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

Saturday 9 January 2016

Cake Crusader sportive 19. (News of 2016 thing of the year competition)

Sportive 19,
The Café Brooke,
Changed hands now Rural Kitchen
Today was the first cafe cycle ride of 2016 and as part of it I announced the 2016 Cake Crusader thing of the year competition. Last year you may remember the 2015 thing was the cheese scone and there was much excitement around cheese scone of the year (see cheese scone year winner announced). Well after the 46 cheese scones I tried during 2015 (with 19 served cold!) plus the 11 I had during the cheese scone off final I'm not sure I'm ready to eat another one for a while.

However before the big announcement it was time for the ride which happened to be the 19th Cake Crusader sportive. It was exactly two years ago that I held the first sportive so I thought it would be good to return to that first venue, The Cafe in Brooke, to see how it and my now army of cycling guests had changed during that time.

The sportive had attracted double the first one with 8 people (including the original 4) lining up for pre ride faffing about at race HQ. The main chatter was focused on clothing in the unseasonably mild weather we had been having. Regular readers of my Cycling Guests Top Cycling Tip will know many tips cover this topic with tip 9 that states 'When you set off on a ride you should start off feeling cold or you will get too hot later on' being particularly apt. This obviously led to me opt for an appropriate triple layering clothing solution. It was clear not everyone had been paying attention to these excellent tips as my guests ranged from chilly single layering (pure madness) to unnecessarily toastie 4 layering (quite wrong) approaches. 
Line up for 2nd anniversary Sportive ride
Despite some dubious clothing options in place we enjoyed an uneventful 20 mile ride, at differing body temperatures, round the villages South of Norwich to today's destination. It was my 4th visit to the Cafe in Brooke and according to cycle cafe reviewing rules only the 3 most recent ratings will be used in calculating a cafes overall score. This is to make sure ratings are current so the oldest set (which were The Cafe in Brooke's worst) would be discarded today.
Some very hot and cold people arriving at The Cafe, Brooke
On arrival we caused a right kerfuffle at the counter as we reviewed the cake selection and fought over the remaining sausage rolls. I was glad to see that everyone who had a sausage roll, correctly, also had a scone or cake as well in order that they would be allowed input into rating activity.
Cake selection in action
We had two first timers, James and Dan, on the ride today. Newbies always cause problems on their first ride awarding ridiculously high marks and making unwanted suggestions as to how I could "improve" we cafe ratings approach. I normally counter these issues by ignoring their markings and suggesting that if they would like to rate cafes in a different way they may like to consider setting up their own cafe cycle blog which I'm sure I would subscribe to and find it both informative and entertaining. I have decided that to avoid having to keep going through this rigmarole every time that I will produce a pamphlet to explain the basics and correct etiquette for new cycling guests to read before their initial ride, including a short test.

As this work is not yet complete I nipped any unhelpful newbie behaviour in the bud today by making it clear that I wasn't interested in any of their views but expected them to observe proceedings for next time, which judging by the stunned silence seemed to do the trick.
Some of the cakes and drinks ready for rating
I collected the ratings from my more experienced cycling guest, who were now well versed in proceedings, and updated my spreadsheet. This resulted in moving The Cafe in Brooke several places up my cafe league table with good scores across the board and into my highly recommended category..

It was now time for the big announcement as to what my thing of the year would be in 2016. With a hushed crowd I explained that I had decided to go for the cyclists energy giving friend of the flapjack. There were gasps from my cycling guest who had not seen that coming. I held an impromptu Question and Answer session to explain how the competition works

1. Whenever I go to a cafe or tearoom in 2016 then if it sells proper flapjack I will always try some in addition or instead of cake.
2. I will rate it on 

  • texture and composition (not too sticky or crumbly or hard)
  • appearance and size (bigger the better but a good geometrical shape)
  • taste
3. In December I will revisit the cafes (by bike of course) that provided the best 10 pieces throughout the year and purchase some more
4. I will then hold a flapjack off to decide the winner.
5. The winner will receive one of my coveted cake crusaders winner certificates that I will make with my colouring set.

Once the announcement was complete and the buzz had died down we set off again to complete our ride. Not surprisingly the only talk on the way home was flapjack based. I think I have really shaken things up in the world of cycle cafe reviewing so expect 2016 to be utterly flapjastic. 

If you know of where some particularly good flapjack can be found then let me know.

Scores for The Cafe based on last 3 visits
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
Today's route

Click link to down load 30 mile Norwich Poringland gpx file for your GPS

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