Cafe stops are what make bike rides. I am guilty of forgoing this treat for fear of being alone and looking stupid with nothing to read. However, today I had both the cafe in mind and a companion to keep me entertained on the stop. This morning I met up with an old school friend Adrian for a ride that has been a long time in the making (courtesy of Facebook). On a cold and overcast morning we rode out to Ironbridge and a favourite sopping point of mine, the Tea Emporium. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before but I need good coffee – and all in the pursuit of good taste, good tea too – and the Tea Emporium does just that: a dark, slightly bitter espresso with just enough crema to make it slip down. It makes the exit from Ironbridge that bit easier, not that it can ever be described as such. As any good geography student (or even an astute history pupil) will know, Ironbridge sits in a gorge and though any entry in is downhill, the exit is via a climb. Today’s ascent was Jiggers Bank, a climb I first encountered after watching the Tour of Britain in 2008. On that occasion I had noticed a double espresso was sufficient fuel to take on this beast and what better excuse today. Yes, I conquered it but riding with Adrian up that I now know how Tom Boonen must have felt watching Fabian Cancellara ride away on the Muur in this year’s Tour of Flanders. Oi oi oi.
In all seriousness it was great to get out with an old friend. I am now completely shattered and have my entertainment lined up on the coffee table next to me. I think I’ve deserved a second beer this evening before an early night.