It is a well-known fact that Brits love a cuppa, in fact, 37% of British people drink 2 to 3 cups of tea a day and popping into a tea shop while out shopping, hiking or on a bike ride is a popular activity. Cycling is a great way to experience a country, especially Britain, so why not combine a love of tea, travel, and cycling and saddle up in search of the perfect cup of tea and some guilt-free cake.
Sustrans, a British cycling charity manage the National Cycle Network, 14,000 miles of traffic-free paths and quiet on-road cycling crisscrossing the UK linking up villages, towns, and cities. Once you are in Britain, there are plenty of places where bikes can be hired for a few hours, days or weeks. Confused by the options available? Ask the bike hire shop to help you work out which bicycle works for you. Next, work out where to go. Do you prefer rugged coastlines or rolling green hills? Mountains, or flat riverside paths? Urban or country cycling. Britain has it all and more besides. Now you have a map, a route, and a bicycle, it is time to go in search of tea and cake.
The perfect British cuppa
There are many tea shops and cafés in Britain and it won’t take long until you find one. Finding the perfect cup of British tea should be easy. The perfect cup of tea starts by warming the teapot. It is warmed by rinsing it out with hot water. Next, tea leaves are added, one teaspoon per person and “one for the pot”. Either place the leaves directly in the pot, and use a filter over each cup when pouring to catch the loose leaves, or use a tea infuser. The tea is infused for 3-5 minutes before serving. Most Brits serve with milk, historically this is because a drop of milk in the teacup prevented the hot tea from cracking delicate porcelain cups but nowadays the milk is poured in afterward. Sugar cubes or crystals are then added according to taste.
A slice of cake
A slice of cake is the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea. A Victoria Sponge–a vanilla sponge cake filled with jam and cream–is quintessentially British. Or try scones, a sweet cake also served with jam or cream which is the equivalent of the American biscuit. And if you are feeling really indulgent, how about a slice of indulgent chocolate cake or tangy lemon drizzle cake. The choices are endless and your waistline may be worried but don’t worry, one hour of leisurely cycling burns around 250 calories so it won’t take long to work off the cake while cycling to your next tea stop!
Britain is a great country to cycle around, especially when tea is available at every opportunity. Book your tickets now and take some vacation time, your perfect cuppa is waiting for you here.
Freelance contribution by Lucy Wyndham.