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, 26 February 2016

Stranded. (Knead Food cafe at the Blue Egg, Great Bardfield)

Knead Food Café (at the Blue Egg),
Great Bardfield,
Opening times Mon-Sat 09:00-17:00,
Sun 10:00-16:00  
Highly Recommended 
I'm currently writing this post in the waiting room at Ely station. When I set off on the ride, with today's cycling guest Andrew (who, is notoriously hard to please), the waiting room at Ely station was not part of my plans but not only do we find ourselves here but there is every chance that when the next train arrives in 45 minutes time that we will not be allowed on board and we maybe stuck here for sometime or possibly ever. But how did we find ourselves in Ely?

It had been nearly 2 weeks since my last cafe cycle ride as I had been away on a snowboarding trip. Whilst away, and much to the shock of the snowboarding community, I announced my retirement from the sport, as it now seems to mainly consist of lying on your back in the snow.

With one less sport to worry about I can now concentrate even more of my efforts on finding the best cafes for you to cycle to. For the first ride back I had planned another of my 'cycling celebrity recommends' features with a trip to the Blue Egg in Essex which famous cyclists Mark Cavendish and Alex Dowsett both claim to be their favourite place for a cafe stop when they go out on a ride.

It meant an early start for me and Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) but we both got to Norwich station ready to catch the necessary train to Cambridge from where we would begin. As on so many previous occasions we had no problems loading our bikes on to the train letting it take the strain on the way south.

On arrival we alighted (got off) the train and attempted to make our way to the requisite cycle path. After a short while we found the cycle path which runs alongside a very high fence and led to today's cycling guest cycling top tip.

Cycling Guest Cycling Top Tip 44. When aiming to cycle along a cycle path that runs along side a very high fence it is important that you and your bike are on the cycle path side of the fence.

Sadly I had not followed cycling guest cycling top tip 44 and it took 20 minutes and two miles of aimlessly cycling until we eventually found ourselves on the right side of the fence and able to speed out of Cambridge on a several mile stretch of flat cycle path.

At this point I foolishly said to Andrew that although I was enjoying the flat fast ride a few hills would be nice to add a bit of variety. This was a mistake as round the next bend we met a steep rise and it was nothing but hills for most of the rest of the day.
Nice views but nothing but hills for most of this ride
When riding in these tough up and down conditions it came as no surprise when we came to the village of Debden which was twinned with Tang Ting a village in Nepal. 

I stopped to chat with a local Sherpa who told us about the many expeditions he had led in the Debden area before leading us off again in the right direction.

Thanks to the cycle path delay, a puncture and the hilly terrain we were a long way behind schedule when we arrived at the Blue Egg farm shop where we found the Knead food (I see what they have done there) cafe.
Outside the Blue Egg Farm shop which includes the Knead Food Cafe
Inside it was packed including a large number of cyclists who had hung their bikes on the bike rack outside.
This cafe is a magnet for local cyclists
We grabbed one of the few remaining seats before checking out the cake selection. It was a good selection with a number of interesting items but none of the sponge cake classics. They also had an equally good gluten free selection but as a lover of gluten I paid them little attention. Overall I awarded a good effective cake selection (ECS) score.
Very interesting cake selection
With the cafe being so busy I was worried our food, cakes and drinks might take a long time to come and threaten further the chances of catching our train. I needn't have worried as the staff were both friendly and ruthlessly efficient so our cakes and drinks soon appeared
Cakes and drinks ready for tasting
My hot chocolate was good but Andrew reckoned his cappuccino was one of the best he had had and gave a 9 out of 10 for his guest hot drink quality (GHDQ) mark. Our cakes (chocolate cheesecake and chocolate oat slice) were both top draw too also attracting high cake taste quality scores.

All in all the Knead Food cafe had proved to be worth the journey and moves into my cafe top ten being highly recommended.

I also noticed that Mark Cavendish (world road champion) and Alex Dowsett (former 1 hour world record holder) had both donated shirts re-enforcing their cycling celebrity cafe recommendation. If you are a cycling celebrity and want to recommend a venue for me to try then let me know.
Cav's world champion rainbow jersey
It was time to set off back but there wasn't much time for chat as we put our heads down for a 30 mile charge back to Cambridge to try and make the train.

Fortunately we rode well and arrived back at the station with 15 minutes to spare. With a spring in our step we proudly pushed our bikes down the platform after another excellent ride. As we approached the train the guard smugly informed us that we couldn't put our bikes on the train as the allotted bike space already had bikes in it and he had been trained not to let more than 4 bikes on the train. Clearly his training had been excellent as despite a number of other cyclists joining in our protests he would not allow any more on board. 
A train like the one we were not allowed to get on
We were forced to take an alternative train but it meant having to risk being able to get a connection from Ely and, even if successful, we would still be home nearly an hour later than planned.

So I now find myself in the Ely station waiting room not knowing if we will be allowed on our connecting train with bikes, as we have been told it is only a little one, or if we will ever actually get home. 

Stop Press: 
We were and we did, phew.

Scores
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
7.00
9.00
7.50
8.50
6.50
7.70
Route to be published if I ever get home

click here to download 63 mile Cambridge Great Bardfield loop gpx file for your gps

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