Matt Stanbury is a character. Graphic designer by trade, cyclist at heart, he has been challenging the Instagram image of a dedicated hobby athlete for quite a while via his profile Glorious, recently renamed rock_n_donuts. His belief that cycling (or any other hobby sport for that matter) should be fun in the first place clearly resonates with his 38K followers. His donut fetish, depicted on a series of jerseys of his own design, has become his tongue-in-cheek trademark in the world of too many calorie obsessives.

I gather from reading between the lines that you got into cycling later in life. Am I right? If yes, did you play other sports as a child? How did you get into cycling and what made you choose the cycling path you’re riding along now (ie. fun and style over hill races and local TTs)?

Yeah I got into riding in my 20s. Before this I was more of a kick a football around play PlayStation with my mates kind of guy! I started cycling when I worked in London around 2011. I bought a cheap fixie, and started commuting to lose weight and avoid the tube or bus... I liked cake but without the exercise haha...then I got hooked! I started looking into custom bikes at a shop called Tokyo fixed at the time! I love the thought of customizing things, it came natural to me as a designer. I just wanted to create cool things! After riding fixed gear for a few years my dad started getting into cycling and I realised doing 50 miles in Devon where it’s hill after hill wasn't going to do me any favours! I then got a road bike as well and in 2012 rode the length of Britain (980 miles in 10 days) with my dad and two other mates for charity! It was pretty tough mainly because I chose to do it in plimsols... WHAT A NOB! After 2012 I started racing on the track and doing longer and longer rides.

No cake – no glory. Cycling's love affair with cake (and coffee) is well known. You twisted it a bit and made it into your motto. How did that happen? A lot of thinking or a spur of the moment type thing? And what about coffee, by the way?

I had already come up with the name GLORIOUS taking a nod to Glorious Britain and the Tudor style of things, including a Tudor rose when I started thinking of designing a kit. I was riding home one night and the motto NO GUTS NO GLORY popped into my head...I thought to myself heyyyy I’ll use NO CAKE NO GLORY! And that was it! I have come up with another motto recently which is ROCK N’ DOUGH which is a nod to rock music and donuts! Coffee... YESSSS! Now this is a funny story.. I didn't even drink coffee until I started riding in London. A friend at the time was like “Man.... you got to try a flat white…'' I was like “what the F is that???'' I soon got hooked to the coffee and cake culture before work after morning laps!

You look very trim so how much cake do you actually eat? If a lot, how much do you ride to balance it out? You told me you had cancelled your Strava account after 100K miles ridden. What made you do that? Do you still ride that much? 

I eat a fair bit!!! In lockdown I started making flapjacks and banana breads.. They didn't last long!! I would do a Zwift ride of 60-100 miles and have about 2 thick slices but to be honest the cake wouldn't last 24hrs! On a ride it depends how far I'm going to the cake ratio... I always like to stop mid-ride or even start from a cafe, depends how early I roll out! My go to cake on a ride is a Donut or a millionaire's shortbread. Just the right amount of e-numbers or sugar! I deleted Strava at 100,000 miles because I felt I started pressuring myself to ride every day for no reason and began to not enjoy it so much so I felt I needed to wipe my slate clean. I think when your mental health starts to question you... you need to stop and evaluate yourself! I still ride around 10,000 miles a year. I record it on my OMATA gps but I mainly keep a mental tally these days! It's nice not to be a slave to the GARMIN!!!

I am very interested in the topic of Tattoos'n'Cycling. You are obviously a very interesting study case for me. One of the aspects I’d like to investigate is how people choose what to get done. Did you start with one tattoo and then kept adding more as the time went by or did you have a big scheme of things in your mind from the beginning?

I actually only planned to get one tattoo which I could cover with a watch on my wrist... At the last minute I was like “wait, do it further up!” I was heavily into punk and metal music. I started drawing my own tattoos and getting them done but nowadays I just go to my tattoo artist.. “hey mate I got this space what do you fancy doing, haha.” I think I’ve built up a collection the traditional way of just fitting bits in. To be honest there's a few that nod to cycling and cakes but most of my tattoos are just because I like the design! If someone asked me what's the meaning behind your evil pizza on your calf... I would be like “ummmmm because I ate a lot of pizza in New York?” I only have my back left now and I'm saving it to get a giant slice of cake on it with my NO CAKE NO GLORY motto in a script writing so watch this space!!!

I came across a mention that you do Graphic design for Muc-Off. Do you do the whole range? I see many similarities between the recent redesign of your Festka and some of the MO product packaging.

I have been a designer for over 10 years now during which I worked for many big brands designing packaging. I have worked for MUC-OFF for 5 years now! I design a lot of packaging and get to do some fun stuff like designing show bikes and sponsored athlete helmets! It fits hand in hand with my own design style which is punky and a bit out there! I mean who doesn't like a bit of leopard print???

What's your recipe for squaring work and cycling? Do you have a daily schedule you stick to or do you need to be flexible because of a varying workload and changeable weather?

In the winter I try and ride before or after work on Zwift. In the summer I tend to get up just before 6am and get some social laps in. After work in the summer I do some 40 mile rides around the coast ending with a beer! I tend to do a longer ride on Sundays. I think my best ideas come to my head when I'm riding and if you're out with someone you can bounce the idea off them!

I can see you alternate between a number of bikes. Are you an N+1 person?

I have been very lucky to own about 30 bikes in the 10 years I've been cycling! I currently have 3 bikes: gravel and two road bikes! I'm itching to get a track bike again though!

You are an ambassador for several brands. How did these partnerships come about? Do you get asked or do you go and ask

Most of my opportunities come about through friends recommending things or a contact of a contact. I do get people ask me sometimes through a DM. I get given a product I like to ride and test it out and if I get the go ahead I customize it of course! I think brands love to work with me because they know I'm a real rider and not just a poser. I'm a big fan of the favour for a favour kind of deal! I'm not everyone's cup of tea but I'm cool with that! I am a strong believer of if you don't ask you don't get either! You have to be active and make opportunities for yourself! Hard work and a personality pays off!

Your Instagram account is a true model ambassador account. Does it take a lot of discipline and determination to "keep up appearances"? Who do you bring along to take all those great photos and videos?

I'm very lucky to know some sick photographers! Hi Josh!!!!!!! Instagram is a very odd place. You can take an awesome pic that took a lot of time to stage and then get more likes on a random photo of your toes. I'm not going to lie it's hard to keep on top of it all but I think if you do what you want to do then it's easier. I quite like the way I can do whatever and people don't know what's coming next! I like to keep it simple... design, riding bikes and sick custom stuff and the odd cake! I'm very grateful people come along for the ride and love to see the stuff I come up with!

The tattoos, the humour, the voice give you a rebel identity but if the photos on IG are anything to go by, you live in a very nice, tidy place. How do the two worlds sit next to each other?

I would say I'm a rebel to the conventional world of cycling. I live on the coast which is nice. The two worlds fit in like this. I ride around the south coast scaring old people as I tear past them covered in leopard print and tattoos! Its great!!!! I just love to have fun but say “F**k you” to the boring normal cycling culture… And some car drivers, haha! It's still surreal when I ride past somewhere wearing my kit! I think I have achieved a lot in the four years of GLORIOUS. I'm a rebel without a cause and just enjoying the ride!!! PLUS I have a sick FESTKA to ride on!!!

And you're just getting another one: a Scout you designed a great pop-art scheme for. Where did that idea come from?

Pop art was about blurring boundaries and being radical for its time. I like to blur the boundaries of cake eating and bikes! Pop art was expressive through parody, this is my parody of cycling! Pop art was also famous for it's recognisable, witty, bright and bold colours! Glorious and Festka have created the ultimate Pop art moving gallery... and donut machine! 

And don't forget to follow Matt on Instagram

Written by: Janek Jaros
Photos: Matt Stanbury's archive

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