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

Friday 31 July 2015

Poor plans, latest calorie neutral bike ride world record news.

Calorie neutral bike ride world record attempt update

With the date for my calorie neutral bike ride world record attempt on 11th September fast approaching I felt that I really needed to get the route I would be using sorted out. I have so far stayed away from testing out the start of the route, which needs to be around Norwich city centre as the cafes open earlier there, as to give a true test I needed to do my trial run at the actual time I would be going to theses venues on the record attempt day. This meant getting up at 5:30 and setting off at 6:00 for my first planned stop of the ride at Britannia cafe high above Norwich on Mousehold heath.
View of  Norwich waking up from up on Mousehold heath
For those unfamiliar with the calorie neutral bike ride concept then there are eight rules that must be followed for an official world record attempt (I have put them at the bottom of the post) but basically you have to have a hot drink and cake in as many cafes as possible but you can't go to the next cafe until you have burnt off all the calories consumed from the previous visit.

On my last test ride (see calorie boffins) I had finally settled on the fact that it takes me approx 5 miles to satisfy the key rule 6.

Rule 6. From the time of arriving at the cafe 300 calories must be burnt off before the next cafe can be visited thus making the ride calorie neutral. (300 calories is based on in-depth internet research on average calories of cakes and scones plus average calories of a hot drink (Tea, coffee, hot chocolate). 

I had planned a route that weaved in and out of Norwich to visit 5 early opening cafes before heading out into the country, however it quickly became apparent that due to city traffic and road furniture I would be well down on my target average speed so would need to go considerably faster than planned once out of Norwich to stick to the timetable.

My next mistake was not to check opening times so when I arrived at the Britannia cafe, which someone had told me opens at 6:30, I discovered it doesn't actually open until 7:30. I made a note of my error and set off for my second cafe, Exspresso in the centre of Norwich. When I arrived it was only 7:00 (its official opening time) but was already up and running.
Bike parked up ready to go into Exspresso
Rule 4 states. At each cafe a standard portion of cake or a scone (fruit or cheese) must be consumed. Biscuits, flapjacks, tiffin or anything pre-packaged will not count.

However it being breakfast time there were no cakes or scones (neither fruit or cheese) available only Danish pastries leaving me in a quandary. Fortunately, since the Guinness book of Records washed their hands of me (see Going alone) I have become the self appointed custodian of the calorie neutral bike ride rules. I therefore took the decision to add a subsection to rule 4 to state that pastries would count but only before 9.00am (the breakfast period) after which they would also be void.

I noted my Exspresso hot chocolate and pastry were both excellent and I consumed them in under the 12 minutes I have allocated for each cafe visit.
Hot chocolate and danish pastry at Exspresso.
The pastry would now qualify as an acceptable cake but only until 9:00am
I returned to my bike only to find it had a puncture. I will be on a very tight timescale on the actual day so a puncture would be a series issue. I changed it as quickly as I could and discovered you burn 4 calories in the process. This would mean I would have to fix 75 punctures to burn off the necessary calories for the equivalent of a cafe visit, although I don't have enough spare inner tubes to truly test this theory out.

With puncture fixed I set off again on the next 5 mile loop in and out of Norwich to get to my next venue Warings cafe. This proved much harder than it seemed. I was following the line I had programmed into my Garmin edge 810 cycling sat nav but as the route kept criss crossing itself across the city both myself and the Garmin edge 810 were getting confused and I kept ending up in the wrong place. Eventually I gave up and just made up my own route. As today was more about checking logistics and the route than about eating cake then things were not going at all well and I conceded that I would have to do more preparation before repeating this practice ride again another day
Outside Warings cafe
I hadn't planned to go into most of the cafes today but was pleased to see Warings was open and I could see cake through the window so wouldn't need to rely on new rule 4 subsection 1.

Next stop was Pandora's kitchen and again I got lost trying to follow my planned route so made something up until 300 calories had gone from my body. On arrival I decided I needed further breakfast but, despite it being available, I felt it was still a bit too early for cake so opted for a cheese scone and another hot chocolate. The cheese scone was excellent and came with butter, cream cheese and relish. It was slightly warmed and I added it to my cheese scone of the year contenders. However I was a bit too relaxed with the eating and drinking and stayed for over 14 minutes which, for my record attempt, would be 2 minutes too long.
Excellent cheese scone at Pandoras kitchen.
With the Norwich cafes visited I wanted to test out the new route I had planned for the next few cafes. After Stephanie's in Eaton it was out to Brooke and the imaginatively named The Cafe. This leg was 9 miles so burnt over 250 unnecessary calories. Fortunately I have recently found some other options on the way out to Brooke so decided to add a stop at the Acorn cafe in Poringland and drop a cafe later in the ride.

After Brooke I went to Loddon (Rosy Lees) and then Hedenham (Everydays a picnic (EDAP)). After the first 6 cafes I finally got to two bits of the route I was happy with.

I had planned to stop at Every days a picnic for a quick refuel but with the sky's darkening I decided to head for home before it rained. 
Black skys over EDAP
In hindsight this was a fairly foolish strategy as it soon poured with rain and I got soaked. A better approach might have been to stick with plan A and sit the rain out in the cafe but most of my plans had gone wrong today so this was no different.

I covered over 60 miles today and once again I learnt a lot about just how difficult calorie neutral bike riding planning is. However I think I now have enough information to put my candidate list of cafes together (see list at bottom post) but I still have much work to finalise a route in order to set the record. Next practice will be to test out the cafes at end of route which will at least start at a much more sociable hour.

Calorie neutral bike ride record attempt rules (with new subsection 4.1)
1. The holder of the record will have visited the highest number of different cafes during a single day.
2. All cafes must be independent and not part of national chains
3. All cafes must be visited within their normal opening hours and not open early or kept opened late for a record attempt
4. At each cafe a standard portion of cake or a scone (fruit or cheese) must be consumed. Biscuits, flapjacks, tiffin or anything pre-packaged will not count. 
            4.1 Danish style pastries are acceptable but only during the breakfast part of                       the day before 9.00am
5. At each cafe a standard hot drink must be consumed. (Tea, coffee or hot chocolate). If served in a pot or jug than one cups worth must be drunk.
6. From the time of arriving at the cafe 300 calories must be burnt off before the next cafe can be visited thus making the ride calorie neutral. (300 calories is based on in-depth internet research on average calories of cakes and scones plus average calories of a hot drink (Tea, coffee, hot chocolate). 
7. If extra calories have been used up between cafes then that is tough as they can not be credited against other legs of the ride.
8. Calories burnt to be counted on a generic calorie counting device using only cycle speed, rider weight and age to calculate calorie usage. No heart rate consideration is required.

Current candidate 20 cafe route list
Café Estimated arrival time
Start 06:30
1 Exspresso, Norwich 07:00
2 Warings, Norwich 07:42
3 Brittania, Norwich 08:24
4 Pandoras, Norwich 09:06
5 Stephanies, Eaton 09:51
6 Acorn tea rooms Poringland 10:36
7 The Café, Brooke 11:18
8 Rosy Lee, Loddon 11:48
9 EDAP, Hedingham 12:30
10 Earsham street, Bungay 13:12
11 No 5, Harleston 13:52
12 Pennoyer centre, Pulham 14:30
13 TBH, Long Stratton  15:10
14 Hen House or garden tea room Wymondham 15:50
15 Lincolns Hingham  16:31
16 Yaxham Mill, Yaxham 17:10
17 Yaxham waters, Yaxham 17:50
18 Chalfonts Hingham 18:30
19 Janyes, Hethersett 19:30
20 Station Bistro, Wymondham 20:16

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Is it Christmas? (Arts Desire Gift and Coffee Shop, Norwich)

Arts Desire Gift and Coffee shop,
Changed Hands Now Seedless Deli
After the excitement of my recent Newspaper and TV publicity it was back to normality with a quick cafe cycle ride today. As it is currently the school holidays I had a collection of cycling guest available. Chris (Mrs Crusdaer), George (son) and Tom (friend of George) all signed up for the ride but there was a late withdrawal from Peter (student son) who decided he had some half finished urgent lying down to do that would not be completed until after we set off.

The ride was a 21 mile figure of eight loop out to Barford and back. Most of the ride was spent discussing what the middle of a figure of eight is called. Suggestions included apex, origin, centre, intersection etc but no firm conclusion was reached.
Unclear if this was the apex, origin, intersection or centre of the figure of 8 route
Apart from a quick puncture stop the ride was pleasant and uneventful finishing on a number of cycle paths through the outskirts of Norwich leading to the Arts Desire Gift and Coffee shop just off Unthank Road. 
Outside Arts desire with cycling guests
As Arts Desire is on a hill it took sometime to park our bikes, as they kept rolling away, but once this particularly challenge had been conquered we went inside to check out the cakes and award the effective cake selection (ECS) rating. For a small shop there was a surprisingly large selection of very good looking cakes spread out on a table. I therefore awarded a high ECS score. I did feel that they could have made better use of the limited space by using a smaller table but I'm no interior designer so what do I know. 
Good and effective cake selection spread out on large table
The front of the shop has a selection of arty crafty type gifts which is far from my specialist subject so I don't feel qualified to comment on this aspect. I'm more of an expert on seating arrangements and can report on a small three table cosy indoor seating area plus a nice paved garden outdoor seating option. As it was a bit cold we opted to stay inside. The combination of arty crafty gifts, choice of seating and friendly service lead to a good atmosphere and ambiance (AAA) score. 
Indoor seating area
My hot chocolate was nice but not the strongest I had had whereas Chris was very happy with her Mocha and it scored highly. Tom also had a hot chocolate but, as is often the case, I had to multiply his score by the first time cycling guest coefficient to get it to the same rating as I had given. Much to learn he has.

Today's cake reviewing would be very thorough as between us we had ordered chocolate fudge, coffee, lemon drizzle and carrot cake. We spent some time swapping bits of sponge and icing so all the offerings could be tried. They were all very good with the carrot cake being considered the best so a top cake taste quality (CTQ) mark was awarded.
Cakes and drinks
We had a real bonus on the serviette front, not only was the cake correctly not served on it but it was explained that due to recent stock control issues there were only Christmas serviettes available. This put us all into a cheery Christmasy mood and thoughts turned to the festive season. I wondered if maybe it had not been a stock control issue but clever marketing to make us subconsciously think about getting our Christmas gifts from the arty crafty part of the shop. Very cunning.
 Christmas serviette correctly served to the side of the cake
All in all the Arts Desire Gift and Coffee shop had performed well and had made an excellent cake stop at the end of our ride. I highly recommend a visit.

My next ride will be a solo effort when I plan to finalise the first part of my 20 cafe calorie neutral bike ride world record attempt route.

Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating


click here to download 21 mile Norwich Barford loop gpx file for your GPS

Monday 27 July 2015

On location. (Earsham Street cafe, Bungay and Rosy Lees Tearoom, Loddon)

What happened when I was on the BBC
with Celebrity cyclist Alex Dunlop
It was going to be an exciting day. The local paper (EDP) had done an article on my cake crusading exploits and I had been told, that subject to there not being any proper news, the article would be published today. Little did I know that this was just a start of a whole media storm of blog publicity coming my way today. 

I had got up early to queue at the local newsagents in order to get my copy of the paper. Once purchased I nervously thumbed through the pages until I made it to the converted pages 28 and 29, where I found a double page spread  (EDP link) about all things cafe cycle Blog. Sam (Journalist) had done a great job. I was particularly pleased to see a mention of my #keep cake of serviettes campaign. 
Double page spread (pages 28 and 29) in EDP
To celebrate I thought a cafe cycle ride was in order. My previous days ride had gone badly wrong when I had failed to cycle off-road from Norwich to Yarmouth (see Follow the Wherryman ). I therefore felt it was important to get back to a traditional cafe cycle ride.

Big George was to be today's cycling guest. The weather forecast did not look too good for the afternoon so we had set off early on our 50 mile round trip out west to Saham Toney near Watton confident that we would avoid an afternoon soaking, although as it turned out we didn't.

The ride was going well and we had covered about 15 miles when I heard my phone ring. It was Chris (Mrs Crusader) so I thought I better answer. She told me the BBC were trying to get hold of me as they would, subject to there not being any proper news, like to do a feature on me for tonight's Look East.

This was very exciting news so obviously I immediately rang the BBC and went straight through to Alex Dunlop (the actual man off the telly). He had seen the article in the EDP and had been working on making it into a news feature. He had come up with a plan to film at my current number one rated stop, Earsham Street cafe in Bungay (see tough at the top) and then on to his favourite cafe. He hadn't expected me to already be out on my bike so thought the idea would not work but this seemed like too good an opportunity to miss and although Bungay was in the opposite direction my cycling GPS said it was only 30 miles away so we could get there in a couple of hours. 

Big George is a bit of a media tart, having been interviewed on radio 5 during the last General Election, so was keen for another opportunity to increase his celebrity status and immediately agreed to the change of plan.

So we set off again but this time in the opposite direction, on a dash across Norfolk arriving at Earsham Street Cafe in Bungay exactly at the agreed meeting time.
Arriving at Earsham Street cafe right on time
We wheeled our bikes through the cafe to the outdoor seating area where I was proudly directed to my very own reserved table. After we had sat down Alex (the man off the telly) arrived and joined us to explain the 'storyboard' for the 'shoot'.  

Through force of habit I had already checked out the cake selection so ordered some vanilla crumble cake and a hot chocolate.
Today's very effective cake selection
Alex kept insisting on filming our drinks and cake being both served and eaten, fortunately this didn't seem to affect the taste and as always they were both excellent.

After some more filming of us going in and out of the cafe with our bikes, Alex said he had arranged for us to go to his favourite cafe which turned out to be Rosy Lees Tearoom (also one of my favourites) in Loddon where I had been only yesterday (see Follow the Wherryman ).

The forecasted afternoon rain had now caught up with us as we cycled across to Loddon and met back up with Alex who had been joined by a cameraman making this into a full blown film crew. We went into Rosy Lees where we had some more excellent drinks and cake, which all had to be filmed, before it was time for me to be mic'd up for my in depth interview on the world of cafe cycle blogging. 
Outside Rosy Lees Tearoom
The questions were very probing and I had to be on my toes to make sure I wasn't caught out. With all the recent press I was pleased not to be tripped up on the controversial topic of cake eating on the Tour de France. I am convinced the riders eat cake during the tour and I wasn't afraid to say so on camera.

By now it was pouring with rain but we still needed to film some 'cut aways' of me and Big George cycling with the man off the telly. So we set off on our bikes to meet the film crew on some quiet roads nearby. Halfway there I realised I was still mic'd up and Alex and his cameraman could hear what I was saying. I was worried I could be at the centre of another Gordon Brown style incident. I played back in my mind what I had been talking about in case I had made any inappropriate remarks which would allow Look East to run a very different story; "Bigoted Norfolk cyclists outrages cakist views". Much to my relief Big George assured me we had been mainly talking about housework. Nice try BBC.

I noted the 'cut aways' with us and the man off the telly give the impression he had been out on a long cycle. In fact, where as me and Big George had ridden about 70 miles, I estimate he had done about 70 metres over the course of the day. But that's the magic of TV.
Me and the man off the telly about to do some cut aways
We excitedly went home to gather our family and friends around the TV to watch the report. I was pleased to see there had been no proper news today so would be on the show. Fortunately most of my interview babble had ended up on the cutting room floor but I noticed the controversial Tour de France cake question had made it in. Despite my family and friends rolling around on the floor with mirth I thought it was a very good feature. The only criticism was that I felt there was far too much of Big George in it and they hadn't pixelated out his face like I had requested. Also despite repeatedly bringing up my recent ironman success throughout the day there was no mention of that either.

Today's publicity jamboree had proved very successful with several thousand additional hits to the blog in one day. Hopefully it will help encourage more people to go for a cycle ride and enjoy a cafe stop with cake, if it ever stops raining.

This week I hope to get back to a normal cafe cycle ride before my focus turns to the two big events coming up soon.
First, in August, I'm cycling from St Davids in Wales to Lowerstoft to find the best cafe across Great Britain, literally (see finding best cafe across Great Britain).
Then in September I plan to visit 20 cafes in one day to set a world record for a calorie neutral bike ride  (see Calorie Boffins)

Sunday 26 July 2015

Following the Wherryman (Rosy Lees Teashop, Loddon)

Rosy Lee’s Tearoom (and Picnic Place),
Opening times Mon-Sat 07:30-17:00,
Sun 09:00-17:00
Highly Recommended
Earlier this year, during the build up to the General Election, I planned to do an election special cafe cycle ride. I wrote to Norwich's two sitting MP's, whose websites both claimed they were keen cyclists, asking for recommendations of their favourite cafe cycle stops. I never heard back from Norwich South's Simon Wright but Norwich North's Chloe Smith sent a nice reply suggesting I try cycling out along the river (see Chloe Smith recommends...). Not saying my blog is influential but Chloe went on to hold her seat where as Wright lost his, so never underestimate the power of cycling and cake.

During the Chloe ride I noted that in dry conditions you could probably cycle all the way along the river to Great Yarmouth on the Wherrymans way path. As it had been so dry recently this looked like an excellent opportunity to test this theory out.

I got up early to put my off road wheels on to my cyclocross bike and arranged with today's cycling guest, Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please), for him to bring his off road machine meaning we both had the right kit for the experience. I'm not a great off road rider so was a little nervous as we set off to the start of the Wherrymans way at Whitlingham Broad in Trowse.
The River Yare at start of ride
The first part of the ride was on some nice tracks and we sped along admiring the views however as we started to leave civilisation the paths began to get overgrown with stinging nettles and thistles. This may have been ideal country for the likes of Eeyore but I bet he never tried riding his bike though a field of this many stinging and scratchy plants down in 100 acre woods or maybe he did and that's why he was always so miserable. 
Path hidden by nettles, grasses and thistles
The overgrown paths, plus the very bumpy nature of the rock hard ground made going very slow which was not helped when I also got a puncture.

We did get some respite on a nice road section at Surlingham, which gave our wrists and bottoms a chance to recover from the constant vibrations they had been experiencing, before rejoining the river path and enjoyed spectacular views of Cantley Sugar beet factory (possibly my favourite Sugar Beet factory anywhere in the UK).
Cantley Sugar beet factory sadly partially obscured by sail boat
Every so often we came across a random river bank gate on the path. I was in the lead as we approached the latest one and so stopped to open it. Unfortunately Andrew had not noticed I had come to a halt and with a sudden yelp slammed on his brakes and toppled off the side of the path. Fortunately he was a bit winded so couldn't immediately get up giving me enough time to get a photo before checking if he was hurt. He wasn't but it did lead to today's cycling guest cycling top tip.

Cycling guest cycling top tip No. 35. To avoid potential injury whilst out on an off-road cycle ride make sure you look where you are going and don't fall off your bike.
Andrew in a heap after falling off his bike
Before continuing we held an emergency health and safety executive risk assessment meeting and agreed new random river bank gate health and safety procedures to avoid any further accidents. From now on it would be mandatory to shout 'gate up' when approaching a random river bank gate.

With the new health and safety procedures in place we continued very slowly, but safely, along the path still being shaken all the way. The path was clearly rarely used as we hardly saw anyone, certainly no Wherrymen, and it was very overgrown making it seem like you were cycling through a field of hay.
Cycling along bumpy overgrown path
The whole thing had become quite unpleasant and I calculated we were unlikely to get to Yarmouth in time for tea let alone lunch. We therefore decided on a new plan and turned off the path to head for near by Loddon. 

I had recently heard that Rosy Lee's tea room had introduced a picnic place so we decided to go and investigate that instead.

I have been to Rosy Lee's several times (see race against time) but not for over a year although it had always been a good stop. When we arrived we parked our bikes and went inside to check the cake selection so that I could award the effective cake selection (ECS) score. As previously there was a fine range of cakes, including a large and a small Victoria sponge. I therefore awarded a high ECS mark.
Excellent selection of cakes
We said we would be in the picnic place and placed our order. I went for a hot chocolate, cheese scone (as part of my cheese scone serving temperature research) and zucchini cake (courgette and lime to you). Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) went for a pot of tea for one plus carrot cake.

With order placed we were told they would bring it all across so we went back outside and wheeled our bikes across the road to the picnic place which is hidden away by the side of Loddon pay and display car park.
The table and bench we picked to have our picnic at
There are several different type of garden style tables and chairs in Rosy Lee's picnic place and it was extremely nice sitting there in the peaceful and secluded surroundings. This new feature upped the previous visit's already good atmosphere and ambiance (AAA) rating further.

Our food was soon delivered to us using the gift of the picnic hamper which I thought was a brilliant touch.
Your order is brought across to you in a picnic hamper
My hot chocolate was excellent being a proper thick chocolaty one. Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) thought it was a good cup of tea but was particularly impressed that the pot contained two tea bags and not the one used by many establishments when asking for pot of tea for one.
Food and drinks from the picnic hamper
It was good to see the cheese scone had been correctly warmed before making its journey across the road in the picnic hamper. It was a nice scone too however it was overshadowed by the excellent cake. Andrew declared his carrot cake as the best he could remember (but he is getting old so that probably only accounts for the last few hours at best). I thought my courgette and lime was even better so added it to my cake of the year contenders list.

With the addition of the picnic place Rosy Lee's score were slightly up re-establishing it's place in my coveted top 10 cafe's list and I highly recommend a visit. 

Fully refreshed we decided to head back home on the roads. With very sore bottoms and wrists and with our legs itching from all the stings and scratches I had to file 'riding all the way to Yarmouth on the Wheerymans way' in my, now getting rather full, bad idea's drawer. However shorter circular off road rides still seem like a good future plan.

I hoped it would not be another year before I was back at Rosy Lee's so imagine my surprise when a serious of unforeseen events took me back there the very next day, which I will write about in my next post.

Scores with Rosy Lees based on last three visits
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating

Not the route we took as I don't recommend it but a nice route to Rosy Lee's

Click here to download Loddon - Norwich loop GPX file to load on to your GPS

Thursday 16 July 2015

Yes I know you've done an Ironman, get over it. (Market Row Cafe, Beccles)

Market Row Café,
Opening times Mon-Sat 08:45-16:00
Highly Recommended
Thursday was a lovely day so I was pleased that I had arranged to go for a ride with cycling guest Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) who I hadn't seen since doing the German Ironman event nearly two weeks ago. On a recent ride he said he had not been on his bike via Reedham Ferry for many years. Being an excellent cycle ride host I had picked up on the hint and therefore planned a route down to Beccles crossing the river via the ferry.

We set off across Norwich and then to the roadworks at Postwick. Here we discovered the road that we wanted to go on was closed. Instead of having to cancel the ride there and then this turned out to be a bonus as we were directed to a section of new cycle track I was previously unaware of that bypassed the difficult Postwick junction. Due to the normal heavy traffic in this area I had always been put off from riding out this way but with this new facility I'm tempted to use the route more often. 
Excellent new cycle track at Postwick
Once we were out in the country the traffic noise died down and I was able to update Andrew with stories about my Iornman adventure as he had foolishly enquired how I got on. I have noticed that with each new telling the temperature on the day gets hotter, the difficulty of the event harder and the pain of completing it more intense. At this rate I will eventually get to the stage when it will be too, hot, hard and painful that I don't finish the race. I continued going through every last detail until, with Andrew now barely awake, we made it to Reedham ferry.

As it was such a lovely day I had decided not to book cabins but instead spend the journey up on deck enjoying the views and the sunshine during the crossing.  
On deck during the river crossing on Reedham Ferry
After we had successfully disembarked south of the river Andrew asked me about my potential cycle tour of Europe I was thinking of doing with Chris (Mrs Crusader) which I had once mentioned. I liked the idea of an epic ride as it would not only be a chance to explore la continent in the best way possible but the chance to get touring bikes and lightweight camping gear would open up limitless investment shopportunities far outweighing those offered to me by cycling alone (although they are fairly extensive as well). 

Andrew started to quiz me on every detail of what I was planning to pack down to the minute detail. I did try to explain this trip was just a possibility and over 2 years away but he still wanted to know things like if I would be taking plastic or metal cutlery (metal of course I do have standards). After a while I realised he was not really interested but just desperate to make sure he didn't have to listen to anymore Ironman stories.

We rode into Beccles but I couldn't find the original cafe I was looking for in the town centre. Instead I spotted the Market Row cafe down a little side alley which looked like a good venue so we decided it would be today's cafe of choice.
Market Row Cafe in Beecles
Before reviewing our seating options we went inside to check out the cake selection and award the effective cake selection (ECS) rating. There were scones, brownies and flapjack but the only real cake was a large honey and almond sponge. They all looked good but with the limited choice I could not award a very high ECS score.
Available cakes on offer
We both ordered the honey and almond sponge to go with my hot chocolate and Andrew's cappuccino. I also ordered a cheese scone as part of my cheese scone serving temperature research 

As it was a hot day we couldn't decide if to take a table in the traditional table and chair indoor seating area, in order to stay cool, or venture outside and enjoy the sunshine. We eventually decided on the compromise of outside seating area but table in the shade option and selected a table in the alleyway which not only enjoyed views of the Beccles one way system at either end but was also nice and quiet and not very busy.
Shadey or sunny tables available in outside seating area
As soon as the food and drinks arrived I checked the scone temperature and was pleased to see it had been nicely warmed. It was also delicious and one of the best cheese scones I have had for a while so I immediately added it to my short-list for cheese scone of the year 2015. (note it went on to win the cheese scone of the year 2015 award).
Food and drink
I was also very impressed with my hot chocolate that was the right temperature, hotness and thickness so good marks there as well. Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) thought his coffee pretty good but not up to the same high standard as my drink. The honey and almond cake went down well although I was a bigger fan than Andrew who was in one of his more hard to please moods.

Overall I was very impressed with the Market Row cafe and give it a highly recommended status as it is definitely worth a visit.

On the way back I told Andrew I had entered another Ironman next year, this time in Austria. He was clearly overjoyed to hear the news. Not only hours more Ironman based chat but it would mean the chance to repeat our 'not particularly high altitude training camp' we did in Slovenia earlier this year again (see Day of climbs). Andrew agreed he would come along as long as I didn't mention the word Ironman again for at least six months. Although I promised I wouldn't it seems unlikely.

Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
Click link to down load 50 mile Norwich Beecles loop gpx file for your gps