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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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

St Davids to Lowestoft cyle ride day 2 (St Davids to Swansea 93 miles)


In search of the best cafe across Great Britain, literally
Day 2 St Davids to Swansea

Yesterday we reached our furthest point West; St David's lifeboat station (see day 1), and cracked off the first two miles of our ride East. With those miles under our belt then it was time to start the ride proper from our overnight base at the City Inn. Unfortunately whilst I had been updating the blog last night my two cycling guest had snuck off to the pub. As what goes on on tour stays on the blog I'm prepared to report they drank several pints of local ale which I felt wasn't the ideal preparation for what was coming today and had to give them a verbal warning.

To help with team dynamics I had sensibly booked us the family room at the City Inn. I obviously bagsied the double bed next to the on-suite and my domestics got the use of the junior sized single beds. It was clear I hadn't lost any of my excellent people management skills and had a successfully built team by morning.

After a hearty but over leisurely breakfast (including advice on the terrain from Dom, our so called Welsh expert) and with the team fully bonded we set off towards today's destination of Swansea some 93 miles away. 

Asking our so called Welsh expert about the likely terrain we will come across
The landscape for first few miles overlooked the sea and we made good progress. To keep us entertained our so call Welsh expert told us a number of olde Welsh folk tales featuring dragons, lost sweet hearts and a mysterious ghostly cyclist who guided lost travels home wearing only hi viz. Our so called Welsh expert really seemed to know his stuff.

After about 20 miles it started to get quite hilly with some 20% gradients. At this point my cycling guests seemed to believe they were now on a hiking rather than biking trip. As I waited for them at the top of the hills they assured me the delay was actually caused by have to mend punctures. By the end of the day they had apparently had 8 between them.

Ten miles further on we arrived at Caffi Beca in Efailven our first official stop on the route. According to our so called Welsh expert Caffi is Welsh for cafe. There was a one table bench out door seating area available which we decided to use as it was such a nice day. Inside it was more traditional Caffi with a mountain of chips piled up behind the counter to greet us.
Outside Caffi Beca by the one table outside seating area
The staff and customers were all very friendly and seemed worryingly impressed with the fact we were going to Swansea. Comments like, that's hilly, didn't help the already dwindling morale. 

The cake selection was disappointing with only Victoria sponge, cup cakes or bava brith (Welsh fruit cake) available. So not a great effective cake selection score
Rather sparse cake selection unless you like chip cake
The hot chocolate that both myself and Dom (our so called Welsh expert) had had majored on the hot part rather than the chocolate bit of the drink and wasn't very good. We all had the bava brith which was excellent but I don't think we have yet found our winning cafe yet.

After a few bike repairs we were off again to Carmarthen hoping there wasn't as much up as the locals were predicting. Sadly there was. It was still pretty hilly and I soon realised that at the bottom of each downhill was a river which was always followed by an up hill. I looked on the map and in the words of UB40 there were many rivers to cross between now and lunch.
About to descend another steep hill where we were sure to find a river
We eventually arrived at our planned lunch time stop at nearly 2:30 which was much later than planned. Our next cafe to test out was Crumbs cafe in Carmarthen shopping precinct.

Outside cafe crumbs
It had a continental style out door seating area under a big gazebo whilst inside was a modern looking joint with a satisfying cake selection and the first time we had had more than one sponge cake available this week. They were slightly surprised with my drinks choice of hot chocolate as it was now very hot outside and we all had bright red cheeks but I insisted that it was the right choice for a cyclist. The rest of the team ordered coffee which is also a hot drink but they unfairly avoided any further criticism from the staff. To accompany my drink I had carrot cake but the others just had sandwiches. 

Drink and cake at Crumbs cafe
Although everything was satisfactory again Crumbs is unlikely to be my eventual winner

We set off again and after another difficult hill the route started to flatten out. There was a worrying development from my cycling guests who started to talk about taking short cuts and changing the route if necessary. Clearly my team building work from yesterday had not been as successful as first thought as they were not doing what I told them. They needed to become more teamier (which does have an I in it) so I explained I was happy to listen to their ideas and route suggestions but as I had the map and GPS then there was a very high probability that we would be going my way. I took their stunned silence as agreement and we were a team once more.
The hill out of Carmarthen
We continued to make good progress on my planned route and were only delayed when I insisted on taking photos of the stunning views.
Stunning view
I had promised one more cafe stop but it wasn't until 5:27 that I actually found one which was open called Flanagans coastline cafe in Llanelli. Last orders were at 5:30 so I charged in and ordered before they had a chance to shut. 
Flanagans coastline cafe
There was a much better cake selection than any of the previous venues and the view over the bay was stunning but as they had shut the outside balcony seating area we couldn't take full advantage of them. 
Views we would have had from outdoor balcony seating area if it had been open
My orange and chocolate cake was very good as was Dom's brownie so a high cake taste quality score. Sadly however my hot chocolate was poor and as Dom only had a cup of tea and Big George water the guest hot drink score was not exceptional either. 
Drinks and cakes at Flanagans coastline cafe
Flanagan's coastline cafe did take the lead but I'm convinced we will still find better. It maybe the leader in the clubhouse but there are still plenty of others out on the course.

The rest of the route went along a fantastic flat Tarmac off-road path through woods and along the coast until we reached our end point in Swansea.
Off road bit
Everyone had performed well today but there was much concern on what state we would all be in when it was time to set off, in the forecast pouring rain, in the morning. Too much worrying and not enough pedalling for my likings so maybe more of my people management skills will again be required tomorrow.

Route

Café Name
Hot Choc Qual
Guest Hot Drink Qual
Effective cake selection
Cake Taste Quality
Atmosphere and Ambiance
Café Score
Flanagan’s coastline café, Llanelli
5
7
6.5
7.5
7.5
6.7
Park Slip Visitors centre café, Bridgend
7
6.5
5
8
6
6.5
Gingers Café, Haverford west
7.5
6
3
8
7
6.3
Café Crumbs, Carmarthen
6
6.5
5.5
6.5
6.5
6.2
Caffi Becca
3
5
4
7.5
5
4.9

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