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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Thursday 12 August 2021

Let the adventure begin. (Norway to Italy bike packing pilot 1 at Cromer)

Norway to Italy bike packing pilot 1

As regular followers will know me and Mrs Crusader like to have a summer adventure along a National cycle route. However what with one thing and another this has not been possible for the last two years. Therefore in 2022 we plan to super size our trip. The aim is to head to the northern tip of Europe in Norway and, roughly following Eurovelo route 7, see how far South we can get, hopefully finishing somewhere in Italy, with the target being Rome.

The original plan had been to get to the tip of Italy but thanks to Brexit we now only have 90 days before we get chucked out of Europe.

Our normal trips don’t take much organising, just download the cycle route to your Garmin, book a bit of accommodation and off you go.

However 3 months in Europe needs a bit more thinking about and as parts of it will be quite remote camping will be involved.

Bike packing has not been something we have done for over 20 years so I decided a few practice goes would be required. Therefore on Tuesday we set off on a practice trip to Cromer. We would be bringing the e-learning book to write down all lessons learned for the after ride debrief.

I put Mrs Crusader in charge of packing the bikes and she assured me she had spread things out evenly although on closer inspection I wasn’t sure how good a job she had done.

Bikes locked and loaded, lets bike pack.

After lunch we set off into the unknown and it was slow going for me unusually arriving at the top of any hill with Mrs Crusader still with me.

After 20 miles we had a break at the excellent Reepham station cafe that I had recently re reviewed (See Egg Hunt). It was a very welcome cup of tea and excellent Rocky Road and chocolate cake.

Reepham Refreshments

From here the route became more interesting as I had added some off road sections to make sure we got the feel for handling more difficult terrain while fully loaded. This did not gone down well and it was suggested going straight down the A 140 to Cromer would have been preferable. I made the first entry in the e-learning book.

Off road bits weren't popular

We arrived at our campsite and checked in. I unpacked our gear and laid it out. Some was brand new and some were old friends from 20 years ago. 

Now build a campsite

I had kept meaning to have a practice putting up the new tent in the garden but had never got round to it but how hard could it be?

Tent assembly was easier than expected

Fortunately it turned out to be fairly straight forward and within 30 mins our campsite, including light weight camping chairs, was ready for action.


Foolishly we decided to celebrate with fish and chips but as everyone is on a staycation these days then all the chip shops had massive queues. I decided to leave Mrs Crusader in one such queue while I had a nice sit down. 

Over an hour later we got back to the campsite, ate are chip supper and settled in for the evening. 

The next big test was how a night in the tent might pan out, especially now my bladder was 20 years older too. 

Not surprisingly not well as I spent the night either going for a pee or lying awake needing one. It also turned out the the world snoring championships were being held on our field with the tent next door having a real contender. In the morning Mrs Crusader claimed it was her worst nights sleep ever. Better sleeping mats, bags and ear plugs were added to the e-learning book plus the need to keep the number of camping stops to a minimum.

As I supervised, Mrs Crusader broke camp and remarkably manged to get everything packed back into the tiny bags from whence they came.

De camping underway

We hadn't bought any breakfast or cooking gear with us so no morning coffee which was another big mistake as we headed to Alysham for breakfast 90 minutes away.
I took on the key management role in getting packed up

It was a beautiful morning for cycling which reminded us of why we were doing this so, although tired we got safely to Aylsham for a mid morning breakfast.
Beautiful Norfolk morning

I hadn’t been to Biddys for several years so thought it was a good chance to refresh my ratings.

I was blown away by the fabulous cake selection and opted for a nice cup of breakfast tea and giant cinnamon bun type thing, which were both very good. Unfortunately all Mrs Crusader wanted was a strong coffee and croissant of which neither were available, so out came the e-learning book with a new section re breakfast and not going to tea rooms at that time of day.

The outdoor courtyard was very pleasant and we felt a bit more refreshed after we had had some fuel.

It may not have been the perfect breakfast stop but Biddys would be an excellent stop for a normal bike ride and it improved its scores on my last visit as well.

Once back at Crusader Towers  we reviewed our pilot trip. The cycling bit went better than expected but the camping is definitely work in progress so I have arranged another pilot camping trip next month to put the e-learnings from the book into practice as planning for next years big trip continues.

map of route

Click here to download 64 mile Norwich Cromer camping route gpx file for your gps

Saturday 7 August 2021

Feedback. (Back to the Garden, Letheringsett)

Back to the Garden,


Mon-Sat 08:15-5:00, Sun 09:00-4:00,

Highly Recommended

I had arranged to meet Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) at Hard to Please House in Aylsham for  a ride. I had recently spotted the Back to the Garden farm shop and cafe at Letheringsett near Holt so decided this would be the perfect opportunity to check it out.

I asked Andrew if he could provide a 40 mile route to encompass the cafe. I knew this would be done old school with the ride organically developing as we went along rather than getting sent a GPX file to follow on my Garmin, which seems to be most peoples preferred option these days.

Once at Hard to Please House I unpacked my bike while Andrew faffed with his cycling clothing choices for the ride (it took 3 changes of top before he was ready) but eventually we were on our way.

I had picked excellent conditions, if a bit windy as we enjoyed an incident free ride while Andrew let fly with a series of rants. Topics included tourists ruining the Lake District and that there are too many people with dogs in St David’s, Wales.

Andrew's excellent route unfolded until, unfortunately, the last mile down to our venue was down the main road. Never a pleasant experience but we safely arrived at Back to the Garden.

Safely arriving at back to the garden

Once inside I immediately checked out the excellent cake selection which made me think the other food would be good too.

Excellent cake selection

There was a choice of a large barn style indoor seating area or a delightful outdoor garden area at the back (which I assume is where the cafe gets its name from). As it was a bit windy we decided to stay inside.

The garden you can go back to

When it came to ordering we hit a bit of a conundrum, the breakfast menu ended at 11.30 and lunch menu didn’t start until 12.00. It was now 11.40 and we had found ourselves in the menu twilight zone. The waitress confirmed it was cakes or nothing for the next twenty minutes, an interesting business model for a cafe, but we went with it. 

It did mean that Andrew couldn’t have the avocado and Brie ciabatta he wanted but I explained that eating avocado was very bad for the environment and there had been a lot of publicity about it recently. He promised never to eat one again.

The lack of lunch menu wasn’t really a problem as I went for a cheese scone and Bakewell blondie and Andrew followed suit. This caused great excitement to the couple sitting on the next table. The elderly lady came across to make sure she had heard right and that I had ordered a cheese scone. I wasn’t sure if she was about to advise me against having one but instead told me she had just had one and it was excellent so, waving a napkin with a half eaten scone in it, she would be taking the rest home. Slightly bemused I thanked her for her unsolicited feedback, she seemed happy enough and went on her way.

I was now even more excited about our refreshments (and I can get pretty damn excited over cake) but when it arrived I couldn’t believe my eyes as all 4 cake based items had been served slap bang in the middle of their serviettes arghhhhhh!. That’s 4 bits of paper pointlessly ruined and the good environmental work Andrew had done, by not be allowed his avocado ciabatta, had been wiped out with the climate crisis now moving a step closer. Remember #keepcakeoffserviettes!

Could hardly believe my eyes as 4 cakes served on serviettes turn up

Once I had calmed down we tried our cakes and Andrew confirmed that it was indeed a very good cheese scone but neither of us felt strongly enough to congratulate any other cheese scone orderers on their choice. They would have to make their own mind up.

The tea and hot chocolate were good too and the staff were very friendly so if you avoid the menu dead zone then I would highly recommend a visit.

The return trip was into the wind making it a lot tougher but Andrew managed to make the ride 39.6 miles which was a good effort seeing as he didn’t know what the route would be when we set off.


Hot Choc Quality

Guest Hot Drink Quality

Effective Cake Selection

Cake Quality

Ambiance and Atmosphere

Café Rating







Route (not the actual one as it was an Andrew “make it up as you go along special” but this is a similar one)

Click here to download 32 Mile Alysham Holt loop GPX file for your GPS