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

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Saturday, 18 April 2015

Quite near the river (Riverside Tea room and stores, Stokesby)

Riverside Tearoom and Stores,
Stokesby,
Open Everyday 7:30-18:00

After over a week of excuses I finally persuaded a cycling guest, Big George, to join me on a cafe cycle ride. As the wind was from the West I decided we needed to head East which would mean cycling across Norwich. However this would give me the opportunity to follow some of the city's special cycle safe routes (Pedalways) which have been developed and I have never really used.

So yesterday we set off to try to cross Norwich on the pink cycle route and then head to Stokesby near Acle. The route starts from the cycle hub at St Andrews Hall so I diverted from my normal cross Norwich route and headed there instead. On arrival I couldn't find anything remotely hub like or indeed any information about the cycle paths which I feel is a must for any self respecting start point.

The routes are marked with stickers on lamp posts but they are fading so myself and big George argued for sometime as to if we were correctly following the pink route or if the red route stickers had faded and we were following that one by mistake.
Cycle route sticker but is it pink or faded red?
Despite the confusion we successfully followed the signs and weaved our way out to the other side of Norwich. Although it certainly took longer than my normal route it was more pleasant with a lot less traffic. Hopefully there will be further improvements, including a proper hub information board, in the future. I will certainly be aiming to make more use of them from now on.

As we continued out towards Stokesby Big George informed me he had dropped the legal action against me, re the alleged libel from this blog, as it wasn't making fast enough progress for his liking. He had decided to employ an Italian based firm instead who would be contacting me shortly in order to persuade me to give him more favourable coverage from now on. I think the firm were run by old family friends from the building traded as he said something about his Godfather and new concrete cycle shoes being involved.

Undeterred by this news we continued our journey through the nice quiet country lanes until we got to Acle. Unfortunately there is only one way into Stokesby which means going for a mile or so down a busy  A road from Acle. This was worse than expected as we had lorries and cars whizzing by us as if we weren't there. I therefore wouldn't recommend this route to all but the most hardy cyclists

After recovering from the horrors of the A1064 we arrived at the River Tea room and stores in Stokesby and looked for a place to securely leave the bikes. I was pleased to find we could wheel them round the back of the building where we found a small outdoor patio seating area which was an ideal place for bicycle parking. The friendly owner gave us a wave from inside. 
Leaving the bicycles in the outdoor patio seating area
However when we had first arrived I had seen a notice that clearly stated that the tea rooms should be accessed by going through the shop. As we had not correctly done this, and there must be rules, I insisted we went back round the front and enter the tea rooms through the shop as instructed. It was therefore surprised when the friendly owner said she thought she had lost us as she had gone outside to take our order. I explained I was just following her clearly written instructions but she looked at me as if I was mad. That's country folk for you I suppose.
Outside the front of the Riverside Tearoom about to enter the correct way
We continued though the shop, then past the indoor seating conservatory area back to our table by our bikes in the outdoor patio seating area but I was now happy this had been accomplished in the correct way and our order could now be taken. 

As we passed through the shop I had noted the cake selection which had 3 cakes, fruit scones (sadly no cheese ones) and muffins so I awarded a suitable effective cake selection (ECS) rating. I ordered victoria sponge cake and Big George apricot fruit cake with his cappochino coffee. 
Cake selection
After we had ordered I noticed that the Riverside Tearoom was not actually by the side of the river as the name of the tearoom would suggest you to believe. You couldn't actually see it from any seat, I know this because I tried most of them to check. It was, admittedly near the river and if you were extremely good at throwing it might just be a stones throw away. I decided not to test this hypothesis as my throwing is poor and I was worried I might injure a Stokesby resident or passing holiday maker if I attempted it. 
The river that is not quite by the side of the tea room
When the cakes and drinks arrived I had to note a couple of logistically issues. Firstly the spoon to stir my hot chocolate was not of the necessary length to make the task possible without getting drink on your fingers. 
Drink and spoon size issue
If one was to risk burning their fingers in order to make sure the drink was properly mixed then they would require a serviette with which to wipe their fingers. However to my horror the cake had been served on the serviette thus rendering it useless for finger wiping. You may remember this year I have started the 'Keep cake off Serviettes' campaign but news of it had obviously not made it out to this part of Norfolk. Despite this I attempted a stir.
Cakes clearly served on top of the serviettes
The Hot chocolate was nice but Big George wasn't so keen on his coffee. The same pattern was true with the cakes where I found the Victoria sponge excellent, very light and just the right amount of Icing but Big George thought his apricot fruit cake slightly dry. I tried it and on balance still felt able to awarded a high cake taste quality (CTQ) score.

The couple who run the Riverside Tea room and stores were both very friendly and welcoming but it is probably a better stop for river based holiday makers than cyclists as it is a bit tricky to cycle to.

With sticky hot chocolaty crumby fingers we got back on our bikes and once again took on the challenge of the A1064, this time we held up the traffic the whole way back to Acle so were probably not very popular.

As we got back on to some more suitable cycling lanes the sun came out which led to today's cycling guest cycling top tip from Big George. 

Cycling guest cycling top tip no 25. To avoid unnecessary glare and getting insects in your eyes get yourself a pair of cool shades for use on sunny days.

Sadly I had not followed cycling guest cycling top tip no 24 so was not enjoying the bright sunshine however Big George had and was modelling his 'cool shades' and new 'Bradley Wiggins style' beard. I'll let you judge what you think of both.

Scores
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
6.5
5.0
5.5
7.5
5.5
6.00

The route went down a busy road so take care

Click here to download 50 mile Norwich Winterton GPX file for your GPS

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