Ride with Norman Reedus premieres in the UK on Monday, January 2 at 9pm on AMC – exclusive to BT customers.
The travel series features The Walking Dead actor hitting the road with a bunch of his friends as he bikes across some of the most beautiful parts of America – from California to Florida.
BT.com spoke exclusively to the man behind Daryl Dixon to discover what fans can expect from this new series and whether he has any plans to film any episodes in the UK.
Whose idea was the show?
It was one of the presidents of AMC, he brought it to me and told me the idea and I immediately said, ‘absolutely, f*** yeah’. Ever since then it’s been an absolute blast.
How did you choose the places you visit?
We shoot it in the winter because it has to be in the hiatus of The Walking Dead. So there are lots of places I would love to go, but it’s just too cold for us to shoot then. So we pick the warmest locations.
We have a team who visit the locations and then we also speak to bikers and friends ahead of visiting them so we have set places we want to hit on the rides, but we always try to keep it as loose as possible, so if we run into someone and they say, ‘don’t go left, go right and check this out’, we have the freedom to do that.
Do people get starstruck when they see the man who plays Daryl Dixon on a motorbike? It’s a bit like seeing Batman in his batmobile – people must do a double-take.
Ha. I get that all the time and I totally understand it. I ran into Dustin Hoffman in a hotel and I was swallowing my tongue on the spot. A lot of the time with the real motorcycle places and the people who really ride, they’re just shocked that I actually ride a bike. That’s often the ice-breaker, ‘oh man, you really ride!’
You do meet fans in the strangest locations, but when you’re out on the bike there’s something cool about being the tourist all the time. You can really bond about the ride, about the towns and you have that one thing in common – the bike. It’s always fun.
What was your first bike?
The first bike that I rode was a dirt bike that belonged to a friend of mine at junior high school. We were always fighting, ‘my turn, my turn, my turn’ and we rode the s*** out of that bike. I got stitches multiple times on that bike. I tried to pull wheelies down the hill. You think you’re invincible when you’re a kid on a bike and I kept getting hurt, but I kept going back on as well.
It was so exhilarating and I was always doing stupid stuff on the dirt bike. I was racing away from police, kicking things I shouldn’t be kicking as I was flying down the road, it was just awful.
Why do you think motorbikes have such a special place in people’s hearts?
That feeling of the wind in your hair and complete freedom, it’s unbelievable. You can get the fastest most badass car in the world, but it’s still not as good as a motorcycle. You can feel the wind in your face and smell the town you’re going through. I caught that bug really early on.
It’s the sense of freedom. It’s that cowboy vibe of a man on his horse. I’ve watched the Ewan McGregor show Long Way Round before shooting this and what I love about that show is when things go wrong. You really see those guys bond on that ride as they hit trouble and you really feel like you’re on the ride with them. We really wanted to have that feel with this show.
What has the response to the show been like in the US?
We’ve had so many people come up to us since we started the show talking about how we inspired them and there’s been a lot of girls doing that. There are girl groups in America and there are in the UK I’m sure as well. But since we had women and women groups on the show, I’ve had so many girls come up to me and say, ‘I’m in this group now and we’re all friends, it’s a wonderful thing’. I love that aspect of the show.
Would you like to film a ride in the UK for series 2?
We’re trying to do that in the second season. We want to go to Europe. I’d love to do Asia and Vietnam. There’s a ton of great places around the world and in America. I’d love to tour it all on a bike.
If you could do just one of the rides again which would you pick?
Death Valley on dirt bikes was a lot of fun. To have all that open space in front of you and not see anything as far as you can see in any direction for an indefinite amount of time is exhilarating. As far as you could see it was white sand, there was nobody around and it was an amazing feeling. But I’d love to go back to all the places we visited.
Norman Reedus' Top Road Trip Tips:
1. Know where you’re going, be prepared and just have fun – let go!
2. You can call ahead and use the internet, but a lot of the time, the very special places are from people who go riding their bikes around the area all the time and the people you meet along the way. It’s always best to leave room to ride along with the locals.
3. I personally think motorcycle riders are the safest people on the road. Most people who have been in a wreck I know were hit by a car. So, just be aware of where you’re going and who’s around you all the time.
4. The best places to ride are away from the cities. Go out and go someplace without traffic.
5. Don’t chew gum in a full face helmet, which I do all the time. You’ll bite the inside of your mouth.
Ride with Norman Reedus airs on AMC, BT TV channel 332/381 HD and. BT Sport Pack subscribers can also watch on Sky Guide channel 192.
Airing Mondays at 9pm from January 2 on BT TV channel 332/381 HD and Sky Guide channel 192.