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

Saturday 27 January 2018

Mr Positive. (Groveland Cafe, Roughton)

Groveland Cafe,
Opening times Mon-Sat 9-5, Sun10-4
After a couple of weeks off the bike it was good to get out again. Unfortunately I had picked the coldest day the week for the ride so had put on several layers as I set off to Hard to Please House to meet up with yesterday's cycling guest, Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please).

It was the first time I had seen Andrew this year and I was greeted with the news that his New Year's resolution was to be more positive and look for the upside, apparently his notoriously hard to please days were behind him. 

I had asked him to prepare a 30 mile loop taking in the the Groveland farm shop and cafe at Roughton which he had willing done. Full off positive vibes we set off and caught up on recent news but only the upbeat stuff. However the further we went the colder it got and we lost connection with our extremities. Andrew tried to stay positive as he complained that he couldn't feel his fingers before remembering to add how nice it was to be out on the bikes again in these lovely crisp conditions.

We arrived at Roughton and easily found the cafe and Farm Shop as there were a number of giant signs directing us there. 
Outside Groveland Cafe in the outdoor seating area
Inside it was a bit dark and we were the only customers so it wasn't a surprise to see a rather small cake selection with the only cake on offer being a Victoria sponge. This led to a rather low effective cake selection (ECS) score. Andrew opted for the millionaire shortbread with his capuchino claiming there is nothing he liked more than a chocolate caramel based biscuit with his coffee.
The cake selection which included Andrew's 'favourite' type of biscuit
We chose to sit  in the conservatory indoor seating area as it was near a radiator and Andrew could demonstrate today's Cycling guest cycling top tip.

Cycling guest cycling top tip No 66. To regain feeling in your fingers when on a cold ride try placing your gloves on the cafe radiator to create an electric blanket effect for your hands when you put the gloves back on.
Cycling guest cycling top tip No 66
Now we were warm it was time to try our refreshments. Sadly my hot chocolate tasted like a Cadburys one which never scores well and by now Andrew's new found positivity had started to wear off as he returned to his notoriously hard to please ways when telling me about his coffee before remembering his resolution and added it was well presented. The Victoria sponge was a nice piece of cake and attracted a decent cake taste quality (CTQ) mark.
Todays cakes and drinks
With warm gloves we returned to the bikes to complete the loop which was 31 miles and well with in the 10% route distance tolerance so surprisingly Andrew had delivered on that part of the brief for once. Although Andrew had avoided any full blown rants I could begin to see the cracks in his new positive attitude and am now looking forward to seeing how this progresses. I have therefore started to log his positivity coefficient (pc) for each ride so I can plot a graph. Today his pc was a high 8.84.

Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
Click here to download 31 mile Aylsham Roughton loop GPX file to your GPS

Friday 12 January 2018

A hard days graft (Whelk Copper Tearoom)

Whelk Copper Tearoom,
Opening times Everyday10-4,
Yesterday was going to be a hard days cafe cycling as I had 3 missions to complete. This was because the first consignment of the The Cake Crusader book had turned up and I needed to start to flog them if I was ever going to get to the top of the best sellers list.They have been flying off the virtual Kindle shelves with 9 copies already sold in only 3 weeks, I was hoping to crack the magic double figures in the next few days, but for now I have real books to sell.
The first consignment of the Cake Crusader book
To kick off the marketing campaign I have organised a ride for this weekend with family and friends before a book signing in the kitchen. I have been told by my literary friends that for such an event you need to provide nibbles. I'm going for cheese scones, flapjacks and sausage rolls as these were my previous things of the year. I would only have time to collect one of the actual winning examples and opted to go for flapjack from The Funky Mackerel in Sheringham. I can always make or buy the sausage rolls and scones.

Therefore my first mission of the day was to get to Sheringham to pick up the flapjack. The second mission was to review a new cafe while I was there. I had invited Big George as today's cycling guest and as one of the key characters in my book I decided to give him a copy. Knowing what I had written about him then the third mission was to keep him on side in order to avoid a potential libel case. I thought the best way of achieving this was to take him to his favourite stop which is the village shop and cafe at Itteringham. If we were really lucky we might come across some brownies for brownie of the year #BOTY but we weren't and we didn't.

It was a foggy morning but not too cold as we set off on our busy day. Big George had sensibly come in his bright orange jacket to make sure he was really visible and he was.
A grey day only brightened by Big Georges jacket
After an hour or so we got to our first stop at Itteringham.
Outside the fabulous Itteringham shop and cafe
I was excited to see there was now a new extended seating area rather than just the one table squeezed in the corner. However Big George is very fond of the table in the corner and insisted on sitting there while I ordered his coffee and sausage roll. I went for a nice cup of tea and some of the excellent tiffin I have enjoyed here before. I was saving my hot chocolate for the new cafe we would be going to in Sheringham.
Tea and tiffin
As always everything was excellent and the tiffin so nice that I nearly forgave the fact it had been delivered on it's serviette! But I couldn't quite and had to tweet a photo. Remember #Keepcakeoffserviettes.
You know what I think of this!
Refreshed we set off on the final leg up to Sheringham and today's new cafe The Whelk Coppers tearooms which we found right on the seafront.
Outside the Whelk Copper tea rooms
The sea views plus the lovely open fire gave it a high AAA. 
Big George was asked to move away from the edge
as his jacket was mistaken for Cromer lighthouse
The cake selection was smallish but still effective and I was informed it was much bigger in high season rather than in the middle of January. I opted for ginger cake and Big George went for a second sausage roll instead of cake so as to avoid having to get involved in any cake rating, which he hates.

Cycling guest cycling top tip No 65. If you want to avoid tummy ache then never ever ever have two sausage rolls on the same cafe cycle ride.
Part of the cake selection

Our drinks were fairly ordinary but my ginger cake was very nice and scored well. The staff were very friendly and the setting alone makes it worth a visit.
Half eaten but very nice ginger cafe
With two tasks complete we popped over to the Funky Mackerel where I purchase 8 pieces of giant flapjack for Saturdays big event.
Flapjack in the bag, literally
As it was still very foggy and getting cold we decided to take the train back to Norwich to end a very successful day. It was then back to Crusader Towers to start tidying up the kitchen for the big event.

Scores for Whelk Copper Tearooms
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating

Click here to download 38 mile Norwich to Sheringham GPX file for your Gps

Thursday 4 January 2018

Plan D. (The Green Grocers Cafe, Norwich)

The Green Grocers Cafe,
Opening times Mon-Sat 8-5, Sun 9-4,
Highly Recommended 
It has been nearly a month since I last reviewed a new cycle cafe stop. This is a new record but not one I wanted to break. I have been thraughted be the weather, illness, injury and cafes shutting over Christmas. Fortunately it is now only the weather that I'm battling against (or so I thought).

However I have not been idle during this time as I have:
  • held the final of #SROTY
  • announced news of brownie of the year #BOTY in 2018
  • published the Cake Crusader book on Kindle (printed version available in next couple of weeks)
  • worked on my new Cake Crusader website that should be 'going live' in the next few weeks.
It has certainly been a busy time for me working away in my secret bicycle workshop hidden deep under Crusader Towers.

I was therefore relieved to get back to basics and go on a real ride today. However in the end it took some effort to achieve this. 

Plan A. Was to take regular cycling guest Andrew (who continues to be notoriously hard to please) on a route from Hard to Please House out to North Norfolk and return via the Farm shop and cafe at Roughton. However yesterday Andrew told me he had some good news and bad news as one of his daughters was coming on a surprise visit so he would have to call off. This all looked like bad news to me.

Plan B. Fortunately Big George was available at short notice so we arranged a 50 mile trip to a cafe just outside Beccles. However yesterday evening the weather forecaster informed me that strong and gusting winds were on the way making the trip look a little too dangerous to undertake.

Plan C. After a late night replanning session a new shorter and wind friendly 30 mile route was in place finishing at a cafe at Hellesdon Barns near Norwich.

Despite it raining quite hard Big George arrived on time as we set off on our mission. Big George was quick to tell me that he had read the first two chapters of my book as they are available as a taster on the kindle site. He was not happy. He didn't mind that I had mocked his strong scottish accent or highlighted his love of hoovering but he had taken exception when I pointed out that, despite his nickname, he isn't actually that big. I promised that in the next book (there won't be one) I would make it clear that for someone from mid west Scotland he was actually very big. Good job he hasn't read the rest of the book, I thought, as it could turn nasty.

As we got wetter and colder we were both pleased we had shorterend the ride and were looking forward to our hot drinks at today's venue near the end of the ride. But then disaster as when we arrived we were met by a locked gate and the discovery that Hellesdon Barns were having an extra long Christmas break and the cafe doesn't reopen until January 10th.

Plan D. We had an emergency replanning session and decided to go to the Green Grocers Cafe in Norwich which is only a couple of miles from Crusader Towers. When we arrived we were still not in the clear as it was very busy and we didn't fancy an outside seat as we already had hypothermia.
Outside the green grocer cafe in the continental outdoor style seating area
Fortunately there were a couple of seats at the breakfast bar indoor seating area so we squeezed in there. 

There was a very warm and buzzing atmosphere inside the hipster style surroundings. The cake selection on display was small but very interesting. I was pleased when the waiter confirmed they did have brownies for me to test as part of #BOTY and keeping with the cafes image I could either have a vegan or non vegan one. I'm sure you can guess which I went for as I disappointed the waiter.
Cake selection on display
Big George went for a bacon sandwich which is neither a cake or vegan so disappointed both me and the waiter.
Today's Brownie for #BOTY testing
Our Hot Chocolate and Cappuccino were both very good and we felt that Plan D had ended up as a very good one as the Green Grocers cafe performed really well and I highly recommend a visit.
Excellent hot drinks and a highly recommended cafe
It was now just a short ride home to complete today's trip and new cafe visit 323 was in the bag. I just hope it isn't another month before number 324.


Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating

Click here to download 31 mile Norwich Weston Longville loop gpx file for your gps