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

Monday, 17 August 2015

St Davids to Lowestoft cycle ride day 1 (Finding best cafe across GreatBritain, literally)

In search of the best cafe across Great Britain, literally
Day 1 Haverfordwest to St Davids

As the self appointed number one cafe cycle reviewer (check out BBC Look East on 24/07/15 if you don't believe me) I feel it is important to spread my wings further than East Anglia. Last year I went in search for the best cafe anywhere in Europe (within 25 mile radius of where I was staying) but this proved to be far from successful and generated little interest as they are not really into teashops and cake on la continent. Therefore this year I have decided to do something more UK based by finding the best cafe across Great Britain, literally.

The plan is simple, to cycle from St David's in Wales, the furthest point West, to Lowestoft in England, the furthest point East thus cycling across Great Britain. I shall stop at a number of cafes along the route in order to find the best one and fulfil the brief.

In order to follow proper cafe cycle review rules I need a cycling guest to help with the reviews and rate the guest hot drink. As it is about 500 miles I have decided to pack two cycling guests in case one doesn't make it and I have to leave them behind. I have chosen Big George as he has a proven track record and Dom (old school cyclist) as he has been to Wales on a lot on family holidays and claims to be an expert on the region.

The trip started this morning at Norwich station, where, much to my surprise, everyone turned up and the train left on time. It was good to see that Dom (old school cyclist) did at least arrive slightly late and with no Lycra so as to set out his stall for the week.

One of my cycling guests, old school cyclist Dom, arriving at Norwich station
On arrival in London it was time for the first bit of cycling which was a hair raising team time trial over to Paddington station. Despite it being a new team we performed well and successfully boarded our next train to Newport.

Team in action on team time trial over to Paddington station
To pass the time on the train we discussed the training we had undertaken. It was now Dom informed us he had only managed one long ride of just 70 miles during which he bonked and took several days to recover. As our shortest stage would be longer than this it didn't bode well and reinforces the need for my back up cycling guest strategy.

The next leg of the journey was from Newport to Haverfordwest. I was concerned about getting the bikes on board as officially the train was only meant to take two and we clearly had three. I became more concerned to first see that the platform was strewn with holidaymakers, including another man with bike, and next that the train arrived with only two carriages instead of the advertised five. 

Thanks to some excellent elbow work we somehow managed to crowbar ourselves on before becoming wedged with the bikes in the gap between the two carriages. By the time the guard had spotted us the train was so full that it would have been too hard to lever us off again. Standing up for the three hour journey wasn't much fun but at least we had made it successfully to Haverfordwest where Dom insisted on refuelling.

Crammed on to the train to Haverford West
This was the first chance to check out a Welsh cafe and we found Gingers cafe at the Welsh bakery in the centre of town.

Outside first cafe of the trip
Unfortunately as it was late in the day the only cake offerings they had left were a custard slice or cream doughnut, neither of which are really cakes so we opted for the cream tea option and I had to award a very low effective cake selection (ECS) score.

On the drinks front I thought my hot chocolate was excellent but the coffees my cycling guests had were apparently only average. The cream scone (with real strawberries) was very good indeed and got top cake taste quality (CTQ) marks but overall I don't expect to see Gingers winning the best cafe award.

Cream tea scones
It was now time for the first proper cycling as we headed out west as far as we could go until we either hit the sea or fell off a cliff. It was noted that the terrain in Wales is not as flat as my cycling guests were used to in Norfolk and despite only travelling 26 miles there were some tired cyclists at the end. As we have nearly four times the distance to do tomorrow it could be a long day ahead.

The west coast was stunning with many wonderful views and we eventually got as far west as we could go without getting wet. By using the gift of overhearing someone else talking to the lifeboat man, Dom (our so called Welsh expert) was able to tell us that they are building a new lifeboat station here and the existing one is on the market for half a million Welsh pounds. 
At St Davids lifeboat station on west coast of Wales
This marked the official start of the ride across Great Britain and from here we rode the two miles East to St David's (Britain's smallest city) to spend the night. On the way we cycled past St David's cathedral which has both a ruined and completed version to cater for all cathedral building tastes (I'm a ruined man). With no one about to listen in to then sadly our so called Welsh expert could throw no light on how it got into this state.

Ruined Cathedral
Still standing cathedral
So despite all the potential possibilities for disaster today  the search for the best cafe anywhere across Great Britain, literally, is now under way and with a bonus cafe review thrown in for good measure. I'm sure nothing can possibly go wrong from here on in. (Find out what did in next post St Davids to Lowestoft cycle ride day 2)

Map of day 1 cycle route

Best cafe anywhere across Great Britain league table
Café Name
Hot Choc Qual
Guest Hot Drink Qual
Effective cake selection
Cake Taste Quality
Atmosphere and Ambiance
Café Score
Gingers Café, Haverford west

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