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AMC's 'Ride with Norman Reedus' shows biker culture is more than bikes, babes and beer

10

June

Norman Reedus is living his dream: riding bikes and killing zombies.

He does the latter in AMC's hit show The Walking Dead, but now delves into the former with the channel's new unscripted series Ride with Norman Reedus.

The show's title explains it all. Reedus tours parts of the country atop various motorcycles with guest companions making stops at biker hot spots, garages, dive bars, restaurants and basically any place a leather jacket and skull ring-wearing rider would go.

This is not a real-life Sons of Anarchy, it's a deeper look into the country's biker culture with a man who not only rides a bike on his zombie show, but has honed his riding skills for decades.

It's goofy and overly casual at times, often attempting to avoid biker cliches while fully reinforcing others. No, not every biker wears a leather vest, patches and a bandana while riding a thunderous chopper, but it's also no longer surprising that women like to ride too. And no, they aren't just biker wives.

Take away the banal pit stops at garages, meeting Reedus fans and gushing over how pretty the Pacific Coast Highway and Death Valley are, Ride is a showcase of Reedus' passion.

Love or hate bikes and biker culture, there's just something about listening to someone talking about their passion that hits home.

My passion is collecting multiple copies of my favorite books and eating peanut butter straight out of the jar, but I doubt AMC is going to give me a show to explore that.

But the emotion and happiness on Reedus' face when he talks to fellow biker geeks or walks into a garage full of custom rides is infectious.

Throughout the hour-long episodes, Reedus narrates his move to Los Angeles to pursue acting in his late 20s and finally feeling at home immersed in bike culture.

The commentary gets a bit too existential when Reedus and his guest crew ride through the Mojave Desert and through roads surrounded by California redwood trees, but it sure gets our travel bug itching.

Now 47 with a whole show dedicated to the things he likes doing, Reedus shows he's more than just a hot-headed Irish vigilante and a cross-bow wielding zombie killer.

He's not just talking over the people he meets or pushes too hard to explain the coolness of a place. He lets the creators and experts do the talking.

Whether it's checking out environmentally friendly electric motorcycles or gushing over sleek brushed metal custom bikes, Reedus is a kid in the candy store who wants to try and know it all. And he wants to share it with us.

Ride with Norman Reedus premieres at 10 p.m. June 12 on AMC.

Contact Chelsea Tatham at ctatham@tampabay.com. Follow @chelseatatham on Twitter.

 

[Last modified: Thursday, June 9, 2016 8:25pm]

    

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