DSCF5854Around this time last year, you might recall being made hungry and / or disturbed by the Krampus cake Karen made for Keep Pedalling’s 2nd birthday… mmm cake…

Since then, I’ve done my fair share of cake related chores and more cakes than I can count have come out of The Baking Room’s kitchen.

And, in what has now become time honoured tradition, as Keep Pedalling’s 3rd birthday approached, word on the street (at least the street the bike shop is on) was that something Surly this way comes…

photo credit: Surly Bikes

photo credit: Surly Bikes

With the mixed feelings of trepidation and excitement that come with the certain knowledge of impending beer drinking, beer drinking, beer drinking and other Surly related mayhem came the cake order.

“Oh bejeesus. If they ordered the Krampus cake last year, what in the hell are they going to ask for this year???” was the gist of the conversation I had with Karen. We didn’t have to wait long to find out.

When Shona started pushing her chest out and hinting I should take a closer look I didn’t quite know what do. I looked over at Rich who was grinning with a knowing look on his face.

“Oh, it’s going to one of those parties…” I thought to myself.

“Look at my shirt!” Shona insisted, pushing her chest out even more. Eventually I caved… I mean, what’s a man to do?

Surly clown t-shirt

photo credit: QBP

Anyhoo, Shona was wearing her Surly t-shirt. You know the one, it’s got a creepy picture of a dismembered clown head with blood pouring out of its mouth.

After remarking on how cool is was etc. etc. the realisation slowly dawned on me. Yep, the way to top last year’s Krampus cake: A 3D cake version of the creepy Surly clown head with blood pouring out of its mouth.

“What’s your budget?” was my first stupid question.

Some time later after I’d explained the whole concept to Karen and we’d been through several different design ideas and eventually settled on the realisation that somehow making the cake actually bleed would be more challenging than time or budget allowed for, we delivered the final product and set it up with only minutes to spare before the party started.

surly clown head cakeI have it on good authority that a number of people with serious clown phobias have had sleepless nights as a result of seeing this cake. Yeah? You wanna try making the damned thing!

simple man


You may recall me promising a bunch of things a little while ago; we’ve already shocked the world with pink and most of the others are very much in development. Today, we’re breaking out some of the finest grunge we’ve ever had here at lifeinthecyclelane as we discuss one simple man meeting another.

You see, a little while ago, I was invited along to a 2nd birthday party. Now, I know what you’re thinking: balloons, jelly & ice cream, pass the parcel, cake and maybe even a questionable clown.

With the possible exception of a family wedding, I struggle to think of many places I’d rather be less.

Happily, the birthday in question was not for some horrible little sproglet but was the 2nd anniversary of my favourite bike shop, Keep Pedalling, opening up in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

“There’ll be beer. And pizza. And cake. Oh, and some of the guys from Surly are coming too.” they said.

What’s a simple man to do?

Oh, I should probably take this opportunity to shamelessly plug my girlfriend’s cake business, The Baking Room. That way, if you ever need yourself a Krampus cake (non-scary cakes are also available), you’ll know where to go for it. You can check out The Baking Room in these various places:

DSCF5854Right, shameless plug shamelessly plugged, back to business.

So yes, I slunk away from work early, hopped on my Troll and headed over to the shop. Within minutes, I was sipping on an extra cold Corona (with lime, of course!), nomming a slice of rather excellent pizza from the good people over at Slice Pizza Co. down the road and was being introduced to a dude going by the name of Tyler.

Tyler, with his impressive beard and equally impressive ability to drink beer like it’s going out of fashion, just happens to be the marketing manager over at Surly Bikes and a bloody nice bloke too. We spent a little while shooting the breeze (at least I think that’s what the Americans call it) about bikes, touring, beer, why I NEED a Krampus in my life, how awesome the Krampus cake was, beer, bikes, beer and other such nonsense.

DSCF5851As the night wore on, I met some other people from Surly whose names I either rudely didn’t ask or have since forgotten (sorry about that) along with a bunch of like minded people also drinking free beer & nomming free pizza. Oh, and Sylwia took great delight in being mean to me… seems to be her favourite pastime whenever I’m in the shop actually! No doubt she’ll beat me for posting this picture of her!


Yes, a good time was indeed had by all. I’d like to say a huge thanks to Rich & Shona for inviting me along and, without getting all preachy about it, I’d just like to remind you how important it is to support small, local businesses. I buy all my bikes & gear from Keep Pedalling, they buy all their cake from Karen and we all thoroughly enjoyed the handmade pizza from around the corner… what’s not to like?

Oh, and by the way, it turns out the boys from Surly think what I’ve done with my Troll is pretty cool. How about that?