In praise of ... pubs for cafe rides
By David Land posted 25 June 2019
Let’s not get off on the wrong foot. I love a good café, pretty much anywhere on a ride (somewhere between half and three quarters for preference). And I don’t have a fixed idea about coffee over tea, or pastries over cake, or sweet over savoury, whatever takes your fancy at that moment in time. I’m not a massive fan of those cafes that seem over-run with lycra all weekend, but if it’s a sustainable business model, and it works for them, I’m not so petty as to avoid them if they come up at the right time.
I was thinking about this in earnest last Saturday, out on a ride with a friend. We’d met up about halfway (or so) and parked in a layby. We then set of on a route I’d concocted. Some of the roads were familiar, some weren’t. Plenty I recognised when I’d got there but nowhere had I thought about as a café stop. The final 15km went through about five different villages. Individually we’d been keeping our eyes peeled, and it was only when we got to the last but one we realised we’d been doing the same observations, and eventually had a brief conversation about how we could ‘do with a coffee’.
But despair not urban dwellers, there are a multitude of places to get a decent cup of coffee in the countryside nowadays. And they are called pubs. Long gone is the image of yokels drinking zideeerr. We went to the nearest one to hand, less than a kilometre off route, and it met all our requirements for extravagant coffee specifics (decaf, flat white, espresso, and so on). I looked it up afterwards, and evert village had a pub in, and all of the had websites, and they all said coffee and tea.
I get why they’re called café rides. It’s very continental – and we thoroughly approve of that. But don’t get put off by the lack of cafes in the countryside. It doesn’t mean you can’t get as much decent coffee as you could possible need.