal [gravel] thrown down and spread across. Motor cars were few then and seldom passed along these routes. Then routes along drove roads and sheep tracks were sought out and when Wayfarer publicized, through article-writing and public lecture, his crossing of the Nant Rhyd Wilem that really started something we know today as "rough stuff"....

     On the bicycle itself, does anyone really want a special one? I don't. Any bicycle that you can propel, push, drag, lift or carry, will do. I like something handy and reasonably light and not over done with too many mechanical "aids". Mine is a Parkes Autograph lightweight with Dunlop lightweight high pressure rims, fitted with a speed tyre and a four-speed medium S.A. gear - and what I can't do on or with that I'll leave alone. I have quite a tally of routes achieved, including the crossing of Black Sail with my wife - and a tandem!

Rough Stuff Journal, vol. 10 no. 2, 1965

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