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

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Tuesday 19 February 2019

More Car Park Action. (Antiques and Coffee Shop, Stradbroke)

Antiques and Coffee Shop,
Mon-Sat 10:00-4:30,
Sun 10:30-4:00
As I have mentioned several times recently it has become increasingly difficult to find new cafes to cycle to from Crusader Towers in Norwich or Hard to Please House in Aylsham. Therefore I have recently started to drive to the start of the rides to open up new areas to explore. Today was such a day as I was joined by Mrs Crusader for a trip to North Suffolk.

As a result of this approach I have been able to start a new feature (and associated spreadsheet) as I go in search for the top 10 best free car parks to start a cycle ride from. On this trip I identified my 2nd free car park which was in the centre of the village of Mendham and went straight into the top 10 at number 2.
Todays free car park to start a cycle ride from was at Mendham
I am currently adding this feature to my blog and website so let me know where your favourite free car park to start a cycle ride from is.

The ride itself was a good one, albeit a bit windy, as we enjoyed the more rolling countryside this area offers. We also cycled down a very appropriate named road which I felt must be a good omen for the day

Todays stop was at the Stradbroke Antiques and Coffee shop in Stradbroke. We were able to take the bikes round the back before entering the establishment through the outdoor seating area, which wasn't in operation today. Inside were two seating areas and a lot of 'Antiques'.
Outside the back entrance to the Stradbroke Antiques and Coffee shop
The cake selection was split between a display fridge and counter unit and had most cake bases covered. 
The fridge part of the cake selection
I opted for a dark hot chocolate and caramel cake while Mrs Crusader had americano and chocolate cake.
Todays cakes and drinks but can you spot what was wrong?
Everything was very nice without being exceptional although Mrs Crusader thought her coffee was one of the better Americanos she had had and scored it highly. However everything was not well in the cake serving department as for the first time this year my cake had arrived on its serviette and we all know what I think about that! Remember #Keepcakeoffserviettes. 
Cake on serviette, arghhhhhhhh!
Despite this the Stradbroke Antiques and Coffee shop had performed well and I recommend a visit.

It was also good that there were scones available for testing as I continue my hunt for fruit scone of the year #FSOTY. After a slow start I have now tried 10 scones so far so have already eliminated 2 as only the top 8 will make it through to the knockout stages at the end of the year. I bet you can hardly wait, I know I can't.
Today's scone enterent
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
Click here to download 33 mile Mendham Stradbroke loop gpx file to your gps

Tuesday 12 February 2019

Revisited. (The Nest Egg Cafe, Wymondham)

The Nest Egg Cafe,
Mon-Sat 9:00-3:30 (closed Wed),
Sun 10:00-3:00
After last weeks gales the weather seems to have settled down in time for some cafe cycling opportunities this week. I therefore persuaded Mrs Crusader to join me on a trip to the newly opened Nest Egg cafe in Wymondham.

I have now been doing this blog for over 5 years and in this time this is the 3rd change of ownership (and name) of this cafe. Just after it had opened in its previous incantation (as the Garden tearooms) I took Mrs Crusader there as a treat for forgetting our 25th wedding anniversary the day before (I even bought her a fruit scone and let her try my chocolate cake) see Marital Bliss.This time I needed no such excuse (although I did recently forget our 29th anniversary) as we repeated the route from that trip via Attleborough 

On arrival at the Nest Egg we were pleased to find that they still let you take your bicycle round the back to a secure garden area.
Outside the Nest Egg Cafe
Inside not too much had changed and the library style indoor seating area was still there and was empty so we decided to treat ourselves and sit on  comfy sofas. 
Opted for the comfy sofa library style indoor seating area
Learning from my mistake when I last bought Mrs Crusader here I let her have a fruit scone AND chocolate cake. I went for the coffee cake and also a fruit scone to try out in my fruit scone of the year search #FSOTY.
Todays cakes and drinks
The cakes were proper homemade ones and very good. My hot chocolate was of Cadburys type so didn't score too well but Mrs Crusaders black americano coffee was a good solid effort. The scones were the largest and tastiest to date this year, if a bit on the crumbly side.
Excellent fruit scone
After totting up the scores then the Nest Egg Cafe had scored 0.1 higher than its predecessor so if you liked the Garden Tea rooms you should like here as well, by 0.1 more in fact.

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

Map of route

Click here to download 31 mile Norwich Attleborough loop gpx file for your GPS

Friday 8 February 2019

Reckless. (Tickety Boo Garden cafe, Thurston)

Tickety Boo Garden Cafe,
Tue-Fri 9:30-4:00, Sat 10:00-4:00
Highly Recommended
Despite it being a mild winter it has been a bad one in the world of cafe cycle riding. I have had a number of rides postponed this year as rain, wind, ice and snow have corresponded with my plans. It has meant that I have only managed to visit two new cafes in the first 6 weeks of the year. So when I woke up this morning to the sound of howling winds I thought that another trip had bitten the dust.

However today's cycling guest, Big George, was also frustrated by the lack of recent pedalling action so despite a forecast promising 50 mph gusting winds we decided to be reckless and go on our ride.

With well over 250 cafes and tearooms visited in the region I had pretty much run out of new venues to visit that could be cycled to from home. This has meant now driving away from Norwich to start my rides. Today we drove to Knettishall country park car park to cycle in the Breckland area.

On arrival I realised that this was an opportunity for a new feature (and spreadsheet) as I would start my search for the top ten free car parks to cycle from. Knettishall country park car park scored 7.3 and goes straight to number one.
Knettishall Country park car park.
My current number 1 rated free car park to start a cycle ride from
The first few miles were with the wind so we flew along but then we turned south and were hit by strong cross winds. The real danger came whenever there was a gap in the hedge as the wind would try and lift you off the road and pop you into the nearest hedge. We both rode at a 45 degree angle as we battle this section and safely made it to the next wind based challenge.

When we turned West we were now straight into the wind and progress almost ground to a halt. You know you are in trouble when you are pedalling really hard in your easiest gear when going down hill.

We had only done 18 miles but were completely shattered when we reached today's venue , Tickety Boo Garden Cafe in the village of Thurston.
Outside Tickety Boo's trying to stay upright in the wind
Much to our surprise we were not the only cyclists stupid enough to go riding today as we had been beaten there by a group of riders from Diss CC.

Big George had not been happy when I had told him the name of today's cafe as he felt it would be far too twee for his hard man Scottish image. However he was quite impressed with the venue as there were fried things on the menu and sausage rolls on the counter. For me they had an excellent cake selection plus fruit scones which I immediately entered into my fruit scone of the year competition #FSOTY.
A very fine effective cake selection
I went for ginger cake and dark hot chocolate (always good sign when you are given a choice between milk and dark) and Big George an americano and sausage roll (which is still not cake).
Today's drinks and cakes
Our drinks were both excellent and scored highly although Big George would have liked his coffee a bit hotter. My cake was very nice although I could have taken a bit more ginger. Although not part of my rating system Big George said it was the best sausage roll he had had since we had made rare breed pigs even rarer with our rare pig sausage rolls at Itteringham post office several years ago (see Black Friday).

We both thought Tickety Boo was an excellent, and cycle friendly, stop and I would highly recommend a visit.

It was still windy on the way back but at least we had it behind for the last few miles (just after I had been blown into a ditch, which was nice).

Just before we got back to the car park I saw a sign saying we were leaving the Brecks, I thought a catchy name for this would be a Brexit but I had a feeling I had heard that term somewhere before although I couldn't remember when.

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

Click here to download 37.5 mile Thetford Bury St Edmunds loop gpx file on your gps