Whether riding solo or with friends a cafe stop is an integral part of any ride. Since the earliest rides a network of cafe’s has been built up that accommodate the rider’s need – the CTC’s Cyclists Welcome scheme has existed since it was formed in 1878.
But what makes a good cycling cafe ? In recent years many bike shops have used offering coffee and cake as a useful selling point and several eateries have opened with a cycling theme. Surely good cafe is more than slapping a few posters and a bike on the wall and having a nice Italian coffee machine ?
Like any business, service is the key. No thirsty (and hungry) cyclist wants to be hanging on for half an hour for a brew. And when their order does arrive just because they arrive by bike the quality of the fare should be of a decent standard.
Riders should feel welcome. Cyclists contribute a lot to the rural economy and often in winter months they can be the only customers in some eateries.
Decent, secure bike parking is another must, preferably within site of the cafe. There are many anecdotal cases of riders bikes being taken whilst they are having a brake which leaves a very sour taste in your mouth.
Here are a few of our local favourite cafes that have nailed what makes a good eatery and offer something a little different to the beige and bland offerings of some…..
Based in a working Victorian mill, Caudwell’s mill cafe has been an institution for cyclists for years. One of the quirky things about this eatery is that it is vegetarian, but not in a way that you would notice. Although it does not offer the standard big breakfast on its menu, it has a mix of delicious salads and quiches at lunchtmes.
Based on a working farm with attached shop, the quality of the big breakfast offered here is nothing short of superb. All the meats come from the farm and the quality of the tea and coffee offered alongside them is top notch.
There’s not many cafe’s located at a grade one listed building that’s been a key part of the space race for nearly seventy years.
The cafe is located in the visitor centre next to the telescope. The menu is an eclectic mix of traditional sounding breakfasts and more exotic lunchtime fare including shredded Morococan lamb on flatbread and bratwurst in brioche bun. The centre has a purpose built bike shed and an open eating area when the weather permits.
Hardwick Hall is one of the great Tudor palaces and a big part of Elizabethan history. Run by the National Trust this sprawling estate can be seen from miles around. Sat in the courtyard besides the main house is the stables restaurant. Despite being a fairly standard menu, the food is cooked well and staff are very cheery.
Situated in the lovely village of Crich, the setting for the 90’s drama ‘Peak Practice’, Loaf, as the name suggests, is an artisan bakers. A lovely touch at this cafe is the table service. The cafe has a lovely contemporary feel inside and of course the ever so nice aroma of freshly baked bread. Our fave are the scones with flavours such as chocolate orange.