Tag Archives: York

More about bikes or Bicis y Mas

The banner as you turn into Fossgate says it all: ‘York’s hidden gem. Welcome to Fossgate for a unique shopping and dining experience’.

And it’s true. Fossgate, which runs into Walmgate, after crossing the River Foss is one of York’s hidden streets, lined with small independent shops and cafés.

There are some great places to discover and it’s where I came across Bicis Y Mas, or ‘Bikes and more’, a vegetarian café and bike workshop halfway along Walmgate. This lovely coffee shop/restaurant completes my mini series of cycling cafés in honour of the Tour de Yorkshire 2016.

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Bicis Y Mas is a bustling little café, stylishly decorated using vibrant pops of colour that perfectly match the racks of bold cycling tops for sale.

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Check out the table legs here – a great way to recycle old bicycle wheels….

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I loved the vintage Tour de France photos that have been used to decorate the walls too.

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The food is very good. You can enjoy anything from a cup of tea or coffee or choose something more substantial from their vegetarian and vegan menu including breakfasts, lunches, hotpots and soups.

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Lunch is served up to 3.30pm. I enjoyed a delicious meat-free burger on a bagel (the bagel idea really worked adding just enough sweetness) with salad. And as for pudding, there is no shortage of tempting treats to tuck into.

So, it’s a great place to pop in for coffee and cake which you can have until 5pm – with the chance to catch up on the latest cycling news on the TV here – and no doubt some cycling banter.

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Then by night, the place changes again with a different menu, featuring tapas-style sharing dishes and nibbles to enjoy with a glass or wine or continental beer which I think sounds fun.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this snapshot of York’s quirky cycling cafés – maybe after all that café hopping, you might just feel like getting on your bike after all…..

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A trip to Cycle Heaven

Isn’t it great when the journey is as much fun as getting where you want to be? With helpful signs pointing us in the right direction, we didn’t have much trouble finding our destination – the new café at Cycle Heaven.

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Cycle Heaven is one of York’s best-known bike shops which started out in Bishopthorpe Road (blog post here in case you don’t know this gem of a street) where it still has a shop for repairs and accessories, as well as one at York Station for repairs and cycle hire.

It recently expanded by opening a third shop with a café in bigger premises in Hospital Fields Road.

You can get there from York centre via Rowntree Park in Terry Avenue.

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Park up in the car park here and walk, cycle or scoot which is what the boys did.

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It’s great cycling and scooting territory, especially for kids – the paths are actually part of the York Orbital Cycle Route which circles the city and begins and ends at the Millennium Bridge.

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Rowntree Park itself is a lovely green space with a play area, skatepark and its own café, The Rowntree Park Reading Room & Café which is well worth a visit.

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You cross The Millennium Bridge.

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Check out the padlocks adorning the metal grids. If you’ve been to Paris you’ll know that the Pont de L’Archeveche is, or rather was covered in these love locks.

Last year the love tokens were removed from the bridge by Parisian officials because they they were causing damage to the bridge. This doesn’t seem to be an issue at the moment in York unless more people decide to declare their love here.

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I wonder if Dave and Vicky are still an item? Tradition is that you throw away the key so I hope it all worked out.

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The new Cycle Heaven building is on the site of an old military hospital. The café is run by the people at Café 68 (they already have a café in Gillygate and run the café at the Castle Museum). It’s a great space – with room for families, buggies, prams, dogs, bikes, scooters, you name it – you’ll all squeeze in.

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The menu has a good range of salads, soups, sandwiches and cakes. The staff were very accommodating with the boys whose cosmopolitan taste in food is still under construction so it was sausage sandwiches all round for them.

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The café is at one end of the bike showroom so I found myself eyeing up some lovely bicycles over my lunch…..

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with some eye-catching floral accessories….

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Just not sure they would get me to the finish line of the Tour de Yorkshire 2016 – what do you reckon?

Bishy Road and The Pig and Pastry

I happened to find myself strolling along the best high street in the UK last week – in York. Yes, really, it is that close to home.

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Bishopthorpe Road, or Bishy Road as it is affectionately known locally, scooped the ‘Best Local Parade of Shops’ title and ‘Great British High Street of the Year‘ 2015.

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So, what earned it the title? After all on the face of it, it looks like any other high street. But look again and you notice that this high street is mostly made up of independent shops, cafes, restaurants and delis.

The Great British High Street judges were impressed with Bishy Road’s ‘community spirit, innovation and legendary party spirit’ (it holds a street party and winter lights party). It has great shops, cafes and businesses, 90 per cent of which are independent stores as opposed to the usual row of chain stores that have monopolised many UK high streets.

Anyway, first port of call was The Pig and Pastry. It’s a while since I have been here and I had forgotten how lovely it is – good locally-sourced food, friendly atmosphere and charming decor.

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This family-run café is well known for its breakfasts and brunch served until 3pm (for those of you with a chance of a lie-in beyond midday). From bacon butties to waffles, full English to scrambled eggs (with chorizo) the menu has all-round appeal. I was intrigued by the BAFTA sandwich – any guesses? See at bottom of page for the answer*.

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Being as I was on a mission for Style and Story I stuck to coffee and toast. However, a very nice lady next to me let me take a photo of her mouth-watering waffle piled high with bananas, blueberries and bacon which she said was wonderful and the reason she came here.

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The Pig and Pastry is not a huge cafe and it was busy enough on a week day when I popped by which is probably testament to its popularity as one of York’s best-loved cafes. There is seating outside if the weather is kind enough or if you don’t mind a squeeze and getting to know your neighbours there are plenty of tables of all shapes and sizes inside.

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This is definitely a place I will be returning to – and I will most definitely be sampling that delicious looking breakfast waffle next time. More posts on Bishy Road to come….

*Answer – Bacon, Avocado, Feta, Tomatoes, Aioli.

Sankta Lucia – A Scandinavian festival

Many of us go along to carol services at this time of year but last night we went to something truly special at York Minster.

At the beginning of the Sankta Lucia service the lights in the minster dimmed to near darkness and from the back a procession of choristers carrying candles make their way through the congregation.

At the head of the chorister is Lucia, a young woman or girl bearing a crown of candles.

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As they proceed the choir sing the Sankta Lucia carol which is a tune many of you will be familiar with. Their unaccompanied voices soared to the heights of the minster and it was a breathtaking moment.

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Sankta Lucia or A Festival of Light is a merger of pagan and Christian traditions. According to the Julian calendar which was used in Sweden until 1753, the night between 12th and 13th December was the longest night of the year when it was believed extra protection was needed against darkness and evil. The custom was to eat and drink and to stay up all night.

The advent wreath

The advent wreath

December 13th is also the saint’s day of Lucia, St Lucy. The 4th century Lucia was martyred in Sicily for refusing to marry a pagan nobleman. She miraculously survived attempts to kill her and did not die until she received the last sacraments.

Lucia’s story and name became synonymous with its associations with light and the story spread via Germany and England to Sweden.

Lucia has a special place in the hearts of the Swedish people, and on December 13th a Lucia and her attendants appear in almost every home, school, church and office.

Her crown of candles may symbolise a halo and her red sash martyrdom. The tradition of Lucia processions spread to other Scandinavian countries and some Baltic countries.

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Sankta Lucia is a family-friendly event held at York Minster in partnership with York Anglo-Scandinavian Society (YASS) which  aims to promote friendship and understanding between Britain and Scandinavia.

Of course, there are strong historic and cultural links which York has with Scandinavia – the Vikings, The annual Yorvik Festival and the Yorvik Centre all pay homage to York’s Nordic heritage.

The choir taking part in the procession, Chorus Pictor, is from Stockholm and tours in Sweden and abroad. They were joined at by members of the YASS Lucia Singers who are Scandinavian and English girls from the York area. Members of Vaxholms gosskor (the Vaxholm boys’ choir), the ‘starboys’ in the procession.

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In a distracting multi-media age where so much is commercialised it’s not always easy to find something original or authentic – and that costs nothing.

Sankta Lucia at York Minster is a wonderful experience in a magnificent setting and is a lovely way of taking time out from the headlong rush to Christmas Day.