The Hairy Bikers ended when Dave Myers died, says Si King

Dave Myers, left, and Si King had been friends for nearly 30 years before the former died earlier this year
Dave Myers, left, and Si King had been friends for nearly 30 years before the former died earlier this year - Jon Boast/BBC

Si King, the celebrity chef, has said it would be disrespectful to continue the Hairy Bikers brand after the death of his co-host.

In his first interview since Dave Myers, his friend and colleague, died from cancer in February, Mr King, 57, said: “There is no Hairy Bikers without Dave.”

The surviving member of the motorcycle-riding and cooking duo reflected on the future of his television career.

“It can’t be the Hairy Bikers 2.0,” he told the Observer Magazine. “That’s not going to happen. It wouldn’t be respectful.”

Myers died of cancer, aged 66, in February.

Shared love of motorbikes

Mr King said it had been only in the “past couple of weeks” that he had started to think about what to do next.

“I’ve spent all my life from very young thinking about what other people want and what their needs and aspirations are.

“So to be presented at my age with the question of what you really want to do is very difficult. We were a partnership, a double act.”

The two men met in 1995 on the set of a television drama. Both came from meagre beginnings and bonded over their shared love of motorbikes.

“We were both poor growing up,” Mr King said. “Our parents made the best of it, but that experience of childhood was a driving force. I never wanted to go back to that level of desperation.”

International success

Together they found international success as the cooking phenomenon known as the Hairy Bikers.

They published more than 20 cookbooks and travelled the globe to present shows including The Hairy Bikers Ride Again; The Hairy Bikers’ Food Tour of Britain; The Hairy Bikers: Mums Know Best; and The Hairy Bikers’ Cook Off.

“What was wonderful about my mate Dave was that he absolutely embraced the moment,” he said. “He used to drive me mad. I’d tell him to say something negative for a bit, but he just loved being a Hairy Biker.”

Mr King is clearly still overwhelmed with grief. “There’s obviously the sense of losing your best mate,” he reflected. “But there’s also a sense of loss in that the experiences we had together can’t go on.

“It would be incredibly churlish not to say thank you to our fan base. I sincerely hope that whatever I do next they come with me and we start another journey together.”

“There is no Hairy Bikers without Dave. Because it’s plural,” he added.

‘I just couldn’t compute it’

The Hairy Biker brand received its first piece of mainstream media coverage in a 2005 Observer Magazine cover story which invited readers to “meet the biker cooks who are set to be the foodie hit of 2006”.

“The Observer really launched the Hairy Bikers. And it will end with them, too,” Mr King said.

Myers announced in May 2022 that he had been undergoing chemotherapy. Speaking about his friend’s diagnosis, Mr King said: “Dave called me. I had to pull over. I just couldn’t compute it. I must have sounded terrible.

“There was just a level of disbelief. And to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t get my head around it all the way through his fight.

“Is this really happening? My best mate?”

‘He just didn’t want to go’

He said Myers had fought to survive “right up to the last day” and that he had received the “love and support of his wife”, Liliana Orzac, whom he met while filming in Romania. The couple married in 2011.

“The reality was he just didn’t want to go. It was too soon,” Mr King said.

“He had a home he wanted to live in and we had a handle on our careers. He was looking forward to spending more time with his beloved Lili and his stepkids.

“He’d just arrived and no one wants to leave when they’ve just arrived. It wasn’t time to go. It’s a cruel disease.”

Earlier this month, thousands of motorcyclists travelled from London to Myers’s home town of Barrow-in-Furness as part of the first “Dave Day”, held in his honour.

Mr King and Myers’s widow, Ms Orzac, appeared on a stage, where they thanked those who had come to pay tribute.