A bit of Italian Inspiration.

Since January I’ve had up to 4 Italian lessons a week in the hope of being able to guide some of our own Chain Gang Italian tours. Memory has become an issue at the ripe age of 50, but my Italian is beginning to progress very nicely. Le mie lezioni di italiano stanno andando così… Read more

Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike

As you can imagine, I read quite a few cycling books, particularly biographies of racing superstars. Back in March I got a very pleasant surprise one morning when a package arrived from The Guardian newspaper containing a new biography of Eddy Merckx , by British cycling journalist William Fotheringham. I couldn’t remember ordering it, so… Read more

The Loire Valley, By Patrick Hudgell

Photographs are very important to us at The Chain Gang. We rely on them for brochures, website, newsletters, etc. The problem is that it isn’t as easy as it looks! In recognition of my own limitations I’ve recently enrolled on a Photography course. So I’m always very grateful when our customers take lots of photos… Read more

The Normandy Cheese Olympics

Of our French tours, the distinctiveness and quality of the local cuisine varies widely. Whatever locals might tell you, the Loire Valley and Bordeaux are generic ‘French’ – delicious when done well, but you can get it anywhere. The Dordogne is very distinctive, based as it is almost entirely on duck and goose with some… Read more

Biking in Normandy

Ten years after being advised by Dick Allen, Steve Foote and Gary Ford to organise a bike tour around Normandy, and finally prompted by my brother Mike’s good sense, The Chain Gang will offer bike tours around Normandy, and I’m delighted. There’s significant history in Normandy. This was home to William The Bastard, son of… Read more

The Chain Gang Goes to Paris

Modesty forces me to say this wasn’t my idea, but I do think it’s a wonderful one – thank you Nicolas Rannou, French triathlete now based in Exeter. We’re all familiar with Paris’ famous landmarks, places like the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre. Starting in 2012 we’re going to be running… Read more