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10 of the best cycling cafes in Essex

PUBLISHED: 10:37 28 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:45 28 August 2018

Paper Mill Lock, Little Baddow (c) Sludge G, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Paper Mill Lock, Little Baddow (c) Sludge G, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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CyclesUK are a leading independent bike retail chain based in Essex and they have held a public vote to find the cafes that local cyclists love. The results are in and these are 10 of the best cycling cafes in Essex

1) Owl’s Hill Tea Room, Terling

Surrounded by a series of country lanes that are incredibly popular with cyclists, this tearoom in Terling is perfectly positioned for a rest and a refreshment after pounding the asphalt in the Essex countryside.

Located in a 100-year-old former bath house used by locally billeted soldiers, Owl’s Hill is proudly cyclist-friendly and will even provide locks, tubes and air if you find yourself requiring any of these essential cycling items during the day.

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2) Knead Food at The Blue Egg, Great Bardfield

Part of the wider Blue Egg farm shop and garden centre, Knead Food is an independent cafe that can seat 100 indoors and 70 outdoors, meaning there will be plenty of room no matter how many are in your cycling party.

Pretty much everything you see in the cafe has been made on-site whether that be their freshly baked bread, quiches, cakes or wide variety of gluten-free and vegan options. Located 45 minutes ride outside of Braintree, it’s well away from any built up areas so is a wonderfully rural place to ride.

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3) Hall and Co, Ramsden Heath

After cycling one of the many routes that take you near or around the beautiful Hanningfield Reservoir, drop into this coffee shop based just outside Billericay. Serving a wide range of coffees at good prices, the cafe is welcoming of cyclists and even has a track pump on site.

Depending on the weather, take your pick of an eclectic yet tastefully put together interior or the small garden out the back. It can get busy, however, so if you’re planning on visiting with a large group it may be best to book ahead.

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A few more places for a drink and a bite to eat:

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4) Norton Heath Café, Norton Heath

Wedged between Chipping Ongar and the Hylands Estate, this cafe is so popular with cyclists and bikers that it’s become a well-recognised meeting point for clubs and societies. There’s also plenty of parking so lots of you can give your two wheels a rest safely and securely.

It’s handy location means all different types of clientele mix together including builders on their way to work, ramblers stopping for a refreshment, families and, of course, fellow cyclists. As well as the all-day breakfast, they serve a range of simple yet filling food that will be ideal for a no-frills feed to set you off back on the road.

5) Snug Café, High Easter

Despite its name the Snug Cafe near Chelmsford is fully prepared to cater for a group of you to drop in once you’ve been through Little Waltham, Dunmow, Hatfield Heath and other villages surrounding High Easter.

Breakfast is served up until 11.30am and after that the menu shifts onto their imaginative range of homemade cakes, sandwiches and cream teas. If you’re out for an evening ride in summer on the first Saturday of the month then you might catch their later opening where they offer brasserie-style eating.

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6) The Lock, Heybridge Basin

One of Tiptree’s many tea rooms dotted around Essex, The Lock is perched right on the River Blackwater and boasts incredible views over towards Northey Island. We’d recommend riding in the area around Maldon to enjoy the best of the estuarine environment before heading to The Lock for a cream tea starring Tiptree jam.

If a cream tea isn’t your thing then they also serve traditional cafe-style breakfasts, salads, jacket potatoes and homemade cakes. There’s also another Tiptree tea room called The View River Cafe out towards Osea Island if you fancy another stop.

7) Blackmore Tea Rooms, Blackmore

In the Essex Life Food & Drink Awards last year Blackmore Tea Rooms were a finalist in the Best Coffee / Tea Shop category so we are already well aware of their pedigree, as are the cycling clubs that regularly drop in to sample what they have to offer.

Despite often being incredibly busy - a testament to how well they’re doing things there - service is always prompt and friendly. If possible get a perch outside so you can enjoy views of the little green out front.

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8) The Bake House, Chelmsford

Sitting on the same road as the Norton Heath Cafe, this coffee shop is a sister location to the Fox & Goose pub and The Folly Bistro, two other popular spots around Chelmsford.

Coffee is central to what they offer and their own delicious blend is roasted just a few minutes away in Writtle. Such a coffee will be a suitable tonic to go with one of their delicious savoury muffins, a brunch or, if you’re riding a little later, a ‘Bakehouse Classic’ lunch.

9) Paper Mill Lock Tearooms, Little Baddow

It’s easy to see why the Paper Mill Lock Tearooms are one of the most popular eateries of its type in the county: as well as its gorgeous riverside location halfway along the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation, the sumptuous cakes they offer will never disappoint.

Based just outside Little Baddow, it’s a great stop to work into an extended ride crossing the river at several points and heading out towards the river’s mouth at Maldon.

10) Bicicletta - Coffee con Velo, Saffron Walden

Targeted specifically towards cyclists, Bicicletta - Coffee con Velo is the most urban business on this list. Situated on the 2014 Tour de France route, it not only provides weary cyclists with a much-needed caffeine boost, it also has an on-site store stocking bikes and components and offering custom builds.

As you would expect there’s all you need to lock your bike up securely or do a little bit of on-the-go maintenance for when the roads take their toll. Food offerings are healthy and chosen with their nutritional value to the cyclist in mind.

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