Distance: 2.70 miles
Bicycle: 1982 BSA Prima 10 speed a.k.a. “Major Tom”
Venue: Costa, Riverside shopping centre, Stafford
Purchase: Small mocha to take away – £1.60
Marks out of 5 for the cafe: 2.5 – coffee’s fine but the service is slow.
Bike friendliness: So near and yet so far… The cycle path into town goes right past the shopping centre, but the bike lock-ups are on a different level from the shops so you have to climb a flight of stairs. It’s not terrible, just annoyingly inconvenient.
Other stops: Stopped at a different lock-up to pump up my tyres.
This run was a very simple affair. I’ve left my track pump in Leamington but Major Tom’s tyres are a bit low, so knowing that the town centre has pumps available for any cyclist to use, I thought it’d be a good excuse for an extra ride. I went a slightly long way round to get to the pump because I always like riding down Mill Street, past Henry Burton’s bike shop. After I’d pumped my tyres up I cycled to the new shopping centre and parked up.
The cycling infrastructure at this new place is incredibly frustrating. The place to lock your bike up is on a different level to all the shops, so like it or lump it you’ve got to climb a staircase to get anywhere, and climb back down afterwards. It’s just so unnecessarily inconvenient. It also means your bike is a little out of sight, which makes me slightly paranoid – especially with quick-release wheels.
I popped up the stairs to Costa and got a take-away mocha. Maybe it’s because all the staff are new, but there’s something lacking at this Costa. There is always a queue, which has more to do with the speed of work than the level of demand, and the service is lacking just that extra bit of polish. Like I say, it’s probably just early teething problems. This is now the fourth Costa in Stafford, in addition to two Starbucks and one Nero’s. How can a small sleepy town need so much coffee?!
Anyway, I got my mocha and walked back to where my bike was and sat on a bench to enjoy my coffee overlooking the river. The same thought kept occurring to me – “gosh, that red bike really is jolly handsome!”