Nearly every cyclist in the UK will be able to recommend a good cafe for a coffee and cake. You see, we're not just cyclists, but experts, connoisseurs and critiques of each and every cafe in our area.
Unlike a lot of places around the world, we favour basing our entire ride around one location around about half way through the ride; destination cafe. It seems odd when you think about it, stopping half way through a ride to eat and drink. We could just finish the ride and find a nice cafe at the finish rather than facing the dreaded 'cafe legs' as we attempt to drag an extra kilogram of food and drink up that first 20% climb that for some reason always appears immediately after a stop.
Meticulous planning goes into rides, working out which cafe to stop at whilst fitting in all of the roads we want to ride. More often than not the quality of a cafe is passed down from rider to rider meaning that the reputation of such establishments can quite quickly be enhanced or shattered based on the experience of one group of riders. Working our way across our area we dig out those cafes that become staple favourites and those which we avoid at all cost.
We're a picky bunch as cyclists; rather than the quintessentially British cup of tea, we favour coffee. Cafe owner across the UK must break out in cold sweats when a group of cyclists descent; black coffee alone isn't sufficient. Cyclists want that perfectly crafted latte with an arty finish or a trendy cappuccino. Get the coffee right and you'll probably get repeat custom, but get it wrong and those money making groups of 10 cyclists suddenly become like gold dust. You won't know why though, because we don't do trip adviser.
The cake range much also compliment the standard of coffee. Despite spending all our time meticulously trimming weight from our bikes it's somehow totally acceptable to take a huge chunk of cake during our stops; maybe that's why we have to save so much bike weight?
Of course, all of the above should be fairly priced otherwise we'll complain a lot. Maybe it's a Yorkshire thing but in my experience, cyclists are just as tight with their credit card as they are with their weight saving.
So given the high standards that cyclists set for their stops, I've often thought that one of the best ways to decide if a cafe is worth a visit, cyclist or not, is to look for a bunch of bikes outside on a Sunday morning. We're more ruthless than the Michelin Guide.