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, 22 April 2016

London Marathon registration. (Blue Rooms cafe, Epping)

The Blue Rooms Cafe,
Epping,
Opening times Mon-Fri 09:00-16:00,
Sat-Sun 09:30-16:00
I know running isn't cycling and that as a rule you don't stop mid run for cake but I do like a good run nearly as much as a good cafe cycle ride. So this year I felt it was about time I gave the London Marathon another crack and, with the guidance from my marathon training plan, I have been putting in the stated miles to hopefully be in good shape when I approach the start line on Sunday.

However before you can run the London Marathon you need to register at the Excel centre and collect your race number and chip. This week my marathon training plan has told me I'm not allowed to do very much running and must perform something called tapering (resting) instead. I don't like to cut down on exercise so I decided I could kill two birds with one stone by cycling to the Excel to register as my marathon training plan said nothing about cutting down on cycling. I wouldn't cycle all the way from Norwich to London (I'm not mad) but, accompanied by cycling Guest Big George, we would drive to Epping and undertake a 50ish mile loop calling in at the Excel and some cafes.

With little traffic on the roads we arrived at the start point right on schedule and unloaded the bikes from the car boot. From here we spent the next 15 miles cycling down the tow paths of the River Lea down to Stratford. It was lovely having so much traffic free cycle path to enjoy but speed was an issue as the path was of varying quality and we didn't want to hit a pot hole and end up in the river.
Cycle path by side of the river Lea
As we approached the end of the River section we came across the Olympic stadium which was an unexpected treat. Unfortunately due to the excitement this generated I managed to miss the planned cafe stop and it wasn't until we had gone another couple of miles I realised my mistake meaning that we would now be only reviewing one cafe today. As the self proclaimed number one cafe cycle blogger in all of Norfolk I felt very embarrassed and ashamed.
Seeing the Olympic stadium made me miss the planned cafe stop. Very poor
With head bowed in shame we continued across a few busy roads before arriving at the Excel for London Marathon registration
About to enter Excel for registration
As it was Thursday registration was fairly quite and the fact I was still wearing my hi viz cycling gilet made me look like official so I was able to go straight to the front of the queue to collect my number. I handed over my form and once the lady had realised I was a runner and not a car park attendant she gave me my runners pack. She noticed that I was in start pen 2 and said, not loud enough for my liking, that I must be quiet a fast runner. I modestly agreed and decided that she clearly also wanted to hear about my near death experience, last years iornman and the article about it all in May's triathlon Plus magazine. So I kindly told her everything. She seemed surprisingly pleased when another run eventually arrived in my queue and I had to move on
'Did I mention there was an article about me in last months triathlon plus magazine?'
We had missed our scheduled morning cafe stop and were now in need of the energy giving powers of cake. Big George got very excited when I agreed we could go to Costa as the only cake based option available in the Excel. I obviously didn't bother to review it.
How can you rview things that come in paper and plastic?
The next part of the journey followed route 13 and 136 out of London. It was mainly on cycle paths kindly provided by Boris and made for safe if rather dull cycling.
A section of bicycle super highway
The fact the route was clearly sign posted was very liberating for Big George as he didn't have to rely on my cycle GPS based navigation and decided to take the lead. He soon changed his mind when we hit several miles into a strong head wind and was once again more than happy to shelter behind me.
One of many wooded sections of cycle path
The route now went trhrough many parks and woods before we returned to the roads for the final few miles and our only cafe stop of the day at the Blue Rooms cafe near Epping.
Outside the Blue Rooms cafe
On arrival we parked our bikes and went inside to check out the cakes. Disappointingly there were only two to choose from so I could only award a low effective cake selection (ECS) score.
Limited selection of cakes
I went for Banana and Walnut cake and Big George a bacon sandwich. As a bacon sandwich is clearly not cake, and we had cycled nearly 50 miles before a proper cafe cycle stop, Big George played no further part in any reviewing activity. Especially when he had a cup of tea, which always gets a 7 out of 10, as a guest hot drink being just a cup of tea.
Outdoor seating veranda area
We sat in the outside seating veranda area with nice views of Epping forest and I tried my hot chocolate which wasn't bad if not very chocolatey and my Banana and Walnut cake which was excellent.
Drinks and cakes to try
All in all the Blue rooms cafe had been a solid enough stop but I was disappointed that we had missed the cafe in Stratford as from the website and reviews it looked like a real contender. I am now going to have to qualify for the London marathon again next year just so I can have another go at finding it on the registration bike ride.

I'm running the London marathon in support of a cycling charity, World bicycle relief, and am very grateful for all the sponsorship I have received so far. If you would like to make a donation I would really appreciate it and it would help make me feel all the time I put into my cycle cafe research is helping a bigger cause than just advising us all where the best cake is. Thanks. http://fundraiseuk.worldbicyclerelief.org/kevin-frazer
Scores
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
6.00
7.00
4.50
8.00
6.50
6.40
route

click here to download 53 mile Waltham Abbey London loop gpx file to your gps

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