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Hairy Bikers Dave Myers and Si King reveal how their deep bond saw them through the darkest days of Dave’s cancer battle: ‘That warm feeling of comfort, of having a big hug, has got us through’


Riding into the sun on their motorbikes earlier this year to film an upcoming TV series, their trademark tresses tucked under their helmets, was an emotional moment for Dave Myers and Si King

There was a point when everything the double act hold dear – motorcycling, eating and travelling – was off the menu as Dave battled cancer. It robbed him not only of his voracious appetite, but also of his ability to walk, let alone ride a motorbike.

The last 18 months have been gruelling for Dave. He’s undergone more than 30 chemotherapy sessions so far for a cancer he refuses to name. 

So it’s a testimony to their fighting spirit that he and his best pal and professional partner Si have completed the series and written a new cookbook, both of which see them reunited in a celebration of food and friendship.

The new book is called The Hairy Bikers’ Ultimate Comfort Food, and Dave has dedicated it to the hospital staff who have been caring for him since his diagnosis. 

In addition to their new book, The Hairy Bikers' Ultimate Comfort Food, Si King (left) and Dave Myers have an upcoming  TV series called The Hairy Bikers Go West. Due to air next year, the show starts in Scotland and sees the pair ride down to Devon, revisiting places that are meaningful to them

In addition to their new book, The Hairy Bikers’ Ultimate Comfort Food, Si King (left) and Dave Myers have an upcoming  TV series called The Hairy Bikers Go West. Due to air next year, the show starts in Scotland and sees the pair ride down to Devon, revisiting places that are meaningful to them

‘It’s because of the hospital team that I’m here today and able to continue enjoying and cooking comforting food,’ he says.

One of the most poignant recipes is Filipino Noodles. ‘A wonderful Filipino nurse named Guia looked after me in hospital,’ recalls Dave, 66, who’s famed for his handlebar moustache and bushy beard, both of which he lost during chemotherapy. 

‘One day when I was having chemo she brought me her favourite noodle dish, pancit. It’s hard to eat much when you’re having treatment but I inhaled this – it was so good. There’s something about it that when you start to eat it you can’t stop. 

‘When I wasn’t eating anything because of the chemotherapy, I could always eat that. It gave me great comfort.

‘There’s been a lot of emotion while we were filming and writing this book because we both realised how that feeling of comfort, of having a hug, is really important. 

‘We talked a lot about the book during filming because it’s comfort that sees you through the bad times. So doing it has been a great therapy for me, for both of us really, as two mates.’

Chemotherapy destroyed Dave’s balance, so he’s had to learn to walk and to ride a motorcycle again. 

The physiotherapy involved sitting on an inflatable ball rocking from side to side, pretending to be on a motorbike, with a rubber band round his foot to mimic changing gear.

Pictured at the Yorkshire Dales Food & Drink Festival in July of this year, the pair have been friends for the past 30 years and always manage to 'have a giggle'

Pictured at the Yorkshire Dales Food & Drink Festival in July of this year, the pair have been friends for the past 30 years and always manage to ‘have a giggle’

‘The medics were really concerned about Dave riding the bike, but I just kept saying, “No, he’ll be fine. It’s in his DNA. If he says he can, he can, so just let him be,”’ says Si, 57. 

‘So when we rode off into the sun it was very emotional. It was a big sigh of relief for my best mate. It was lovely to be back to our default setting. Some of the most special moments were private ones on the intercoms as we were driving. 

‘When you share experiences they’re doubled, so we were back to building magical memories. We’re enormously privileged to have the relationship we have because in the industry we work in there’s a lot of b******t so it’s important you have great mates watching out for you.’

A cheer went up from their loyal crew after Dave’s first outing on the bike for the TV series, which will air next year and is called The Hairy Bikers Go West. 

It starts in Scotland and sees them ride down to Devon, revisiting places that are meaningful to them. 

‘It was like getting the band back on the road,’ says Dave. ‘That support from Si and our incredible team was brilliant. Human companionship and love has got me through. I have the most remarkable wife, Liliana, who’s been my rock every bloody step of the way on this terrible journey.

‘To some extent we’re still on it as my diagnosis was in March 2022 and treatment is ongoing. But it’s not necessarily the end of the world. 

‘It’s like a diabetic who needs insulin and constant care. At the minute life is pretty damn sweet. Now the tears are tears of joy rather than anguish.’

The pair’s sense of humour has also been a tonic. ‘We’ve been through thick and thin together in the past 30 years and we always have a giggle, even in the darkness,’ says Si.

It was in 2004 that the jovial chaps first burst onto our screens with their quirky TV show The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook, which saw them riding round the world sampling hearty local cuisine. 

But since then they’ve embraced lower-calorie recipes. In 2012 they realised they had to address their gluttonous lifestyle after one too many mud pies during their TV show Hairy Bikers’ Mississippi Adventure. 

‘We were heading for an early grave and were morbidly obese,’ says Dave.

Ahead of their 2012 Hairy Dieters TV series, Si weighed 19st 6lb and Dave, who’s shorter, came in at 17st 12lb. Today Si is just over 16st and Dave just under 13st. ‘We lost three stone each in three months and turned our bodies around,’ says Dave.

Si, whose father died of kidney failure when he was eight, admits, ‘When dad died, my mam Stella and I grieved the loss through food – that was our major comfort. We spent most of our hours in the kitchen.’

The Hairy Bikers' new book is out on Thursday

The Hairy Bikers’ new book is out on Thursday 

Dave’s mum, who died when he was 23, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when he was seven. 

He remembers greeting his father’s return from work in a paper mill with a cheese and potato pie he had made himself because his mother was recovering after falling out of bed.

Yet she imbued in him a love of food and cooking. ‘I was a greedy, porky child, and Friday was a chance for me to make my own supper,’ he says. 

‘I’d be given a couple of potatoes to make chips and I’d put them in a good old-fashioned chip butty. That sense of comfort was sublime.’

The pair joke that, as their books range from diet books to comfort food, they get everybody fat and then get them slim again. But they point out that many healthy recipes are comfort food. ‘My wife’s idea of comfort will be a Buddha bowl salad,’ says Dave. 

Si adds, ‘I’m always going to have to calorie count because I have a predisposition to being a fat g**. But the great things about comfort food are the twists and turns and flavours we have, like a ham salad with beautiful potatoes.’

Si says they’re not just healthier, but also better at their jobs now. ‘We became better cooks. We kept the flavour, but stripped out the calories.’

Dave has peace of mind, too. ‘After years of trying not to get fat I can now enjoy eating without worrying about calories. I eat like a normal person and I’m a healthy weight.’

What’s more, Dave no longer feels like ‘a big embryo with no hair or eyebrows’. His beard’s back and it’s a sign he’s on the mend. 

‘I was so ill through the chemo I couldn’t do anything. The hair goes, the eyebrows go, the beard, the moustache. It’s horrible. On my second round of chemo, I got my wife to clip all my hair off.

‘It’s a funny look, complete baldness, but now I’ve got more hair than I had before. I’ll never have it long again, which is good as I don’t get “helmet hair”. I just fluff it up when I get off the bike. Kingy’s blessed – his hair comes out of the helmet looking as good as it goes in.’

  • The Hairy Bikers’ Ultimate Comfort Food by Si King and Dave Myers (Seven Dials, £25) will be published on Thursday.



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