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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Saturday 30 April 2016

Suffolk Spring Sportive Day 1. (Dingle Hill Tearooms, Dunwich, Jars of Clay, Woodbridge)

Dingle Hill Tea Rooms,
Opening times Mon-Sun 09:00-17:00,
Jars Of Clay Café,
Opening times Mon-Sat 09:30-17:00,
On one of my previous sportive (group rides) I foolishly suggested that a longer overnight trip might be fun. A number of my regular cycling guests agreed that this would be a good idea and so, in a fit of enthusiasm I came up with a date and a route for such an adventure.

I kept organisation down to a minimum by starting the ride from Crusader Towers in Norwich and by telling anyone who fancied coming to book themselves into the Premium inn North of Ipswich. Sending out a few emails with maps seemed to give the impression that I had spent a lot of time planning and organising everything, which I hadn't, although I did have 3 new cafe stops, plus a couple of old favourites for us to check out over the 2 day itinerary. 

So today a group of 7 expectant cycling guest turned up at Crusader Towers for their Cake Crusader Cycling Adventure (CCCA). As always I had planned into the schedule time for pre ride faffing about but this went on for 20 minutes longer than my schedule had allowed leaving little time for my briefing which I delivered in my health and safety hi-viz jacket.
Briefing in my hi-viz jacket
Under surprisingly sunny skies we set off in high spirits towards Bungay and our first stop. Things went remarkably smoothly and we soon covered the 18 miles to Earsham Hall cafe which I have reviewed before (see Sportive 16) and is a highly recommended stop.
All cycling guest so eager for cake they didn't hang around for photo
I was glad to see my cycling guests were keen to get down to business and dumped their bikes before charging inside to order cake and hot drinks. We had a selection of coffees and hot chocolates plus scones and coffee, lemon, and pistachio and almond cakes. I collected feedback from my cycling guests who's scoring put hot drinks slightly down and cakes slightly up from my last visit but overall Earsham Hall cafe had come out with exactly the same rating as before confirming that high standards were being retained.
Great selection of cake
Next we headed out to the Suffolk coast at Dunwich as the peloton stating to become more and more stretched out.
Peloton stretching out
At Dunwich we stopped for lunch at Dingle Hill tearooms which was nice and busy on a rare Spring sunny day. 
Outside Dingle Hill Tearooms
As always I first checked out the cakes to award the effective cake selection (ECS) score. It was a nice range including an impressive looking strawberry and cream one.
Good cake selection
Sadly most of my cycling guests had seemed to have forgotten why they were here and selected soft drinks which as they are not served hot meant they could play no part in any Guest hot drink quality (GHDQ) reviewing. 
Soft cold drinks, this will simply not do!
To make matters worse little cake was ordered either with only lemon, Victoria sponge and strawberry represented. This was very disappointing and clearly they seemed to have forgotten why I bought them on the ride in the first place.
Just 3 cakes ordered
However the hot drinks and cakes we did have were all very good and Dingle Hills tearoom was a very good stop and highly recommended.
Preparing to set off on next leg of CCCA
From here we took a short detour to the beach in order to say we had seen the sea although it did require an extra hill to be conquered causing a few complaints. They would have been fine if they had eaten more cake at lunchtime I thought.
Dunwich beach
The peloton was now getting a bit tired as levels of chatter stopped and a regular question of how much further to the next cafe was being asked but we still made good progress to Jars of Clay cafe near Woodbridge. 
Outside Jars of Clay our final stop
This isn't just a cafe but provides pottery for you to decorate. However with a schedule to adhere to then, much to my cycling guests disappointment, I had to ban any ceramic painting activity and make sure cake and hot drink reviewing were our number one priority.
Cycling guest eager to get creative but not on my watch
After checking out a reasonably good ECS I was once again upset to see that few cakes and mainly tea had been chosen as the hot guest drinks.
Tea and cakes
If I organise another such ride I will have to make it clear that eating cake, drinking hot drinks and rating the venue were the priority and no one will be able to come unless they get with the programme or have a letter from a parent excusing them from reviewing activity.
Good drinks
The few qualifying items that had been purchased were all of a good quality and Jars of Clay cafe had made it three out of three for stops that I would recommend a visit to.

Up until now we had been lucky with the weather but with just two miles to go we were caught in a sleety down pour meaning we were all a bit soggy as we checked in at premier inn reception.

Over dinner everyone agreed they were a bit tired but had enjoyed their days riding. However to make the return leg to Norwich even more successful I insisted they remember the cafe reviewing brief and make sure they all fully caked tomorrow. Team doctor Dr Hans also suggested everyone take one of his special pills, no questions asked, as they would probably find tomorrow's ride easier if they did, which they all decided was an excellent idea.
Scores for Dingle Hill
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
7. 0
Scores for Jars of Clay
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating

Click here to down load 72 mile Norwicu to Ipswich via Dunwich gpx file for your gps

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