Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Locations of reviewed cafes

For more information on the Cafes I have visited and the latest cafe cycle news go to http://www.cake-crusader.co.uk/

Cake Crusader Book

There is now a Cake Crusader book available where you can follow my journey from humble local trips to world record attempts and near-death experiences. How did a simple method of keeping track of decent cycling café pit stops turn my life upside down? Track my adventures into Europe, up mountains and right across Great Britain as I become a 'rising star' on social media. Will I prove my critics wrong? Should cheese scones be served hot or cold? Do I really have nothing better to do with his time? A must read for lovers of cycling and cake or anyone wanting to make it big in the virtual world

Available on Amazon


Saturday, 12 April 2014

Practice makes perfect

Today I celebrate 3 weeks since I was struck down and ended up with my unexpected emergency stomach op and visit to intensive care. As I'm starting to get my strength back I feel it is time to see how close I am to a potential bus based cafe review. 

There are a number of steps I need to be able to complete to do a bus based café review.
1.   Get to bus stop
2.   Ride on bumpy bus without splitting in two
3.   Get from bus stop to café or tearoom without falling over
4.   Sit in café or tearoom long enough to review it without needing a kip
5.   Repeat steps 3-1.

I can comfortably achieve step 1 so I thought I would first have a crack at steps 3 and 4.

We live fairly near to Waitrose and as a proud owner of a MyWaitrose card I believed I was entitled to a free hot drink at their café. So on Wednesday I set off on the mammoth 10 minute walk, supported by Chris (wife), to Waitrose café.

Although I don't review cafe chains if I had been doing Waitrose cafe it would be at the bottom of my ratings. The hot chocolate, guest drink, cakes etc were all low quality and the cafe was very busy, packed with people after their free drink. A little hypercritical, you may say, as it was the free drink that had partly attracted me to the Waitrose café in the first place. But no! To make matters worse you can have a free coffee or free tea but not a free hot chocolate so I even had to pay for this unpleasant experience. I have therefore decided to continue to boycott Waitrose cafe and will be writing to the chief executive (a Mr J Lewis) to tell him to sort out his free hot drink offering. I suggest you all use Stephanie's coffee house in Eaton instead.

I just about passed the trial run of points 3 and 4 (getting there and back and staying awake long enough to have a drink) but unfortunately the exertion of the trip and anger at being charged for my free hot drink meant I needed a couple of hours lie down afterwards. I was worried that I still wasn't ready for a full bus based cafe review trip.

Therefore on Friday I decided to do a another trial run to Notcutts cafe. This time, to better replicate a bus based trip, Chris (wife) would play the part of bus driver and drive me there in our bus simulator. To add further to the realism I waited by the bus simulator for a few minutes before getting on board, it is a single decker bus simulator so I had to sit downstairs.  
The bus simulator used for practice trip to Notcutts
which I photographed while waiting for the bus simulator driver
Once I had alighted the bus simulator in Notcutts car park we made our way to the cafe. The Notcutts loyalty card includes hot chocolate as a hot free beverage option but you can only have two free drinks per month. This is still infinitely better than the no free hot chocolate available on every visit to the Waitrose cafe. 

Through habit I also ordered a Notcutts cheese scone which I regretted as it was very average. If I was reviewing Notcutts cafe it would be bottom Quartile but far better than the Waitrose offering.

The return bus simulator ride home was very smooth probably as the bus simulator driver had purchased a number of house plants and pots and therefore was driving very carefully.

At the end of this trip I still needed a short lie down but this time quickly recovered. I had enough energy to spend another action packed afternoon sitting in my chair in the garden pointing at weeds that the 'gardener' (who looked very like the bus simulator driver) needed to pull up. 

With my trial run check list complete then next week I should be ready for a real bus based cafe review. I will be getting out the bus timetables to start planning the trip over the weekend.

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