Ride with Norman Reedus and The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus discusses taking Ride global in Season 2, revisiting some of his old stomping grounds, and riding with Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Dave Chappelle.
Q: What type of reaction have you seen since the first season of the show aired?
A: I run into people all the time who are like, “I started riding a bike because I watched your show. It inspired me to ride.” A lot of young girls and older women say that to me because they see the badass girls on the show riding around. The people who already ride say, “I went to that spot you went to. It looked like fun!” I’m a tourist as much as anything. These places we go to are all fresh to me. I keep an open eye and open ear and learn as we go along, and I think people get that from the show as well. It’s been 100 percent positive. It’s a lot of fun.
Q: Speaking of fan reaction, you seem to draw large crowds wherever you go. What does it mean to you to have such a passionate fanbase in cities and countries around the world?
A: It’s great. It’s nice to meet people all over the world who like the show and what we’re doing. When they saw Jeffrey and me in Spain, they were chasing us down the streets. It feels really good. I always feel like this is a group effort and the fans are a part of that group. [While] driving out of some of those crowds, they chased us a bit and sometimes they like to put their hands on the handlebars and you’re like “Whoa! Whoa!” You don’t want to hurt anybody or get hurt, but they’re all very friendly and respectful. It’s great to have them come out. I was really happy to see them.
Q: You said at the end of last season you wanted to do a ride overseas, and you just mentioned the premiere episode is in Spain. How does it feel to take the show global this season?
A: Motorcycle culture goes all over the world. It varies from place to place, but it’s always the same feeling. It’s nice when you meet people who build bikes and make bikes and ride bikes in other countries. You have a kindred relationship with these people because they like the same things you like. It’s the same thing with sports or with music. There’s a connection there. It’s nice to make that connection and meet those people.
Q: Between the ride in Spain and others in New York and L.A., you revisited several places you live or have lived. Why was it important for you to revisit your old stomping grounds? Do you feel you saw them differently this time around?
A: There are memories there and it’s nice to touch on those memories and have that conversation about them. As I grow as a person and the show grows, your story grows. It’s nice to touch base and have those memories to talk about. I lived in Spain when I was a teenager, so when we went back to Sitges where I used to live, it looked completely different. There were so many new buildings. I remember from my apartment there, I could see the church towers and where that big bell goes off in the middle of the day and I couldn’t see it any longer from that apartment. It was almost impossible to find that apartment because there were a whole new section of buildings blocking the way. It was a completely different view and it was so long ago. It was nice to see that town growing and meet all the people there again. I have such fond memories of that place.
Q: How did you decide on some of this season’s other locations?
A: I wanted to do a New York episode because my heart’s in New York. I’ve been there for a long time. That was actually directed by a fellow New Yorker who knows more about the city than anybody I know. He got to take us to some places that I frequent and some places I didn’t really know about other than him telling stories about. We shoot this show in the winter, so it’s important to go to warmer climates. There’s a ton of other places I’d love to go, but it’s just freezing or there’s snow on the ground.
Q: You have some awesome riding companions this season. What was it like riding with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, a longtime friend, now that you work so closely with him?
A: I ride with him all the time. I’ve been riding around with Jeffrey since he got here on [The Walking Dead] last year. We’re like brothers. We ride around all the time and discover new things and he’s a lot of fun. We’re constantly stopping to get gas or a coffee or whatever and people stop us and we talk to them. It’s always nice. It’s nice to ride with your friends and it’s nice to have guests on the show who I’ve never ridden with.
Q: How did you get teamed up with Dave Chappelle? Was it hard to focus on the road with him constantly cracking jokes?
A: We actually talked about him being on the show the first season and tried to make schedules works. He’s a very busy guy. I was really lucky to get him on this season. He’s an avid rider and he’s a ton of fun. It was nice to have real talk with him. He did crack a lot of jokes because he’s a funny guy, but we also spoke real talk during the episode. It was nice to see the guy behind that. It’s kind of like your bartender where you end up having long talks with people about things you wouldn’t really talk about in a quick circumstance. If you go on a long ride with anyone, you have more time with them. It’s kind of alone time when you’re on motorcycles, so when you’re talking helmet to helmet, a lot of conversation comes out.
Q: You also have stretches on some rides where you’re alone. Are there advantages to being out on the road by yourself sometimes?
A: I ride every day out in nature. You’re not totally alone when you’re riding by yourself on a television show because there’s a van in front of you and there’s a camera pointed at you. [Laughs] So, it’s not really the same thing as just taking off… I like to get out on my bike by myself and ride all the time. I learn lines that way, I think about scenes that way, I get ready to act in scenes that way, I decompress from scenes in that way when I leave set.
Q: Do you think the show has changed the way people think about biker culture?
A: Maybe if someone has some preconceived archaic idea that bikers are one way. I don’t know what that would be. There are lots of different people that ride lots of different bikes in lots of different ways. I’ve always said that if I break down on the side of the road on a motorcycle, it’s going to be another motorcycle that stops and helps me. There’s a camaraderie between bikers. You wave to each other when you go by. If you’re into rock music and you go to a concert and look around, there’s other people into rock music enjoying the concert and you feel a friendship there with those people even if you don’t know them. I don’t think we’re trying to change anyone’s ideas on anything to do with motorcycles. It’s just a lot of fun. The people that ride motorcycles get it and a lot of people come up to me and they want to get into it too because it’s fun. We’re just having a good time with the audience and hope they feel like they’re on the ride with us.
Ride With Norman Reedus returns with a two-night premiere on Sunday at 11/10c and Monday at 9/8c in the show’s regular timeslot. Sign up for the Ride with Norman Reedus Insiders Club to get the latest exclusives delivered directly to your inbox.Read More