The Chain Gang on FLICKR.

For many years I’ve harboured a vision of how Chain Gang customers can see our photos, and other people’s photos, and share their photos, of the places they’ve visited with The Chain Gang.

When I try to describe where I want to get to, I struggle a bit. Of course, in the end the underlying reason is that I’d like to sell more bike holidays, specifically to encourage our customers to cycle with us again. If 12 people return home from their bike holiday and then share their photos with each other, I think it’s more likely that we’ll see them again.

Also, imagine if you spend a week in Umbria and see a beautiful view over the Vale of Spoleto from Monte Castello di Vibio. But it’s a bit hazy, so your photos are rubbish. Luckily Simon Moss or Jed Baxter has been there on a clear day, and we can look at their photographs and bring back the same memories.

People use different Internet photo sites, such as Winkflash, Picasso, Flickr, and of course lots of people don’t upload their photos at all, they download them from their camera to their own computer, and there they stay. So although the idea of a giant, shared photo gallery might seem sound, the process of collecting photos, uploading them, organising them, and making them available to others is actually a big undertaking, and I’ve been too half-hearted about it.

Each year it’s one of my New Year Resolutions – organise our thousands and thousands of photos, upload them in an interesting and meaningful way, and invite people to browse. Once we’ve established a decent critical mass of galleries, we can invite others to send their photos. Some of our customers are good photographers, so the theory is that if we can get the ball rolling, we’ll end up with an ever-improving, vast gallery of photos of people having fun on bikes in beautiful places … and that sells holidays!

So, you know the theory, and in the last month I’ve made a start. I’ve uploaded new galleries of The Chain Gang’s Burgundy , Dordogne and Bordeaux Winetrail tours to our FLICKR site.

I’d love you to go and have a look. Leave comments, download the photos, send me yours, share them with others. Do whatever you like with them, they’re meant to be yours as well – that was the whole point. So enjoy, please.

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