Meet Matt Stanbury: the cycling influencer who is as passionate about hardcore cycling as he is is about… Victoria Sponge!
Matt Stanbury has found himself a niche in the cycling influencer world: not only is he a serious cyclist, clocking up impressive mileage and taking on hardcore challenges, but Matt also has a wicked sense of fun and brings his love of colour, rock music and sweet treats to his social accounts. Matt has a 65k Instagram following, and his account is pumped full of reels showing hardcore hill climbs, stunts and other bike antics, as well as awesome photos including his own vibrant jersey designs and of course, cake.
Matt is also charismatically excited about taking on his first ever Dragon Ride this year, and he doesn’t plan to do things by halves: Matt is taking on the full Devil distance of 300km this year, and we can’t wait for him to bring his rock and roll personality to the event!
We caught up with Matt before the event, to share some of his energy and can-do attitude with our participants. Read the conversation to feel inspired (and hungry!) ahead of the Dragon Ride 2023, and make sure to say hi to Matt on the day if you spot him!
1. Hi Matt. Introduce yourself!
I’m Matt and I’m a designer and professional cake eater! I’ve been cycling for almost 11 years. I first started cycling as a means to get fit and commute in London; I brought a cheap fixed gear bike and after a few months, I was hooked! After joining a team, I did some racing for a few years and in 2012 my dad wanted to ride LEJOG. I got on his spare road bike which was too big and we rode the length of Britain in 10 days. Since that moment, I have truly been addicted and haven’t stopped riding since. I’m proud to have completed 960 mile ride with my Dad, and I have also completed two EVERSTINGS (where you ride up and down a hill until you reach the summit of Everest).Also, I am lucky enough to have raced in USA twice and came away with top 10 results – that was awesome!
2. What does a typical week of cycling look like to you?
A typical week is 200-300 miles in the saddle – mainly riding laps and chatting with pals; a longer ride on a Wednesday morning; and one evening ride. I’ll do a long ride on the weekend too and sometimes I’ll go to the local time trial as well. There’s no strict schedule really – I just go with the flow!
3. Do you do most of your rides solo or with others? Also, what does the ‘perfect’ ride look like to you?
I often ride with pals, but there’s nothing better than a solo ride if you want to go fast or do some specific training like hills or efforts! A perfect ride for me is a nice costal ride with some punchy hills – not too sunny and definitely a cake stop! I used to love going for really long rides of roughly 100 miles or so, but the sweet spot these days is around 70 miles. I live in Dorset, so we are spoilt with good routes on the coast or in the forest.
4. Talk to us about snacks. How do you combine your love for cycling with love for cakes?
Well… I got introduced to almond croissants and chocolate brownies early on when I used to do laps in Regents Park in London, so naturally that turned into a habit. The rule of thumb is that I’ll only eat cake on a ride longer than 40 miles – you’ve got to earn it to burn it, haha! Also, one evening, I was riding home and I came up with my slogan “no cake no glory” and that took off when I started designing my cycling kit which was related to my cake addiction!
5. Which cakes or pastries are your ‘go-tos’?
My favourites are… scones with cream and jam; Victoria sponge cake (I have a big tattoo of one on my back!) and of course… donuts! I have that tattooed as well ha! There is an awesome bakery in Dorset called Bigwigs where cakes are big and juicy!
6. You are an eye catching cyclist with your awesome bib designs and tattoos – is this visual aspect important to you, and why? Which bib design are you most proud of and can we buy them?
I started designing kit because I was fed up with wearing other people’s designs; I wanted to start a mini cult following, I guess! I was lucky to meet a good pal of mine now who worked for a kit brand so we started doing cool collabs and have done for 5 years now! I have had kit collections for sale globally and on Wiggle in the past, but sometimes I keep it really exclusive and do small runs of kit. I’m proud of all the kits I create and its great because no one knows what’s coming next!
7. You have over 65k Instagram followers – what is your Instagram community like? Cake enthusiasts as well I gather!
I’d say they are all avid cyclists which definitely share a cake passion but also like the humour and sheer bizarreness of the custom kit and bikes I design. I think people see a genuine person who rides lots and they can relate to it more than someone who just poses. I have a global audience which is awesome! It’s taken 10 years to get to here and like a second job!
8. And finally, can you tell us about the Dragon Ride this year! How have you found the training and what are you looking forward to on the day?
So I’ve heard there quite a few hills… I think the sheer amount of elevation and mileage is what feels attractive about the ride, and I think that no matter how fit you are its going to be a tough day in the saddle. My training for this event has been based on being consistent in mileage and making sure you’re comfortable on the bike and mentally ready!
Rock on Matt, and best of luck for the event!