The MAMIL’s (middle aged men in Lycra) strike again

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What better time for a cycling-related post? The year is new and people are recovering from the excesses of Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. Perhaps you are one of the many who has resolved to be more active this year?

Maybe you want to be healthier, or you could just want to get buff in time for the summer. Either way, cycling is one of the area’s most popular outdoor activities, and one thing’s for certain – you need to refuel after a long bike ride (even if you are on a diet).

For the second of our popular features on cycling friendly cafes, our boys rode to Newent, a picturesque market town half a day’s ride from Coleford, Cinderford or Ross on Wye.

Get ready for our second MAMILs bonk-busting cake review
Get ready for our second MAMILs bonk-busting cake review

They’ve done it again!

The MAMIL’s (middle aged men in Lycra) have been out once again on their perpetual two-wheeled quest for the perfect piece of cake! No amount of rain, wind or cold will stop them whizzing along the Forest & Wye’s highways and byways this winter. Naturally, they’ll be looking for an excuse to get off their bikes for a 20 minute rest, a nice cup of tea and a “bonk-busting” slab of biblical homemade cake.

Over the festive period, our wise men ditched the map and followed yonder star to Newent where they had a revelation (not a revolution) and found The Good News Centre – a Christian book shop with a great café!

The great network of lanes and cycle trails (seriously – take a good map!) kept them off the main roads until they reached Newent. Although the small town is part of the Forest of Dean district, visitors can see spectacular views stretching towards the Cotswolds of beautiful rolling hills. All of which can be enjoyed at one’s leisure as there’s no serious climbing in this neck of the woods, so it’s all relatively easy pedalling cycling – for our MAMIL at any rate.

Beware the hedge cutting season though. In total, the boys managed 6 punctures between them on one lane following a local farmer’s winter toils. Plenty of spare tubes and a trusty puncture outfit saved the day. They completed their mission somewhat hungry and perhaps a tad grumpy.

Fortunately, wholesome home-baked fare was on offer for our weary cyclists!
Fortunately, wholesome home-baked fare was on offer for our weary cyclists!

Here’s what they had to say

The Good News Centre is in the middle of town and is a Christian bookshop with a great coffee shop at the back. It’s best approached from the rear entrance where there is a large patio area with good bike parking and outdoor seating.

Friendly community spirited café

If you are put off by the “Christian” element – you’ll be missing out. Inside is a small and very welcoming cafe run as part of the centre by really friendly staff. They have, of course, a greater mission but their Christian values sit very nicely with their community spirit too. “It is central to our purpose that the centre benefits the local community: we aim to provide a service within an attractive and friendly meeting place”.

Meet Sam the café manager and volunteer, Dave!
Meet Sam the café manager and volunteer, Dave!

We met Sam the café manager and volunteer, Dave – who talked us through the history of the centre and its ethos. The Good News Centre has been going since 1980, although its origins stretch back some 30 years to when it started life as a market book stall. Volunteers and charitable donations have helped the centre develop into what it is today – a community spirited bookshop and café.

The centre has a well-stocked bookshop in front and an upstairs area for quieter contemplation, if needed. It is the first time we have encountered small prayer slips on the tables in a café – an indication of the centre’s real commitment to their faith and wish to share it.

A warm welcome and plentiful supplies of cake on hand at The Good News Centre, Newent
A warm welcome and plentiful supplies of cake on hand at The Good News Centre, Newent

Heavenly food at the Good News Centre

The fare in the Good News Centre is hard to beat and everything is made in the premises. There’s a wonderful light lunch menu of pastries, quiches, lasagne and more, but we concentrated on the homemade cakes and puddings (really fellas?) which really were exceptional.

Don’t miss their bread and butter pudding or pear and chocolate upside down cake!

Even the salad dressings are made on-site. The best-selling lines are their carrot cake, and fun creations like Malteser cake and Mars Bar Rice Krispie cake! All of the staff and volunteers here contributed to making the produce for sale in the café. The Good News Centre has changed with the times over the years and offers, as you might expect, a great modern range of splendid coffee and teas.

Many of the staff are good friends as well as workmates and the atmosphere in the café can best be described as lively and warm hearted. We certainly left with spirits lifted and well-fuelled for the return journey. Prayers – well we didn’t leave one but it’s a lovely thought and, you never know, it may even do some good.

The Good News Centre

High St

Newent

Gloucester

01531 821456

Open Mon – Sat 9.00 till 5.00pm (not bank holidays)

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