Onwards and Upwards

9 October 2021

2022 DATES ARE UP!!!

We managed three weekends at the fag end of this year (2021) and I was very happy to welcome those of you brave/foolhardy enough to confront the covid testing and potential quarantine to get down here. The weekends did not disappoint. This year is a bit special as we have garnered, over the last two, cancelled, seasons a large number of deposits and bookings. I felt it right to give those people first pick of the dates available. This operation (which I have named "Operation Stampede") has resulted in us being full before I've even put the dates up here. There may be cancellations so please do let me know if you'd like to come. I'm showing the dates with "1" slot available just in order for the weekend not to disappear off the page, but to all intents and purposes we are full.

All the best

Tony & Violette


Prices & Dates 2021

  • 0Slots RemainingNightsRider RatePillion Rate

Dates are for INCLUSIVE nights.

If the dates of your choice are showing "FULL", please contact us and we will let you know if there are any cancellations

2021 Prices are EUROS and are as follows: All prices are for individuals sharing two to a room: €690.00 per rider for the full 5 nights (Pillions: €620.00), Arrival will be on the Thursday afternoon, with departure on the morning of the following Tuesday

Single room charge: single rooms are only available should we have one or more of our "double bed" rooms available for single occupancy. Should you wish for a single, contact us and we will allocate them on a 1st come 1st served basis. The single room supplementary charge is €60 for the weekend

See right for cancellation charges

Click HERE for exchange rates

For this you get:

Viol bottlesHalf-board (breakfast and dinner) with all wine and beer included during dinner.

Accompanied ride-outs. We will lead the group out every day and take you along some superb biking roads. We will stop for coffee and lunch. The cost of these is not included in the weekend rate. (FYI €90 per person will normally cover the 4 lunches and the 8 coffee-stops over the 4 days' riding. We normally have a whip-round at the first coffee stop of the day. Any Coke or Orangina drinkers will be subjected to extensive verbal abuse and a surcharge)

(NB: The prices for the weekend do NOT include ferry costs. You should book these yourselves.

A €150.00 deposit is payable per person at time of booking, with the balance to be paid two months before your scheduled arrival


Just send an e-mail to the site address, letting me know the dates and the number of people you'd like to book for and I'll get back to you asap.

The Plan

A normal weekend would shape up like this:

You will make your own way down to the Chateau in order to arrive here on the Thursday afternoon. The best route is an overnight ferry from Portsmouth which will get you into Le Havre, Caen or Cherbourg early in the morning. You then have all day to ride down here at a relaxed pace. The next FOUR days are all about riding. Departure is on morning of the Tuesday following your arrival.

The roads we will be riding are very scenic, but will also cater for the most demanding road-rider. It is a very intense motorcycling experience. We will ride in the morning for 1 to 2 hours and stop for a coffee break, another 2 hours or so and lunch, a coffee stop in the afternoon and then back home. 200 miles altogether. Over the four days you will ride four different circuits, all will be approximately 200 miles long and we will aim to be back home by around 17h30

We use the "drop-off" system when on the road (see "How we ride"), so nobody ever gets lost and everybody can ride at their own pace with no pressure to ride at a rate that they don't feel comfortable with, nor have to plod along at the rate of the slowest rider.

If you haven't ridden in France before you'll be amazed at the welcome you'll receive from the people here. Policemen will wave (you down....), traffic will be light and will be trying to help you wherever possible by getting out of your way; the myth of the little café terrace, in the middle of nowhere, where we stop to take on coffee and water and to regale each other with our tales of derring-do is TRUE! There'll be lots of coffee stops, lunch in a little local restaurant and more stops in the afternoon. You'll come home to the Chateau tired, but with your eyes popping out of your head, ready for the next day's roads. You'll park the bike up and grab a cold beer, before hitting the showers in preparation for dinner and another round of "Did you see me when.....?"

Reviews & Rogues

  • 2016

    "Ha! You look like you've gone 10 rounds!" Tuono Chris

    "It'll buff out" FLASH

    "Half way round the lorry and I'm thinking "What am I doing!"" FLASH

    "One of the KTMs is really good and the other is total rubbish, but I can't work out which is which" FLASH

    "I've left my phone at the restaurant" Dave C

    "They should bulldoze it" Chris B (on Oradour)

    "It'll buff out" FLASH/Robin

    "You're all rubbish" Chubby

    "I need a bigger bike" FLASH

  • 2010-14-Nov

    Staples removed from my leg yesterday. Leaping about like a bunny wabbit. What it is to be normal again! :-)

  • 2013 August

    Well, jingle my bells.....what a disaster! Me mam's in hospital after falling down on an ice-covered pavement and breaking her hip. Joy! NOT what you want to happen when you're 60 years old! My daughter from my first (and, it has to be said, only) marriage is stuck at Heathrow at the Radison Hotel, getting into the festive mood on room service and the mini-bar. She "may" get out this pm. meanwhile the temperature here has plummeted to 9C and there's been a flurry of snow reported somewhere not far from here. I've sandbagged the tennis court and am prepared to fend off starving Brit tourists with my wasser-kanone. Happy Christmas to you all, Peeps!

  • 2010 24 December

    Well, jingle my bells.....what a disaster! Me mam's in hospital after falling down on an ice-covered pavement and breaking her hip. Joy! NOT what you want to happen when you're 60 years old! My daughter from my first (and, it has to be said, only) marriage is stuck at Heathrow at the Radison Hotel, getting into the festive mood on room service and the mini-bar. She "may" get out this pm. meanwhile the temperature here has plummeted to 9C and there's been a flurry of snow reported somewhere not far from here. I've sandbagged the tennis court and am prepared to fend off starving Brit tourists with my wasser-kanone. Happy Christmas to you all, Peeps!

  • 2010-November

    And so to hospital where I finally had the pin removed from my left tibia. It's been in there since 2005 and I've been meaning to have it out for a number of years now. My pet surgeon (see 4 Sept above) smuggled me out of the hospital and took me home for dinner and then slipped a bottle of wine in my cabinet the next day for post-op stimulation. Love it!

    What is going on in London! Looked like scenes from Sarajevo. Shame, shame, shame. I totally understand what the students are demonstrating about but who the hell are these other berserkers? Here come the water-cannon.........

  • 2010-October

    Managed to squeeze in a visit to Lille to attend a Supertramp concert. All well and good, but the old sound was really all down to Roger and without him, although they're very tight, it just ain't the same

  • 2010-9

    Well, the painting's almost finished and Ian is departing Monday. Final dates for 2011 are up on the board. Get booking.

    House looks really great; sort of a cross between an expensive sanatorium and a Tyrolean Schloss-fahrtel. Totally knackered. :-)

    Been thinking about my experience on the lad's S1000RR and it appears that the problem might be down to the tyres. He's got Pilot Power Pures fitted and BiKE mag said that they were awful on the S. Maybe that was it. Certainly everything I'd initially loved about it turned to dust when I tried it with those tyres on.

  • 2010-8

    And a thought for Dave, who loved coming down here and who will be sorely missed by us and all of those of you who met him.

  • 2010-7

    Teetering on the edge of the last weekend of the year. Group due to arrive this pm and Ian (God bless him!) is turning up in his van and will spend the next 3 weeks with me repainting the outsides of the windows, No small task. Amazing what a biker will do for the promise of a beer. Dates for 2011 are up and, as usual, I'm locked in a titanic struggle with Violette for the use of the available weekends. Her plant and antique fairs do tend to get in the way of the important things in life......So tense are the negotiations that I've had to delay posting a couple of dates until Hilary Clinton gets here to act as arbiter. Fat chance....

  • 2010-6

    Just back from London where we attended Tony & Suzanne's wedding bash (K1200S). Absolutely perfect: weather, people, food, dancing and the BRILLIANT idea of having the hotel situated 54 miles away from the venue! Classic! I threw some of the more obscure FLASH moves on the dance floor and attracted my usual tally of groupies. Violette just beginning to speak to me again. If you're in Knockholt go to the HARROW INN (no, I didn't make that up) Check it out on the Links page

    This is the week we inaugurate the FLASH Facebook page. You'll be able to get your own back in pics and comments. Hang on!

  • 2010-5

    An excellent weekend. Jimmy was down again for the 2nd time this year (his first visit coinciding with the Great Cyclist Cull) Really good riding. Fast but steady and with everybody giving themselves plenty of room.... the more I think about it, I think this is the key to safe riding......Dave bought himself a textile jacket from the local Triumph dealer with runes on it. Spent most of dinner mumbling in Elvish.

  • 2010-4

    A complaint comes from the FOUR guilty parties, caught slightly over the speed limit last month. To whit: "Not sure I like being held up as an example of some terrible crime against biking sanity on Tony's Blog...perhaps a caveat could be added..."D* made us do it!!!" "J** made us do it faster" Warning: Don't change your destination or arrival time by a significant amount 5 minutes before you leave. Warning: Control your urges to eat; all bodily functions are subordinate to completing twisties (when you're in a rush) Warning: Never rely entirely on SatNav (even the latest and greatest can be wrong) Warning: Long Distances require different planning techniques when using a limited size fuel tank (eg Dct* 1098 or 1198)"

  • 2010-3

    Hmmmm......again...I'm developing a raste for this self-aggrandizement. Lunch with my surgein (yes, here in France we have a surgeon allocated to one when one is a motorcuclist). Andouilleyyes and chups (note to self: replace keys on keyboarf where letters are tubbed off)

  • 2010-2

    Hmmmm......food for thought. FOUR of our stalwarts got stopped on the way home for speeding on the m'way, 80 kms outside Le Havre. Very, very large fine and an immediate 2-week ban which meant they had to hire a truck to carry them and their bikes to the port. I know that when you're late for the ferry the temptation is to gun it, but in this case not only did they miss their ferry but will remember the day for a long time to come. On m'ways, Route Nationales and/or any long straight, be VERY circumspect about winding it on. They ARE out to get you!

    Further to the above, the only good news is that the ban does not apply anywhere other than France and there are no points on the license. How long is THAT going to last before Brussels decides to allow cross-border penalties?

    Took the S1000RR out for a blat y'day. Found that it's not very comfortable :-) and in a bumpy bend the movement of the bike is transmitted via your wrist to the throttle, resulting in a rather unpleasant pogo-ing effect. Or is it just me?

  • 2010

    Great year's riding so far marred only by the English Tourist Lady from Hell who berated me at Oradour sur Glane for talking....oh and by Thud hitting a car head on. Bump on the head and a sprained thumb. That boy is luck personified

    Realised that virtually ALL incidents that occur down here are due to the rider not giving himself enough space to see what he's doing, where he's going etc. SPACE OUT, MAN!

    Very proud of the group I served Ox-tongue to, in a hot and sour sauce. They all pretended to love it.

    I can now do a paella for 10 in 20 minutes flat

    Had the Irish back again early on in the year. Love those guys!

  • 2006-3

    "Moules, please!" Robin

    "We have never in all our lives met such lovely people, experienced such a wonderful welcome, such excellent food and such a tremendous range of challenging and beautiful roads....outside of Wales, that is" Chris and Ian (Welsh gastronomologists)

    "More moules, please!" Robin

    "Whaaaaaa.....?" Matt

    "I have texture issues with ratatouille" Ceri

    "Rob's on the pull" Ian

  • 2006

    "May I have some more of those "bulots", please? And may I eat Andy's as well?" Alexis aka "Hollowlegs"

    "I suppose you're going to try and sell us those photos" Dave

    "There's nothing like scraping your tassels along French tarmac" Nick - Virago wanabe

    "What do you mean "You're not going to be the first one to say that?" He is the first one to say that" Jane - (pedant)

  • Two years on the trot

    "Dinner is still a vivid memory and I have to share with the world what a totally wonderful place this is" Tony - local asylum seeker

    "FLASH Tour - The autumnal gathering YOWSA! BIG thanks to FLASH for receiving the Rapid Training posse down Melle way. They loved every moment. ...two full days of more glorious sunshine, empty roads, cafes, food beer and wine with FLASH ever present at the helm. Jolly japes all round. The local roads are the stuff of biking legend and one in particular is one that you should all experience at least once in your biking lifetime. For those of a nervous disposition, you should know that one of our group with a mere 7 months riding under her belt, survived the whole journey with ne'er a moment. Top Stuff. Why shouldn't you go? I can only refer you to that fine wordsmith Walpole who famously said: "Folk should try everything at least once with the possible exception of incest and country dancing" Sye - Itinerant knife-sharpener

    "Wow! Hello Big Boy!" Ceri - Welsh ophthalmologist (failed)

  • Third time lucky!

    "What a hoot and I can't wait to do it all again - sooner rather than later too" Kingsley - Essex entomologist

    "I was all over you like a rash, but I could see that you were getting a bit out of shape, so held back to give you some space" Keith - diplomat

    "S'allright, I suppose" Slug - Poet Laureate

  • We did it again!

    "Flash's riding skills are trumped solely by his wit, charisma, cordon bleu cooking skills, charm, dashing good looks, scintillating conversation, eclectic choice of furnishings and his totally ravishing wife, Violette" Andy (has permanent invitation)

    "Not much in the way of raves in Melle, then" Nicki - novice nun

  • The first year

    "My ears are still aching from the laughter" Adam - Cattle culler

    "Is your brake light sticking on?" Nick - stuntman

Contact Us

Please contact us by email in the first instance, (see address below).

Once your booking has been accepted then communication will generally be via email.

During the tour, mobile numbers for Lead riders will be shared out as necessary.

(Unfortunately the contact form has proven to be too unreliable and so has been taken back to the orangerie for corrective treatment).

How We Ride

The whole point of the weekend is for you to have FUN while riding at all times within your "comfort zone". You won't have that if you feel that you're obliged to gallop along at a rate that you don't feel comfortable with, neither will you if you feel that you're dawdling along and are getting bored...

Rider Experience

Every group is made up of riders with varying degrees of experience, age, skill, enthusiasm, horsepower, machine control and stamina. I like to think that we can cater for everybody but it's obvious that somebody who has only recently passed their test will find it daunting to be thrown into this particular deep-end...It's also important that everybody is committed to their riding and, normally, the fact of having to ride all the way down here is a guarantee of that. If you are a "new" rider however it might be worth postponing your 1st trip until you've undertaken some additional training in the UK (see the LINKS within the Contact Us section) or just piled on the miles and are feeling confident with your riding. Confidence is the key; how FAST you ride is definitely NOT. Groups are, by definition, made up of riders with varying levels of confidence and we can cater for this by applying the "Drop-off system" This is not complicated but I've managed to make it appear so in the following explanation. Read it carefully as you'll be quizzed on it once you eventually arrive here...

Frequently Answered Questions

What should you know before you come?


Passport, bike registration docs, insurance. You will need some form of European breakdown insurance. The AA, Green Flag etc do good cover. Check with your current insurer what’s on offer and also confirm that your bike is fully insured for the trip to France, BOTH FOR ACCIDENT AND BREAKDOWN (a lot of the companies are NOT offering recovery for bikes involved in an accident, check it out!).



Seriously, this was a major issue in 2007 with a rider needing medical/repatriation assistance and finding that he was NOT covered as he thought. Check it out!

Take photocopies of your docs and keep them separate from your originals.

You WILL need the the EHIC card which can be obtained free from your local post-office. This enables you to recover any medical costs incurred in France.

Bike Check

steveYou will be covering around 1600 miles so make sure that your tyres and chain can make it and that you’re not going to miss a major service. Coolant, tyre pressures, brake pads, discs, oil and brake fluid levels should be checked. Check for leaks around the engine and fork seals. The official word is that you will need to blank off the thrown-beam section of your headlamp lens with some insulating tape and you'll need a GB sticker. Once down here we have a Triumph dealership in town and there are the usual suspects (Nippon/German/Italian) in Niort, 20kms away.


Photos33You can get them down here with about a 10% saving over the prices in the UK (depending on the exchange rate - check with me first). If your tyres are part-worn, finish them off on the way down and get a new set at the end of the day's ride on the Saturday. Let me know your make and model and I'll get you a quote.


Hard panniers are good. If your bike doesn’t come equipped then throw-overs or a tail-pack are good alternatives. A tank bag is very useful for documents, camera, route cards, maps etc. make sure that whatever you have is waterproof. If you don’t have soft pannier covers then wrap up all your stuff in bin-liners before putting it in the panniers. You won’t need too many clothes. Enough shirts/T-shirts for four days, a pair of jeans, a sweater, a fleece-type jacket, and some walking shoes (in case you have to push your bike anywhere...). A little black dress for the evening and a simple string of pearls is always very elegant.

Riding Gear

Photos26It really depends which time of the year you've decided to come down. Weather in April/May and September/October is usually gorgeous but the mornings and evenings can be a bit chilly. Bring some thermals (or equivalent…I don’t want to know) if you're coming at that time of year. For the summer months you won't have any need of warm weather gear, whether it rains or no, the temperatures will remain comfortable. Leathers or Goretex suit (all preferably with some form of armour), sweat-shirt, winter gloves, spare gloves (summer?), rain-suit, neck tube, Vee-wipes, Visor demist, boots. Helmet with a clear, unscratched, visor. I don't anticipate riding at night so a tinted visor will probably be OK, but how are you going to get down to Portsmouth Thursday night? Take a clear visor as well, whydoncha? EARPLUGS!


Sunglasses, camera, chocolate, fruit-juice, energy bar…..whatever.


We don't include the ferry booking etc as part of your weekend cost. We have two recommendations for you to make your booking however:

MCN offer discounts on cross-channel ferries here: MCN Ferry Discount Codes

Also you can try: www.ferrysavers.com

Arrival at the port

Aim to get to the check-in at around an hour or so before departure in case there are queues. There are cash machines and a Bureau de Change at the Terminal and on board. Don't hesitate to muscle your way to the front of the queue as British drivers love to hear the throaty roar of bikes' exhausts and admire our multi-hued vestments. It's a good idea if you've all filled up in the UK. This will save at least 30 minutes on the French side, just when you're all impatient to be getting away

Arrival in France

I don't know which port you'll all be arriving at, but if you can let me know when your arrangements are finalized I'll send you the best (most interesting) route down. If you get tied up with lunch/ hedgehogs/lambs-wool underwear, you'll have the option of popping onto a motorway to make up time. If you've opted for one of the Cherbourg/Le Havre/ Caen crossings and have arrived in the morning you'll have plenty of time to get down here. The route maps I will give you will lead you from town to town on the route, with the road numbers and distances between points clearly marked. A good idea is to stop for a coffee once you've cleared the town and are out on the open road. You can check the map and the bloke who forgot to attach his chinstrap can now do so.....



Some riders have arrived here on the Friday with splitting headaches and totally exhausted. This is due to dehydration. Drink lots of water when you stop to take on fuel/lunch/coffee and you'll be fine. No, really...


Once you're all down here I'll be leading you out over the four days on four circuits which take in some great biking roads and will give us the opportunity to visit Oradour sur Glane. We will all start in the morning with full tanks and then stop for petrol every 100 - 120 miles. We will stop for coffee in the morning, for lunch and again for coffee in the afternoon. The accent is very much on riding; we will leave the chateau at 10h00 and won’t be back until around 17h00. We will have covered 200 miles in that time. Riding will be on well-maintained B-roads. There will be 0.00 kms of dual-carriageway riding during the weekend, so come prepared. NOBODY WILL GET LOST NOR WILL THEY HAVE TO PEDAL LIKE MAD TO KEEP UP WITH THE LEADERS! (see "How we ride"). The one thing to be avoided at all costs is for you to feel pressured into riding at a speed where you feel uncomfortable, be it too fast or too slow.

Liability - Important!!

You are liable for both your and your bike’s safety. Do not attempt to ride beyond your capabilities. If you drop behind we will wait for you. If you fall off, we'll go back and pick you up

The French

Dsc01322Will love us. People in villages will wave and cars will do whatever they can to give us space for overtakes. Thank them with a wave (or rather, extend your right leg. Honest!) and don't sit too close to them prior to the overtake. Remember we could be in a group of up to 11 bikes and if number 3 annoys a motorist then the others are going to have to deal with him when it comes to their turn to pass him. Courtesy rules!

Remember the THREE "P"s Position, Planning, Execution, Cheery wave, Cup of Coffee


mellemapIt’s a good idea to take a good map. Michelin make the best and do a little one in book form which shows all the major routes and towns and which costs about 4 euros. (£3.80) You will each receive a detailed route card in any case that shows distances between points and the contact telephone numbers and address of the chateau. You'll all have my mobile number and you can use this should you become separated.


Teller machines will accept British cards providing you have a PIN number.


Be aware that when you use your card to pay for petrol at an automated pump your card will be debited a "maximum" amount of around €120. This is also true in the UK. The difference lies in the fact that in the UK the bank automatically and immediately calculates the difference beteween the maximum figure and your actual purchase and credits you the difference. Using your UK card in the rest of Europe it may take up to a week for the credit to appear on your account. This can mean that after 5 fill-ups your card might be showing a debit of approx €600. It's easy to max out over a week's travelling. If you're travelling with a mate then double up when filling up and spread the strain between your two cards.


Dsc01131This is our HOME you're talking about! We're really happy to welcome you and we will have some great evenings round the (very big) dining room table. There's lots to do at the evenings in the house (pool, tennis court, ping pong, "baby-foot") or you can chill outside in the park with a good book. As we don't smoke I'll ask you, please, to smoke outside. We'll supply firebuckets and flame retardant overalls.

Food & Drink

Photos28The weekend includes continental breakfast, evening aperitif and dinner. Wine, beer and soft drinks are included during your meal. We DON'T do spirits. There's a reason for this: I like you to be fully functioning in the morning! If you want to go out there are bars in the town (250 metres away) and even a jazz bar.

Electrics and electronic equipment

Bring a UK/French plug adaptor with you! You can get these in Boots or on the ferry. I used to have several of these but they've all gone walkabout, so I've given up......(you know who you are)


The weather forecast for this weekend, from Saturday morning until Tuesday morning is bright and sunny. Not too hot, not cold at all, rain if you'd like some


Past trips have been very good fun. The riding has been great and the company as good. By the time we get back to the chateau in the evening you will be glad to park the bike up, hit the shower and get ready for dinner. During the day coffee and lunch stops are normally chosen on aspect and availability.

Chateau Flash

Where are we?

We're located 60 kms south-west of Poitiers, or 22 kms due east of Niort, in the Deux-Sevres département of France. The town is Melle, and it's great! Melle is about 750kms from Calais or 450kms from Cherbourg or Le Havre. There are direct routes via A and B roads with some interesting twisty bits on the way down or you can choose to go the whole way on the motorway route, which will get you to within 15kms of Melle, whichever port you're coming from.