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

Wednesday 12 October 2016

The Great Ride North in aid of World Bicycle Relief. Day 1 Norwich to Kings lynn

The Great Ride North
Day 1
Guist Post office
Open Mon-Sat 9:30-4:30, Sun 9:00-3:00
Thaxters Coffee shop
Open everyday 9-4:30
As we lined up in Bawburgh Golf club car park this morning for 'le Grand Depart', I was beginning to wonder if my latest scam, to get a load more new cafes reviewed for my blog, was such a good idea. Our mission was simple, we would be riding nearly 600 miles from Norwich to St Andrews while Chris (Mrs Crusader) would try to raise lots of money for world bicycle relief and I would aim to find the best cafe on national cycle route 1 (and award a certificate to the top one). The downside is that it is now mid October so there is a strong possibility of a number of cold, wet and windy days ahead of us. However there was no backing out now.

To find out more on how we got to this point see post Norwich to St Andrews cycle ride update.
Lining up at the the start of our ride with some extra cycling guest for the day
The crowds at Bawburgh Golf Club car park had turned out in force to see us off. There was much cheering, waving and good wishes as the police struggled to hold them back. Several members of the crowd assured us that they had checked their weather apps and that no rain was forecast for today, so that was something of a relief as we posed for the imaginary TV and press cameras.  

With the starting flag waved it was time to set off to our first stop which was the Post Office at Guist and the only cafe that I have been to before on our  planned route (see Urgent mystery engagement). For the first leg we were joined by fellow golfers Jo and Annie plus Barry and Helen and their tandem. My main fear was that with three lady golfers on board the focus would be on chatting and not pedalling so it was a good job that it was one of the shorter legs.

With water proofs packed away for the day it was somewhat of a surprise when within 5 minutes of starting I felt a small drop of rain, then a  number of drops before a full collection of them we're hammering down. I decided to ignore the advice of our supporters and hurriedly put my rain proof gear on. 
Waterproofs were needed within 5 minutes of setting off
Although I was now getting very wet it did at least mean people were more interested in cycling than chatting so we made excellent time to our first stop, where, obviously it stopped raining just as we arrived.
I was freezing cold when we arrived at Guist Post Office
Fortunately the people at the Post Office in Guest were very accommodating as we spread out all our wet things across one of their indoor seating areas.
Our very own drying off zone at Guist post office cafe
With two newbie cafe cycle reviewers on board I had to explain what was expected of them in terms of rating the cafe and how, more importantly, I would probably be ignoring their input, at least until they knew what they were doing. We ordered a good selection of drinks covering almost the full range; hot chocolate, americano coffee, latte, cappuccino, dark chocolate mocha and white chocolate mocha. A more complete test of a cafes drinks could rarely have been undertaken and Guist post office cafe came through with flying colours. The hot chocolate was an exceptionally good and one of the best I have had.
Selection of cakes and drinks
The cake selection was rather on the small side but we managed to try all 3 on offer, lemon, chocolate and coffee which all scored well. The only issue being that they came with my pet hate of being served on their serviettes rendering the napkin useless for crumb wiping activity. Remember #keepcakeoffserviettes. I just hoped this wasn't a bad omen for the rest of the trip.
I felt my newbie reviewers had performed well and taken on the excellent feedback I had given them. I was pleased to see that the Post Office Guist had improved its rating from my last visit and with a larger cake selection would be right up the top end of my cafe table, despite this I would still highly recommend a visit.

At this point Barry and Helen and their Tandem left us to return home to Norwich to dry out whilst the remainder of the group pressed on. Fortunately it had stopped raining and I had stopped shivering so the next bit of the ride was a lot more pleasant. However it didn't last for too long before it started raining again.  
My remaining cycling guests during a rare dry period
As before it only stopped as we reached our second cafe of the day Thaxters coffee shop near Sandringham. There was a nice outdoor seating area available but we decided to opt for the warmth of indoors as we again attempted to dry off. 
Outside Thaxters coffee shop
As always I checked out the cakes so as to award the effective cake selection (ECS) score and felt it was a pretty good offering so awarded a pretty good ECS.
Cake selection
However my cycling guest's let me down by only having filter coffee and tea as their hot drinks so not really testing out the cafes drink making capabilities. Along with my hot chocolate we felt the drinks were solid offerings and gave solid drinks marks.
Cakes and drinks
I had opted for chocolate cake and was relieved to be given it with a separate napkin, phew. The ladies decided they could only manage one slice of coffee cake between them and then, much to my disgust, didn't even manage to finish it claiming to be full. I find this sort of thing consistently happens on my multi stop rides. Am I the only person who can eat more than one slice of cake a day, I hope Mrs Crusader will man up on the cake front during the rest of our trip or we could be having some very frosty afternoons.
My three cycling guests couldn't even manage a piece of cake between them
Thaxtons coffee shop had scored well so I was pleased my first two stops had both delivered a decent cycling break.
Traveling along cycle route 1 in Norfolk
Fortunately it had stopped raining as we left the coffee shop and returned to National cycle Route 1, which will be our home for most of next week as it goes all the way to St. Andrews our final destination. 

We soon arrived at the gates of Sandringham where the Queen lives. I had written to the Queen to say we were passing and clearly told her what time we would be there. As we were virtually on time I was somewhat disappointed she was not by the side of the road to see us go by. On more than one occasion, as a child, I had waited for the Queen (who was often late) to go by and had given her a cheery wave with my flag so I felt the least she could do was return the gesture by waving a flag back at me on this occasion. I will definitely be boycotting her speech this Christmas in protest.
Waiting for the Queen to turn up outside Sandringham
From here we weaved along an excellent network of cycle tracks to cross Kings Lynn and arrive at our first nights hotel. At least they had been bothered to prepare a special welcoming sign just for us.
By our very own Welcome sign the Premier Inn had kindly prepared for us.
A big thanks to Jo, Annie, Barry and Helen and their Tandem for accompanying us today but tomorrow we will be on our own for the second leg so I hope the weather improves and cake consumption increases.

If you would like to encourage Chris (Mrs Crusader) to keep going you can make a donation at her World Bicycle Relief page where you can also find out more about the charities great work in Africa. 

Mrs Crusader's cycling progress dashboard after day 1
Saddle Soreness
Confidence of finishing
Not yet fatigued 
Bum fine

Tomorrows Weather forecast is

Add caption
Today's route

Cafe ratings for cafes reviewed on National Cycle route 1
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Café Selection
Cake Taste Quality
Atmosphere and Ambiance
Post office Guist
Thaxtons Coffee Shop

Stats (Mrs Crusader)

Average Speed
Hours on bike
Meters climbed
Bawburgh- Kings Lynn
Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8


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