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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Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The Great Ride North in aid of World Bicycle Relief. Day 8. Musselburgh to St Andrews

The Great Ride North
Day 8
Picnic Coffee shop Queensferry
Open Mon-Sat 9-5, Sun 10-5
Robertsons, Kirkcaldy 
Open Mon-Sat 9-4, Sun 11-4

It was an unwelcome early alarm that went off this morning which was needed as we were planning to leave nothing to chance on our final assault to St Andrews. We had a final 70 miles to do and I knew the last 30 had a lot of up so we needed plenty of time in which to do it. After yesterday's ride, affectionately know as "the Brutal one", Chris (Mrs Crusader) could hardly function but claimed she was still in almost working order as we set off this morning.
Chris ready to set off but needed the help of her bike to be able to stand up
It was again a slow start as we had to work our way across Edinburgh on a series of cycle paths. Unfortunately the Edinburgh cycle network appeared to stop in the centre and we were left to our own devices as we battled across rush hour traffic and unnecessarily cobbled streets.
Cycling on the unnecessary cobbled streets of Edinburgh
Once this challenge had been completed we came across some pretty off-road sections along the banks of the Forth where we kept getting glimpses of the Forth bridges in the distance which was our next land mark.
Forth Bridges were our next challenge
However before then there was still the matter of crowning the winner of best cafe anywhere on National cycle route 1(NCR1). So far I hadn't found the complete package, mainly due to too many of the cafes delivering a poor hot chocolate experience, so I was hoping I could do better today.

Our first cafe stop was the picnic coffee shop in Queensferry. 
Outside the Picnic Shop in Queensferry
I was pleased to have once again delivered the sea view Mrs Crusader demands although it was only available from certain chairs at certain tables if you peered through the gap past the Queensferry spinal injury clinic.
Seaview from the cafe
The cake selection wasn't bad and included the now Scottish traditional melted chocolate bar traybake. So a reasonable effective cake selection (ECS) score. I had Victoria sponge and Chris lemon cake, which were both nice if not exceptional.
Cake selection
They also did a decent tasting, if slightly weak hot chocolate, which coincidentally Chris thought much the same about her Mocha. So a decent showing from the Picnic coffee shop but they won't be my winner.
Drinks and cakes at Queensferry
It was now time for the potential highlight of the day, crossing the Forth road bridge. However the whole experience was remarkable similar to crossing the Humber bridge earlier this week and I now feel that when you have crossed one suspension road bridge on a bike you have crossed them all. Note to self: remove cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge from my bucket list when I get home.
About to cycle over the Forth road bridge
We now had some more pretty off-road sections along the banks of the Forth, only in the opposite direction. Again nice views but you couldn't get any momentum up so progress remained slow and it was very tiring work.
Cycling on the opposite banks of the Forth
Mainly thanks to our early start we arrived at our second cafe, Robertsons, in Kirkcaldy in time for lunch.
Our final cafe stop
Mrs Crusader was too tired to make it all the way to the counter to check out the cakes so she to picked from my cake selection photograph which looked like a reasonable selection. She choose lemon cake and me Ginger loaf. 
Cake selection photo Mrs Crusader used to chose her cake from
As we waited for lunch I went to see if it was possible to get a sea view from any seating area but I discovered you had to leave the coffee shop and walk a few yards back to the main road for anything worthwhile.
Only seaview available required a short walk to enjoy
On my return I was pleased to see our lunch had turned up but dismayed to notice that Mrs Crusader had fallen asleep in her jacket potato with cheese. I therefore insisted she had strong black coffee as her guest hot drink whilst I enjoyed the best hot chocolate I had had for several days.
Excellent hot chocolate for a change
Robertsons had been another good coffee stop and I was pleased that everyone of the 16 cafe candidates I had selected had been good with no real duffers. Sadly I had not found any that ticked all my boxes but Burton Agnes Hall had been the best all round performer so I will be sending them a winners certificate just as soon as I have made it.

For the last part of our ride we would be leaving the sea as we headed inland for a long uphill section before we would once again see the coast at St Andrews. Chris was still very tired but in determined mode as we headed up into the Scottish countryside.
Time for the final push
By now she was too exhausted for conversation so we restricted ourselves to a 4 word vocabulary of: left, right, wait and steep, which seemed to cover every necessary communication required to keep going.

The last few miles were fortunately a downward glide into St Andrews and our final destination, the Swilcan bridge on the 18th fairway of the Old Course.
First fairway at St Andrews golf course
It was important that we got a photo as evidence of our achievement so had planned a SAS style operation to get our bikes onto the course and up on the Swilken bridge with us proudly in our World Bicycle Relief cycle tops. 

We waited by the 17th green for the next group of Americans with caddies to turn up. I knew that after they teed off on the 18th they would all want their photos taken on the bridge as well. This is exactly what happened so while the group were busy posing we stealthy wheeled our bikes across the fairway to join them while Chris explained that we had ridden here from Norwich for charity and needed a photo. 

They were happy to oblige although none of the Scottish caddies knew where Norwich was, the best they could do was to narrow it down to somewhere in England which was clearly a long way a way. As for the American golfers I just told them it was in Norfolkshire and with much nodding they went away happy and we had our photo.
Final photo at journeys end on the Swilken Bridge
Much to both of our amazements we had made it and suddenly the tiredness we had been suffering from lifted and was replaced with a huge amount of satisfaction and relief. I did point out that NCR1 continues all the way to the Shetland Islands but Mrs Crusader didn't seem interested, maybe next year.

So a huge thanks to all who have sponsored Chris as seeing the money coming in has helped keep her going and she is now very close to her target.

If you would like to sponsor Chris you can still 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 8

Tiredness
Mood
Saddle Soreness
Confidence of finishing
Falling asleep into a jacket potato with cheese about covers this one
Relieved and happy
Better than expected 
WE DID IT!!

Tomorrows Weather forecast is
WHO CARES
Today's route

Cafe ratings for cafes reviewed on National Cycle route 1
Cafe
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Café Selection
Cake Taste Quality
Atmosphere and Ambiance
Total
Post office Guist
9.5
7.75
3.75
7.5
6.5
7.00
Thaxtons Coffee Shop
7
6
7.5
7.5
7
7.00
Caffe Aurora 
5
3
8.5
7.5
6.5
6.20
Haven cafe
5.5
7
3
6.5
7
5.80
Jossals cafe
7.0
7.5
4
8.0
6
6.50
Honey Pot cafe
6.5
6
5.5
7.5
7
6.50
Burton Agnes Hall
7.5
9
7
7.5
8.0
7.80
Francis tearoom

7
6
7.5
7.5
7.00
Cacau Brazilian Patisserie 
6.5
8.5
8
8.0
6.5
7.50
Lookout cafe 
5
7
5.5
7.25
9.5
6.85
Cafe Berterolli
5
8
8
7
7
7.00
Shoreline cafe
6.5
7
7
8.5
8.75
7.55
Ebbcarrs cafe
5
7.5
8.25
8
9.25
7.60
Grazed chocolate and coffee house
6
6
8.75
8
7.5
7.25
Picnic coffee shop
6.5
7
6.5
7
7
6.80
Robertsons
8
7.5
6
7
6.75
7.05

Stats (Mrs Crusader)

Miles
Average Speed
Hours on bike
Meters climbed
Bawburgh- Kings Lynn
61.1
12.0
5:04
854
Kings Lynn - Woodall Spa
63.1
13.5
4:39
89
Woodall Spa- Beverley
75.9
12.4
6:06
740
Beverley - Whitby
75.3
11.2
6:41
889
Whitby- South Shields 
80.3
9.8
8:08
1206
South Shields to Lindisfarne 
82.1
11.1
7:20
770
Lindisfarne to Musselburgh 
76.7
10.2
7:27
1179
Musselburgh to St Andrews
70.5
10.0
6:58
1120
Overall
585
11.2
52:23
6077
  

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