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About the Campaign

The Great British Food Cycle is a nationwide campaign aimed at getting people back in touch with the great British food that’s on their doorsteps.

Led by eccentric foodie Tim Keates, tweed-clad and moustachioed, who picks up & drops off delectable samples of Great British food to Great British people as he pedals on his merry way through these islands. Organic butchers, artisan bakers and box scheme makers – and the people who enjoy their great local food – are all invited to get involved.

As more and more people are asking about the providance of their food, and how they can get the most flavour & nutrition for themselves and their families we are turning a spotlight on great local farmers, growers, retailers & chefs the length of the country.

“I am Spartacus!” more information on the ride coming

I am Spartacus! - Tim Keats Great British Food CycleDear Reader & foodie,

Please bear with the food cyclist more information about the ride is on its way. The last few days of riding Betsy (and Tim) had a number of technical issues.

November began and the temperature dropped and persistent rain rolled over mid and north western Wales the cycling became harder after 350 miles the legs were tired in the cold & wet and updating the site quickly dropped down the priorities.

Please check back in a few days.

If you are a food producer involved in the ride, thank you for your patience. Tim will contact you via your email or Facebook listing you gave during the visit. If you have photo stills of the visit please send them to: gbfoodcycle@gmail.com

Finished the ride in Caernarfon

A quick note to say I successfully finished the ride in Caernarfon Saturday 8th at 14.30 delivering a bottle of Warn Brewery Snickledodle beer to Y Pantri Cymraeg, on the main square Caernarfon. Thereby completing the circle I began on 23rd Oct having taken Bara Brith from them in the first instance. Becky remembers me setting off only 17 days before.

More info will be forthcoming on these pages, once this food cyclist can gather his thoughts from such a grand and information rich tour.

To be continued…

Apologies for dropping off the radar

Dear Foodie,
Apologies for not updating the blog as regularly as perhaps might be expected.
This food cyclists has had difficulty getting regular mobile signal and blogging from a mobile device even when at his accommodation. 
After cycling for 6-8hrs in mixed weather what this perambulist needs is a shower, a decent bit of nosebag and a soft pillow to rest his weary head. Not to go in search of internet connectivity.

Welsh telecommunication providers, please continue to upgrade the service.

Please check back for more updated posts. Thank you.

Caws Cenarth and the mother of storms

After Vic North’s Cookery School it was a short journey to Caws Cenarth. That would be under normal circumstances …however the rain was falling heavily and foolishly I followed the roadsigns for the dairy. Unfortunately the place of interest brown signs take the vehicle drive around the hillside the long way. Missing out what I learnt later was nicknamed ‘the road of death’ anyway I was off the bike and pushing Betsy up a slippery road scattered with twigs and leaves. The wind was gusting I would think 25mph and the trees began to whistle. After an age I got to the dairy completely drenched.

Caws Cenarth Great British Food Cycle Tim Keates

Carwyn Adams was surprised to see me in such weather, but there I was bold as brass.
We immediately snapped a few pictures in the cheese store and tasting room. The pictures don’t show that if I stood still water run down my legs and flowed out of my shoes as I walked!

I still had a few miles to go to find accomadation and the storm was worsening. Carwyn loaded me up with a few examples of their excellent cheeses.
It was a terrible hardship, but I had to try a few nibbles too.
This rider was offered cheese biscuits for later, but knowing the bumpy ride declined, as in an hour riding the rutted lanes I would have a wrapper with panko crumbs not biscuits.

Leaving ladened with scrumptious cheese I laboured up the hill right in the face of the storm.
Carwyn had called around local hotels and guest houses and found me a room at the luxury Emlyn Hotel. The difficulty was getting to it.

I passed through a copse at the top of the rise and the wind ripped through the mixed woodland sounding more like heavy waves on a shingle beach. It was almost deafening. However my concentration was on the fine beam of light out front keeping me moving ahead. Missing potholes and twigs that could obstruct Betsy’s wheel. Then I heard dong! The telltail sound of a thorn in the tyre being caught & dragged out by the mudguard. I looked but couldn’t see a thing. And sure enough within a minute the front tyre was like a pancake.

It was so miserable I pressed on and discovered I could cycle very slowly forward in first gear with a flat tyre. Result!
I was only realising 3-4mph but better than 2mph walking  in a filthy storm. I freewheeled down hill towards Newcastle Emlyn and made the four miles in about an hour.

I was drenched and the evening staff at the hotel were great as I created a puddle in reception. They kindly whisked me off to my room and put a ‘caution -wet floor’ bollard up were the food cyclist had once stood. I certainly made my mark!

Later after a hot shower and a change of dry, warm clothes I was ushered to the hotel boiler room to wring out, then hang my entire days’ clothes to dry in relative ease.

What joy it was to have a Halloween inspired (spiced pumpkin) local pint,  one of the hotels famous local steak pies with twice cooked chips & veg. Sitting back as the storm raged to watch my first tv for almost two weeks.

More to follow…

Cardigan Bay area a bountiful harvest

Cardigan and the surrounding area was a find to this rider. After some tough cycling and some poor weather, my few hours in the town was great.
Thank you to Tom at the bike shop who stayed late after work to help me out and strip down the rear hub, extract the broken threaded rod and fit a new one. His years of experience had it working better than ever.
With renewed vigour I set off for St. Dogmaels and a bountiful catch…

To be continued.

Tea & croissants with Vicky North

A chance meeting had the food cyclist visit with Vicky North famed baker in the Cardigan area.
Set in spacious gardens Vicky runs a bakery school from what was the old  vicarage set outside of the village of Abercych. If tou are at all interested in artisan baking in whatever form I strongly recommend this great location and small class sizes.

A generous victorian kitchen gives participants plenty of room to hone their skills and space to make a mess if necessary.
Vicky’s adroitness comes from her patience and competence to teach from the basic to the highly skilled.
I arrived pretty much on time (which is very unusual) and was greeted with a hot cuppa, fresh croissant and good conversation.

This hungry rider devoured her croissant with homemade preserves and after a polite pause swiftly moved on to bread & cheese. She providing oven fresh wholemeal and lucky me supplying a hunk of Hafod Organic cheddar. Perfect partners with Vic’s cherry chutney we sampled.

Suitably replete I braved the heavy rain towards Caneath and well known organic cheese producer Caws Caneath.

Vic North Bakes

Further info to follow…

Carrot Cruncher Newcastle Emlyn Wales Great British Food

Carrot Crunchers of Newcastle Emlyn

 

Carrot Crunchers on the High Street of Newcastle Emlyn is bursting with goodies.
The proprietor Stuart graciously accepted my invitation to be involved as I cold called on my way through.

Carrot Cruncher Newcasatle Emlyn Great British Food Cycle Tim Keates

The guys at Teifi Valley Railway (where I stopped for coffee & superb homemade carrot cake) had recommended veggie shops & delis in Emlyn.
The vibe of the shop and the helpfulness of the owner is excellent. Local and seasonal vegetables. Larder provisions and special treats rubs shoulders with low & zero carbon goods. Bulk buy laundry liquids and Fairtrade products. A really well-rounded shop for this rural town.

I also happened upon the fabled Lemon Curd fairy who was dropping off another batch of jars of scrumptious lemony goodness.
(pictured center). Would give her name, but the town know her as the lemon curd lady!

Lady luck had me also meet Phoenix (pictured in green) who was shopping at Crunchers, a eco shopper who insisted on buying me lunch (thank you) and helped me by dropping me & Betsy in Cardigan at the bike shop as my weary legs wouldn’t get me there by closing time with the tantalizing possibility of getting the gears working after 7 days of one gear!
To be continued…

Hafod Cheese to Llandysul & Cambrian Organics

There are many players in the quality cheesemaking in Wales and two that shine out as being able to provide the market with consistent quantity and excellence of quality, born out it the flavour.
In this diarists humble opinion they are Hafod organic cheeses and *Caws Canearth.

*Caws is Welsh for cheese, you English heathen.

If you are in Wales and a cheese lover you almost definitely know these marqueues. Less so if you are in England or abroad.

During this food cycle we have had many conversations with shop & deli owners, cheesemongers, people in the street & in the bars and pretty much universally people agree these producers hit the mark.

Today I paid a brief visit to Holden Farm Dairy to swap cheese for cheese.
Sam was unavailable however I meet worker Matt, a great guy and clearly passionate about food.
While talking cheese we also got on to other foodstuffs and he gave me some invaluable leads to follow up later in my tour. Thank you Matt.

I swapped Ty Mawr from The Buffalo Dairy for a hunk of Hafod’s finest organic cheddar.

In two or three days time I should be climbing rhat darn hill to Caws Cenaerth for another swaparama with another good product, towards a hunk of dairy goodness with the same excellence of craft.

Darn it cheese is superb in Wales.
Hafod Organic Cheese they can be contacted directly 01570493283

After a long and tiring cycle I made it to The Long Barn an independent hostel run 2 miles out of Llandysul on an Organic farm that is the backbone of Cambrian Organics. A company that produces its own lamb and beef burgers solely for festivals.

They have such confidence in their product that they wound up their wholesale/retail sales to concentrate on direct sale at festivals.
The Long Barn is fabulous- out of the way accommodation.
You are in a barn. The clue is in the name. On a working farm.
Everything works and it was a great experience at very affordable prices.

Tim Keates Farm

Mangalitza Mangalitza

It was worth the wait, for my trip to visit these little pigs.

I have known about Stuart & Angela Mason for a couple of years and know that they are passionate about their porkers and are prolific in their dialogue online and offline about good food and integrity.

The road up to their farm, Bryhelog outside of Llanddewi-Brefi is not for the fainthearted.
On a good day you can see right across the valley.
I’ve cycled down in the dark and the challenge of hairpins, wet leaves, water runoff, mud and high winds was, er ‘thrilling’ on Betsy.

So in the morning i jumped at the chance of Stuart kindly coming to pick me up in the Landrover as my legs were rebelling after a hearty breakfast at the New Inn.

I had been told on the QT that Angela likes a natter, but that is only half the story.
Stuart is no shrinking violet and he too can talk the hind legs off, well a pig!

Get the pair on their favourite topic, mangalitza pigs (curly, ginger, forest pigs) and specifically how they have crafted their farm and the journey to build their herd & their business, and this food tourist just shut up and listened, and listened.

The farm supplies fresh or frozen meat direct or by post and is in the process of trialling other exciting charcuterie, prepared onsite by highly experienced chef Stuart Mason.

Bryhelog’s website reads:

MANGALITZA BY MAIL, Pigs with character, bred by people with character

Never a truer word.

www.bryhelog.co.uk

A great find in the New Inn.

It always feels great when one finds a hidden gem and I found a travellers rest in the New Inn LLanddewi Brefi, Tregaron.

Tje morning before I had a made a casual agreement to meet with a couple to talk about their herd and with my miscommunication I was waiting on a hillside waiting to talk stock in the rain, while they were unable to receive my calls due to no signal in the valley. I lost the light after the clock changed a had to return to the valley floor to find accommodation.

I cycled down off the highpoint from a very windy wet promontory. To find a local pub that had rooms available.
Cycling in to a pub car park I put Betsy on her stand and let myself in from the courtyard the the surprize of the locals.

I venture that it is almost unique that the The New Inn has had guests sporting matching tweed plus fours, & jacket with a cap over the top. Over the top is the word.

As this writer found there was a pause for contemptation by the locals at the bar.
To say this cyclist was a sight for sore eyes would be an understatement.

I asked after lodgings and immediately after explaining my journey was taken in by the fabously band of locals holding court at the horseshoe bar.

Through the evening I was treated to so many interesting and colourful stories of days gone by.
Tales of local rogues, of golden days, triumph and tragedy.
With a bar meal of excellent local steak and crispy proper chips from the expert hands of Yvonne Edwards the landlady for 22 years. Topped off by a couple of pints of local Teifi beer, drawn from m a tap room out the back I had found a traveller’s rest.

To my delight The New Inn has splendid rooms, newly renovated to the highest standard.
A new dining room filled with morning light, that can be converted into a space large enough for business presentations or for local clubs to meet.

Breakfast was a knockout with delicious thick cut bacon, herby sausage, local eggs & with all the extras you could want.

Reader, you can tell The New Inn hit this traveller’s sweet spot.

New Inn, Llanddewi Brefi
Tell them Tim the mad cyclist sent you.

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