RSF - The Off Road Cycling Club

The Adventure Starts Here


“You always know when you’re going to arrive. If you go by car, you don’t. Apart from anything else, I prefer cycling. It puts you in a good mood, I find.” — Alan Bennett, British playwright 


All content in the journals is copyright either of the RSF or the author or indeed both. It's use without permission will result in a stiff memo. If you would like to use an article or images please contact the general secretary in the first instance

1998 Jan-Feb. Vol 43 No.1

At the head of Borrowdale, not far south of Derwentwater, the valley road breaks south then terminates, after a couple of miles, at Seathwaite. Beyond this, between Base Brown and Aaron Crags, an ancient track crosses the beck via Stockley Bridge then toils steeply up an obvious slope, beaten into submission by centuries of use - this is Sty Head Pass - first established as an early pack-horse trail linking Wasdale and Borrowdale. Reaching a height of 1,600 ft, surrounded by some of the highest mountains in the region, the six-mile crossing is justly popular and it is a rare occurrence to have the trail to yourself.

1998 March-April Vol 43 No.2

It was with tongue in cheek that I asked John what did he think about picking an official camp site as a base for 4 or 5 nights. I need not have worried, he fell in with the idea, saying he felt the same way as me about having to cope with the heaw-laden cycles. I thought - no need to cut down the toothbrush handle, I could take a shaving brush, spare shoes, underwear, two shirts, an air pillow instead of stuffing shorts, jacket and cape into the saddlebag. I could even have a choice of porridge or cereal (what luxury), a full-size towel as well as the usual face-cloth, a book to read, a radio, even a comb - if I had any hair.

1998 May-June Vol 43 No.3

The sky was heavy as our intepid pair left the Knavesmire to pass through York City centre and on to the barracks at Strenshall (OS 105 GR 628593). Here we met Simon Ward, a university colleague of mine and a regular Audax rider. My other companion was Nigel Hall, who had been a student at York in the ’60s and was partly responsible for setting up the university cycling club. We were all keen to get onto some real rough-stuff, the first of which followed within a couple of miles.The unmade road slowed the others, on tourers, more than myself, but my fat tyres were harder work on the tarmac.

1998 July-Aug Vol 43 No.4

Three rather well-heeled looking people on horseback filled the track. As I approached, rattling along on the rough surface, their demeanour indicated that they were no threat to my progress, but rather curious about a lone person on a cycle on such a rough track and in such a remote spot. In such circumstances my usual ploy is to give the appearance of having every right to be where I was, treating other people with respect but strictly as equals. We exchanged the usual pleasantries and then the good-natured interrogation began. “Where was I going; where had I come from; how long had it taken me; where had I been staying; what was the round brass thing attached to my crossbar?"

1998 Sept-Oct Vol 43 No.5

We sat on the floor with our backs to the cab with the bikes and panniers in front of us. It was a pity that the previous load had been logs as the floor was covered in loose bark and we had to hang on like grim death in order to avoid sliding into the bikes. It had been bad enough going up as the track was still very rocky but once it levelled out there were lots of trenches where vehicles had been bogged down, and we were bounced around like loose peas

1998 Nov-Dec Vol 43 No.6 (Index)

The problem with trying to put together a high-quality rough-stuff ride starting in York is that the immediate surrounding area is very flat. This means that many of the local tracks are not well drained and are therefore tedious to ride or even walk along. I therefore wanted to get well away from York on the ride, and felt that the North York Moors would provide much more interesting riding. This is certainly the case.but the problem is obviously bridging the gap between there and York. Much of the intervening distance was done on tarmac: we are not talking about 75 miles of rough-stuff here!

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