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


Sunday, 13 September 2015

Is it a record (News of calorie neutral bike ride world record attempt)

Calorie Neutral Bike Ride World Record Attempt
Friday 11th September 2015
After two years in the planning the day had finally arrived to attempt to set a world record for a calorie neutral bike ride. My publicity department had done a fine job publicising the event with a mention on the Ken Bruce show on BBC Radio 2 (generating both a tweet and a text from people who heard it) plus a one page article in the local paper (page 36 of EDP) although admittedly this appeared the day after the ride. But with all this support and both local and national coverage the pressure was now on so I got up early on Friday morning ready to go.
Article on page 36 Saturday EDP, note ironman race sticker on helmet
The first part of the ride was 5 cafes in and around Norwich as they all opened nice and early. For those not familiar with the rules to a calorie neutral bike ride world record attempt then I have included the full set at the bottom of the post. However the principal is simple in that you have to eat a cake and have a hot drink in as many cafes as possible during the day. To make it calorie neutral you must burn off the calories consumed at the last cafe before you arrive at the next.

I had calculated it takes approximately 5 miles to burn the necessary 300 calories so had designed my route accordingly. I used my Garmin 910XT to measure calorie consumption on the day and Garmin Edge 810 to show me the route which I carefully followed to Expresso the first cafe stop in the centre of Norwich. 
Expresso first cafe on the route
Unfortunately my Garmin said I had only burnt 270 calories getting there so I had to do a quick extra loop up and down the road before dashing in to have a hot chocolate and Danish pastry (which is allowed before 9:00am see rule 4.1). I hoped I hadn't got the calorie count wrong for every bit of the route or my timings would be completely off so I already started to feel the pressure.

My scheduled allowed for 12 minutes to order, consume cake and drink drink at each stop and I completed the first one in under 10 minutes enabling me to set off again feeling good with time to spare and only 19 more cakes to eat.

The ride continued smoothly as I now seemed to have my calorie and route distances in sync so did a 5 mile loop to Warings cafe.
2nd successful stop at Warnings
Then it was up to Britannia cafe overlooking Norwich with everything still on schedule.
Beautiful day for a calorie neutral bike ride
My next stop was Pandora's Kitchen where I was due to meet the press photographer the local paper had sent. Pandora's Kitchen is always a high quality and very friendly stop and the team there were pleased to see I had made it on time. I ordered a salted caramel brownie and pot of tea. (I had previously worked out it was always best to have a pot and not a mug at each stop as according to rule 5 you only need to drink 1 cup and tea cups are much smaller than mugs). 
Stop 4 Pandora's kitchen
The salted caramel brownie was my favourite cake of the day, not only delicious but early enough on the route that I was still enjoying cake. However as Mr Kitchen is a keen follower of the blog he knows how fond I am of a good cheese scone. When he came to see me he couldn't believe I had gone brownie as he said he had been up all night preparing me a special cheese scone. I nearly said that I would have the scone as well but fortunately remembered I had another 16 cakes or scones to get through so sadly Mr Kitchen had to return inside and some other lucky punter would be having my cheese scone.
Excellent salted caramel brownie at Pandoras Kitchen
While all this was going on the press photographer was trying to do his photo shoot. We tried several poses of cake and bicycle combinations until he was happy. My only concern was to make sure that in any photo my Iornman race number sticker would be clearly visible on my helmet. (yes I did do an Ironman triathlon recently which went very well, thank you for asking).
photo shoot in action
With the fabulous cake, cheese scone controversy and photographing all going on I blew my 12 minute slot and was now running a bit late so pedalled extra hard to my next stop which was Stephanie's in Eaton. Here I swapped from my more manoeuvrable city bike to my time-trial bike for the rest of the route, I've seen this done on the Tour de France but without the tea and cake.
Picking up my faster time trial sort of bike
With the aid of my faster steed I was able to catch up some time as I arrived at Acorn tearooms in Poringland for another pleasant and successful stop.
Acorn tea room at the back of the Royal Oak pub in Poringland
I was surprised that things had gone smoothly up to now but there was going to be plenty of drama once the second half of the ride started later in the day. Before then it was on to the Cafe in Brooke where I was joined by my support team Chris (Mrs Crusader) and Peter (student son), who had come along on the promise of free cake. They would drive to each cafe with my spare bike and offer words of encouragement like, don't you feel sick yet.

As I had been tweeting progress all morning I was worried that I could have gone viral meaning that large crowds might start to gather and potentially slow my progress. Fortunately I had a plan for this possibility as my friend John joined us with his motorcycle in order to provide an escort. 
About to set off with Motor Cycle Escort from Brooke to Loddon
John led me through the imaginary crowds all the way over to Rosy Lees tea room in Loddon for another quick tea and cake stop.
Outside Rosy Lees
Fortunately I hadn't gone viral and the roads were free of cheering crowds so John went home again as I set off to Everyday's a picnic (EDAP) cafe at Hedingham.
At EDAP to face a cake choice dilema
Normally at EDAP I would have the award winning chocolate and Guinness cake (it won my 2014 cake of the year title and has a certificate to prove it) but today the manageable sized banana cake looked more appropriate but was still very tasty.
Banana cake
It was now down to Bungay and the number one rated Earsham street cafe. Where I surprisingly arrived bang on time at 12:53. My support team had already got there and were tucking into bacon sandwiches and sausage rolls. They looked very nice but I needed to keep to cake and this time a hot chocolate.
Surprised everyone by having some cake at Earsham Street Cafe
I was now half way and feeling fine from a cycling viewpoint but told my support team I was now struggling on the cake eating front and that I no longer felt that I could just stuff the cake down within the 12 minute window. I therefore started to take more time at the cafes, which was fine here seeing that it was an excellent drink and cake which needed to be enjoyed.

As I set off, slightly late, towards Harleston I was not aware of the drama that was about to unfold and potentially derail the whole event. Before the start of the ride I had managed to contact most of the cafes on twitter or facebook and as a result had had to change the route slightly due to a closure and changed opening times. Unfortunately No.5 cafe at Harlseton had no social media presence although this was probably because on arrival I discovered it had shut down. 

Fortunately there are lots of other cafes in Harleston and so, despite having never been there before, I headed to the nearest one. For reasons that will become clear I will not be naming the cafe or ever planning to return as it was the worst cup of tea I can remember and the cheese scone was almost inedible.
Possibly the worlds worst Cheese scone ever
I tried my best to force it down but the unpleasant taste and dryness made it very difficult especially considering how much cake I had already eaten today. I therefore ate as much as I could before hiding the last few small pieces under the butter wrapper. Goodness knows what Roy Castle would have thought but I felt I had consumed as much of the scone as was humanly possible and I suspect more than anyone else had ever managed.

Now feeling rather ill it was off to the Pennoyer centre at Pulham st Mary where I knew I would be getting excellent cake baked by one of the ladies from the village. On arrival my support team were soaking up the afternoon sun as I went inside to order a cup of tea and request the smallest slice possible of the apple and raisin cake. 
Preparing to have tea and cake at the Pennoyer centre
The cake was excellent and restored my confidence in being able to complete the task although looking at my watch I was now running over twenty minutes late. If I continued to leak time at this rate then the later cafes on the list would be closed before I got to them and the record attempt would be over. I hatched a plan with my support team to speed things up at the next stop and hit the road again to ride up to Goodies cafe at Pulham Market.
With stomach growing, quickest stop of the day at Goodies cafe
When I got there Chris had already preordered my tea and cake which I was able to scoff straight away in less than 5 minutes, however despite this I lost further time at the visits to the Tudor Bakehouse in Long Stratton and the Garden Tearoom in Wymondham getting there with only minutes to spare before closing time.
Arrived at Garden Tea rooms in nick of time,
apparently display in the window was for the tour of Britain but I pretended it was for me
I still had 5 cafes to go but was feeling rather queasy by now, however I would need to considerably pick up the pace to make the final few cafes on time and claim the record. I gave myself a good talking to as I hadn't come this far to blow it now so got back on the bike and put the hammer down on the ride over to Hingham where I would be greeted with my next possibly terminal challenge.

My target cafe was Lincoln's but on arrival my support team informed me it was closed. Fortunately on a Friday and Saturday evening Lincoln's reopens again as a Bistro. It was now almost 5 o'clock so I hatched a plan to swap the timings with my other Hingham venue of Chalfonts, which I had planned to visit in two cafes time. Then on my return to Hingham, at 6:30, I would go to the now open Lincoln's Bistro instead of Chalfonts where I assumed they would still give me a cup of tea and some cake even in Bistro mode. So with potential disaster averted, or so I thought, I went to Chalfonts where I waved off my support team as Peter (student son) had had enough free food and now had had a better offer.
Earlier than planned visit to Chalfonts
This closed cafe incident had delayed me further and in all the excitement I asked for a cup of tea instead of a pot. It was a simple mistake to make but unfortunately resulted in me being presented with a huge mug of drink. I had had so much tea already today that drinking it (although it tasted fine) was a real struggle and took me more than my allotted 12 minutes.
School boy error resulting in the biggest mug of tea of the day
I gave myself another talking to, the sternest of the day so far, and despite having already cycled over 100 miles somehow managed the strength to ride to Yaxham waters cafe 15 minutes quicker than scheduled catching up much of the lost time. I was very impressed with myself but on closer examination realised I had made a mistake on the schedule and had allowed a ridiculously long time for this leg by mistake which turned out to be a really lucky break.

However not so lucky was that Yaxham Waters only had one cake left today, a giant Victoria sponge which was again very nice but took a lot of effort to work through being my 17th piece of cake that day.
Big drink and large cake were for once not good news
To help keep up morale I was joined for the ride back to Hingham by friend Jim (newbie cyclist) who helped encourage me with motivational sayings he had picked up on a course at work. Apparently even the longest journey starts with a single piece of cake.

To my horror, on arrival back in Hingham, we discovered that Lincolns was still shut despite it being 30 minutes after the advertised opening times. I had to think fast to keep the record on track. I checked the calorie neutral bike ride world record official rules and decided there was some ambiguity as to if a cafe could be visited twice during an attempt. In order to clarify this I decided to insert rule 1 subsection 1 which stated:

"if on arrival at a planned cafe stop the cafe is closed, despite it being at time contained within the cafes clearly advertised opening times, then a previously visited cafe may be revisited as long as it is within 1 miles radius of the closed cafe. In no other circumstances can a cafe be visited more than once on a world record attempt"

As luck would have it my situation exactly matched the circumstances described in rule 1.1 and as Chalfonts was within the 1 mile radius laid out in the ruling I was able to return there with the record attempt still in tact. Lady luck was clearly on my side today.

Chris had returned in the support car so to celebrate my good fortune I bought Jim a cup of tea and her a bag of BBQ hula hoops. I didn't make the mug of tea mistake again and got a much smaller cupful this time.
smaller cup of tea at Chalfonts
With time still pressing I thanked Jim for his support and left him and my support team discussing if monster munch or hula hoops are the potato based snack of choice as I charged back towards Hethersett.

I arrived at Janey's Village cafe to be meet by Dom (old school cyclist) who had come to join me for the final leg. However before then there was more tea to be drunk and cakes to be eaten.

As it was getting late and there was no one else inside I checked they were still serving. Fortunately they were but I was warned it would be a long wait for food as he was on his own (although as we were the only customers I couldn't quite understand what difference it made). Luckily cake doesn't count as food as he confirmed we could have the cake just as quickly as he could slice it, which was pretty quick. I thought a fruit scone would be easier to eat at this point but I had made yet another cake selection error as the worlds biggest fruit scone turned up which, although perfectly nice, took some effort to eat on top of the previous 18 cakes already consumed.
Enormous scone to go with 15th cup of tea of the day
It was now dark and there were just 5 miles to go before the final stop at the Station Bistro Wymondham, in the fading light I was glad of the help from Dom's bike lights to help guide us there safely.
Arriving at Station Bistro in Dark
Once again I had had a lucky break as the waitress said they had planned to close early as they had run out of customers when someone turned up so they had stayed open a bit longer. They also had a rather fine looking fruit cake on the counter. I bought myself and Dom a cup of tea and I had fruit cake. He declined any cake saying he had had some at Janey's village cafe and was now full. I decided that Dom probably won't be a threat to take my world record off me in the future.

With the final cup of tea drunk and excellent fruit cake eaten my work for the day was done.
Last cake and cup of tea consumed
The support team drove us back to race HQ where I decided to put celebrations on hold while I slumped in front of the telly feeling just a little sick before going for a lie down.

Now the world record is in the bag I will be getting out my colouring set in order to make myself a homemade world record certificate to add to my growing certificate collection. A big thanks to my support crew, guest riders (John, Jim and Dom) and all the wonderful cafes I went to.

I have already decided to never try and repeat the feat again so if anyone wants to break the record then fill your boots and I will make and send you a home made world record certificate if you are successful.

Calorie neutral bike ride record attempt rules 
1. The holder of the record will have visited the highest number of different cafes during a single day.
            1.1 If on arrival at a planned cafe stop the cafe is closed, despite it being at time                         contained within the cafes clearly advertised opening times, then a previously                       visited cafe may be revisited as long as it is within 1 miles radius of the closed                       cafe. In no other circumstances can a cafe be visited more than once on a world                   record attempt.
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, when cakes are not always available
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.

For calorie neutral bike ride world record attempt stats fans here are the ride stats for you to check out. 
In summary I cycled 126 miles, spent 9 hrs 38 mins on the bike and 4 hrs 24 mins in cafes burning 8267 calories.

Calories Burnt time (min) miles av speed mph calories
/mile
calories
/min
Cake Drink
To Expresso 305 28.83 5.47 11.4 55.76 10.58
At Exspresso 11 9.75 1.13 Danish Hot Choc
To Warings 300 25.32 4.98 11.8 60.24 11.85
At Warings 16 12.9 1.24 Orange (gluten free) Tea
To Brittania Café 305 25.33 4.63 11.0 65.87 12.04
At Britania Café 20 19.5 1.03 Fruit Scone Tea
To Pandoras 282 29.16 5.15 10.6 54.76 9.67
At Pandoras 20 22.05 0.91 Caramel Brownie Tea
To Stephanies 329 25.3 5 11.9 65.80 13.00
At Stephanies 12 10.6 1.13 Blackberry Bakewell Tea
To Acorn tearooms 452 30.51 6.6 13.0 68.48 14.81
At Acorn tearooms 36 9.6 3.75 Choc and Orange Tea
To The Café 389 23.95 5.87 14.7 66.27 16.24
At The Café 25 15.16 1.65 Lemon Drizzle Hot Choc
To Rosy Lee 389 21.25 5.58 15.8 69.71 18.31
At Rosy Lee 22 13.83 1.59 Fruit Scone Tea
To EDAP 479 31.26 7.24 13.9 66.16 15.32
At EDAP 9 7.40 1.22 Banana cake Tea
To Earsham Street 365 25.35 5.39 12.8 67.72 14.40
At Earsham Street 24 17.88 1.34 Ginger cake Hot Choc
To ?? At Harleston 504 34.89 8.26 14.2 61.02 14.45
At ?? At Harleston 13 10.6 1.23 "cheese scone" Tea
To Pennoyer Centre 307 22.9 5.08 13.3 60.43 13.41
At Pennoyer Centre 15 15.25 0.98 Apple And Raisin Tea
To Goodies 327 24.8 5.42 13.1 60.33 13.19
At Goodies 7 4.78 1.46 Millionaire shortbread Tea
To Tudor Bakehouse 300 21.58 5.05 14.0 59.41 13.90
At Tudor Bakehouse 7 6.45 1.09 Brownie Tea
To Garden tearooms 729 53.94 11.3 12.6 64.51 13.52
At Garden tearooms 16 14.2 1.13 Cheese Scone Tea
To Chalfonts 402 27.4 6.8 14.9 59.12 14.67
At Chalfonts 20 13.96 1.43 Cup cake Tea
To Yaxham Waters 405 27.1 6.8 15.1 59.56 14.94
At Yaxham Waters 28 24.01 1.17 Victoria sponge Hot Choc
To Chalfonts 448 32.75 6.9 12.6 64.93 13.68
At Chalfonts 19 14 1.36 Cup cake Tea
To Janeys Village 544 40.25 9.16 13.7 59.39 13.52
At Janeys Village 11 10.1 1.09 Fruit Scone Tea
To Station Bistro 362 26.25 5.5 12.6 65.82 13.79
At Station Bistro 13 12.08 1.08 Fruit cake Tea
Totals 8267 842.22 126.18 13.1 65.52 9.82

Route




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