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Be inspired every day with Living North
Take A Joy Ride With The Sidecar Guys
March 2024
Reading time 5 Minutes

Living North meet Matt Bishop, one half of the dynamic duo known as The Sidecar Guys

From breaking world records and travelling the globe to exploring Northumberland with Robson Green, Matt tells us all.

Niche, isn’t it? But for Matt Bishop and Reece Gilkes, becoming the Guinness World Record holders for the longest journey by scooter and sidecar was always a (very specific) dream. ‘In 2017, we decided to be the first people to ever circumnavigate the globe on a scooter with a sidecar so we drove around the world – 34,000 miles through 35 countries,’ Matt tells us. ‘And we had some strange experiences on the way. Where do I start? Going down through Africa was the craziest and that was the first thing we did. When you get to Sudan, you realise you’ve ridden your own motorbike there and you’re camping out on a Sunday night in the Sahara thinking, “I should be getting ready for work in the morning,” but actually you’re out in the wild, in the middle of nowhere. That was a surreal experience.

‘Cut to the better part of a year later and we were driving home on the Trans-Siberian Highway and it was minus 45 degrees, frozen faces, snowy roads and ice trucks flying past you. There were Russian motorbikes on the side of the road at almost every town waiting with vodka for us to keep us fuelled up for the journey; it was amazing.’

The pair returned after just over a year, but couldn’t have predicted how their adventures would blossom into a thriving business. ‘It took us 15 months. Then we came back and we started getting opportunities to talk about it. So we started talking about the experience at bike rallies, businesses, schools and colleges. We grew into sidecar influencers, if there ever was such a thing, which is the most random line of work to ever end up in, not at all intentional.’

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More recently the friends have relocated to the North East to continue their love of sidecars. ‘We had to grow up a little bit. We’ve got kids now and what we try to do is replicate all the fun we had on that trip, using sidecars, meeting complete strangers and doing weird and wonderful things, but trying to do that on our doorstep,’ Matt explains. Although neither are originally from the area, they have both come to love the region. ‘I think the coolest thing I’ve done with the sidecar in the North East is the causeway over to Holy Island, which is really good if you catch it at the right time. It ruins the bikes with all that saltwater, but it’s worth it,’ he says. The stunning rural landscape of Northumberland is just as appealing to Matt as the coast. ‘Within an hour’s drive from where I live or half an hour from our unit, you can be completely in the wilds and it will almost feel like there’s no one around and no one has driven there for years.’

With the success that The Sidecar Guys have enjoyed, it was only a matter of time before regional treasure Robson Green caught up with them. They appear on the most recent series of Robson Green’s Weekend Escapes and take the actor on a tour of their favourite spots in the county. ‘It was really cool to get the call [from Robson’s team],’ Matt says. ‘Robson’s just so friendly and the whole team were awesome. We did a day with them and they still had time to have a coffee and a panini with us afterwards just chatting. They’re the real deal. It was such a cool experience to do it and we’re so lucky to get featured on the show. It’s something to show your mum isn’t it?’

The pair have now firmly established The Sidecar Guys Experience Centre, based just outside Morpeth, and their experiences include exploring Hadrian’s Wall, Dark Skies evening adventures and sidecar safaris for the public to enjoy. Although he admits that initially it began as a strategic business decision, the Dark Skies experience has become particularly special to Matt. ‘That is epic,’ he says. ‘It’s so cool driving along at night time. It’s really thrilling because it all feels really close and you can only see the headlights. Then you stop in a dark sky zone and it’s completely pitch black and quiet and you look up and there’s millions of stars. It’s really out of nowhere.’

You may be wondering, what is the appeal of a sidecar when compared to a traditional motorbike or car? For Matt the answer is simple – for the pure joy of the experience. ‘The thing is, they look silly and everyone says you can’t filter through traffic in them, you get just as wet as you would on a motorbike but you’re not as comfy as in a car and all that jazz – it’s all true. But it all misses the point massively that they’re just hilarious amounts of fun to sit in.

‘It feels like you’re in a go-kart going down the road. You can be going 20 miles per hour and it’ll feel like 70 because you’re low to the ground, and it’s just so much fun. They’re incredibly safe, they’ve got three wheels so they don’t fall over like a motorbike. They also stand out massively so no one ever misses you. The thing with motorbikes is that you don’t always see them at a junction, but you see a sidecar coming a mile off because it’s so weird-looking. They’re super safe and stable too.’

In 2024, The Sidecar Guys just want to spend more time getting to know the area (and can you blame them?). ‘I’m still a bit of a tourist myself really. I’ve not lived here forever so I’m still looking it over,’ Matt says. ‘We’re just really enjoying the countryside and getting used to it all. This will be our third season now so we’ve really started to find our place.’

Quick-Fire Questions

What can you not do without?
I should say a third wheel shouldn’t I?

What’s your favourite hidden gem in the area?
If you head out towards Whygate from the village of Wark, then you’ll find a beautiful track for riding on and you can carry on via the back way to Hadrian’s Wall. It’s just gorgeous.

What advice would you give to someone starting out with bikes?
It’s a cliché, but the first thing to know is that the bike you need is the bike you have. Go and get out and do the adventure. We planned our trip for about three years and we actually used none of the information, we just set off.

To book your own experience, visit

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